When zoning does not work in your favor

Every plot of land in the state of Georgia has to be zoned for a specific use. If one is interested in a piece of property that is not zoned for what he or she wants to do with it, it does not mean one's plan is dead in the water. When zoning does not work in one's favor, it is possible to seek a zoning change, but how?

There are three different types of requests that can be submitted for zoning changes when the permitted uses of a property do not meet one's needs. The three zoning procedures available are rezoning, variance or conditional use. Variance or conditional use requests are for those individuals who just want special permission to use the property or a portion of the property a certain way. A rezoning request would be necessary if one needs the whole property to be used for something far from that which is currently allowed.

There is a certain process that must be followed, regardless of which type of zoning application one files. It all starts with filing an application with the appropriate fee and signatures. One or more zoning hearings must be scheduled and attended. A plan for the land must be submitted to the zoning board. Finally, the board will make a ruling on the matter.

Zoning requests that do not receive approval may be appealed. Those who wish to appeal the zoning board's decision must do so in a specific time frame. In Georgia, one has 30 days from the date of denial to submit a formal request to appeal.

Zoning may not always work in one's favor, but that does not mean there is nothing that can be done about it. Legal counsel may be able to help Georgia business owners, residents and property owners tackle any zoning issues that they may encounter. Legal counsel can make sure the appropriate application for one's needs is filed, draft plans and proposals, present one's case to the zoning board and offer further help appealing any requests that do not receive approval.

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