Municipal Zoning for Commercial Real Estate

Checking into the City of Austin zoning for commercial real estate is a very important step in determining current or future usage. As a buyer or tenant of commercial real estate it is important to make sure the structure is not in violation of any zoning issues or land classifications. Just cause an office space or warehouse property exists , it does not mean that the commercial real estate is in compliance.

Changes in zoning laws

Sometimes what a buyer or tenant will discover thru the investigations of their broker is that the zoning laws had changed after the structure had been constructed and has been classified as a pre-existing use. However, the commercial real estate in question may have been built contrary to zoning and the enforcement to make it correct is being done now instead of earlier.  Case in point, a client of mine had the City of Leander change zoning on their Mobile Home Park and create zoning on the property that allows for residential, duplexes or multi-family developments only for any current or future owner.

With many municipalities a commercial real estate property may violate the zoning  in place , however there is little they can do about it as long as the structure or the use to what its purpose is has remained unchanged over time. However, if a person acquired the property and planned to renovate the commercial real estate or change tenancy, or even if the building was destroyed by fire and the owners began to rebuild it could be illegal and be halted for the new usage.

Potential Zoning Issues


  • Lack of on site parking for the size of the building
  • Building is too large for the lot
  • Commercial real estate is not located where it should be
  • Height restrictions
  • The commercial property is built over a utility easement
  • Wrong type of occupancy for the neighborhood

Authored by Shire Commercial