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How Zoning Laws Hurt Small Businesses

It’s no secret that small business have a multitude of laws, regulations, and red tape to go through in order to operate legally. 

Some companies choose to ignore these. Some companies choose the moral route and follow all applicable regulations. Can you guess which one gets away with more? Hint: It’s not the moral, legal companies. 

Zoning regulations is not something that the average homeowner thinks about, unless of course you want to put up a fence, plant trees, let your grass grow too long, etc. Basically if you want to do anything regarding your house, the local government can establish rules to restrict you.

It’s even worse for small business owners who choose to follow the rules. Each local government entity can pick and choose what zoning regulations they want, and if they even want to enforce it. And if you want a variance, be prepared to spend thousands of dollars on lawyer fees to get permission. 

In our service area, the worst offender is Warwick township. For a contractor wanting to run their business from their home, you are required to have over 2 acres of land, you are restricted to one non-relative employee, one commercial truck, and all business activities must be conducted out of sight. You must also receive permits for a home based business and a permit to be a contractor. However, since we were given a notice to vacate in 2018, A company who we will not name continues to violate each of these zoning regulations without repercussion. There are numerous others as well who disregard these regulations as well. 

So why does this matter so much to us? To put it bluntly, we have to raise our prices to pay for very expensive land leases and lawyer fees to keep the local governments off our backs. 

There are two more notable cases in the county’s recent history. Victory Gardens has been fighting Warrington Township for years now for their use of a farm to prepare,recycle, and sell mulch. 

Tabora Farms has been fighting Hilltown township for numerous years as well. The township’s demands were so disgusting that the local state representative had to step in and pass a bill in the state legislature to help Tabora keep their doors open. 

Zoning regulations are a hidden cost to consumers. Businesses have to include that in their overhead costs in order to stay open. So in reality, you, the consumer are paying for the overreach of local governments and their corruptness in choosing which laws to enforce and onto whom.