Understand your local zoning laws before you buy property

Finding the perfect home or space to buy in which to operate a business can be a time consuming and stressful process. New Jersey residents who are in the market for property may spend months researching what they want and need so that, when the right property becomes available, they are ready to make their move. During their planning, one important aspect of purchasing property that individuals should investigate is zoning.

Zoning is the process of dividing communities up into sites that have common uses. For example, a large single family home neighborhood may be zoned as residential use, and farms on the outskirts of cities may be zoned as agricultural. The purpose of zoning is simple: similarly operated properties should be grouped together to avoid disruptions and nuisances between other groups.

Imagine, for example, if a large manufacturer wanted to open its operations in the middle of a housing development. The large trucks it runs for deliveries may produce noise and traffic that the residents do not want to contend with, and its hours of business may be disruptive to individuals who wish to sleep in their nearby homes through the night. By keeping properties in their proper zones, many property disputes can be avoided.

It is important that prospective property buyers look into how the sites they are interested in are zoned to make sure they can use their properties as they intend. While exceptions can sometimes be pursued and secured, it is not always possible to change the zoning of a property for land use purposes.

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