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What to know about variances

| Jun 5, 2020 | Real Estate

Communities in Minnesota and throughout the country typically have rules about where a home or building can be located. This is generally done in an effort to maximize residential and commercial property values. An individual who wants to use a property for a purpose that violates an existing zoning restriction will need to get a zoning variance or permit. Let’s say a person wants to start a business from his or her home.

In most cases, that person would need to seek permission from the local planning board to do so. In addition, the prospective business owner would need to seek permission to take such a step from his or her neighbors. Variances or permits may also be required before a residential or commercial building can be constructed on a vacant piece of land. The same may be true for those who are altering an existing building in a way that might change how it is classified.

In some cases, older structures are allowed to remain as they are if they were built prior to changes to zoning rules. However, these structures may lose the protections that they currently enjoy if they are significantly upgraded or renovated. Generally, variances are only approved if it can be shown that violating zoning rules won’t reduce property values or interfere with another person’s property rights.

Individuals who are interested in buying residential or commercial real estate may want to ask about potential zoning issues before a sale closes. This may make it easier to avoid purchasing a home or office building that may need to be renovated before it can be used. Buyers may also be able to avoid acquiring property that they may not be able to use until they receive a variance or permit from local leaders.