Understanding Your Business
is Our Business

Understanding how zoning changes affect real estate

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2022 | Real Estate

Entrepreneurs looking to buy real estate in Illinois for their next venture sometimes must apply for zoning changes to realize their dreams. Even if the current zoning is applicable, you may need a variance for your intended use. Here’s how to proceed when facing your municipality’s zoning board.

Applying for rezoning

The goal of zoning designations is to organize land into areas for maximum livability and usage. Common zoning designations include residential, commercial, and industrial, but your area may also have others as needed. If the land you have in mind has always been vacant or hasn’t had any buildings on it for many years, local officials may be more open to changing zoning, especially if the area’s intended use has changed slowly over time.

Typically, land owners must apply for rezoning the land and submit plans, surveys, photographs, and models detailing the intended usage. Sometimes, owners may need to apply for a zoning variance. This designation differs from rezoning as you may have a use in mind which is compatible with the current zoning but may not be among the list of acceptable uses under the current zoning code. Applying for a variance is similar to a rezoning hearing. Requests for non-conforming usage often occur when a governmental body decides to change the area’s overall zoning. Usually, zoning boards will approve a non-conforming request if the property owner can demonstrate that the current operation will not adversely affect the area.

What other zoning changes are possible?

Sometimes, real estate owners may petition for a conditional use for their property, similar to a zoning variance. Determining which type is best for your need depends on current land use.

While zoning changes and variations are often granted, property owners may have more difficulty if a governmental body makes its own change and effectively renders the parcel worthless. This could constitute a “taking” under eminent domain law. Property owners should try to get fair value for their land and buildings when this situation occurs. Thoroughly assessing your options will ultimately benefit you.