Rezoning a Home

by Jon Nunan

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Property rezoning is typically done either for an investor to make a profit or for a homeowner to make his or her property more comfortable. Those who purchase a property with the hopes of rezoning for profit are often focused on changing the way that property can be used (for example, changing a residential property into a commercial property). Rezoning for profit can also be done by creating multiple lots from a single piece of land. Homeowners who are simply trying to improve their own property by building a cottage, guest house, or even an outbuilding or garage, will also find that rezoning property is sometimes a necessary part of the project. Obviously, the rezoning process is not a prerequisite for every backyard installation, but as it may be required by law, there are a few things every homeowner should know about rezoning.

Rezoning Property: When Is it Necessary?
If you are rezoning to improve your property and not to make a profit, the rezoning process is something you may wish to avoid all together. In many cases, smaller buildings like sheds will require no property rezoning whatsoever. In addition to the size of the intended additional structure, the location in which you live will play a huge part in whether or not you will have to deal with rezoning. Property in a rural area is less likely to require rezoning than property that lies within a city or town as projects that occur where no neighbors exist have less of an effect on other people.

Hiring a Permit Service for the Rezoning Process
If you're thinking of adding an outbuilding or guesthouse and the local building department concludes that your project will require rezoning, you have a couple options. You can go through the rezoning process yourself, you can hire a permit service to go through the rezoning process for you, or you can reduce the scope of your intended project in the hope that it will no longer require rezoning. Property owners who decide to deal with the rezoning process on their own are often unprepared to go through all the red tape this task entails. Before you go this route, do yourself a favor and at least talk to a permit service about their rates; even if you decide to do it yourself anyway, the permit service will be able to give you a better idea of what to expect.

Property Rezoning Etiquette
When changing the form or function of a plot of land, rezoning property is a necessity for a reason. If you are rezoning to enhance your property, your county building authorities need to make sure that the changes you plan to make will not hurt your neighborhood or the people in it. This is something you, however, should be considering from the start. Placing a business in a residential neighborhood can have an effect on many things like parking, traffic, and even safety in some cases; adding a guest house might not have as dramatic effect on the area as a whole, but it could have a profound effect on your neighbors' properties. Obstructing views from a favorite window or blocking light on a garden plot may not seem like a big deal to you, but could have your neighbor in an uproar!

Whatever your intentions, there is typically a polite and courteous way to achieve them. If you take the perspectives of your neighbors and neighborhood into account before you plan your project, there is a good chance that you'll end up with results that make you as happy as those around you!

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.