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The initial project list identified by the Leadership Circle are:

  1. Williams Farm
  2. Greenbrier Mall
  3. Broadband/Regional Fiber
  4. New City Regulatory Requirements
  5. Grassfield Area Development
  6. Western Branch Development
  7. Small Business and Minority Business Help.

Articles and Posts below as both updates and food for thought on a varierty of projects.

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Coastal Virginia Commerce Park Update (aka The Williams Farm)

November 16, 2022 Update

The Chesapeake Alliance is in strong support of the City’s development of the Williams Farm into the Coastal Virginia Commerce Park.

Located off Route 17, in the southern boundary area of Chesapeake, The Williams Farm has 4,000 acres of land which can be developed over the next few years.

The first block of 1,400 has been introduced as an initial phase and has been approved by the City for development, with the assistance of State of Virginia funding approved by Governor Younkin.

This development has the potential of bringing billions of dollars into the city and would benefit the entire region and state.

Chesapeake Alliance Chairman David Ropp spoke in support of development to the Planning Commission on Wednesday, November 9th and to City Council on Tuesday, November 15, 2022

“This is a complete game-changer for the City and a once in a lifetime opportunity”, stated Mr. Ropp at both meetings.”

Additionally, a letter of support (shown) was submitted which represents over 75 names of major businesspeople in the City in support of the development.

City Council voted to approve the development at their council meeting and the implementation details will be forthcoming.

Small Business and Minority Business Help

By: Sadie Cohen

A Marketing Guide for Senior Entrepreneurs

Senior entrepreneurs bring a wealth of life-experience to the table, but marketing is one of those areas where even the most experienced business professionals can feel some trepidation. Marketing your business as a senior entrepreneur doesn’t have to be hard, though. If you aren’t sure where to begin, The Chesapeake Alliance provides some tips and tricks to help you market your business successfully.

Before You Start Marketing, Develop Your Business Acumen

Even if you market your company effectively, your business might not succeed unless your business acumen is sharp. When you generate more sales, running your company can get more complex to manage. As a result, you want to make sure you’re prepared to keep all aspects of your operations on point before heading down that road.

If running a business is new to you, heading back to school to earn an online MBA is a wise plan. You’ll sharpen your business acumen by digging into subjects like human capital management, strategic planning, research and statistics, and economics. Plus, online programs are flexible, making it easier to balance your work, education, and personal life.

Don’t Assume That a Pricy Services Are the Answer

If you’re new to the world of marketing, you might think that paying an agency is your best bet. However, that isn’t always the case. Usually, you can develop a simple marketing strategy on your own. By doing some market research, completing a competitor analysis, defining your target market, and finding your differentiator, you can craft a strong foundation without any paid-for assistance.

Similarly, you don’t have to spend a bundle on tools to get everything you need to market your business. For example, Canva can help you make stunning social media graphics for free, and website builders like Wix and WordPress don’t come with big price tags.

Explore a Mix of Marketing Strategies

When you initially begin forming a marketing plan, it’s normal to focus on the fundamentals. For example, creating a standout website is essential even if you aren’t in e-commerce. Having a presence on social media is also a must. That way, you can engage with your customers and tap into low-cost advertising options. However, that doesn’t mean you want to stop there. Instead, it’s wise to explore a mix of strategies. Here are some other options worth considering.


If you operate locally, a cross-promotion could be a solid choice. You’ll partner with another area business (or several) that isn’t a direct competitor and has a similar audience, allowing you to tap into each other’s customer bases.

Many cross-promoting strategies can work. Just make sure to discuss the options with the other companies, allowing you to agree on an approach that works best for everyone involved.

Bundling Products

If you’re a product seller and some of your inventory isn’t moving, consider adding them to a top seller to create a bundle. Essentially, you’ll be offering the pair of products for a bit less than full retail price. This makes shoppers feel like they’re getting a bargain – which can boost sales – while helping you offload poor-performing items.

Just make sure you don’t market it as a “free gift with purchase” style promotion. If you make an item a free gift, it diminishes the product’s perceived value. By doing a bundle instead, you can make sure the standalone product’s reputation isn’t harmed.

Referral Programs

When it comes to powerful marketing tools, referrals are an excellent weapon in your arsenal. Ninety-two percent of consumers trust referrals when they come from a person they know. Plus, when referred by a friend, they are four times more likely to make a purchase.

Make sure your referral program is accessible and rewarding. Referral links are an easy way to begin if you operate mainly in the e-commerce space, though you can also go with codes. Having an online referral form is another option, as well as a simple blank if your shopping cart where buyers can list the name of their referrer.

When it comes to rewards, consider going with discounts on future purchases. You can either offer a specific percentage with each referral or go with a points program. In either way, you’re incentivizing referrals in a way that promotes return business while offering loyal customers a financial gain, making it a win-win.

Photo via Pexels

Greenbrier Mall Redevelopment

Ideas from Around the Country


Mall Redevelopment Strategies: Keeping Today’s Malls CompetitiveNorth America

Sam Black

The Ratkovich Company’s redevelopment of downtown LA’s Macy’s Plaza and the MCI Center office tower.

Source:  The Ratkovich Company

MALL OWNERS, faced with shifting consumer preferences or newer competition, regularly confront the need to remodel and redevelop — or lose shopping traffic, retail sales and, eventually, tenants. Successful redevelopment covers a spectrum from spruce-ups and new stores to starting over at the same site with new buildings, streetscapes and diverse uses, new links to surrounding neighborhoods and new approaches to transportation.

Redeveloping a mall to include good connections to bus rapid transit (BRT) or rail is risky if the transit is only “planned,” since some communities have reversed transit construction decisions, taken decades to complete a new transit system, or failed to deliver a good product. If the transit is already there, it should be easier. But even when a transit line is up and running, some developments fail to make the most of their transit connections, leaving shoppers and visitors to hike without wayfinding signs through long, lifeless tunnels, upstairs and then down, or out in the broiling sun, the rain or snow.

Redeveloping a mall with structured parking or new uses like entertainment, a hotel, restaurants or office buildings can be a challenging undertaking. But increasing density and adding a full mix of uses that includes residences, as well as a street grid that connects with existing streets and transit, is even more challenging. This article highlights three of these complex mall redevelopment projects: sites that are being redeveloped with a mix of uses, links to surrounding neighborhoods, and transit connections.

Oakridge Centre, Vancouver

Ivanhoé Cambridge, the owner of Oakridge Centre, one of Vancouver, British Columbia’s most successful malls, is planning to redevelop the center into a true mixed-use complex. Oakridge now has over 150 stores, occupying 575,500 square feet, with an additional 119,300 square feet of space in two six-story buildings, one office and the other mixed office and residential. The enclosed mall, which has a floorplate of about five city blocks, rises one to two stories above grade, with rooftop, structured and surface parking.

The existing mall is adjacent to a subway station on Vancouver’s rail transit system but is surrounded on three sides by its surface parking lots and on the fourth by the two mid-rise buildings. Those structures effectively screen the mall from the view of passengers exiting the subway. Customers coming from the subway to the mall must walk between the two buildings along an uncovered open-air sidewalk.

The new development, planned as a “culturally and environmentally sustainable model that harnesses the potential of a large urban site situated at a transit hub,” as described by Ivanhoé Cambridge, is scheduled for completion in 2023. The rebuilt complex will offer entertainment, grocery, office, residential, restaurant and retail space as well as civic uses. Landscaped open spaces will replace the surface and rooftop parking, and the redesign provides new or improved connections to neighboring sidewalks, streetscapes and the subway. The city has approved the redevelopment plans.

The new Oakridge Centre will offer 424,000 square feet of office space as well as low- and high-rise residential buildings that will contain 2,900 units of affordable, market-rate and seniors housing. The redevelopment will provide a network of walkways and plenty of sidewalk- and street-facing retail, including neighborhood-oriented shops, but no new vehicular streets. It will, however, include a new pedestrian-only street, with civic, community and retail uses along both sides and residential units above.

“One of the goals of the redevelopment is to connect to the surrounding neighborhoods through the pedestrian plan and the architecture, as well as through amenities and retail resources that can benefit the community,” explains Tom Perkins, a design director for Gensler, one of the projects’ architects. The complex will include 14 acres of green and public space, including a nine-acre green roof that will serve as a public park for the community as well as for center employees, residents and shoppers.

All parking will be underground; the plans call for demolishing the small amount of existing structured parking. The amount of parking provided for residents as well as commercial tenants will be less than that typically provided in Vancouver at present. The development, which aims to achieve LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Platinum certification, will incorporate transportation demand management to encourage walking, bike riding, car-sharing and transit use.

The Bloc, Los Angeles

Until about five years ago, retailers in the Los Angeles area did not focus much on shoppers using the city’s new rail transit systems. In recent years, however, according to Cal Hollis, the Los Angeles Country Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro)’s managing executive officer for real estate, mall owners have realized that suburban residents, who for many decades would not have thought about coming downtown for mall shopping, can now use transit to get to a downtown retail complex as fast as or faster than they could travel to a suburban mall.

“We’ve gone past the tipping point on this,” explains Hollis. In 2013, The Ratkovich Company, a California-based developer and property owner with a portfolio of over 17 million square feet in Los Angeles County, purchased, with partners National Real Estate Advisors, National Real Estate Development and Blue Vista Capital, the MCI Center office tower and the adjacent Macy’s Plaza on South Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles for $241 million. Ratkovich renamed the complex “The Bloc,” started planning and executing a wholesale redevelopment strategy, and decided to make this the first LA shopping center to have a seamless connection to a subway station. The redevelopment, due to be complete by the end of 2015, will deliver 400,000 square feet of retail space, including a new 240,000-square-foot Macy’s, on three floors; a reconstructed, 708,000-square-foot, 32-story office building; a renovated Sheraton hotel; and new restaurant and entertainment tenants.

The one-square-block site will also feature an extensive rooftop “urban square,” outdoor dining and street-facing retail. The location is as downtown and urban as you can get in a modern, car-centric global city. But Los Angeles’ relationship to the automobile is changing, and visitors will also be able to reach The Bloc from the Los Angeles subway’s 7th Street/Metro Center station, the system’s busiest, via a lower-level walkway. The station serves two light rail lines, two heavy rail lines (all four of which are underground at this location), one BRT line at the surface level, and many surface bus routes.

According to Clare De Briere, chief operating officer and EVP, The Ratkovich Company, “The Bloc will be fully accessible via multiple modes of transportation: walking, biking, driving, ride-sharing and public transportation, as well as the first dedicated Metro Line connection point in the city. … We hope that the transportation hub we’re creating at The Bloc will help to further spur the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles.”

Ratkovich is paying for half the $9.2 million cost of this underground connection, which will indeed be the first between a retail complex and the LA subway system. Negotiations between Ratkovich and Metro for the Bloc-subway link involved a wide range of design, signage, construction, operation, maintenance and liability issues. Subway patrons not using the retail complex will nevertheless be able to exit through it to the street. The fire, safety and security systems of both The Bloc and Metro have to be able to communicate with each other. The subway connector is expected to open at about the same time as the redevelopment.

Westfield Century City, Los Angeles

Westfield Century City mall, on the west side of Los Angeles, sits on Santa Monica Boulevard about a mile east of Interstate 405. The mall comprises 878,200 square feet of retail space on two levels above grade, with 148 stores, restaurants and theaters, about 2,500 parking spaces and a nearby office building. Australian shopping center developer Westfield Group owns and manages the mall.

Westfield is in the process of redeveloping the complex by adding over 400,000 square feet of new retail space, with 50 new stores, new and relocated anchors, a new 15-story residential and office building that will replace the existing office building and about 2,200 new parking spaces. The owner plans to demolish the entire property on a section-by-section basis and then rebuild. Construction is underway, a new parking structure is already complete and Westfield expects to deliver the new mall and residential/office tower by 2017.

The redeveloped Westfield Century City will remain an internally focused facility.  Westfield Co-CEO Peter Lowy describes the revamped mall experience as “a new urban escape” from the city and traffic, with an “environment that typifies our Southern California lifestyle.” The redesigned mall will not have a network of streets or a mix of uses within the mall; the residential/office tower will be adjacent to it. The redesign, however, includes large mall spaces open to the sky, with gardens, plazas and tree-lined walkways.

In addition, the mall will feature a direct, enclosed connection to the city’s future Purple Line subway extension. Although the increase in parking indicates that Westfield envisages an even more car-oriented future for the mall, it has also committed to building and paying for the subway connection. Westfield has not yet approved a detailed design of the connection, but the company states that it wants patrons to “experience the mall,” in Hollis’ words, from the moment they enter from the subway. The Purple Line is a deep-tunnel high-speed system; the segment of the line that extends to Westfield has cleared all regulatory reviews and is set to be under construction by 2019 and to open in 2026.

Other Examples

Many additional examples of successful mall redevelopments that incorporate some of the features highlighted here can be found in cities throughout North America. These include the following:

General Growth Properties’ Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida, where an enclosed shopping center was transformed into a mixed-use complex with civic spaces, offices, luxury apartments, townhomes and a multistory, street-facing retail component.

PREIT’s The Gallery in downtown Philadelphia, where an existing urban mall is being redeveloped with better subway connections and street-facing retail.

Midway Companies’ CityCentre in Houston, where the Town & Country Mall was transformed into a mixed-use development with new retail space as well as apartments, townhomes, offices, a hotel, green spaces and walkable streetscapes.

Numerous examples in Washington, D.C., and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs, where an extensive transit system serves not only the center city but also suburbs ready for high-rise mixed-use development.

There are also many examples of malls that have been transformed into lifestyle centers through the addition of landscaped pedestrian areas and/or new stores and restaurants set along new streets with limited or no parking and wide sidewalks. Lifestyle malls may also include a mix of uses and transit connections, but even when they do not, they are more pedestrian-oriented than their predecessors and thus are more appealing to today’s shoppers and restaurant-goers than the traditional enclosed mall.

Malls located in dense mixed-use neighborhoods already may be achieving some of the goals of mixed-use design — built-in customers, 18-hour pedestrian presence and so forth — making it unnecessary for the mall itself to add new streets or additional uses. There is no rule that every structure must be mixed use; urban neighborhoods are the original “mixed-use developments.”

Finally, when a mall owner develops for-sale housing on the mall site, the owner becomes a member of a broader community in which it may have influence and a management role, but no longer has total control. Some owners may see this as importing complexity and uncertainty, but David Kitchens, a principal in Cooper Carry’s mixed-use specialty practice group, which had design roles in some of the malls referred to in this article, points out that adding residential uses brings “customers who are living at your retail development, are contributing to a lively pedestrian presence 18 hours a day and, in making this choice of where to live, are proving that they are members of today’s urban-oriented generation. In other words, they are fans.”

Sam Black is a contributing editor to Development Magazine and an attorney and past chairman of the Washington, D.C., Smart Growth Alliance. This article was originally featured in Development Magazine’s Winter 2015/2016 issue.

Broadband/Regional Fiber Ring

Opinion: Five-City Fiber Ring in Va. Will Transform Region

The Southside Network Authority in Virginia has broken ground for a new fiber ring that will connect five cities in the state. The network will even be linked to subsea fiber-optic lines in the Atlantic.

April 19, 2022 • The Virginian-Pilot & Daily Press Editorial Board, The Virginian-Pilot

(TNS) — When officials of the Southside Network Authority gathered early in April to break ground on a 119-mile fiber ring, they were taking a symbolic step toward a better future for all of South Hampton Roads.

That event marked the latest step toward transforming the region into a hub of ultra-high-speed, reliable Internet available to all. As officials said at the groundbreaking ceremony, Hampton Roads will add being a gateway for digital information to its status as a major port for moving products and people.

The fiber ring will connect the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk. Beyond that, it will connect with the major transatlantic subsea fiber optic cables that come ashore in Virginia Beach, offering high-capacity, high-speed connections to Europe and Africa.

The groundbreaking also marked a triumph of foresight and regional cooperation. It was the culmination of vision and effort, dating back more than six years to an earlier proposal by Ben Davenport, then a Virginia Beach city councilman, with help from Norfolk Councilwoman Andria McClellan. The Southside Network Authority was created by the five cities in 2019.

The project moved closer to reality in March, when the cities pledged to provide $5 million each to build the fiber ring. The authority is negotiating with Global Technical Systems of Virginia to manage the fiber ring in a public-private partnership.

The aim is to make high-speed broadband available in an affordable way to everyone in the region. The benefits should be profound and far-reaching.

Economic development is high on the list. Wide access to the highest Internet speeds on the East Coast should make it easier for the region to attract new businesses and keep those that are here flourishing. Businesses that deal in financial services, data transfer and storage and cybersecurity are among those that rely on high-speed broadband. The broadband access here should also be a draw to highly skilled workers who work remotely and can choose where they live, a trend that’s been accelerated by COVID.

The region’s extensive medical and health-care institutions should benefit. Today’s medicine and research rely on analyzing data to improve care and make it more affordable. Readily available high-speed broadband will also enhance the work of the region’s universities and community colleges and expand possibilities for schools at all levels.

Increased availability of high-capacity broadband should also be a boon to the region’s military installations, helping them run their bases more efficiently.

Connecting the cities will make it easier for them to take advantage of the latest technologies and to coordinate efforts. The possibilities are great — emergency response, traffic control, combating flooding problems and sea-level rise, even dealing with autonomous vehicles. There are many possibilities most of us haven’t yet imagined.

One of the best things about the project is that it doesn’t leave anyone out. The cities won’t be offering broadband access themselves, but they will offer the opportunity for providers to plug into the ring. That should help make broadband access available and affordable everywhere, helping to bridge the so-called digital divide.

These days, Internet access is essential for so many things — schoolwork, job hunting, government programs, health, and mental health care. Those who have it take it for granted, but those in poor and minority communities who lack it suffer. Census data show that in most of the Southside cities, Black households are 10-15% less likely than white ones to have broadband access. Making broadband available to all will give many people more equal opportunities for education, jobs, and a good start in life.

Long-range plans are for the Southside ring to expand west to the cities of Franklin and Smithfield as well as Southampton, Isle of Wight, and Surry counties.

Who knows what could happen? One thing seems certain: Working together on this visionary fiber ring places the cities of South Hampton Roads in a stronger position heading into that future.

©2022 The Virginian-Pilot. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

New City Regulatory Requirements

Zoning Laws for Small Business: What You Need to Know

WRITTEN BY: Edward Daciuk


Edward helped start and build three different technology companies and served as CFO and COO at He shares his expertise as a contributor to Fit Small Business content around retail, franchising, and starting a business.

This article is part of a larger series on Starting a Business.

Zoning laws, also known as zoning ordinances, define 1) what types of land use is allowed for a given area and 2) building regulations such as maximum building size or the need for fire escapes. If you’re starting a business, you need to be familiar with the zoning laws that cover your building and area.

Here are some of the most common municipal and federal zoning laws:

  • Commercial versus residential versus manufacturing
  • Type of commercial enterprise allowed, e.g. manufacturing or retail or restaurant
  • Health and safety regulations such as use of toxic chemicals or availability of fire extinguishers
  • Parking requirements
  • Setback requirements
  • Signage
  • Types of buildings that can occupy an area
  • Size of buildings and internal requirements like multiple exits
  • Floor to area ratios (FAR), e.g. you must allow for walking space, etc.
  • That adequate lighting, air, and open space is provided
  • Accessibility, e.g. Americans with Disabilities Act

The top 4 things you should know regarding zoning laws include:

  1. What Zone Your Building Is In
  2. Whether Your Business Is Allowed In This Zone
  3. What Are the Building Requirements
  4. What Are the Signage Requirement

#1 – What Zone Your Building Is In

The first step in understanding how zoning and building codes will affect your small business. Find the GIS mapping system of the appropriate jurisdiction for your county. Many counties and cities are offering these online today, and all you have to do is find the right maps and layers. You can often do this by typing “zoning for your county name” in Google. Find the piece of property or land you are interested in and see what the zoning designation is.

New York City’s Zoning & Land Use Map

Report for a building in Manhattan

Here’s a quick cheat sheet:


What Does It Mean



Have to apply for a Home Occupation permit, or something similar. to run business out of home. No commercial buildings are allowed.

You can run many types of business out of your home however there usually restrictions. For example in New York City there is a limit on the size of the business area of a home and certain businesses like public relations or beauty parlors are not allowed.


Allowed to erect buildings for business and conduct business operations.

Often there are subtypes of commercial zones such as office building or retail.


Can erect buildings for certain businesses and conduct business operations with higher noise levels and waste.

There are often subtypes of industrial such as light manufacturing or chemical intensive. There are usually strict safety and environment codes associates with these zones.


Generally, for farming. Restricts non-agricultural use and development.


Mostly homes or building districts over 50 years old. Allow businesses, but have to keep buildings as intact as possible and only certain changes and renovations can be made.


Most prominent in cities. Allows some businesses, but requires buildings and businesses to abide by certain color schemes, landscaping requirements, building restrictions (decks, etc), and more.

Sometimes, a property may have multiple designations, like Residential-Commercial or Commercial-Residential, also known as zoning overlap, which allow owners or occupiers of the opportunity to use it in either way.

#2 – Whether Your Business Is Allowed In This Zone

If you’ve figured out what zone you’re in, congratulations, you just completed the easiest part of the process. Now it gets hard. Most zoning regulations have evolved over a great deal of time through very specific legislation targeting specific city sectors. So most areas have very complex regulations. Just to make it even harder most municipalities have adopted their own shorthand for referencing various allowances and restrictions. You need to cross reference zones with allowance categories and then check on any specific variance to that unit or area.

The first step is to map your zone to allowed uses. For example in New York you find the Zoning District for your zone. You then look up the uses allowed for that district.

Use Groups are found in the district definition

You then look up the Use Group definition. Here’s an example of “Use Groups” in NYC. It’s buried in a Zoning Resolution.

Example of Mapping Zoning Laws to Allowed Businesses

In addition to the base classification there may be special designations allowing or disallowing specific uses.

Sometimes, searching online is not enough. You may need to visit the county recorder’s office to check the covenants for a neighborhood or lot.

#3 – What the Building Requirements Are

Whether you’re building a new building or altering an existing building you need to know the building requirements for your zone. For example zoning laws might dictate a certain Floor Area Ratio (FAR) which is the maximum amount of building square footage for a given lot size.

Floor Area Ratio Calculation

Building zoning laws also cover areas such as parking, walkways – internal and external, required setbacks or distance from the street, and number of rooms allowed.

Building Codes

In addition to building size other building requirements covered by zoning laws there are number of building requirements covered by local building codes. These include:

  • Building administration, e.g. licensing, maintenance, etc.
  • Plumbing codes, e.g. fixtures, water heaters, sanitary drainage, storm drainage, water piping systems, etc.
  • Mechanical codes, e.g. ventilation, boiler and water heaters, solar systems, etc.
  • Fuel gas codes, e.g. gas piping, chimneys, appliances, etc.
  • General building code, e.g. interior finishes, fire protection , exits, building materials, etc.

Americans With Disabilities Act

In addition to zoning ordinances and building codes, all new construction in buildings must conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This Federal law generally covers:

  • Accessible entrances
  • Accessible routes
  • Accessible restrooms
  • Accessible telephones
  • Accessible drinking fountains
  • Accessible parking, storage, and alarms

Check the jurisdiction’s permit database to see if any construction has been done on your space since 1990, when the ADA went in effect. If not, you or your landlord may be responsible for bringing the space up to code.

Applicable ADA standards based on date of construction

Permits Required

If your building or altering a building there’s going to be a slew of permits that you need to acquire. This process may also include a chance for those in the area to challenge your building plans. If there are any permits in process or approved before you acquired the property but have not built yet you may be required to finish those projects as well.

Restrictive Covenants

In addition to any municipal regulations you may be subject to land developer restrictive covenants. This is especially true for leased properties. The developer of the property may have restrictions on what you can do including signage, aesthetics, parking, etc.

In general while it’s good to know what’s in the zoning and building codes your best bet is to work with a licensed contractor who is familiar with building regulations and necessary permits for your zone.

#4 – What the Signage Ordinances Are

Most cities and counties also have separate sign ordinances written into the zoning code that you have to comply with, even if you are in a commercial zone. If you are considering space in a historic office building, the modern sign that you’ve designed for your brand may not be allowed. Sign companies consult these codes when applying for permits, but you should too before signing leases or purchase agreements. Check with your county recorder and zoning committee for more details.

NYC Signage Rules for Commercial Corner-Lot Properties

 When You Can’t Find the Answers

If you’ve combed through all the databases and still aren’t sure what you can or can’t do, it’s time to make a phone call or take a trip to an office. Most planning and zoning offices have analysts available during business hours to answer questions about permit applications. Some jurisdictions will also have record centers available, where a technician can answer questions and even do the research for you. Never hesitate to ask a question. Not asking questions upfront will lead to more headaches, wasted time, and unnecessary spending down the road. But when in doubt get professional help.

Bottom Line: Do Your Research or Hire a Professional

Before you think about moving your business into a commercial property or doing construction on your property make sure you understand the zoning and building ordinances related to your property and business. Or get professional help. Make sure you understand:

  • How your property is zoned
  • What businesses are allowed
  • What the building requirements are
  • What the signage restrictions are

You’d hate to get far into your planning or even start a move or construction only to find out that your out of compliance and all of that work was for naught.

About the Author

Edward Daciuk

Edward Daciuk is a contributor to Fit Small Business and has helped start and build three different technology companies. This includes a fintech startup that raised $20 million in venture capital, went from a PowerPoint to 400 bank and hedge fund customers, and then sold to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He helped launch, the internet arm of Inc. magazine, where he served as CFO and COO. Prior to that, he co-founded Periscope Systems with startup capital from KPMG and sold it to a boutique investment bank.

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