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Zoning ~ The Nightmare You Don't Think of!

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

You've got a great, new business you want to get off the ground.

You've found the absolute perfect place to do it.

You've spoken to the landlord and everyone involved in the property and you have been assured that it's "all good".

You sign the lease, set up your store/spa/dog grooming studio/whatever and things are amazing...

Then bylaw shows up and tells you that the property you're on is not zoned for your type of business. Maybe you're operating a hair-dressing service in an area zoned for "light industrial" businesses.

Guess what?

You're SOL (call me and I'll tell you what that means if you don't know ;) Ya, so you're going to have to close down until one of a few things happen...

  1. you get the zoning changed. This will mean petitioning the local council to change the zoning. You better have a great reason why your service should be where it is and not in a properly zoned space.

  2. in many cases you can apply for a temporary use permit that, temporarily (like 3 years maybe) gives you an exemption to the zoning of that premises.

  3. you have to move. The municipality you're in is rigid and won't allow either 1 or 2 and you don't know how to make beer so you're out. You will have to either sub-lease the space or get the landlord to let you out of your lease. Both options require a really nice, understanding landlord....;)

All of the above are going to cost you money. Lots of money. Some of it in the form of your time, some in the form of cold, hard cash. Either way, it's money you may not have or don't want to dedicate to getting zero return on.

So how do you avoid this? You know what I'm going to say!

Work with a Realtor® who knows how to:

  1. write up a lease with the proper subject clauses to protect you

  2. understands municipal bylaws and zoning/usage rules

  3. has experience with land use planning, the why's and how's.

  4. wants to see you succeed and NOT blow all your start up costs on mistakes!!!

If you're even thinking about starting a business that requires brick and mortar space, call me. I can really help you here because I've been through the entire process in a number of Lower Mainland munis, including Squamish.

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