What zoning issues should you consider when buying property?

Zoning laws and restrictions in Massachusetts mean that there are only certain ways that a property owner can use a building or land. These restrictions are what keep a gas station from going up in the middle of a neighborhood and other similar complicated scenarios. Before you complete the purchase on a particular piece of property, you would be wise to know what zoning restrictions could impact how you can use your asset.

Cities and municipalities use zoning to divide the area into commercial, industrial and residential areas. Zoning restrictions not only affect what a developer can do with a piece of land, it can dictate the types of buildings that can be built, how existing buildings are used and even apply to parking lots. Whether you are buying property for residential, business or development purposes, you need to know your rights and options before you move forward.

How zoning will affect you

It is prudent to consider all of the ways that zoning can impact how you will use your property. In addition to the basic designation of the parcel of land or building as residential, industrial or commercial, there are other restrictions and conditions that could apply, including the following:

  • The types of buildings allowed on the property
  • The location of utility lines
  • Size and height of existing buildings or buildings to be built
  • Boundary lines and easements
  • The number of rooms in proposed buildings

Other zoning restrictions could apply if the land is in a historical district. Other issues such as parking, the number of dwelling units and even the use of neighboring buildings could also apply.

Land use restrictions are for guiding how currently undeveloped land will be used in the future. Developers or purchasers with the intent to build later on must be careful to fully understand any laws or restrictions that could impede intentions for use of the land.

Protecting your interests

When purchasing a piece of property, you would be wise to ensure the full protection of your interests, regardless of how you intend to use your property. This is possible by carefully reading all documentation and doing thorough research before signing on the dotted line.

A real estate purchase is a major financial and legal transaction. It could be beneficial to reach out for help from the very beginning of the process to be certain that you shield your interests from unnecessary complications and losses, both now and in the future.

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