Imagine moving into the perfect Phoenix area home only to find out that a developer intends to open or build a business right next to you. Although you may have bought your home in a residential neighborhood, a developer can request permission to change a zone to commercial. When it comes to Maricopa County rezoning, you want to know: What are my options if a developer wants to make a zoning change in my neighborhood?
What is Rezoning?
In most situations, a party seeking to change a zoning ordinance wants to use a residential property for commercial purposes or for a specific business reason that is not permitted. Often, someone trying to do this will attempt to obtain a special use permit from the county rather than changing the zoning ordinance.
Maricopa County Rezoning and Special Use Permits
In Maricopa County, a party seeking to rezone or get a special use permit for a property must apply with the county planning and development department and go through specific steps. One of those steps involves a citizen review process which has the following five requirements:
- Attend a Pre-Application Meeting with the Planning and Development staff member
- Develop a Citizen Participation Plan
- Provide notice to adjacent property owners upon application
- Post properties upon application
- Complete a Citizen Participation Results Report
The idea behind the citizen review process is to encourage discussion and participation by affected community members. Ideally property owners and impacted citizens can communicate with one another about the proposed changes and come up with workable solutions. Although the process fosters community participation and commentary, this does not mean that everyone has to reach an agreement for the proposed change or permit to be approved.
This situation is not uncommon in Arizona. For instance, just recently, Sun City residents met with representatives of the owners of a now-vacant property located at 11th Avenue and Thunderbird Boulevard. Specifically, concerned members of the community met with the new owner’s representatives to express apprehensions about plans for the future of a former specialty hospital located at the site. Presently, the property is zoned by Maricopa County as a multi-family residential. However, the previous owner held a county special use permit allowing the space to be utilized as a nursing home. The future of the property has yet to be determined but there has been discussion of using the space as a behavioral health and treatment facility. However, to make any significant changes, the current owners would have to get permission to rezone the property or obtain another special use permit for the new purpose. Upon review, the application may or may not be denied by the county department.
If you are concerned about a proposed rezoning or a special use permit in your neighborhood, it would be best to consult with an experienced Arizona real estate attorney to discuss your situation. Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who can help you evaluate the circumstances and develop solutions. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona, and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.