Land use issues can derail a commercial project

Like other cities across Oregon, the City of Portland has laws and regulations that govern how property owners are allowed to use their property. In theory, these laws help promote a clean, safe and efficient city.

However, if there is a drawback, it is that these land use and zoning laws can stymie a business project even before it gets off the ground. After all, owners of commercial real estate in the area must follow these laws. If they try instead to skirt around them, it is possible that they will face significant fines and other penalties, including court injunctions that will effectively shut down their businesses.

Questions about zoning laws and land use laws can prove to be quite complicated. This is especially true in a city like Portland, where officials use land use and zoning laws to try to accomplish many different public policy goals.

In some cases, a business owner may have to ask for an exemption from zoning laws and regulations. Likewise, an owner who wishes to make improvements to his or her existing buildings may have to deal with the rules governing what the law calls nonconforming use. This is especially true when the buildings are older and may have pre-dated the most recent zoning and land use regulations.

Needless to say, zoning and land use are important considerations whenever any Portland-area business owner or investor is considering a new real estate project or is thinking about making improvements or upgrades to an existing piece of commercial property. An experienced business and real estate attorney can help an entrepreneur better understand her situation and evaluate all of her options.

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