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In the zone: Make sure commercial space is zoned properly

Zoning laws in Texas are strict, and strictly enforced. They control how properties are utilized, including whether property is appropriate for commercial use.

If you own a business, or are thinking of starting one, you will likely be looking at commercial property to conduct or expand your business. Problems can arise, though, if you lease space that is not zoned for commercial purposes, or if you do not comply with commercial zoning laws. Below, we examine how these problems can impact your business.

If your property is not zoned for commercial use

U.S. cities have different types of zoning that ultimately determine whether property can be utilized for commercial purposes, historic preservation, residential occupancy, or other use. Zoning laws dictate taxes, allowances for domestic animals or cattle, parking, and restrictions on things like how far away from a school a business must be.

If your property is not zoned for commercial use, you could run into problems with things like parking, business hours, noise limits and even package deliveries. 

If you violate zoning laws

Although it may not seem like an important consideration, using property in violation of zoning laws can be a serious problem. In Texas, you could be required to pay hefty fines or even face imprisonment for zoning violations. City officials could also prohibit your use of the commercial space. This could significantly impact your business by costing you money or keeping you from conducting business.

Protect yourself from the beginning

In order to avoid the complications and penalties of leasing space not zoned for commercial use, review your lease agreement and the zoning laws in your city thoroughly. If you wish to challenge zoning restrictions, you can file a petition. Should these, or any other zoning situations arise, you should consult with a commercial real estate attorney.

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