When a New York resident decides to purchase property, they may soon discover that their plans for the property do not line up with the laws that govern the city or municipality where the property is located.
Many areas are divided into commercial and residential zoning areas. Commercial areas allow for several types of businesses, including hotels and restaurants, whereas residential areas allow for houses and apartment complexes. Zoning codes or ordinances will provide additional specifics as to how a property can be used.
If your property is located in a residential area, you generally will not be allowed to use your property for commercial purposes, and vice versa. A local governmental agency may conduct an inspection of a commercial property to determine whether any zoning laws have been violated. Property owners and others in the area can also file a complaint with a local agency if they believe a property is violating local zoning laws.
What should I do if I have received a zoning code violation?
If you have received a zoning code violation, it is important to take it seriously and address it as soon as possible. Penalties for zoning violations can be criminal or civil in nature and result in significant fines and even jail time. Zoning violations can also negatively impact the value of the property, prevent you from acquiring the permits you need for your business, and/or eventually require you to sell your property.
An attorney specializing in real estate disputes review your case and help you appeal the violation. For example, you may argue that the zoning ordinance in question does not apply to your property or that the code may be interpreted in a different way from how the zoning board interpreted it. You may also seek a variance, or exception, which, if approved, may legally allow for a nonconforming use of the property that violates the zoning code.