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If you get a variance, does it change the zone?

As a business owner, you know how you want to use the new property that you just purchased. Unfortunately, after buying it, you have discovered that it is in the wrong zone. For instance, perhaps you wanted to start a commercial operation, but the area is zoned for residential property or industrial operations.

The solution to this may be to get a variance. This would allow you to run your business even though it doesn’t necessarily line up with the zoning that has been set up by the city. If you get that variance, are you changing the zone? Should you expect to see other businesses that are similar to yours coming into the area?

A variance allows you to break the regulations

No, a variance does not change the zone. The zone stays the same, but the variance tells you that your company can break those regulations in a specific way. You can run a commercial operation even though that would normally be prohibited. In this sense, it helps to think of the variance as an exception.

But it doesn’t change the zone, so there shouldn’t be an influx of similar businesses. Another business owner may cite your case as a precedent when trying to get their own variance. But the zone is still the same, so every single business owner would have to independently ask for their own variance and be approved.

The legal process

The last thing you want to do is start your company and then find out that the city is going to shut you down because you’re in violation of the local zoning laws. That’s why it’s so important to look into all the necessary legal steps in advance.