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What Business Owners Need to Know About Zoning and Land Regulations

As a business owner, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is where you establish your business. This choice determines which local laws apply to your operations, how easily customers and clients can find you, and how much room you have for expansion. Before you begin looking for the ideal location, get familiar with Florida zoning, and land regulations to know what is and is not permitted.

What Zoning Regulations Try to Achieve and Prevent

Understanding the general goals of land and zoning regulations can make it a little easier to navigate complex laws and apparently arbitrary rules. Almost all zoning regulations strive either to prevent harm to residents and visitors or to achieve a specific goal. Ordinances that prevent harm may be put in place to minimize pollution, excess light in residential areas, unsafe situations, or economic harm. Ordinances that have a specific goal to achieve may aim to improve economic growth, improve quality of life, meet a neighborhood need, or maximize energy efficiency.

Types of Districts and Subcategories

There are several types of zoning districts. Each district allows certain types of buildings and uses. Options include:

  • Residential
  • Recreational
  • Agricultural
  • Commercial
  • Industrial

Note that these are general categories. Ordinances differ between Florida counties and even specific cities, so it’s crucial to dig deeper into the laws governing your specific municipality.

Businesses in an Industrial Zone

The nature and industry of your business determine which type of zone is appropriate. Many retail businesses and other businesses that welcome customers are in recreational or commercial zones. Some owners choose to set up shop in an industrial area. Industrial zones tend to have strict requirements regulating building height and how much land area is used by buildings. These zones may also require a certain amount of distance between the building and the property line to provide space for drainage, utilities, and other facilities.

Issues That May Come Up

If you opt to set up your business in an industrial zone, you may run into some setbacks. Having a clear plan and a business lawyer who understands the intricacies of local zoning laws can help you navigate these setbacks and find a suitable business location. If the type of business you want to create is not typically permitted in the zoning area you’re interested in, you may qualify for a non-conforming use exception or a zone change. You may need to argue your case in front of local authorities or governing boards.

Plan Ahead

As noted, zoning regulations vary between cities and counties. If you begin investing money before you’ve considered all possible roadblocks and issues, you could experience schedule setbacks or lost funds. Consult a business attorney who can analyze your plans, figure out what your property options are, and help you navigate the process.

When you’re ready to start your own business or take your business plans to the next level, you need strong legal counsel on your side. Trembly Law is here to help you with a wide range of business legal needs. Reach out to us at 305-431-5678 to discuss your plans in greater detail.


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