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Do neighbors get a say in zoning changes?

There are cases where a business may seek to have a zone changed, or they may apply for a variance so that they do not have to adhere to the zone. In some cases, this will happen when a new business is coming into the location, and they want to use the land in a way that was not previously approved. In other cases, a business is already established when it is discovered that it is zoned improperly, and they have to seek a variance in order to keep operating.

If you live in this area, or if you are a business owner who is trying to get a zone changed, you may wonder who exactly has a say in whether or not this happens. It could have a drastic impact on the neighborhood. For instance, a variance that changes a residential property into a commercial property could cause increased traffic levels and altered property values. Do neighbors who already live there get a say in these decisions?

City council meetings

The good news is that zoning changes usually take time, and people in the area are informed. They may get a letter in the mail, they may see orange zoning signs, or they may even be invited to a neighborhood meeting.

Additionally, the City Council and Zoning Commission will need to hear the arguments from both sides. For this reason, neighbors who may be opposed to the change may go to the meeting to speak out against it. Those who would favor the change can also make their opinions known. The council will take this all into account when deciding if it should grant the variance, alter the zone or simply leave things the way that they already are.

Business owners who are involved in this process absolutely need to know about all of their legal options, especially if the entire financial future of the business hinges on getting the zone changed.