Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Commercial business on residential property

    My wife and I bought our house in 1989. Behind our house is a 16 foot alley. Behind us on the other side of the alley are two 3 bay cinder block garages in an L shape, one basically parallel to ours. The business is concrete cutting and tool repair. When we moved there, thier was 1 guy who used to go out, in a business van from the garage behind us, and another guy who used to work in the other garage off and on during the day. He was not there all day. Noise was never an issue. Our deed and the deeds around us, originating in 1900, have VC zoning listed. I was told our house was a small general store back in the 1940's. In the last 17 years, this business behind us has gone from the one van to 4 large box trucks, 1 utility truck, 3 or 4 vans and a pick up truck. They now have about 12 people or so working from back there, including at least 3 that work back thier all day. They are there at 6:00 am, and thier are people there working many nights until 7:30, 8:00 at night. I assumed when we moved here that his business was legal because the buildings were there, they were built in 1980, and people were working from there, and because of the VC zoning. The noise has been getting unbearable, many hours of disc sanding, grinding, pressure washing, compressors running. I looked into some definitions of VC zoning and the types of commercial business that is allowed. This business did not seem to fit the bill.

    We looked up his parcel behind us on the local county website property search. It is a 3 acre parcel. The owner built a 4000 square foot home on the property in 1999. On the county records for his property, it says the land classification is single family residential, and the land use code is residential. It has the 2 garages that the guys work out of listed as out buildings on the property, just as my garage is listed on my property search. I stopped at our township hall a week ago to ask about the VC zoning definition and found out that my whole area here is now rezoned residential. I explained the situation to some of the township employees. They metioned him possibly being grandfatherd. All other businesses in the area that I looked up in the property records, including two other buildings owned by the same family that owns the buidings behind us, say the land classification is commercial.

    If this this is correct, and he never had the land approved for commercial use, could he still be grandfatherd in because of the old VC zoning issue. I'm thinking he can't if it never was approved for commercial use. If they say it is because of the old VC zoning, do I have a case in saying this business does not fit the intentions, or belong in VC zoning area? They took my name and number and said they would look into it and give me a call. I have heard nothing yet. Having this business behind us as it is today, could cost us a lot of money if we sell our house, if 75% of potential buyers are scared off by this business right be hind us. We were concerned when we purchased but were assured by a neighbor - you don't even know there is anybody back there, which was the truth, for about the first 5 years we lived here. If we can't get any help from the township supervisors, or zoning board, would we have a decent legal case to pursue?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,650

    Default

    Without knowing the history of the zoning and use, I can't speculate as to issues of grandfathering. But typically any grandfathering is restricted to the level of use at the time the zoning ordinance changed - that is, if a guy is running a one-man shop at that time, he typically cannot add employees and expand to a larger operation because his business is "grandfathered in".

    In the short-term, if I were you, I would see what happens with your complaint about the possible zoning violation. If for some reason your local government won't act, it is worth exploring whether you have any private remedies to shut down or otherwise limit or restrict the business. But if the county will act on your behalf, it saves you the bother and expense of hiring a lawyer and commencing litigation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Thanks

    Thank you for the reply. We are currently trying to take pictures and some video to document what is going on there. I guess we should look into the county aspect. I didn't know if we could get any help there.

    Thank again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default update

    I was talking to a neighbor who owns a house across the street from us. He does not live there but has owned the house for a long time. He told me when the 2 garages were built in 1980, they were used as warehouses for the original part of the business that was built in 1975 and is located about less than a mile from here.
    He did not remember any kind of variance letters being sent out or anything like that. I called the township hall for an update on anything and they said I need to call back tomorrow when the zoning officer is in. Lets see what happens?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default County help?

    Who would we contact at the county level of goverment about taking up the case?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,650

    Default Zoning complaint

    Normally, whichever office handles zoning issues.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Commercial business on residential property UPDATE

    Emailed the county about the situation and got the following reply:

    "We have the property listed as a residential property because there is a home and two garages listed on the property. We have nothing to do with the fact that they are operating a business out of the garage. That would be something for the Township to look into."

    They should care from a tax perspective I would have thought?

    We will call the township tomorrow as we have not heard back from them since Wednesday.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Commercial business on residential property - Update

    We got a phone message from the township code enforcement
    officer yesterday that they are going over the records as to
    what the property is listed as and the activity that is taking
    place, and then there will be a hearing with notices being
    sent out, and they will see what they have to do from there.
    Maybe there's hope.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Commercial business on residential property UPDATE

    My wife called and talked to the code enforcement officer yesterday. He said they found a variance in the records. He said it was for a machine shop and mentioned something about parking spots. She said he was very vague and not forthcoming with answers to her questions. She asked what the date of the variance was, he said he was not sure. He said it was in a file on the zoning officers desk, but he did not go to get it to check. She asked if the owner of the business had been notified. He said, he was very hesitant to answer, ďIím not aware of thatĒ. We think he has been. She asked if she could stop to see the variance, he said sure itís public record. She asked if she could see it yesterday, he was hesitant, and said oh, I donít know. She stopped on the way home from work to ask if she could see it. The secretary said the zoning officer was in a meeting and that the variance was in the file on the code enforcement officers desk and he was out for the day and that she should make an appointment to meet with him to see it. It all seemed a bit strange. Maybe thatís the way it always is, I donít know. He did mention something to my wife about issuing a cease and desist order. Weíll see what happens from here. There is a supervisors meeting on Thursday. If we donít here anything on the variance by then, my wife wants to go to that meeting.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Commercial business on residential property

    I received a call from the code enforcement officer yesterday. He said they are having a meeting with the owner next Thursday 5-11-06 to go over all his permits and his variance as to what is actually being done there. From what he told me, it appears all he has for back here was a variance for a machine shop (they do tool repair so Iím guessing this what they called it) and up to 2 employees. He basically said he will have three options:

    Apply for a variance to expand the business
    Scale back to the original conditions of the variance
    Close up shop and move

    I have to imagine he is going to apply for the variance. The thing I donít like is we maybe on our own. The house next to us is for sale. Next to us on the other side is an elderly man who is not doing well. The 2 homes that border his property on the side of hime were just put up for sale, so none of these people may care when a hearing comes along. I canít see how he ask for a variance for what he is doing back there now. That would basically be rezoning the land commercial to me, like spot zoning. I would think we would have a good shot at beating him in court if they did that. The area is zoned residential now. I donít know if it comes to a hearing if we would be wise to show up with an attorney?

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Maintenance Responsibility and Heavy Commercial Traffic Over Residential Easement
    By Mississippian in forum Easement and Right of Way Law
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-01-2010, 06:07 PM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-16-2010, 02:53 AM
  3. Quiet Enjoyment: Landlord Breaking Business and Residential Lease
    By thespagirl in forum Living in the Rental Unit
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-12-2009, 03:50 PM
  4. Eviction Process: Evicting a Guest in Texas Residential/Commercial Property
    By guestindallas in forum Eviction
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-27-2008, 07:36 AM
  5. Eviction Process: Eviction From Commercial Business
    By FullPotential in forum Eviction
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-07-2008, 08:14 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Real Estate Forms
Real estate forms and contracts, state specific, immediate download.




Untitled Document