This blog post is meant to inform and educate on the process of changing the zoning of a property. While we are knowledgeable on this topic, our focus is offering inspection services to our clients, specifically.

As neighborhoods, cities, and towns change over time, landowners and investors may decide they want to repurpose their land. Landowners may decide that what was once a 100-acre farm can be converted into housing projects, shopping districts, or other commercial uses.

However, getting the necessary approval from your zoning committee can be a long and expensive process. Read on to learn how properties get rezoned, why it’s difficult, and how you can start the rezoning process today.

What Are Zoning Laws?

Zoning laws are a set of laws that restrict land use by regulating what landowners can do with their property. The zoning committee decides which activities are permitted on the subject property and their purpose—residential, commercial, or industrial.

Zoning doesn’t just regulate land use; it’s also used to regulate things like building height, yard setbacks, and property density.

Zoning disputes can arise when one party objects to a petition for rezoning. These disputes are taken to court and usually end in a court injunction and settlement from a judge.

Why Would You Want to Rezone a Property?

The most common reason landowners want to rezone their property is that they see an opportunity to make better use of their land. However, they must either comply with zoning ordinances or petition to get them changed to get approval to rezone their land.

Rezoning can be difficult if you’re not prepared for what to expect when approaching the local zoning board. It’s also a process that doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your proposal approved, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of moving forward with your rezoning request.

modern apartment building

Factors to Consider Before Rezoning a Property

Landowners considering rezoning their property should weigh several factors before writing their petitions. Below are some of the most important factors landowners should consider when making a request to the zoning committee:


The first thing landowners should consider is the cost of applying for rezoning. You’ll need to fill out a lengthy application and pay a fee for filing the petition. The application fee varies by city and tends to be higher for more affluent areas.

For example, some cities charge $0.50 per square foot, which means a 10,000-square-foot property would be $500 for the application alone. Landowners should weigh the costs to rezone and understand that the desired results of rezoning are not guaranteed.

Impact on the Surrounding Area

The zoning committee will also want to look at your proposal’s impact on the surrounding community. You won’t be as likely to get your proposal approved if it introduces safety hazards, pollution, or other adverse effects on the surrounding area.

Conditional Use Permits

Conditional use permits are used by people who want to change the use of their land but don’t have approval from the zoning board. Conditional use permits also allow landowners to rezone their property in non-conforming ways when it’s not feasible to rezone.

This can be a great option for many landowners. However, the process can take a long time to approve, depending on your city and state. To get a conditional use permit, you’ll want to call your municipal zoning authority or work with an attorney to draft a conditional use permit request. They’ll explain the process and the time frame you’re facing to reach a decision on your request.

tiny house under construction sitting on top of blueprints

How to Make a Rezoning Request

Before you submit a formal request for rezoning, you should have a good idea of the regulations of current zoning laws. Most landowners survey the area and conduct plenty of due diligence before they make the request with the local planning board.

You’ll most likely meet with the zoning committee to give them a background of what you want to do with your property and any other plans you may have. After you pay the fee for the application, your request goes under review for the planning committee to make a recommendation to higher authorities.

Contact BIS When You’re Ready for an Inspection

There are a lot of details to keep in mind when going through the rezoning process and getting a zoning designation changed from residential to commercial. If you’ve made that transition, it’s time to contact a qualified commercial building inspector like BIS.

Not all inspectors are created equal, and when you’re about to rest your entire livelihood on a piece of real estate, it’s important to look before you leap. There are no lemon laws when it comes to real estate, and you will be 100% financially responsible for the property once it’s in your hands.

Reach out to us today and make sure your property inspection is done right!