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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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What is the procedure and necessary information you have to

Customer Question

What is the procedure and necessary information you have to provide to have a lot that is within a city limits - changed from residential to mutli use/or commercial/or multi family? The surrounding property is deemed multi use - but it seems the city is trying to turn more andmore into residential. Going to City Planning and Development - what would I n eed to plead for a rezoning - and what can I do to check into the likely hood it would pass - before buying the property?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

What is the procedure and necessary information you have to provide to have a lot that is within a city limits - changed from residential to mutli use/or commercial/or multi family?

Welcome and thank you for your question. You would be seeking a variance and each municipality has their own procedures. Can you tell me which city in Texas? Speaking to Planning and Development is the first step.

"Applying for a Change of Zoning

If the zoning on a parcel of land is inconsistent with the use the land owner desires, the owner may apply to the local jurisdiction for a change of zoning. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations. However, there is typically an application and a fee, followed by some type of hearing at which the owner presents the request and the reasons for the requested change. Surveys, drawings, photographs, and even models can be used to convey the proposed plan. Many owners hire engineers or lawyers to assist with the re-zoning process.

If the owner is unsuccessful in obtaining the change, there may be a possibility to appeal the action, either within the administrative structure of the governmental body or in a court of law.


A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements. If granted, it permits the owner to use the land in a manner not otherwise permitted by the zoning ordinance. It is not a change in the zoning law. Instead, it is a specific waiver of requirements of the zoning ordinance.

Typically, variances are granted when the property owner can demonstrate that existing zoning regulations present a practical difficulty in making use of the property. Each municipality has rules for variance requests. Usually, the land owner seeking the variance files a request or written application for a variance and pays a fee. Normally, the requests go first to a zoning board. The zoning board notifies nearby and adjacent property owners. The zoning examiner may then hold a hearing to determine if the variance should be granted. The applicant may then be required to appear before the governing body of the municipality (such as a city council) for the final determination.

Non-Conforming Uses

A nonconforming use is a permitted use of property which would otherwise be in violation of the current zoning ordinance. The use is permitted because the land owner was using the land or building for that use before the zoning ordinance became effective. Nonconforming uses are often referred to as being "grandfathered in" to a zoning code. In order to qualify for nonconforming use, the property almost always needs to have been continuously put to the non-conforming use. Thus, if the businesses closes and the use lapses for any time, the permission for the nonconforming use could vanish."

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