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Business Basics

For a new or expanding business, zoning is often an important part of the process.

Here are tips:

  • Don't assume a commercial building can support ANY commercial use - zoning is specific;
  • Don't sign any lease or purchase agreement before working through the process of confirming with a local land use expert that the location supports your business;
  • Be proactive in finding locations that might not be obvious based on what's there. You can contact us to discuss a search for matches of zoning to a specific business.
  • Sometimes a use is grandfathered which means the business use may have been ok at one time but the current zoning code no longer supports it.

Terms used for zoned businesses plus explanations

"By right" - Does the city identify the business you want to start as "by right" or "permitted"? If not, it may mean more time and money to get approvals.

Parking requirements - Cities require a certain number of parking places based on the business type.

Traffic impact assessment - Cities may require  you identify how much traffic will be generated by your business. If that is the case, a traffic impact assessment or study may need to be done - you pay.

Outdoor uses  - Cities may allow for outdoor storage or sale of goods but don't assume. The zoning can be very specific and require screening, display requirements etc.

Hours of operation - Cities may only allow a business to operate during certain hours as part of the local zoning.