Buying raw land and improving it with commercial property is a complex real estate investment strategy. However, it is often a sensible option for investors who are able to pin down all of the variables. This article looks at one of the reasons due diligence is so important: the zoning modification process. 

Changing zoning is not always a sure thing. Investors who want new rules have to provide technical plans, sway the opinions of the zoning board and sometimes even garner community support. 

Zoning explained

Aside from some general rules from the Arizona and Federal governments, cities and other municipal authorities divide land based on use. As explained on FindLaw, many of these zoning laws do more than govern current buildings. They also typically serve other functions, such as long-term subdivision planning, environmental conservation and regulation of traffic flow. 

In short, these laws come from an overarching plan for the city. People who buy property tend to know this and make decisions accordingly. For example, someone might buy a ranch because it is close to other ranch land, while someone else might buy an industrial lot because it has a clear path to a highway. 

Changing zoning in Peoria

The City Council in Peoria has approval power over changes. However, it is a long road to get to that approval. 

The City Code lists many of the procedures associated with getting a change to zoning. For example, owners who want to rezone property have to go through an extensive notification process: 

  • When applying 
  • When having a hearing 
  • In the newspaper 
  • At the site 
  • Before a community meeting 

This notification involves sending out a postcard mailer, except in the case of the newspaper ad and the site posting. The radius of the mailing depends on the size of the property. 

Notifications are simply one part of a complex process. Having to deal with rezoning — even with less complicated procedures — is never a good surprise. However, there are often ways to prepare. Performing due diligence before signing a deal could let investors know what — if any — zoning concerns they might have.