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How to deal with zoning issues

Commercial zoning laws exist to regulate the sizes of buildings, their proximity to one another and what type of business can be conducted in what area. As a business owner, it can be scary to navigate these zoning laws. You may even find that you're in violation without being aware. If that happens, is all hope lost? Not necessarily. There are still a number of options available to you.

If you find yourself in a zoning battle or you want to open a business, here are some steps you can take to help your case:

Get as much support as you can from other businesses nearby or businesses with which you have a relationship. For example, let's say a particular area isn't zoned for a convenience store, but the community and the businesses in the area agree that it will create jobs and bring more customers. Get vocal and written support from them, as well as the chamber of commerce, trade associations and any business development offices.

Zoning boards often hold public hearings, and these are great opportunities to have your case heard. You can request an audience and argue why you aren't violating the zoning laws or why they should make an exception in your case.

You may also be able to appeal in court. If the court rules in your favor, they can force the board to give you a permit. With all of these steps, having an experienced attorney to advocate for you can be an invaluable help for your cause.

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