Most people think the process of getting a commercial property rezoned as a residential property requires an attorney. While it does take time and diligence, if you engage the help of the proper local authorities, the average person can get through the bureaucratic red tape on their own. You just need to do your homework and make sure the change benefits the general public as well yourself.
Meet with your local Planning and Zoning Department to discuss your plans and get a list of the requirements for the process. Local zoning could be governed by the city or county depending on the property's location.
Meet with the property owners in the area either one-on-one or in a neighborhood meeting to identify any concerns they may have with the change to residential zoning. You don't want to get a lot of time and money invested only to have the request denied because of a neighborhood protest.
Petition the Zoning Commission for the change. Be sure you have all necessary documentation including the legal description, proof of ownership and plat map of the property. You should also be prepared to pay a fee which varies from one municipality to another.
Attend the public hearing that will be scheduled by the Zoning Commission. This is a forum for neighbors to comment on how the change will affect them. Too many negative comments could cause the Commission to decline your request.
Note any concerns raised at the public hearing and be prepared to offer solutions or a compromise. Then wait for Planning and Zoning to make their decision.
Attend the next City Council or County Commissioners regularly-scheduled meeting which is when the ordinance will be adopted to rezone the property. Once they vote on the ordinance, it generally takes effect in 30 days.
- Meeting with neighboring property owners before taking your request and plans to the city or county officials will go a long way with the decision-making body in ruling favorably on your zoning request.
- If you are entering into a contract to purchase the commercial property you want to rezone, make the approval of the rezoning a stipulation in your contract. That way if it's not approved, you're off the hook for the purchase.
- Check and double check your application or petition package before you turn it in. If it's sloppy and hard to read or missing any required documents, it could get turned down on the spot and delay the process.