When considering a property purchase in Austin, determining the zoning is a critical part of the due diligence process and an Austin zoning determination is one of the first issues that should be addressed.
If the property is located within the City Limits a zoning category is assigned to the property. This will dictate the land use allowed. Zoning is a way for a municipality to provide some order to land uses in their jurisdiction. In a simplistic view of Austin zoning the more compatible land uses are located next to each other. The less compatible uses are located further away from each other. An example of compatible uses would include different kinds of housing being located next to each other. Incompatible uses would include houses for example not being located near manufacturing plants.
Therefore purchasers of land need to know and understand the zoning category assigned to the property they are interested in. By doing so they will understand what can and can’t be constructed on it. A real estate agent should be able to assist the buyer with this. Sometimes this can be done on the internet as is the case in Austin by using the Online City of Austin Zoning Information link.
In addition to a zoning determination the city will typically provide a list of uses that are allowed under the zoning category. If a property doesn’t have the zoning necessary for the use then an attempt can be made to have the zoning changed. This is a formal process accomplished through the local city government. This can be time consuming and costly and there is no guarantee that the request will be approved. A civil engineer, land planner and/or attorney should be consulted when a zoning change is being contemplated to make sure that the process and its risks are identified.