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Can you change the zone by getting a variance?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Business |

You’re interested in running a business, and you’ve recently purchased some real estate. You think that the building will be perfect for your company. It will take some mild renovations, but you’re willing to invest the time and effort.

Unfortunately, you’ve discovered that the building you bought is in the wrong zone. Often, areas are zoned for residential, industrial or commercial operations. You may be trying to run a business in an area that is only zoned for residential real estate, for example. Or you may have believed you were purchasing property in a commercial zone when it was actually in an industrial zone.

One way to address this is by getting a variance. If the variance is granted, you’ll be allowed to run your business, even though it doesn’t fit with the established zone. Does this mean that you are changing that zone?

It only applies to your property

No, a variance isn’t going to change the zoning for anyone else. Instead, it allows you to deviate from the zone. You are allowed to break the rules in specific ways that are outlined in your variance. But that doesn’t change what other businesses or properties will look like in that area.

This is also why it’s not always effective to consider whether or not another business has already been granted a variance. Just because a different business owner has been given permission to run that company doesn’t mean that you can run a similar company without getting your own variance. These are handled on a case-by-case basis, so one variance could be denied while another is approved.

Because of the impact that real estate issues can have on the future of your company, it’s quite important to know about your legal options while working through this process.