When it comes to zoning laws, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it could really be a chicken. Just because a building has previously been used for a commercial or industrial use does not mean your commercial use is automatically approved. The previous use may have been non-conforming (prior to the zoning code now enforced) or byway of variance. So, before purchasing any new building for your business, you should ask one very important question, “Is it zoned for my use?”
Zoning Laws and your New Building
It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing your new building or renting, you should make your agreement contingent on obtaining a zoning permit. And then investigate.
- Zoning Designation: First and foremost, check the zoning designation for your new building. Use this code to see what is and is not permitted at the location.
- City Planning Commission: It is always a good idea to check with the City Planning Commission. They will know the latest in terms of zoning legislation.
- Zoning Board: If you are planning any changes to your new building, have the plans reviewed by the Zoning Board.
- Additional Approvals: Make sure you do not need additional approvals from agencies other than the City Planning Commission, such as the Art Commission, Historical Commission, Water Department, or the Streets Department.
- City Certification: Be sure to ask for a City Certification from the seller. This document will provide the zoning designation and the legal use of the building, as well as any violations of the City Code.
- Legal Counsel: When in doubt, an experienced zoning and land use attorney can help you sort through the legal jargon and zoning laws to determine the approved uses of your new building.
If you have any questions about Zoning Laws, please contact Offit Kurman real estate attorney and chair of the firm’s Chair of the Real Estate Land Use and Zoning Practice Group William E. Erskine at 301.575.0363 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Erskine has extensive experience representing developers and business owners in land use and zoning matters, including subdivision and land development, re-zonings and legislative appeals. Bill currently serves as President-elect of the Howard County Economic Development Authority (HCEDA) and is Legal Counsel and Ex-Officio of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce.
Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law: Business Law Practice Group
At Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law, the experienced and results-driven attorneys in our Business Law Practice Group bring their practical, real-world business knowledge and expertise to every matter they handle. We are there to assist you with the frequent and varied legal issues that arise in your day-to-day business activities.
As an experienced full-service business law firm, Offit Kurman Attorneys At Law addresses the full range of legal issues that businesses face during their life cycle, including: organizational formation, commercial contract matters, finance and capital structure, mergers and acquisitions, executive compensation, and planning for transition of ownership and control.
If you would like to learn more about Offit Kurman’s Business Law Practice Group to see what we can do for you, please fill out our contact form to access the knowledgeable legal guidance that our experienced business law team of attorneys has to offer. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.