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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

How local land use laws may affect home-based businesses

Many entrepreneurs want to by-pass some of the expense and difficulty of securing a location in Michigan for their business by running their start-up out of their home. For some types of businesses, this may be an option. However, zoning laws may prevent some residential properties from being used for commercial purposes.

According to, it is essential for people to check the restrictions on land use in their municipality. In some cases, there may be no need for action if the primary use of the property is residential. Common restrictions include the number of vehicles allowed to park at or near the property, how many clients or customers may visit the property daily and the use of signage.

Even if there is a zoning ordinance that prohibits commercial activity in a residential area, an entrepreneur may be able to acquire a permit that allows him or her to operate from home without applying to rezone the property.

The Michigan Townships Association explains that the focus of local land use laws is to prevent conflicts in the community and preserve the appearance and other features that residents deem important. So, zoning ordinances are developed to keep incompatible land uses separate from each other.

Recently, though, many municipalities have begun to change how they segregate usage because allowing companies to establish commercial properties near residential properties promotes more walkability in communities—a feature that has increasingly become important to residents.

Municipalities create master plans to determine where types of land use are most likely to maximize the area’s assets, opportunities and needs. In developing a master plan, a local government will also consider infrastructure improvements and market forces.