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Community support can aid zoning variance requests

7/21/2016 | Real Estate Blog

When a commercial real estate investor considers purchasing a building in Pennsylvania, the zoning of the property will be very important. If the property is not zoned for commercial use, an investor may not be able to develop the structure in the way that they would like to. A property’s zoning shouldn’t be an absolute deal-breaker, however, because it can often be changed.

A person or company that would like to use a property for something that it is not zoned for must request a zoning variance or a conditional use permit from the city’s zoning board. Before filing a zoning petition, the petitioner may want to gather support for their project from the local community.

Local business owners, trade associations and a city’s chamber of commerce may support a real estate developer’s request for a zoning variance if they believe that a proposed project will benefit the entire community. For example, a real estate developer who wants to build a supermarket in an area that does not have one nearby may explain that the project would have a positive impact on the local economy. A zoning board may be more likely to grant a zoning variance if a developer can present letters of support and oral statements of support from local business owners.

An attorney might be able to assist a commercial real estate investor and developer with the process of requesting zoning variances or conditional use permits. If a zoning board rejects a developer’s initial request, an attorney may help the developer appeal the decision in court.