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What do I need to know for my business about land use and zoning?

The term land use and zoning gives some hint to the topic of conversation. However, as far as how the phrase could impact your business it's not always clear. For some industries, land use and zoning has a small impact or none much at all. However, for some industries, it could have a huge impact on daily activities or the ability to conduct business at all.

So, what is land use and zoning anyway? In short, it's the regulation of the use and development of real estate - in terms of zoning - it's how municipalities control and regulate the development of property within their allotted area. The reason for engaging zoning or land use laws are to better designate between residential and commercial properties and to help cities develop in a way that's beneficial to their long-term growth. However, for a business owner, it can be frustrating when a land use or zoning regulation stands in the way.

Here are some topics that are often regulated by land use and zoning laws:

  • Specific requirements as to the type of buildings allowed
  • Location of utility lines
  • Restrictions on accessory buildings, building setbacks from the streets and other boundaries
  • Size and height of buildings
  • Number of rooms

It's not always intuitive where a land use and zoning law or regulation will be enacted. That's why it's important for many businesses to vet the laws, regulations at the address and land area of interest before committing fully.

As a rule of thumb, land use and zoning regulations have become stricter, not less, over the last several decades. While the municipality may mean well, it can have repercussions for a business. Sidestep this issue and understand any land use and zoning regulation and how it can impact your business.

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