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Navigating complex zoning and land use regulations

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Local Florida governments use regulation tools to shape the character, atmosphere and appearance of their cities. As a commercial real estate owner or buyer, you know that your property is subject to those laws and land use regulations specific to your area. Understanding the future development plans of the city or county is critical for property development. We assist clients in the completion of the sale or acquisition of commercial property. 

The World Bank states that zoning and land use are two regulation tools local government use for ensuring general public safety and the efficient use of resources. 

Planning and zoning division 

This city department reviews and evaluates development proposals. It ensures that your plans are consistent with the city’s 20-year comprehensive plan. The division reviews and updates the plan accordingly every seven years. Ongoing duties of the Planning & Zoning Division include the following: 

  • Maintaining development plans and records 
  • Interpreting land use regulations for landowners and city staff 
  • Collecting demographic and economic data about the region 
  • Responding to requests for development petitions 
  • Preparing plans and reports for City Departments, the City Commission and other governmental agencies 

Zoning and land-use regulations 

Strict adherence to the regulations ensures consistent usage of the property. Building restriction, street setback requirements and utility placement rules are among the ordinances to which a property owner/developer must comply. Depending on the placement of the parcel, several layers of coding may indicate building sizes, density and use. If your plan deviates from the regulations, you can request a variance or challenge the ordinance. 

Environmental issues, special uses and regulatory agencies add to the complexity of a commercial property transaction. Understanding the regulations is critical when trying to understand the flexibility available to you when buying or developing a piece of land.