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Zoning laws for commercial real estate

Before purchasing a piece of property in Maryland, it is very important to understand the property's zoning. Every jurisdiction will categorize real estate zones in different ways, but combinations of letters and numbers are usually used. For example, the code for a commercial property will typically start with the letter 'C" followed by a specific number to signify the property's subcategory.

Commercial property is a broad category of real estate that may include nearly all types of real estate other than single-family homes. Apartment complexes, office buildings, shopping centers, hotels and vacant land with the potential for business development may all be zoned as commercial real estate. Some zoning categories may restrict the type of business that can be developed in an area due to available parking or the interests of a community. For example, adult entertainment establishments are usually restricted to specific areas in a city away from schools and churches.

Industrial zoning is in its own category separate from commercial zoning, though certain kinds of warehouses may be developed in commercial zones. When a city decides what areas can be zoned for storage facilities, manufacturing plants and other industrial buildings, it will consider factors like land area and noise concerns.

Though the existing zoning laws that affect a piece of property are very important, real estate developers are sometimes granted permission by a city to deviate from the existing zoning laws. An attorney could help a client apply for zoning variances so that a property can be developed for commercial use.

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