As this blog often notes, zoning regulations in the city of Boston are strict. It can be hard for developers to build new properties or for landowners to make alterations to existing properties. However, individuals and businesses do have options when their plans run into zoning issues.
Local governments rely on the practice of zoning when they plan their urban areas. Without zoning laws, a town might be a mishmash of commercial, industrial and residential areas, causing traffic congestion, inconvenience and possible health hazards. However, zoning is far from an exact science, and sometimes landowners have a good reason to seek to free their property from a zoning law.
The city council has been toying around with a major overhaul of Boston's zoning laws in recent years. The current land use and zoning law has been in place for the city for the last three decades or so, so it's only natural that the policies would be outdated in comparison to today's world. However, the mayor has put the brakes on that project, and instead is projecting completion in 2020. Recent drafts and discussions about the zoning laws have seen support, but also criticism from the public.
There is a lot of excitement when thinking about opening a new area of your business, relocating or starting a business from scratch. Every business has different needs, but most all will require some sort of space, commercial real estate, in which to conduct business operations. Commercial real estate is different from residential real estate in many ways. Depending the complexities of the business or industry one is in, there could be regulations that can affect the business further.
Ideally, a business would purchase property in which to conduct business operations. However, it's not always possible to invest so heavily in real estate, especially if a business is just getting started. The next best option is to lease commercial real estate. Depending on the type of business you are looking to operate, you must be in an area zoned for your particular type of business or you must seek out these zoning permits.
For proponents of the legalization of marijuana, the day cannabis was legalized was a joyous occasion. For users, it means less criminalization of the drugs. For those involved in the cannabis business, the newly legalized area shows promise and opportunity from a business standpoint. As the legalization is still fresh, municipalities are still trying to regulate the new market and 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.
The Boston Planning and Development Agency has big plans for Boston's city development over the next decade. There has been much talk of how to leverage the real estate opportunities to make Boston a better home for everyone, residents and businesses alike. East Boston has been targeted for the initiative.
When you own a piece of property in Massachusetts, there is no better feeling than the freedom to do what you want with it. However, if you have been involved in a land access dispute, or some other issue in terms of what you or others are doing on your land, you may be frustrated with the situation. If you are looking to conduct business, but have been barred from doing so on the property you own due to land use and zoning laws, it may be time to petition the city or state.
With a marijuana industry booming across the country, many states and cities seem to be eager to get in on the action. Boston is no exception, but city councilors will have to decide how it will be impacted by land use and zoning laws. Nothing specific exists for marijuana sales yet, however, there are proponents who argue that there should be zoning regulations for where these marijuana shops can be set up and conduct business. If it's within a significant proximity to drug rehab or a treatment facility, the sale of marijuana could be banned.