Have Farms for Sale? Make Sure You’re in the Zone!

Farms for Sale

In Ohio, land development continues to flourish and your farms for sale may be a hot commodity for commercial real estate investors and brokers alike. Is your land perfect for the next shopping center, entertainment venue, or multi-family housing unit in your area? If you’re unsure of the investment potential of your farm land for sale, you may want to better understand the zoning restrictions in your area and the process of rezoning.

What is Zoning and What Does it Mean for Your Farms for Sale?

Property zoning dictates the use of your land for sale in Ohio, whether it can be used for residential, agricultural, commercial, or industrial space. So, if you’re planning to hit the market with your farms for sale, you may want to check in with your local municipality (city, township, county, etc.) to better understand the restrictions on your land use.

Did you know that Ohio is the birthplace of today’s current zoning codes? The landmark case of Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co. in 1926 by the United States Supreme Court helped establish the precedent of zoning ordinances nationwide. As such, your land for sale in Ohio needs to go through a process of rezoning before the land can be used for anything other than farming.

Before 1926, zoning boards did exist to restrict how property owners used their land; however, it was widely viewed as meddling into private property rights. Today, Euclidean zoning is predominantly used within most municipalities to determine how land should be used, whether for residential or commercial real estate in Ohio. Essentially, Euclidean zoning is characterized by specific land uses that are grouped together; for instance, housing in one area and warehouse space in another area.

Now that you have a little background on what zoning is, how do you get from “kickoff” to “end zone?”

Prepare for the Kickoff: Do Your Research

There’s good news about commercial real estate zoning restrictions for your farm land for sale… These restrictions are usually easily accessible if you know exactly who, where, and what to ask. First, visit the office of your local municipality. They can direct you on where to go for all the zoning information you need.

Are you in Columbus, Ohio, but not sure where to go to rezone farms for sale? Check out the Building and Zoning Services page of the City of Columbus website, which has the location you should visit to speak with a zoning representative, as well as the names of the individuals you might want to meet with while you’re there. Undoubtedly, much of the zoning laws you will want to review are available online; however, developing a relationship (preferably off-line) with zoning officials is suggested (particularly if you plan to go through the rezoning process).

Once you’ve met and spoken with someone in your municipality about your farm land for sale in Ohio, you’ll want to research zoning ordinances, as well as how to apply for a variance or change the zoning laws. You may require an attorney at some point in the zoning process, but try to do some of the initial legwork before adding the legal expense. Once you have gone as far as possible in the process, hire an attorney to take on some of the research and start to create an action plan for the rezoning process.

Lastly, see what’s happening around you. If your farm land for sale is surrounded by new shopping centers and housing developments, it’s likely that the process for rezoning your property will be more straightforward. In addition, every municipality has an outlook for land use in the future, so make sure your visions for your farms for sale are aligned with theirs.

Rushing Towards the End Zone: Applying for Rezoning

The process for rezoning your farms for sale will not be an easy one. The process, from start to finish, typically lasts 90 – 180 days. You’ll likely need legal assistance, as well as the help of a commercial real estate firm; however, depending upon the potential income or profit, the rezoning process may be worth your time, money, and effort.

Step 1: The Application

Every municipality requires different information when rezoning farms for sale; however, there are standard requirements for each application – most notably:

  • Current zoning classification for your farmland for sale
  • Proposed change in how you plan to use the farmland
  • Map and parcel number for your land for sale in Ohio
  • Application fee (which could range in the thousands of dollars)

Step 2: Public Notification

Some states and local governments require that property rezoning be listed in a local newspaper. Your proposed change in land use could have a major impact on your neighbors, so they need to know what you’re doing with your farms for sale.

Step 3: Application Review

Each application comes under the review of a zoning board, who will likely perform an inspection of your property, along with an assessment of neighboring residential and commercial real estate, evaluation of public services in the area, and review of any rules, ordinances, and long-term plans for the municipality.

Step 4: Public Hearing

If everything passes the review process for your land for sale in Ohio, the zoning board will vote on your rezoning application. Zoning board meetings are traditionally open to the public in order to give members of the community a forum to voice their opposition of, or support for, your request. Once everyone has received an opportunity to speak, the board will vote on your application.

Step 5: Legislative Action

At the zoning board meeting and public hearing, the board can either recommend or deny your request for the change in land use for your farm land for sale. If they choose to recommend your application, it usually goes to a city council for final approval. This process could take several months, depending upon how often they meet and any mandatory waiting periods that need to take place. The good news is that approval means you’ve made it to the end zone! Score!

Getting Your Farms for Sale into the End Zone

With almost 80 years spearheading hundreds of Columbus Ohio land development and commercial real estate projects, The Robert Weiler Company has a deep understanding of navigating zoning restrictions. If you’re ready to list your farms for sale and need an expert to assist you with the zoning process, contact us at 614-221-4286.