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To find out what uses are allowed within a certain zone, you need to study the permitted use chart within the zoning code. Once you get there, you need to know the difference between uses that are permitted by right versus those that may be conditionally permitted versus those that are prohibited. Permitted by right means that the use is permitted in that zone without any other formal review or permit. The opposite side of the spectrum are those that are prohibited, meaning they’re not allowed. And then there are the conditionally permitted uses that lie in the middle. These uses may be approved subject to specific conditions of approval. Or….they could be denied. This is the starting point of determining development potential for an end buyer. What zone is it in, and what are the allowable land uses.
IS YOUR PROPERTY IN AN OVERLAY ZONE?
You're likely familiar with what is called base zoning. But do you know what an overlay zone is? An overlay zone is a separate zone that is placed on top of, or "over" an existing base zone. The overlay zone identifies special provisions in addition to (or instead of) those in the underlying base zone.
For example, you can have a commercial base zone that doesn't allow for residential uses and then an overlay zone that sits on top of a portion of the base zone that does allow for residential uses. Other examples of overlay zones include mobile home overlays, job creation overlays, movie studio overlays, auto services overlays. Jurisdictions can create overlays for many types of uses.
So the next time you ask the planning office what the zoning of a property is, make sure you ask if it's in any kind of zoning overlay. If you don't you may be missing out on opportunity to broaden your buyer pool.
Our purpose is to inform and advise land investors through next level education and services so they can distinguish themselves in their market.