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Planning a new business location in the greater Oakland area

Running your own business requires a lot of knowledge and personal investment. Whether you have already operated a successful business in another location, developed a business out of your home and now need to expand to a different facility, or have a business plan that you want to put into action, you will need to make sure that you comply with state and local laws.

In addition to developing your business plan, you will need to get permits and licenses for your business depending on the services or products you intend to offer. You will need to ensure that the location where you intend to operate your business has the right zoning for the operations you intend to perform there.

Oakland wants to encourage business investment without hurting locals

Zoning and planning are critical functions performed by local authorities. The intent behind zoning restrictions is the desire to protect the investment that people make in their homes and businesses by preventing construction or business operations that would damage the community.

For example, an industrial pork processing plant would produce both environmental and aesthetic impacts on the nearby community that could reduce property values and further community investment. In addition to increased traffic from staff members coming to and from their shifts and transportation companies bringing in live pigs and leaving with processed pork products, there would also potentially be loud noises, bright lights and unsavory smells.

All of these issues could affect nearby businesses that need to attract customers or homeowners who can't enjoy their yards anymore due to smells or traffic. Zoning and planning regulations help ensure that the investments made by individuals already living or working in a community won't wind up undermined or destroyed by new business operations in the area.

Proper research can make it easier to move forward with your business

When you pick a location for moving, developing or expanding your company, it's important to look not just at prices for rental property or real estate purchases but also at the likelihood of local approval of your business operations. In fact, you may need to fund an environmental impact report to move forward with construction.

The process of submitting a zoning application can be both expensive and time-consuming. It makes more sense to choose a location whose zoning currently fits your needs or whose community is excited about the prospect of your business than to try to change zoning or convince the community that your company can offer benefits to residents already in the area.

However, given how competitive the real estate market can be in Alameda county, applying for a zoning variance or change could also make sense if the zoning is the only issue with a potential business location. Make sure that whatever approach you take, you consider the financial and practical consequences before you act.

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