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What can you do if zoning doesn't allow you to run a business?

When you purchase a property, you likely already have an idea of what you want to do there. Zoning laws will affect what you are allowed to do in the space. Zoning laws restrict many activities and set requirements you must abide by.

If you violate a zoning law, you may have your business shut down or temporarily closed. Fortunately, there are ways to get approval for business use even if the zone is only residential or created for other purposes.

One of the best ways to get the zoning laws to work in your favor is to talk to the community and gain its support. A community that wants to see your business thrive in the area can help petition for the zone to be changed. Once changed, you can use it for your business.

The petition needs to be sent to the board of zoning adjustment or board of appeals. A public hearing may be held to argue whether or not the zoning laws need to be altered in your case. If you have the support of the community, this hearing is more likely to go in your favor.

In the case that you don't have a community's backing, you may want to request a variance of current zoning laws or a conditional use permit. Both can allow you to do the work you want to do even though the zoning laws in the area do not support your business running there.

If you have questions about zoning laws, your attorney can help. With more information, you can decide how you want to move forward.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Handle Problems with Commercial Zoning Laws," accessed May 18, 2017

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