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What small business owners need to know: zoning laws

On Behalf of | May 26, 2020 | Land Use & Zoning |

What small business owners need to know: zoning laws

Each year, thousands of Americans forge their own way by starting a small business. These small business owners take on both risk and responsibility when they open their doors.

Every business must meet required legal regulations. These regulations are in place to protect consumers and the general public. One aspect that many businesses must tend with are local zoning laws and ordinances.

Zoning law basics

Zoning laws exist to bring order to city development. They protect public health and safety and can regulate growth. Zoning is determined by local governments, like municipal and county legislatures. These agencies typically categorize areas of land as one of the following labels

  • Agricultural
  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Recreational

However, these zones are not necessarily set in stone. For example, a retailer or a coffee shop may be able to open in a residential area by filing for a variance—a special permit that allows a tenant to use the land in a way that the zoning area didn’t originally intend.

At the most basic level, business owners need to understand zoning laws so that they open their businesses in an appropriate location.

Additional considerations

Where you ultimately choose to open your business can have a substantial effect on its success. Beyond complying to zoning area regulations, there are also other considerations that zoning laws create for business owners.

For example, taxes can change based on the municipality that your business is in. Furthermore, there are additional regulations that zoning laws can dictate. These laws can regulate noise level, waste management and accessibility.

Before signing a lease or purchasing a building, business owners must do their due diligence to ensure that the location they choose makes sense for their business, and that they consider all the implications that comes with the location.