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Helping You Navigate Complex Legal Issues

Zoning and commercial real estate

Gregory A. Lang

Local governments in Minnesota have zoning laws in place to protect the safety and health of our communities, and also to help regulate growth. In this respect, zoning laws control the way property is used and they absolutely must be taken into consideration before a business agrees to purchase or lease a property. Because zoning laws control the way a specific piece of property may be used, businesses need to be sure that the property they are about to purchase can be used for their specific kind of business activities.

Generally, there are five types of zoning: residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and recreational. Residential zones are usually divided up into multi-family zoning and single-family zoning. Commercial zones are where commercial activity like offices and retail stores can happen. Industrial zoning is used in manufacturing business. Recreational zoning is for land reserved for recreational purposes. Sometimes a particular piece of land will be a single-use zone or a multiple use zone. For example, a residential zone might be only for single families or it could be for both single family and multi-family use.

Depending how a particular piece of property is categorized, different laws will apply. For example, some of the things controlled by zoning include noise levels, waste management, parking, the quality of the air, and how buildings must appear. Specific requirements that a business might find in a commercial zone could relate to parking spaces, the number of buildings allowed in the zone, how big signs can be, and how many competitive buildings can locate themselves inside the same space.

Because zoning can make or break the value of a specific property for a specific type of Minnesota business, local business people are encouraged to discuss their business and property with a trusted commercial real estate lawyer.

Source: FindLaw, "Commercial Zoning," accessed July 29, 2016

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