View Full Version : Zoning restrictions and how to move forward

06-17-2015, 04:37 PM
Hello all,

I am a new member so if I am doing something incorrect, please let me know!

On Friday we heard the worst news possible for our new cafe location, it is zoned incorrectly. Before we moved the cafe we called the city to see the zoning which they said it was EX commercial, and the landlord stated in our lease that it is zoned correctly for a cafe. We found out that it is zoned EX commercial office instead of retail. We have it in the lease with the landlords signature that it is zoned correctly and could take the landlord to litigation, but we would like to avoid that if possible. We just want to open our business :(

To change zoning to a2(commercial retail) would cost $1-10k plus one wall is not reinforced(would have to be replaced), and there has been a ton of work in the building that is not permitted over the years. Is there a way that I could change my business model to fit into the current office zoning but still sell coffee? For example, if I ground my own coffee and labeled my business as a coffee grinding business?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. We have finished 90% of our build out and are out $10-15k into this property plus we could have sold our previous cafe as a turnkey..
We are located in Portland, OR if that makes a difference when looking at zoning.

06-19-2015, 05:19 PM
Is 1-10k out of your budget range? It doesnt seem too much really, thats about how much it costs for the zoning these days. I'm going through something very similiar. I would advise not to change your business model or mess around with that. You should be setting up your business for success and building it up the correct way. If you dont get the right zoning now and get by for now, great, but in the long run it can cause a lot of more problems and headaches. My suggestion is to go with the repairs that are needed and make sure you get the zone you need. Perhaps get the landlord to cover a part of it since he told you wrong information.

FYI, you dont really have a case on the landlord. Its your duty to check with the county before signing any paperwork... whatever the landlord says you have to doublecheck as they could always be wrong. You could always scare him into a lawsuit but you dont have much of a case in my opinion.

07-21-2015, 05:01 PM
Sounds like you really got stuck into a bad situation. I, however, work with a company that will allow you to consult with an attorney specifically for this situation to give you the best advice on how to handle this situation.