Zoning vs building code requirements illustrated in Reddit post involving warehouse business operations


Well-known member
Jul 9, 2023
A user on Reddit who lives in Roanoke, VA has shared a predicament which involves a Change of Use permit to lease a warehouse zoned as I-1 or light industrial for the packaging, bottling and labelling of Gin. The permit was insisted on by The local Department of Building Safety citing the previous use of the space as storage, the permit was costing around $5000.

The situation has now sparked discussions in regard to distinguishing between zoning and building codes. Zoning which pertains to the designated use of the property is not something that aligns with building codes. Building codes ensure the buildings that are being used meet specific construction and safety standards. A property's zoning allows for a particular use but the building itself may not comply with the necessary codes for which the building is being used.

Commentators and the user have highlighted the discrepancy by suggesting that understanding both zoning and building codes is crucial to avoid any kind of conflicts and to ensure compliance.

For more information on this, you can read about it here
Roanoke, Virginia, United States
I really liked Reddit user DnWeava's explanation for why this is a building code compliance/change of use situation that doesn't have anything to do with zoning:
Zoning and building codes are not the same thing. A single family house may be in a commercial zone but that doesn't mean you can open a restaurant in that house without getting a change of occupancy permit which would require bringing that building up to code for being a restaurant.
The predicament in Roanoke, VA, serves as a valuable reminder of the critical distinction between zoning regulations and building codes. It's understandable that the Department of Building Safety insisted on a Change of Use permit for the warehouse's transformation into a gin production facility. While the $5000 cost may be steep, it's necessary to ensure safety and compliance. This case underscores the importance of comprehending both zoning and building codes to prevent conflicts and ensure that property use aligns with safety standards.

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.