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How Zoning Laws Can Affect Your Commercial Real Estate Deal

Posted on: September 9, 2015

The Impact of Zoning Laws on Commercial Property Owners

Owners of commercial real estate in Florida likely know all too well that their properties are subject to the zoning and land use regulations of their specific locality. Zoning laws in particular are used by local governmental bodies as a means to closely control community development, both now and into the future. Working within these frameworks is vital to the success of anyone with significant dealings in the world of Florida commercial property, and therefore it is wise to have the assistance of a skilled south Florida real estate attorney whenever questions arise.

Common Restrictions Imposed by Zoning and Land Use Laws

Broadly speaking, zoning regulations distinguish industrial, residential and commercial districts within municipalities, with the aim of establishing relatively consistent usage within each category. In addition, governmental units may decide to codify strict building restrictions, utility placement rules and street setback requirements in order to keep a tight rein on how their community evolves over time.

It is common for a city or other municipal entity to develop an overarching master plan which is effectuated through a series of ordinances addressing questions of zoning, road construction, public space set-asides and building codes. Anyone wishing to purchase, develop or improve commercial property in such a jurisdiction will be responsible for achieving full compliance with these rules. A South Florida commercial real estate attorney can be instrumental in helping a property owner remain in step will changes to zoning laws and land use regulations, ensuring that their intended uses can move forward without delays, permit denials or expensive litigation.

Assistance in Securing Zoning Approvals and Variances

In Fort Lauderdale, the Planning & Zoning Board is made up of nine members who have been appointed to review and evaluate development proposals, making certain that they are consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan along with community health and safety standards. Members are also charged with rendering decisions regarding variance requests and ordinance challenges and therefore wield significant influence in a property owner’s ultimate ability to use an asset to its fullest potential.

Given the Board’s power to substantially impact the rights of a property owner to develop one or more parcels as he or she desires, those with issues or requests requiring specific approval are well-advised to solicit the advice and counsel of an experienced south Florida commercial real estate attorney. Doing so will help ensure that each proposal is presented with an eye toward satisfying all relevant legal obligations and achieving full compliance with local law.

Knowledgeable Commercial Real Estate Counsel

If you are a commercial property owner or simply someone with a vested interest in how zoning laws and land use restrictions may impact your financial or other interests, Mark Schecter can provide the guidance you seek. Contact Schecter Law to schedule your confidential consultation.