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So You Want To Rezone A Property

For many reasons a property may not be zoned properly for the use an individual or entity needs for their business. Can it potentially be rezoned and what do I need to do?


The steps for rezoning vary by location but there are a few common steps to follow to rezone property. Note: Be patient; don’t expect it to happen overnight.


The typical zoning categories are: Single family residential, Multi-family residential, Mixed use and Commercial. There are several subcategories within each of these categories.


Here are some common steps for rezoning:


Research Zoning and Other Municipal Rules


  1. Determine the current zoning for the property and the neighborhood by contacting the municipal planning and building department. For unincorporated areas contact the County building and zoning.
  2. Working with them, determine if your plans fit within the zoning category of the neighborhood by reviewing zoning rules and ordinances that apply to the property in question.


Applying for Rezoning


  1. Involve the planning and zoning authority upfront to get their input on your desired zoning change. How do they feel about its potential to be successful? You will need their approval so involve them early in the process.
  2. Based on the outcome of number 1, complete an Application to Petition for Rezoning. They can help in determining the proper category for your project. Bring a map and the parcel number of the property.
  3. Determine the timeline for the public notices, hearings and board approvals. There is a charge for the application and public notice publication, which is required in most areas. Get a feel for the potential for success before you spend the money.
  4. Prepare for the various boards review of your application. They will ask you questions about the project.
  5. The zoning board will review the application and all the information that staff has acquired about the property and how it aligns with existing land uses, ordinances and long range plans. If the property is located in the unincorporated area of the county but is within a certain distance of a municipality that municipality will also have a vote on the application.
  6. The review board will hold a hearing, which is open to the public; the public will have an opportunity to comment.   
  7. If the zoning board feels that your request aligns with all existing criteria, they will vote to recommend to the City Council or County Board that your rezoning request be granted.
  8. The City Council or County Board votes on the final action at their regularly scheduled meeting.



Bottom Line


Giving the various governing bodies time to do their job is of the utmost importance in your project timeline. It could take months and would generally be defined in a due diligence period of a real property purchase agreement.


Working with a competent Commercial Real Estate Broker to help guide you through the due diligence period and the rezoning process of a property will make the entire process a lot smoother.