The impact of zoning laws on property or the purchase of properly can be significant. As a result, business owners and those considering the purchase of a property should understand what zoning laws are and what they can do about a zoning law that has become a burden.

Zoning laws are used to regulate the use of property. Zoning laws can be used to regulate the types of businesses allowed in a certain area or the type of buildings on a property. Property owners, or those considering a property purchase, may wonder what they can do about a problematic zoning law.

Real estate law is an area of the law that provides property owners with tools to assist with zoning-related concerns. There are two primary options available to help property owners with a zoning regulation they wish to challenge.

Variance

Property owners can request a variance from the zoning requirement. To do this, the owner of the property is required to demonstrate that complying with the zoning ordinance will create an undue hardship on them. A variance may be requested concerning the use of the land or concerning the types of structures permitted on the land. Competing concerns may also be weighed against the property owner’s claim of undue hardship.

Nonconforming use

What is referred to as a nonconforming use may be permitted in some circumstances. After a new zoning ordinance is passed, if a property has been used in a certain way, it may be possible for the owner to continue using it in that manner according to a nonconforming use. In circumstances when a substantial investment has been made in the use of the property, the property owner is usually permitted to continue with that use, however, the use will be weighed against the public benefit of the zoning ordinance and its application to the property. If the owner discontinues the existing use of the property at any point, they will no longer qualify for a nonconforming use exemption.

Navigating real estate law and zoning ordinances can be challenging. As a result, property owners should be familiar with the legal protections and resources available to help and to guide them with what they need.