For many property owners, it is surprising to learn that the federal government has the ability to determine how one can use certain types of property. There are typically strict rules regarding what one can and cannot do with a building or pieces of land due to zoning designations. For example, a property owner cannot build a storefront in the middle of an area designated as residential. You will benefit from understanding the zoning for your property and how this could limit your use.
In certain situations, it may be possible to get a zoning variance. This is an exception to local zoning laws that would give the owner permission to do something specific with the property. If you believe that you could benefit from a zoning variance or that you may be qualified for one, it will be helpful to understand how to secure this specific permission from the government.
Steps to securing a zoning variance
It is important to note that, no matter how qualified you believe you are and the documentation you provide, there is no guarantee that you will secure a zoning variance from the government. However, if you plan to seek one, you may expect some or all of the following requirements:
- You will need to file the paperwork and likely pay a fee with the municipality or county zoning office.
- You will have to wait during the time period granted for community members to express concerns over the zoning variance.
- You may have to attend a meeting to address these concerns or speak with community members or leaders about the possible variance.
- You may have to pay for a traffic impact study, new survey of the land or an environmental impact study.
As you begin this process, it is helpful to remember that securing a variance is the exception and not the rule. It can be quite difficult to get a variance, but you have the right to seek permission to use your Georgia property in a specific way.
Dealing with zoning matters
Zoning law matters are complex, but you do not have to navigate them alone. You will benefit from having experienced guidance at every step as you seek your desired outcome. Before you move forward, you will find it helpful to seek an assessment of your specific situation and an explanation of the legal options available to you.