Zoning, by its very nature, involves separating different types of uses of land. Most communities separate the uses of land by grouping residential uses in residential districts; commercial uses in commercial districts and industrial uses in industrial districts. And within each zoning district, the community has uses that are “permitted” and uses that are “conditional uses.” If a use is permitted, then no further administrative action is needed to establish the zoning in your district.
For example, if you want to open a dental office in a commercial zoning district, and the local community zoning code allows dental offices as a permitted use as of right, you would not need to seek any other zoning approval. The use is a permitted use. Likewise, if you want to open a restaurant in a residential area and the is allowed as a “conditional use,” you would need to seek approval by the local planning board to open up the restaurant by demonstrating through a list of factors, set forth in the zoning code, demonstrating how your proposed use as a restaurant is a valuable asset to the community.
So what happens when your proposed use of land is neither a permitted use nor a conditional use?
There are three things a landowner can do. First, you can petition the City Council or Township Board for a zoning code text amendment. Second, you can request the Plan Commission to recommend to the City to change the Master Plan, also know as the Community Plan, of the zoning designation of the land you intend to use. Third, you can try to persuade the zoning officer to interpret the existing permitted uses to include your proposed use and if he or she does not agree with you, appeal the interpretation to the Zoning Board of Appeals or Adjustment.
The professionals at Dalton & Tomich PLC can assist you with this process as each City has its own unique process for change in a zoning district. Call or email us today to assist you with the zoning and land use process.
The attorneys of Dalton & Tomich, PLC have the experience and the knowledge to work with you to develop a legal solution that helps accomplish your goals. Our collaborative approach has helped leaders like you grow businesses and banks, develop and expand churches, and build nonprofit organizations nationwide.
In my role as Administrative Bishop for the Church of God, quite often we are faced with issues that involve local governments and municipalities. Many of these issues that arise in dealing with entities are land use related. I have found Dalton & Tomich’s experience and expertise in this area to be a valuable resource and asset in every situation.
Never one time during a year-long litigation process did Dalton & Tomich demonstrate anything other than Christ-like professionalism. They managed the legal details, while we continued to do church. How they managed themselves, managed our case, and represented our church set the table for me and our church to be where we are today.
Dalton & Tomich’s expertise and experience helped us through a very difficult legal journey, ultimately achieving a favorable outcome. Their personal interest in helping us went “above and beyond” just the call of duty.