When driving through Florida, there is a reason residents see houses grouped together in one area, with restaurants and businesses in a different area. This is because zoning ordinances exist to differentiate between different types and purposes of property. Generally, property can be commercial, recreational, industrial, residential or agricultural. When land use is incompatible, then zoning laws segregate those areas. Additionally, zoning laws ensure that residential areas are planned in such a way that there is room for enough homes and infrastructure, such as school and street development. This is why someone cannot begin operating a business from their home without consulting the applicable zoning ordinance.
When it comes to residential property being rezoned into commercial property, issues such as privacy and increase in traffic make getting permission complicated. Although every municipality resident has the right to ask the zoning board for permission to rezone their property, it can be difficult to be granted. Residents often ask for variances instead, which is permission to use their property in a manner that is an exception to current zoning restrictions.
However, home-based businesses can still be allowed, with given restrictions. For example, there might be limitations on the amount and size of signage, the amount of vehicles to be used in conjunction with the business and how many clients can visit during a single day.
Florida residents considering operating a home-based business may first need to assess their own needs. If their business can operate through various restrictions, then a variance might be all they need. On the other hand, if it is not possible to comply with residential zoning restrictions, they may need to figure out the rezoning procedure.