Zoning laws in Georgia and throughout the country help to determine where and how a commercial property can be used. In some cases, a building owner may want to use the property in a manner that violates a local zoning ordinance. However, it may be possible to obtain approval from local planners that allows that person to get around that violation. For example, local leaders may approve a conditional use permit that allows a building to be used for a specific purpose assuming certain criteria are met.

A property owner may also be able to obtain a variance that exempts a commercial property from zoning rules. Those who apply for a variance must be able to show that an undue hardship exists and that obtaining an exception won’t cause issues for the general public. Individuals may maximize the chances of getting a permit or variance by getting the support of the business community or private citizens.

Business leaders may be willing to support initiatives that result in job creation or economic growth in general. Getting the support of those who live near a property may make it easier for local planners to justify granting an exception to zoning regulations. If a zoning board doesn’t approve a request for a variance or permit, it may be possible to appeal that decision to a judge.

Ideally, individuals will learn about potential zoning issues before they purchase properties. A real estate law professional may be able to help a buyer determine the likelihood of resolving a zoning issue in a timely and affordable manner. In some cases, sellers might be required to disclose how a building can be used. Sellers may also be required to disclose other problems a home or building has, including water or pest damage.