Oak Brook zoning and land use attorneysFew things in life are as satisfying as the purchase of an undeveloped plot of land. It is, essentially, a blank slate, an opportunity to build your vision. Land development requires more than just an idea, however. Investors must also navigate through a complex set of nuanced rules and regulations. Overseen and enforced by local, state, and even federal municipalities, the laws of greatest concern relate to how the land can be used. Learn more about zoning and entitlements in the commercial real estate industry (CRE) in the following sections.

Zoning and Entitlements - What Are These Laws and Why Do They Matter?

New CRE investors are often surprised to discover just how important zoning and entitlements are to their real estate projects. Able to bring a development project to a complete standstill, zoning and entitlement issues can hike up costs and threaten a project's completion. So what, exactly, are these laws, and how can you avoid them in your investment projects?

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Illinois zoning variance lawyersIn DuPage County, and virtually every other county in America, most land is zoned, or designated, to be used for specific things. For example, a plot of land could be zoned as single-family residential, in which case it could not be used to build an apartment complex or open a business. In most situations, large areas are made up of plots of property that are zoned in the same way. If you want to open a business in an area that is zoned as residential, you will have to get what is called a variance, or exception, to the zoning rules. In order to open the business, you would need a commercial real estate zoning variance.

Types of Variance

There are two types of variance available, and you need to apply for the correct one when seeking a commercial real estate zoning variance. The two options are:

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Illinois zoning law attorneysWhen you invest in commercial property, it is critical that you are able to use it as planned. Unfortunately, if due diligence is not performed, there could be zoning issues that hinder the completion of a project. Depending on the situation, developers may be permitted an exception, otherwise known as a zoning variance. Learn more about variances, when they apply, and how a skilled real estate attorney can help with pursuing one for your current development project.

What is a Zoning Variance? 

Local municipalities are responsible for the way their community develops. Zoning ordinances allow them to control and limit the presence of undesired structures and land uses. Most of the time, those ordnances are based on community desires (i.e. residents not wanting a factory near their homes), rather than government desires, but there are exceptions. Examples include ordinances that prioritize land and wildlife preservation.

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Illinois zoning and land use attorneysWhen it comes to zoning and land use laws, developers need to consider more than just the present situation. Unexpected or unplanned changes can occur - sometimes to the detriment of your project. Learn more about how changes in zoning and land use laws may impact your current or prospective land development project, and discover how our seasoned Naperville commercial real estate attorneys can help you mitigate against such issues.

When Zoning and Land Use Laws Change

Municipalities tend to have a long-term vision for the way they want their town or city developed. Typically based on a variety of factors, such as land or wildlife preservation; values, needs, and desires of the community; and earning or tourist potential, this vision is usually outlined far in advance. Of course, things change. Perhaps the population ages or the town experiences a significant and unexpected influx of young people or successful entrepreneurs. Maybe the area starts to flood or suffer from erosion, or an indigenous species become endangered. Regardless of the reason, the city must then attempt to accommodate the change. That may require alterations to their plan, or even to zoning and land use laws.

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Naperville zoning lawyersOne might like to think that they can do whatever they want with their property, but as one Illinois family is learning, that is not always the case. After purchasing a swing set for their children and placing it in the front yard, someone filed a complaint and they received notice that they were in violation of the local zoning laws. Now they are at risk of being forced to remove the swing set and they may even incur fees – all because of neighborhood aesthetics. What can you do if faced with a similar situation? The following explains.

Why Zoning Laws Exist

In the right context, zoning laws can preserve communities. As an example, zoning laws do not permit industrial development in certain residential areas; this protects the community from noise and air pollution and preserves its aesthetics. Unfortunately, some communities can go overboard with their zoning laws. They become overly restrictive, prohibiting anything and everything that makes each home unique.

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1755 Park Street, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: 630-778-3818
700 Commerce Drive, Suite 500
Oak Brook, IL 60523
Phone: 630-288-2555
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From our offices in Naperville and Oak Brook, Lindell & Tessitore P.C. represents clients throughout Illinois including the areas of Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Lisle, Winfield, Wheaton, St. Charles, Geneva, Oakbrook Terrace, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Burr Ridge, Batavia, Yorkville, Downers Grove, Warrenville, Woodridge, Lemont, Romeoville, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Mokena, New Lenox, Frankfort, Channahon, DuPage County, Will County, Lake County, Kendall County, Kane County, Cook County, and the greater Chicagoland area.