How difficult is it to re-zone a property?

Asked by Brandon Sitcler, Roseville, CA Mon Oct 15, 2007

I own a single family home in a downtown Lincoln location that would be much better suited for Business/Professional. Any tips?

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Jennifer Kre…, Home Seller, 95124
Mon Oct 22, 2007
The first step is to visit your local Planning Department. Rezoning a property can be a tricky thing to do, and you should evaluate if the time and money put into this will be worth it for the property overall.
With that said, here's what you should bring to talk to the counter person at Planning:
The address of the property, the assessor parcel number or map. They will give you the current zoning information including allowed uses and those that require a conditional use permit. If none of these uses are inadequate for what you plan to do, then you should ask to rezone the property.
To rezone a property usually requires you to put together a proposal stating why you want to do this, and a site plan of the property showing the proposed new building. You do not have to have a complete design at this stage, but you should still consider hiring an architect to take you through the process. You will have to fill out an application, pay a fee, notify neighbors (usually up to 300 feet from the property) and you will likely be required to participate in a public hearing. This process can take several months.
To find a local architect, contact your local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
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2 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Mon Oct 15, 2007
You could apply for a re-zone, or leave the res zoning in place, but get a variance for your specific use.

If you are keeping the house and have a specific business tenant in mind the variance might be the way to go.

That way you have the best of both worlds - if the advantage of business use evaporated in the future and res use was preferable financially, you would not have to go through a full re-zone again. Another thought is to get the variance for a mixed use or live / work space.

The full re-zone might be have higher expenses and requirements than a variance.

I'd like to see the property pitch in an email when you write it.
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Tue Oct 23, 2007
I agree w/ Jim that a use variance may be an easier or more likely route to achieving your objective. If your use has very limited visitors or neighborhood disruption, it would allow approval for you without a permanent change and the usage the next person might entertain.
1 vote
Erin Stumpf…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Mon Oct 22, 2007
In Lincoln there is likely a local community planning council that will review your application to re-zone and allow public comments. You should start by attending one of those meetings...
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1 vote
Ute Ferdig, Agent, Newcastle, CA
Mon Oct 22, 2007
Hi Brandon. I think you need to check with Placer County. My first house in San Jose (Santa Clara County) was surrounded by businesses just across the street and when I bought it my agent checked with the county if I could run a law office out of it. The answer was an unequivocal "no" and the answer was still the same some 7 years later when I sold the house. This is not to say that rezoning is not possible, but the mere fact that the property would be more suitable for a use other than single family residence is not necessarily compelling. I think it really depends what the overall general plan is for that particular area. You might be able to get a special use permit. Good luck.
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