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Why are commercial and industrial zones kept apart?

When you’re planning to develop a piece of property into a worthwhile venture, an area’s zoning can play a critical role in your entrepreneurial success.

That’s what makes it so important to understand the difference between commercial and industrial zoning. They’re two very different things.

Ways commercial and industrial zones are different

Typically, commercial zones involve businesses that interact with the public, like office buildings, shopping plazas, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues. By comparison, industrial zones usually have manufacturing centers, warehouses, loading centers and similar structures that are closed off to the public.

Why are the two kept apart? Because there are usually some significant differences in:

  • The amount of foot traffic they bring: A commercial zone is usually conveniently located so that workers and consumers can get in and out of different buildings easily. An industrial zone may have tons of parking — but that’s generally just for the employees.
  • The size of the buildings: Even a fairly large office building or restaurant isn’t likely to occupy the same amount of space as a manufacturing center. Industrial zones typically occupy large plots of land that make expansion easier, while commercial zones tend to be in more congested areas.
  • Building restrictions: In commercial zones, landlords and tenants may have to adhere to codes that dictate what kinds of signs they can put up, the color of their buildings and more. In industrial zones, buildings may have more freedom of design — but they may also have to sit back further from the road and have extra space for drainage, trucks, utility lines and more.
  • Environmental restrictions: A nightclub in a commercial zone may be noisy on the weekends, but that’s nothing compared to the noise pollution produced by some manufacturing plants. Odors, chemical waste and other environmental concerns are also heavily regulated in commercial zones — and most cities want to keep the problems far away from occupied areas.

When you’re looking for property as an investment, the more you know about zoning, the easier it may be to make good decisions about how to invest your money. Avoiding a prolonged battle over zoning can make progress on your goals much faster.