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  • Stuart Dobson

Understanding Zoning, Variances, Public Hearings & Uses-by-Right in CRE.


When it comes to commercial real estate, understanding zoning, variances, public hearings, and uses by right is crucial. These regulatory frameworks can impact the use and value of a property, and failure to understand them can lead to costly mistakes.


Zoning refers to the regulations that determine how a piece of land can be used. These regulations are put in place by local governments to ensure that land is used in a way that is consistent with the community's plans and goals. For example, a property may be zoned for residential use, which means it can only be used for housing. Or, it may be zoned for commercial use, which allows for businesses to be located on the property. It is important to understand the zoning classification of a property before purchasing or leasing it, as it will determine what types of businesses or activities are allowed on the property.


If a property is not zoned for the type of business you want to operate, you may need to seek a variance. A variance is a request for an exception to the zoning regulations. These requests are typically reviewed by the local zoning board, which has the authority to grant or deny the request. In order to grant a variance, the zoning board must determine that the request is reasonable and will not negatively impact the surrounding area. Obtaining a variance can be a lengthy and complex process, so it is important to understand the requirements and procedures before submitting a request.


Public hearings are held by the zoning board to allow the public to provide input on zoning matters, including variances. These hearings provide an opportunity for community members to express their opinions on proposed developments or changes to the zoning regulations. It is important to understand the process and to participate in public hearings if you are seeking a variance or if a proposed development may impact your property.


Uses-by-Right refer to the uses that are allowed in a particular zoning district without the need for a variance. These uses are typically specified in the zoning regulations and may include things like retail stores, office buildings, and restaurants. Understanding the uses by right for a property can help you determine if the property is suitable for your business.


In summary, understanding zoning, variances, public hearings, and uses by right is important when dealing with commercial real estate because it can impact the use and value of the property. By familiarizing yourself with these regulatory frameworks, you can make informed decisions about purchasing or leasing a commercial property and avoid potential pitfalls.


As commercial real estate brokers in Denver, we are asked quite often if a property can be used for a certain type of business. It's important for end-users to check with the city or county to ensure they're use is allowed. As brokers, we're not allowed to give that advice.


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