The Specialized Topic of Variances in the Zoning Universe

Entrepreneurs and established business owners are always on the lookout for attractive business opportunities across the Atlanta metro area. Understandably, they sometimes envision a property use in a given location that is not tightly aligned with the types of businesses being run in the surrounding area.

That could be a problem. Alternatively, and with help from established land use attorneys, a so-called zoning “variance” might be obtained from municipal authorities that enables the creation of a non-conforming business.

That will rest upon the details.

Traditional zoning laws in urban locales are typically comprehensive and complex schemes that seek to group similar properties together in a manner that best promotes community cohesion and development. That often results in a blueprint that segregates residential, business and industrial sectors.

Sometimes a would-be developer has a bona-fide business idea that arguably promotes the public good despite not being in lock step with the precise zoning requirements of a select area. That can in some instances defeat a plan, but not always. Zoning boards have processes in place for considering business variances that a property owner/manager can invoke to gain approval for a requested change.

Those processes can be — in fact, typically are – anything but casual affairs. A variance request customarily requires a written application, payment of fees, a public hearing, a requirement for a petitioner to present evidence and additional exactions.

Proven real estate attorneys with a demonstrated record of advocacy on behalf of claimants in land use matters can help a client secure a variance that allows for deviation from existing zoning mandates.

Dealing with government regulators can be a material challenge. Being successful in that endeavor, though, can open up a world of business possibilities. Seasoned attorneys from an experienced real estate law can provide further information.

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