Toledo, Ohio is a great place to open a business. It has many attractive qualities including an urban population and many up and coming areas that are in the process of being redesigned and reopened for retail business. Real estate developers and anyone that has an interest in opening a new business in Toledo should know about the local zoning codes and how and when to apply for a zoning change through the City of Toledo Plan Commission. The Plan Commission provides guidance for land use decisions based on the city's 20/20 Comprehensive Plan.
If an area was previously zoned for office use and you want to open a retail store, it will need rezoning in order to accommodate the new use. In the downtown area, the most flexible zoning designation for commercial use is Downtown Commercial (CD). This allows for a variety of uses including office, industrial, civic, retail or residential. In order to accomplish the rezoning of a building or land, your request must first be evaluated by Plan Commission staff to ensure that the rezoning matches with the uses and plans described in the 20/20 Comprehensive Plan. Below is a brief glimpse into the process from start to finish.
The Rezoning Process: Step-By-Step
1. An application is first submitted to the Toledo Planning Commission along. You'll need to submit the physical application as well as the legal parcel description saved as a Word document on a flash drive to the Planning Commission. Head to One Government Center in downtown Toledo and sign in with your government issued ID. Take the elevator up to the 16th floor, suite 1620. Bring the completed application, flash drive and a check to pay the $300 application fee. It is worth pointing out that on-street metered parking is free on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
2. A sign from the Planning Commission is then issued and placed in the window or posted to the exterior of the location in question. The Planning Commission will call you to let you know when the sign is ready for pick up. You will be provided with specific posting instructions when you receive the sign.
3. Next, the applicant must attend a Toledo Planning Commission hearing in city council chambers. The Planning Commission staff presents its formal recommendation for the proposed zoning change and the applicant presents his or her case for the change. The applicant must answer questions under oath regarding the proposed rezoning at the hearing. Members of the community may attend the meeting and speak for or against the requested zoning change.
4. Once the Planning Commission grants their approval, the proposal moves forward to a review by the Toledo City Council Zoning and Planning Committee. The applicant must attend yet another hearing and present his or her case to the Toledo City Council members serving on the committee. The public is also welcome to make comments at this time.
5. If approved by the Zoning and Planning Committee, the applicant may remove the sign at the proposed site and the process is complete!
The whole process takes approximately 10 to 12 weeks from the first step. Anyone interested in opening a business that needs rezoning should begin researching the zoning in the area, and applying for a zoning change if necessary, as soon as possible. For more information about opening a business in the downtown Toledo area or for more help with understanding zoning changes, contact us.