Commercial real estate is a high-risk business, but the rewards can be very high, so long as things go well. One area where even a beautifully well-planned project can go wrong is with zoning. When zoning restrictions present a problem for new development proposals, the developers must go through a process of hearings, and possibly appeals. It can be time-consuming and frustrating, but with the help of a good attorney, developers can usually work out a solution.
In Miami-Dade County, the main authority overseeing zoning decisions is the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources. Under the department’s umbrella are the Board of County Commissioners and 10 community councils, which represent different areas of the county.
The community councils hold regular hearings about zoning issues and requests for land use variances, and then make recommendations to the County Commission. Developers often rely upon a skilled commercial real estate attorney to help them make the case at these hearings for why their proposed project deserves a land use variance at these meetings.
If the commission denies the request, the developer must go through the zoning appeals process. Appeals must be made by the aggrieved party or their Florida attorney. The process is not a trial, but it does have formal requirements, and it is important for developers and property owners to have counsel from professionals who understand the applicable federal, state and local laws.
For these and other reasons, it’s important for property owners and developers to seek out help from attorneys who have experience in the local commercial real estate market and business community.