How to Obtain a Zoning Permit


Are you planning on building in your local area? What about remodeling your home or business? If you are planning to do either of these things, make sure you know everything about zoning permits before you do.

What is a Zoning Permit?

Zoning permits are among the first documents required by your city in the process of constructing a building. It is what allocates certain land for certain purposes, preventing liquor stores from being built next to schools and hospitals next to industrial districts. Zoning permits are not just for the construction of buildings though, they are also sometimes required for renovations. For example, if you would like to create a workshop in your backyard for the business you run out of your home, you may need a zoning permit.  In this example, it would important to know that some areas do not allow out-of-home businesses in residential zones. Check with your local Zoning Counter for the city-specific rules.

When a building is in development, you must first apply for a zoning permit, then a building permit. Sometimes the zoning permits are apart of the process to get a building permit, and sometimes not.To apply for a zoning permit, email, mail, or visit your city Zoning Counter (the office that issues zoning permits). Check the city website for an address, or simply search “[Your City] Zoning Counter.”

What is a Zoning Variance?

While on your endeavour to obtain a Zoning Permit, you may hear the term “Zoning Variance.” A variance is an exception to the otherwise untouchable zoning laws, allowing for buildings or businesses to be built in areas that they normally wouldn’t be. A church in the middle of a residential neighborhood or a commercial mall next to an industrial district would be good examples of this. To obtain a Zoning Variance, contact a building contractor or submit an application through your Zoning Counter. It will then be reviewed by a board, and sometimes polled within your neighborhood (Zoning Boards may sometimes poll neighbors and others in the area to gauge their opinion on whether your proposition would interfere with their daily lives).

Whether you are renovating or building a business from the ground up, you should know the basic zoning laws in place. Disregard for such laws can have detrimental consequences on you, your business, and the community.

Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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