One thing that can have very big impacts on commercial property owners in a community is what sorts of special use permits and zoning variances the governing authority in the community allows property owners to pursue. Receiving a special use permit or a zoning variance can allow a property owner to use their property in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be able to under the applicable zoning laws.
Communities can vary considerably in what sorts of special use permits and zoning variances are available to property owners. Also, communities sometimes make changes to their zoning variance and special permit rules. Recently, a community in Kalamazoo County added a new type of special use permit to its list of available special use permits.
The community in question is Kalamazoo Township. The new special use permit type that the township recently approved allows a particular type of mixed commercial/residential use of a structure.
Under the township's zoning laws, a business owner is generally not allowed to have their business and their living space in the same building. Under the new special use permit, business owners who are granted the permit would be able to have such a mixed use in the building their business is located in, as long as certain requirements are met. These requirements include that there be separate entrances to the living space and the business space and that the business and living spaces are not located on the same floor.
One wonders if there will be many business owners in the township that do end up pursuing this new type of special use permit.
Just as communities can vary in what kinds of zoning variances and special use permits they make available to property owners, they can also vary in what the process is to apply for a permit or variance and what it takes for a party to be granted a permit or variance. Experienced commercial real estate attorneys can help commercial property owners who want to use their property in way that deviates from the general zoning rules that apply to their property look into what zoning variances and special use permits they might be able to request and guide them through the variance or permit application process specific to the community they are in.
Source: WIN 98.5, "Kalamazoo Township says you can live where you work, with a permit," John McNeill, July 28, 2015