Before you invest in California commercial real estate, you should carefully check out its zoning restrictions. Why? Because local zoning laws and regulations with regard to the property in which you wish to invest may well determine your ultimate return on investment. 

Per FindLaw, zoning generally falls into one of the following five categories: 

  1. Commercial where you can build and sell, lease or rent offices and/or retail space 
  2. Industrial where you can build and sell, lease or rent manufacturing space 
  3. Residential where you can build and sell, lease or rent only single- or multi-family structures 
  4. Recreational where you can sell, lease or rent the land itself or the structures you build on it only for recreational activities 
  5. Agricultural where you can sell, lease or rent the land itself or the structures you build on it only for farming activities 

If you desire, you can also operate a qualifying business yourself in any of these zoned areas. 

Zoning coverage 

Zoning laws not only determine what kinds of structures you can build in a particularly zoned area, but also may regulate such things as the following: 

  • How tall a building can be 
  • How much square footage it can contain 
  • How close one building can be to another 
  • How much parking space each building can or must provide 
  • How much noise a business or resident can make 
  • How the business owner or resident must handle waste 

In addition, these laws may well regulate the types, if any, of signs allowed, as well as their size, appearance, placement, etc. 

While you should not interpret this educational information as legal advice, it can help you understand the importance of thoroughly understanding the zoning laws in place on any commercial property in which you want to invest. 

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