Downtown Toledo has many buildings that are either abandoned or mostly vacant. While the structure may be obsolete, the land still has significant value, especially if it can be repurposed for a use more in keeping with today’s real estate and commercial market. Unhappily, many of these buildings sit in zoning districts that do not permit such repurposing. What to do? Seek a rezoning, that’s what.
Preparation for rezoning application
The property owner (or any party who has an interest in the land) must decide how the parcel will be used. Preliminary planning may include a map of the parcel showing the intended use and features such as parking, landscaping, and any structures. This process usually includes conversations with various employees of the city regarding the proposed zoning change.
The rezoning process: First steps
All of Toledo and Lucas County are subject to zoning regulations that govern the types of uses that may be constructed on various parcels. In most instances, the zoning classification does not conflict severely with the existing land use. In downtown Toledo, however, an above average number of buildings do not conform to the applicable zoning classification. The best solution to this conundrum is to petition Toledo Planning Commission for an order changing the zoning classification to a use that will allow the intended development. The application will then be heard by the Planning Commission at one of its regular meetings. The rezoning applicant is notified of the hearing and may appear and present evidence and arguments that support the requested change.
The rezoning process: On to the Planning Committee
If the Planning Commission approves the requested zoning change, the application is then forwarded to the Toledo City Council Zoning and Planning Committee for further review. The Planning Committee may hold another hearing on the project. If the Committee approves the application, the rezoning is complete.
Many other city and state agencies have power to conduct a review of the rezoning or the underlying project. Such reviews may include a building code review, an environmental review, and a fire code review. When all the agencies with jurisdiction over the project have given their approvals, the project may begin.
Before submitting the project to the city for either informal or formal review, the developer may wish to retain an experienced real estate and land use attorney for assistance dealing with the agencies that must approve the project.