Have Farm Land for Sale? Make Sure You’re in the Zone! Monday, May 01, 2017
In Ohio, land development continues to flourish and your farm land 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 commercial farm land, our tips below will help you better understand local zoning restrictions and the process of rezoning.
What is Zoning and What Does it Mean for Your Farm Land for Sale?
Property zoning dictates the use of your land for sale, whether it can be used for residential, agricultural, commercial, or industrial space. So, if you’re planning to hit the market with your farmland, you may want to check in with your local municipality (city, township, county, etc.) to learn more about 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, any land for sale in Ohio needs to go through a process of rezoning before the land can be used for anything other than agricultural land 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. 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 offers a wealth of resources. You’ll find contact information, including names, departments, and emails of zoning representatives, as well as a street address. 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 ideal, particularly if you plan to go through the rezoning process.
After you speak with someone in your municipality about your farm land for sale, research zoning ordinances. While you’re at it, look into the application process for a variance or to 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 incurring the legal expense. Once you’ve gone as far as possible on your own, hire an attorney to take on some of the research; together, create an action plan for the rezoning process.
Lastly, see what’s happening around you. If your farm land 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; make sure your visions for your farm property for sale is aligned with theirs.
Rushing Towards the End Zone: Applying for Rezoning
The process for rezoning your available farm land will not be an easy one; from start to finish, it typically lasts 90 – 180 days. If you’ve gotten this far on your own, you’ll likely need legal assistance now, 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 farm land; however, there are standard requirements for each application – most notably:
- Current zoning classification for your farmland
- Proposed change in how you plan to use the farmland for sale
- Map and parcel number for your property
- Application fee (which could range in the thousands of dollars)
Step 2: Public Notification
Some states and local governments require that property rezoning is listed in a local newspaper. Your proposed change in land use could have a major impact on your neighbors; be sure to let them know what you’re planning for your farmland property.
Step 3: Application Review
Each application comes under the review of a zoning board, who will likely perform an inspection of your property. Additionally, the board may assess neighboring residential and commercial real estate, evaluate 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 farm land, 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 to, or support for, your request. Once everyone has received an opportunity to speak, the board will then 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 of your farm. If they choose to recommend your application, it usually goes to a city council for final approval. This process could take several months, depending on how often they meet and any mandatory waiting periods. The good news is that approval means you’ve made it to the end zone! Score!
Getting Your Farm Land into the End Zone
With about 80 years spearheading hundreds of 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 farm land for sale and need an expert to assist you with the zoning process, contact us at 614-221-4286.