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Thread: Mandatory zoning review before property sale.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Mandatory zoning review before property sale.

    In my community, prior to the sale of any commercial, office, industrial, or multi-family property, the seller or their agent is required to obtain a Zoning Certificate. This certificate is a verification of the legal zoning status of the property in all aspects of the zoning code. This way, the buyer is aware of the total legal status of the property and won't have any surprises later one when they try to change the property or expand it's use.(if they actually read the certificate).

    For this certificate, we charge $95 for review and require the submittal of an accurate, scaled site plan that shows the as-built condition of the property.

    Usually, this is a quick review that can be done within an hour from the submittal. This process has helped slightly to identify illegally used property, or property that is legal-non-conforming.

    Do any other communities do something like this or similarly?
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I wish we did this. I'm getting really tired of finding nice ways to tell some of these people "buyer beware--you're screwed--have a nice day".

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Our state enabling legislation would never allow this kind of control by a community over the sale of property.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    For this certificate, we charge $95 for review and require the submittal of an accurate, scaled site plan that shows the as-built condition of the property.
    Do you require an ALTA/ASCM survey? The cost of the as-built survey will be several times the cost of the certificate.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    That is a good idea.

    A 'good' realtor or 'educated' buyer would do this anyway, but we all know how that line ends...

    BTW: Florida is a 'buyer beware state' so protections to a buyer such as that do not really exist here.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  6. #6
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon
    Do you require an ALTA/ASCM survey? The cost of the as-built survey will be several times the cost of the certificate.
    altas are not required. The site plan can be something as simple as a petitioner drawn scaled site plan.

    No approvals are given with the review, no denials are given. It simple educates the purchaser on the legal status of the property.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    No I am completely opposed to it. It is the buyers job, not the seller, no different than using resources for a home inspection. Buyer Beware.

  8. #8

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    No transaction can be completed in Vermont without a zoning certificate. Having to provide them is a huge drain on our resources, and it makes no contribution to our real work. Right now we only charge $20. I am proposing an increase up to $30. I hope it doesn't generate too much furor.

  9. #9
    We do not require any kind of zoning certificate. We do, however, receive requests for zoning analysis from banks from time to time. I think we will be charging for this soon since it can take anywhere from 30min to about 4 hours depending on the site.
    I kind of agree with a couple of others that have commented on this....it would be a huge drain on our resources and it is the buyer's responsibility to look into property before they purchase. Some people spend more time researching which digital camera/tv/or computer they are going to buy than they do when searching for a property. (I think this is because finding a property is so much more emotional....if they think the building is "perfect" for them, they will not pay attention to whether it can even be used as they are planning).

  10. #10
    Member
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    Here's a question from a non-planner:

    Which is a more accurate/authoritative representation of our actual zoning? The Town Zoning map or the approved subdivision plat map?

    In my case, our subdivision plat map, submitted by the developer, certified by an Engineering Company, approved and signed by the Town Planning Board, filed in the County Clerks Office and referenced in our title documents states that our zoning is R-3 single family residential.

    Also, all the town building permits issued for homes, decks pools etc. indicate the zoning is R-3.

    However, now that a commercial develpment is going in next door, the town tells us our zoning is actually MHR (medium high residential - typically apartments and condos.)

    This is significant for us, because the setback between MHR and commercial is only 75 feet, but the setback between R-3 and commercial is 200 feet.

    So, sometimes even when a buyer tries to "beware" zoning can be confusing!

    Your comments/insight is appreciated!


    Quote Originally posted by Ass. Planner
    We do not require any kind of zoning certificate. We do, however, receive requests for zoning analysis from banks from time to time. I think we will be charging for this soon since it can take anywhere from 30min to about 4 hours depending on the site.
    I kind of agree with a couple of others that have commented on this....it would be a huge drain on our resources and it is the buyer's responsibility to look into property before they purchase. Some people spend more time researching which digital camera/tv/or computer they are going to buy than they do when searching for a property. (I think this is because finding a property is so much more emotional....if they think the building is "perfect" for them, they will not pay attention to whether it can even be used as they are planning).

  11. #11
    I grew up on Cape Cod, whenever a house is sold the Town requires the Septic System to be upgraded to a more enviromentally friendly one.

  12. #12

    Buyer Notification Law

    Some townships in eastern PA. have buyer notification laws. They require that the seller of a lot or a new house must provide a copy of the subdivision plan to the buyer, describe the zoning district, and describe any adjacent improvements that may impact them. It was mainly added to make sure that lot buyers knew they were going to get a recreation trail in their backyard, or that there was a detention basin next door, or a future road extention. This requirement was upheld in a PA. court decision.

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