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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background info: we bought our house four years ago, have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at a good rate. Our plan is to live in this house for at least 10 years. It's on a busy street but with a very large backyard, which we use constantly, for dining, gardening, playing with the kids. The opposite side of the street is zoned commercial instead of residential, it was undeveloped when we bought the house. Since then, that property has been developed -- it's a strip of 8 shops: coffee shop, dry cleaner, pizza, wine shop, craft store, etc.<br><br>
Recently our neighbors decided that our side of the street should be rezoned as business instead of residential, they felt that would make it easier for them to sell their homes since the shops went in. Petitions were circulated and it was voted on at the town meeting and passed. We were the only family opposed to the rezoning. The day after the rezoning, multiple For Sale signs popped up on our street.<br><br>
Now, we're not sure what to do.<br><br>
The plan has always been to stay. We live in a nice town with good schools, we squeezed in here by buying in the "worst" part of town. We bought a house we could afford and still have me stay home, even though we live in a high COL area. And current economic news had us thinking that we might wind up sitting tight and staying here longer than the originally planned 10 years, which was okay with us.<br><br>
But what if my next door neighbor's property gets paved over and becomes a used car lot or a fast food restaurant? I couldn't bear living on top of that. Not when we spend so much time in our yard. But this is just such a shitty time to sell, and we have hardly any equity since property values have gone down.<br><br>
Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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Oh that's tough! Id think first you need to get an attorney and fight. Other thought is try to sell you may get more and extra if you sell the way its zoned...My first thought is probably the hard road.<br><br>
Are you being ask to vacate?<br><br>
hope someone else chimes in for you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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That's too bad it didn't work out in your favor, but I wouldn't be too worried.<br><br>
People aren't racing to buy and build on commercial lots in residential neighborhoods right now.<br><br>
The street I live on, like yours is commercial on one side and residential on the other, though on the residential side most have gone commercial, we are one block away from this commercial zoning, well we are the last block in the middle that isn't zoned commercial is what I meant.<br><br>
Most of the houses in the commercial zones are still single family homes. A few have a hairdresser working out of the front of the home as a business, we have a latte stand and a small auto body place, that is really just a guy working out of his garage.<br><br>
It may not effect your neighborhood that much or right away.<br><br>
That's my experience anyway.<br><br>
(Oh and if someone did plan a fast food joint on your neighbors property *unless it's a large lot* they'd probably come to you and offer to buy yours as well.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>p1gg1e</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/13267385"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh that's tough! Id think first you need to get an attorney and fight. Other thought is try to sell you may get more and extra if you sell the way its zoned...My first thought is probably the hard road.<br><br>
Are you being ask to vacate?<br><br>
hope someone else chimes in for you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"></div>
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We're not being asked to leave. But if everybody around us sells, living here will probably suck.<br><br>
I definitely don't have the cash lying around to hire an attorney right now.<br><br>
I guess that when the day comes that we *want* to move, it may be to our advantage to be zoned as business. But what I don't like having my hand forced. I *bought* residential property, *next door* to residential property, and that's what I expected to own.
 

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My parents had property that was rezoned to commercial/office about 30 years ago. It's only been in the past 4 years that the zoning was actually used to build new structures. A lot of the buildings kept their original structures and were used as existing office space (like a real esate office, chiropractor, etc).
 

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I honestly wouldn't worry about it. If everyone around you sells and the properties go commercial, there is a good chance your property would be worth more than it is now anyway. So, stay as long as you are happy there and if the others sell and the neighborhood goes a way you don't like, then make a decision to leave at that time. I don't think there is any particular advantage to selling now if you are still happy there the way it currently is. I'm not sure what a lawyer would do for you, unless you think your town/city did something illegal in changing the zoning.<br><br>
The way it works here too is if the owner of property which abutts yours wants to build something that isn't completely within the zoning laws, they need your approval. Generally it seems in my experience they often do need some kind of variance to build things the way they want, and our zoning board takes the neighbors feelings into account pretty heavily.
 

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There is a small town near here that had a residence in the middle of a commercial district. It was a quiet enough street where it was okay to live there I think. There were apartments across the street also.<br><br>
When it came time to sell that house, they had like 6 months to sell it as a residence because that's how it was used before...then it became commercial property when no one bought it as a residence.<br><br>
Not sure how that helps you, but don't worry yet. Also, as long as the places cropping up are friendly enough, it's okay maybe....
 

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Everywhere I have lived the older homes have been mixed in with commercial properties. Often, the homes (usually at least 40+ years old) are used for offices (Dr, Lawyer, hairdresser). Unless you are in a highly desired area, things probably won't move as fast as you think, particularly in this economy.<br><br>
Bummer though <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">.
 

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Yeah, um....commercial development is at a standstill. 2 years ago? Heck, 18 months ago I'd be worried and your neighbors are probably looking back on that type of development and seeing huge $$$ in their mind. Not gonna happen right now. I'm guessing that your neighbors are dreaming of dollar signs and aren't going to sell to anyone because they think their property is worth XXX but in today's economy it is only worth X. Deals do not get done with those types of sellers - and generally those are the types of sellers who push to get their property rezoned. And if/when a developer does come in they don't want your house in the middle of their development - they will want to buy you all out, at a fair price - most likely more than you would get selling as a residential property which should get you into another house comfortably.<br><br>
Finally, if it does come down to a developer buying your property (in a couple years or whenever) don't be the only holdout - get in, sell and move on. You'll be much happier in the long run. That is the time you'll want to consult an attorney to read over contracts, etc. Right now I see no reason to spend the cash since the proposal has already been approved. Now, if they try to do a use outside of zoning laws, yes you can fight that but think long and hard if you really want to go through that instead of cashing out.<br><br>
Let me know if you have other questions, I'm not a developer but am married to one.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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I tend to agree with ChristyMarie. Basically...<br><br>
1) No one's going to be jumping at buying up residential property to turn it into commercial use right now.<br><br>
2) If and when that happens, your house may be worth a lot, and it may make sense to sell... but you've probably got *lots* of time to wait and see.<br><br>
Now... zoning and development laws vary widely from one place to another. If you're in California, you've got the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which gives residents a LOT of power to halt development that might negatively affect the environmental quality of their neighborhood. Other states have similar laws, so if you live in a state that does, you've got some say in what happens next door. (This will also make people reluctant to convert the lots around you to commercial uses, since they might have to fight for it.)<br><br>
Also, most places have more than one type of "commercial" zoning. You might want to look at what the zoning laws specifically are like in your area, and what uses are permitted under your new zoning. "Used car lot" may not be a possibility.<br><br>
The zoning laws will include parking requirements. A restaurant has to offer X number of parking spaces per Y square feet or table or whatever. A hair salon has another value. So, if someone wants to build a largish business, it takes several house lots to provide the space and parking. Makes it a lot more expensive, and if they're decent houses, they won't sell well as tear-downs. There's likely undeveloped space available in other areas that's cheaper to turn into something.<br><br>
Also see if your municipality has a General Plan or a Specific Plan for your area on file. A General Plan will describe the direction they want development to take over the next few years; for example, no more drive-thrus, parking requirement reductions for low-income housing, etc. A Specific Plan will describe down to blocks and streets what development is encouraged; anything that is in keeping with the Specific Plan will likely be approved without any design review etc., and anything that isn't in keeping with it has only a snowball's chance of getting approved at all. There's not likely a Specific Plan set for your area, but if your municipality does them, you might try getting one created and on file, to restrict what kinds of businesses can go in on your block.
 
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