Zoning Laws: How a Commercial Real Estate Attorney Can Help

san antonio commercial real estate attorney

Gaining approval for a significant construction development takes planning and patience. One particularly challenging area in commercial real estate is understanding and abiding by local and state zoning regulations. Zoning laws provide statements of land use priorities for local communities and help guide where and how development takes place.

Because these codes can vary from community to community, it often takes the support and assistance of commercial real estate attorneys to navigate the varied approval processes properly. But what does a commercial real estate lawyer do, and how can they help move a project to completion?

What’s the Purpose of Zoning Laws?

Zoning ordinances establish the rules for how the land can be used within a particular geographic area. Municipalities divide their territories into sections and set out what types of buildings and other activities can take place on the property. Certain sections can receive designations for residential use, industrial use, commercial use, or other purposes. 

Zoning laws also regulate the building projects in an area and how the businesses there operate. For instance, laws may specify how tall a building can be or require a certain number of parking spaces per square foot. The idea behind zoning laws is to allow different types of land use to coexist in a way that minimizes conflicts.

How Are Zoning Laws Enforced?

The state legislature enacts laws that establish the types of allowable zones. It is generally up to the local municipality to decide how to apply those laws, set a process for enforcing them, and then make sure that the zoning laws are adequately enforced. Before construction can begin, most developments must go through a series of local approvals and zoning reviews by elected and appointed officials. Many towns and villages employ code enforcement officers who ensure owners follow the dictates of zoning laws. Project owners who violate zoning laws may face criminal or civil fines or more severe punishment.

Role of Commercial Real Estate Attorneys in Zoning

Valuable counsel from an experienced commercial real estate attorney can help speed projects to approval and put them on course for completion. Commercial real estate attorneys provide strategic and transactional counsel in zoning laws, offering knowledge and understanding of how they work as well as creative strategies for compliance. Commercial real estate attorneys can supply support by:

  • Evaluating buildings and conducting pre-purchase research on area zoning regulations.
  • Navigating the process for use variances.
  • Obtaining building permits.
  • Applying for zoning changes.
  • Helping with subdivision applications.
  • Going over rental requirements.
  • Helping with municipal approval processes.
  • Providing representation before planning, zoning, and local boards.

Trust Cokinos | Young to provide comprehensive legal and project management support for commercial real estate projects. Our firm, with offices across Texas, as well as California and New Jersey, offers a broad array of legal services delivered with a commitment to efficiency, value, and client service. We provide practical experience and pragmatic approaches to managing serious legal challenges. If you are looking for San Antonio commercial real estate attorneys, call us or contact us online for a consultation today.

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