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Zoning basics for variances for home-based businesses

| Jun 14, 2021 | Land Use & Zoning |

Owning a piece of property doesn’t do you a lot of good when you can’t use it the way that you want because of the area’s zoning. This is particularly problematic for home-based businesses.

Zoning exists, among other reasons, to preserve the quality of life in a neighborhood, protect property values and avoid conflicts — so zoning boards can be reluctant to allow home-based businesses in certain residential zones.

How to overcome the objections of the zoning board

If you’re seeking a variance that will allow you to operate your business in an area that is zoned only for residential use, it pays to have a strategy in place. Some of the approaches you can take to obtain your variance include:

  • Demonstrating that other property owners have been allowed to operate “under the radar” without problem for some time. Insist that they either obtain similar variances or allow you the same latitude.
  • Showing that a denied variance would impose an undue hardship on the property owner in some way that could easily be avoided
  • Demonstrating that the variance is needed for the owner to continue operating an established business that was there before the zoning became restrictive
  • Showing that the zoning variance you want will not damage the neighborhood nor create unusual amounts of traffic, noise or pollution

In short, to gain a variance that will allow you to operate your home-based business above-board, you need to demonstrate both that there are good reasons to allow the variance and no good reason to deny it.

When you’re asking for a variance, get help

Zoning issues can be incredibly complicated, and achieving your goals takes skill and finesse. Don’t be afraid to reach out for legal assistance.