23 Apr Why Zoning Is Important To Consider When Starting Business
It’s not rocket science… If you’re going to start a stable business you’ll need it to operate lawfully. Depending on the type of business, you may have some extra admin work to do before you can get going.
Take, for example, the application for a trading licence. If you want to open a restaurant you have to first secure a business licence from the Licensing Department.
To do this, you will have to submit reports from the town planning, health and fire departments, all of which may need to inspect your intended premises for zoning, type of business activity, health and fire regulations.
And if you want to build or make alterations to the premises, you’ll need to submit a proposed businesses plan that includes how you intend to make alterations to existing premises.
But what if you want to open a simple consultancy, for example. You start out on your own, as so many entrepreneurs do, at home in your spare room. No inconvenient trading licences to worry about.
Suddenly business is booming and you have to think about expanding. But the idea of paying rent seems like such a waste… It then occurs to you that you could convert the entire house into your business premises (it’s an asset after all) and move into a lock-up-and-go townhouse.
At face-value, it all seems to make perfect business sense. Except for one thing. Your house is in an area that is not zoned for business purposes.
The Rezoning Battle
To apply for rezoning in an area that is not zoned for business, you have to secure a zoning scheme departure or special consent from the City Council. Getting this can take a while – in some cases up to three months. You may also need to advertise your business’s intention to conduct a particular business activity in the local newspapers.
A board then gives residents and other stakeholders an opportunity to respond before determining whether you will be granted departure. Being granted a departure usually paves the way for successful zoning approval but, once again, there are no guarantees.
The cost of mistakes and bad judgement calls in this area can be severe. That’s why it’s worth doing your homework and getting professional assistance when it comes to the legal side of setting up a business.
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