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A push to bring back corner stores in Maryland

There is a movement in Remington to add a new zoning classification called "neighborhood commercial". This designation would allow property owners to turn residential properties into small corner stores or coffee shops that in theory would help to revive the community. In the 1940s, many neighborhoods had corner stores where residents could get a soda, buy groceries or simply chat with their neighbors.

However, a surge in crime combined with larger convenience stores with parking lots made the corner store a thing of the past. In the 1970s, zoning laws were rewritten, which caused any abandoned corner store to immediately revert back to residential property. However, new zoning laws would allow buildings that had been used as shops or stores in the past to be used for such a purpose once again.

The effort to rewrite the zoning laws is being undertaken by a local University of Maryland Medical Center professional and his neighbor who are both affiliated with the Greater Remington Improvement Association. They say that they want to see a vibrant community where commercial shops can be mixed with residential housing units to create diversity within a single neighborhood as opposed to the boring zoning of the 1970s.

Zoning laws are in place to help define what a property is being used for and to ensure that it is not being used to run an illegal business enterprise. While businesses can be run out of residential properties, there may be limits as to what can be done without violating safety or health codes. However, a business may operate freely from a building that is designated as a commercial property. Those who have questions about how a property is designated and what can be done with it may wish to contact a real estate attorney to have their questions answered.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Movement to open more corner stores in Remington", Jacques Kelly, June 20, 2014

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