What to know about Zoning Laws in North Carolina


Zoning laws regulate business activity on a given property, what types of businesses can exist on that property, along with structural and alignment standards for all relevant buildings. There are different types of zoning regulations and categories, so it’s important to understand the most significant restrictions you could face after signing a lease.

What do zoning laws mean?

Remember, zoning laws and regulations dictate what type of activity you’re permitted or not permitted to do. Whether your newly signed lease has commercial, residential, agricultural or any other type of zoning designation, it’s important to check if new zoning laws passed during the tenure of the previous leaser or owner. If the previous leaser was using your new property in a manner that violated a law passed during their term, you are not entitled to the same right. A variant can give you the right to the noncompliant activity, but variants obtained by the previous occupant do not apply to you.

Always look closely

Zoning laws can have a fine print, so be vigilant when looking over your new lease. Certain uses of the property, important to you, might be contingent on you fulfilling a condition otherwise unrelated to the use of the property relevant to you. A contingency clause can help ensure your lease is only binding with certain zoning approvals.

All zoning categories are different

Different types of zoning, such as residential versus commercial, bring their own distinct and potentially difficult kinds of regulations. Residential zoning laws deal with things like the number of structures permitted on your property. Commercial zoning laws, on the other hand, often have parking capacity requirements. However, parking capacity requirements have nothing to do with whether your business address has sufficient parking capacity, so your lease may indirectly force you to pursue a parking plan.

Be proactive

Zoning laws can be ambiguous or difficult to understand, which is why it’s always a good idea to seek the services and counsel of a lawyer experienced in real estate law when signing a lease.