Zoning Contingencies in Commercial Real Estate Purchase Agreements

While it is commonly held that land use and zoning analysis for a new development – or new use of an existing development – should begin during the site selection process, there is a common misconception that only the owner of a property can seek a rezoning or other land use approvals.  Actually, a prospective purchaser can apply for a rezoning, special use permit or variance with the current owner’s written consent.


If it is necessary to rezone or obtain other required government approvals to enable the desired use of a chosen site, the purchaser should include such a contingency in the real estate purchase contract.  This will provide for an easy contract exit in the event that the rezoning or other land use approvals are denied and another site needs to be selected.

When including any such contingency in a real estate purchase agreement, it is critical to anticipate the time frames involved in obtaining the necessary approvals. Providing for too short a period in which to obtain the approvals can result in the loss of the deal or payments of closing delay penalties.

The attorneys of KDDK provide a full-service experience in assisting clients with site selection, zoning and planning analysis, negotiating and drafting the real estate purchase agreement, and closing the deal.

For additional information on land use planning or any area of real estate law, please contact Maria L. Bulkley at mbulkley@KDDK.com or (812) 423-3183, or contact any member of the KDDK Real Estate Law Practice Team.

About the Author

Maria L. Bulkley, Indiana Attorney
Maria Bulkley

Maria L. Bulkley, a Partner at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP, in Evansville, Indiana, practices in the areas of business law, real estate development, land use planning, mediation and family law. She assists clients with the local government processes connected with land use and real estate development and negotiates encroachment agreements, easement agreements, economic development incentives, and other agreements essential to real estate development. Maria represents individuals and businesses in real estate takings cases. She serves as a mediator for domestic relations and general civil matters, and is trained and experienced in Collaborative Family Practice. In addition, Maria represents clients in family law matters with an emphasis on dissolutions of marriage involving complex marital estates.

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