A conditional use permit (CUP) allows a landowner to use their land in a way not permitted by ordinary zoning regulations. Technically, this is considered “non-conforming use”, as the use does not conform to the zoning ordinance. Schools and religious institutions, such as churches, typically need to get a conditional use permit in order to operate in residential neighborhoods. In addition, home-based businesses also may need a CUP in order to operate in residential areas.
Zoning is the process of segmenting land into zones, each of which permits and prohibits specific land uses. Zoning also regulates elements like the height, density, and design of buildings in certain areas. Understanding zoning as it relates to commercial property is essential for commercial real estate investors and developers, as failing to abide by zoning regulations can be expensive, time consuming, and potentially disastrous.