December 16, 20190

There are several different types of land uses. Land use attorneys are familiar with these different types and the zoning codes that go hand in hand. Municipal planners are tasked with managing land uses through the issuance of development approvals. Municipal boards are familiar with land uses, as they have to make decisions on land use permits and approvals.

Commercial land use is a specific category of land use classification. Commercial uses typically include restaurants, shops, and offices, among others. Compare these with residential uses, which include houses and condominiums.

Commercial land use includes properties that are constructed to be a source of income for the owner. As a result, these types of buildings are appraised and taxed differently than residential properties. Also, there are different regulations and laws that apply to the construction and maintenance of commercial buildings.

Zoning Laws

Land use, generally, is described as the purpose or activity for which land or buildings are intended, or for which land or buildings are occupied or maintained. The concept of land use was developed over time to manage our natural environment. Proper planning sites residential, business, industrial, institutional, agricultural, park and natural land uses in areas that can support each use.

Zoning laws and ordinances were enacted to govern and protect against conflicts between varying land uses. Through zoning laws, cities and towns can decide on proposed land uses and occupancies. For example, commercial land use is relegated to commercially zoned areas. The municipal zoning classifications are contained in each municipality’s zoning codes.

There is a process to alter such a classification. A municipality can grant an application for a zoning variance, which may allow a use or occupancy that is not customarily allowed. An example of this is a mixed-use property. Land zoned as residential can be re-designated as mixed-use if it is being used for both residential and commercial purposes, like when a business is being run out of a residential property.

Tax Rates

Generally, property tax rates for commercial land uses are higher than rates for residential uses, or other uses. The idea is that the commercial business is generating a profit, which would not be possible without the municipality.

Commercial property tax is also called a millage tax and are levied on land, buildings and improvements made to the property.

Commercial Classifications

Within the commercial land use category, municipalities further define types of business uses. While each city and town is different, below is a general idea of how the business uses are defined.

General Business: The general business use includes retail, wholesale, and service businesses, and offices.

Limited Business: The limited business use includes day-to-day localized shopping needs, convenience shopping services, and limited specialized business uses.

Office BusinessThe office business use includes areas for planned office parks, light industrial and research centers and professional office buildings.

The attorneys at Desautel Browning Law have counseled clients on issues related to commercial land use. We represent developers and municipalities and can help you with your questions and projects. Call today to find out more: 401.477.0023.

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