Zoning laws in your area will dictate many aspects of your property–from the minimum lot size to how the land and structures can be used. Often, owners or prospective landowners find that the zoning laws may be outdated and reflect needs and values held by a local in the past. It is possible to change the zoning laws to meet a new need or desire, but the process can be long and arduous without any guarantee of success. If you’re interested in seeking a change for your land, here are a few tips to consider.
Start with a comprehensive understanding of the current zoning regulations.
Many property owners can become disillusioned if assumptions are made based on other neighborhood structures or uses. Just because your land is next to a commercial warehouse or neighbors operate a small mechanic business out of their garage doesn’t mean the same rules or allowances apply to you.
Start with a stop at your county or municipality’s zoning office. The correct department will be listed as a land-use office in many cities. Staff members will locate your property on official maps and provide you with a complete listing of requirements corresponding to your property’s zone. Many of these restrictions can be confusing, so review them carefully and ask for clarification on any unclear item.
Review the current neighborhood or surrounding area.
Take some time to walk around the area and take special note of the current state of the location. For example, are the streets lined with only residential houses, or do you see some small businesses or convenience stores mixed in? Talk with the neighbors to identify concerns such as the lack of local restaurants or child-care facilities. Take note of prominent commercial locations and ask how long they’ve been established in those areas.
One step in the application process will be to provide a formal area survey. A professional land-use consultant such as Richard Stevens & Associates should help you complete. However, beginning with your own review will provide you with background information and ideas that the firm can use to build a case for why zoning changes are necessary.
Understand zoning regulations in your community.
Most zoning regulations are based upon community values. For example, some locations are very guarded about introducing potentially noisy activities into quiet, residential areas. Others have well-established urban growth boundaries to limit sprawl into outlining rural areas. By understanding what the community values and how these demands are formed into regulations in your area, you’ll better grasp what may be required to amend them.
Complete the application.
Your professional land-use consultant will help guide you through the entire application process. Many documents and forms will be required for submission, often with significant fees. Next, you can expect a lengthy planning review process that may require hearings and presentations, sometimes to large legislative bodies. Be ready to answer questions and alleviate concerns brought forth by the planning commission and other governing bodies.
Make the process easier by working with Richard Stevens & Associates.
If you’re interested in amending the zoning laws for your property, contact the professionals at Richard Stevens & Associates. We specialize in assisting our clients with all work related to rural and urban land use planning permits and zoning laws. Before you invest money in altering or developing your land, give us a call to ensure you’re doing it right.