The basics you need to know about zoning variances

On Behalf of | Oct 2, 2023 | Real Estate Law |

There might come a time when you want to use your property for a purpose that’s disallowed under the current zoning scheme to which your property is subjected. When that happens, you need to know what you can do to obtain a variance or rezoning so that you can maximize your property’s use. The process of doing that can be confusing, though.

When your county or municipality decides on a variance or rezoning request, it’s going to take several matters into consideration. This includes its long-term goals and vision for the area’s land, whether there was a mistake in the initial zoning of the property, and whether there have been changes to the area that render the current zoning scheme improper.

But how do you prepare for your variance or rezoning request?

You don’t want to go into the zoning variance or rezoning process blind and unprepared. Doing so is bound to lead to a poor outcome rendering your property short of its full potential. So, before you make a formal request for a variance or rezoning, you should do each of the following:

  • Understand how land use in the area has changed over time: Although your county or municipality might’ve had a vision when it created its initial zoning scheme, things have changed a lot in the Boca Raton area over the decades. By demonstrating how land use has changed in your area, you might be more persuasive in your request.
  • Talk to neighbors: Your desired use of your land might have significant ramifications for your neighbors. It might lead to more traffic, and it could stray from the neighborhood’s aesthetics. You should talk those issues out with your neighbors before moving forward with your request. Hopefully you’ll be able to hash those matters out informally so that you can indicate their support in your variance or rezoning request.
  • Familiarize yourself with local zoning ordinances and rules: By getting a feel for these ordinances and local rules, you’ll have a better understanding of the process and what you need to demonstrate to be successful.
  • Gather supporting documentation: When you submit your application for a variance or rezoning, you’re probably going to have to submit supporting documentation. This might include survey results, traffic analyses, environmental evaluations, and traffic studies. So, make sure you’ve done your due diligence to secure what you need to support your application.
  • Submit your application: You’ll want to ensure that your application is thorough, persuasive, and complete. Also, make sure you submit it as preferred by your municipality or county.
  • Prepare for reviews and public hearings: The zoning commission is going to put your request under a microscope. They might ask for additional information or clarification, which you should submit in a timely fashion. When your request is set for a public hearing, be prepared to discuss the benefits of your proposed variance or rezoning in light of any concerns that might be raised during the hearing.

Are you ready for the next step in your zoning variance request?

The process of securing a variance or rezoning can be more complicated than it seems, and the burden of persuasion rests with you. Therefore, you’ll need to know how to present clear evidence that supports your position and speaks to the community’s concerns. That might be trickier to do than you think, though, which is why it’s a good idea to get another set of eyes on your preparation, your application, and any statements that you intend to make at a public hearing.