As a Florida property owner, the legal uses of your property under current zoning ordinances might interfere with your plans to use the property in another way. Local city and county governments have a lot of power under state laws to create zoning laws that define what uses are allowed. In Florida, the decision in the State Constitution and laws to let local areas have a lot of control over land-use decisions is called “home rule.”
If you want to change the way you can use your property, you need to get permission from your city (or, if your property is in an unincorporated area that isn’t part of a city, from the county authorities). There is more than one way to get legal permission to use your property in a different way.
Three Possibilities For Property Changes
Florida law offers a few options to consider when trying to get official approval of a new use or occupation of the property.
- Variance – A legal procedure often used to change dimensional requirements of the building on the property, such as allowing for different building heights or set-back regulations. A variance is one option to get some exceptions to specific local regulations. This is not a solution that results in changes to the basic nature of the zoning area where the property is at, though.
- Conditional Use Permit – Under local laws, a conditional use is a use of the property that has not been approved in that area but that can be approved on request, when the property owner satisfies some conditions that the board establishes for the situation. Whether it’s increased parking for a store expansion, contributing to the expenses of road improvements, new lighting in an area where a new office will draw more traffic, or some other type of conditions, these are actions that must be completed to allow for the use to be permitted.
- Rezone – While it may seem the most obvious method to get a new use officially accepted, a rezone is also the method most likely to be more complicated and time-consuming than the other two methods. A rezoning request involves an application and fees that you must submit, meetings that you must attend with area planners and government agencies, public notice you must provide to neighbors in the area affected by the change, and public hearings you must participate in before relevant planning and zoning boards. You must be open to the possibility of getting something different than you wanted if the board recommends changes to the terms or conditions of your rezone.
Respond To Comments
Throughout the process of rezoning your property, you will need to be prepared to explain the facts of your situation and the reasons for your requests. An experienced land-use lawyer is your best resource for efficiently and accurately getting the details you need to present your case to the planning board. You are required to provide notice of the changes that you intend to make on your property to those living in your area. Public hearings where you explain the proposed changes and why you want to make them are a critical part of the process so that neighbors with concerns or questions can discuss their thoughts with you and your lawyer early on.
Work With The Officials
After filing your application to start the process, you will meet with local planners to discuss your request. Since each city and county oversees their own land-use planning process, the details vary from place to place within the state. The government usually has about 120 days to schedule the first public hearing with the Local Planning Agency to review your plans and discuss their recommendations. Typically, within approximately 45 days after that meeting, you would present your proposal to the Board of Commissioners, who have the authority to hold a public hearing, take testimony from the community, and assess the project and how it fits with the area’s Comprehensive Plan.
Koberlein Law Offices – Florida Local Government Lawyers
In order to learn more about zoning ordinances and gain more details about the use of your property in Florida, it is recommended that you consult with a qualified local government attorney. They can help you know what the state law allows for concerning a variance, conditional use permit, or rezoning of your property and can give you valuable guidance on what direction to take to get the best results in your situation. At Koberlein Law Offices, our experienced local government lawyers have served the needs of many landowners and developers in Florida with advice and guidance on zoning laws. We are ready to help you. Consult with Koberlein Law Offices by calling us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or by contacting us online.