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Commercial real estate transactions can face local pushback

If you are a business owner or developer looking to purchase land, you likely will be considering several factors when making a decision. Are there tax benefits for certain areas? What is the property value like? How big of a space do you need? Is the site zoned for commercial purposes?

You may also be thinking about what the neighboring residents and commercial owners around a specific location may react to your purchase of the property, as there is the potential for serious legal disputes if you are considered an unwelcome presence in the area. This may or may not affect your purchasing decisions, but it is something you should be aware of as it could influence the project.

Recently, for example, a company looking to build an agronomy plant southeast of the Twin Cities near the Mississippi River has faced some local backlash from residents who don't want the plant to set roots in their town.

More than 100 people in the area signed a citizen petition requesting further investigation into the environmental impact of the company. Residents have argued that allowing the business to build the agronomy center would negatively impact them in terms of traffic, air quality, noise and other environmental factors.

However, the county zoning administrator stated that the concerns voiced by the community were not sufficient to warrant further investigation into the environmental impact of the business. The board agreed and rejected the citizen petition.

This resolution doesn't mean that the business can go ahead with construction just yet, though. The business still has to have their building request granted by the county Planning Commission.

This case can serve as a reminder to potential commercial real estate buyers that buying land for commercial purposes isn't necessarily a one-way street. While buyers will need to decide whether they want to purchase property or not, other parties like the county planners and local residents can have some say in the transaction.

Preparing for these situations and attempting to smooth over any potential rifts that may arise early on can help both sides avoid messy, costly disputes. However, if a problem cannot be resolved and is putting a transaction in jeopardy, it can be wise for business owners and/or developers to consult an attorney who practices real estate law.

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