It can sometimes be difficult for business owners to find commercial properties that are zoned for their intended uses. When a desired property has a zoning problem, there are several ways in which it might be handled.
A good method for convincing the zoning board that a particular use should be allowed for a commercial property is by first generating public support for it. When the community advocates for the business to be allowed in the area, zoning and planning boards often will listen and approve it. One example might be a business that will open in a poor area, helping to improve the economic conditions.
When an intended use is against the zoning regulations for the location, business owners can request relief from the zoning board. It may come in the form of a conditional use permit or a variance. Conditional use permits allow companies to use the property for their business uses upon fulfilling one or more conditions. Variances are exceptions that may be granted to the zoning ordinance or regulation. In order to receive a variance, business owners are normally required to show that the company will suffer an undue hardship if relief is not granted.
When an owner is interested in a particular piece of commercial real estate for a small business, it is a good idea to fully investigate the zoning regulations that apply to the property before signing any purchase agreements or leases. An attorney may help by researching the applicable zoning regulations and then advising the client about what can be done if there is a problem.