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Old 01-13-2009, 08:47 AM   #1
Elaine Doherty
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Zoning question

Looking to open a new CrossFit facility but have a question about zoning. It seems that whether you are a large globo gym or a small CF facility that you are held to the same zoning for parking spaces per square foot. Has anyone else run into this problem and if so have you figured out a way to recategorize yourself so that you do not have to follow the same guidelines? For example, we were told that we would need to have 10 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet. Thanks for any help you can offer.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:09 AM   #2
Kevin Wood
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Re: Zoning question

Could you pass it off that you're a personal training studio? I remember reading about an affiliate that did that to get around the zoning by-laws.
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:01 AM   #3
Roger Harrell
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Re: Zoning question

You're going to have to work that out with your local planning commissions. Things can be adjusted. Go in, talk to planners, be very detailed in the descriptions of your business. It takes a long time sometimes, and won't always work out in your favor.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:06 PM   #4
Zach Even - Esh
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Re: Zoning question

i opened my gym in an existing facility, which was once some sort of martial arts / body pump gig

i have heard countless times to NEVER talk to zoning and call yourself a gym, call it a personal training studio

noone ever mentioned anything about parking spaces, etc to me

I share a parking lot with a freaking bodybuilding commercial gym, ha ha

also, I heard some towns are tougher than others, so ask local businesses as well before jumping into zoning boards and see what works best

at the same time you'll be generating buzz about what you're about to do, open a gym!

--z--
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Old 01-15-2009, 04:27 AM   #5
Milan Zecevich
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Re: Zoning question

We are going with the personal training angle as well, we made the mistake of talking to zoning about a very nice (albeit excessive) brand new warehouse that was 4k sq ft. Our realtor decided to just call it a gym so he didn't get confused, and that was that. All safety/parking stuff was scaled up by sq ft and made it impossible to realisticaly acquire the building.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:15 AM   #6
Brian Wilson
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Re: Zoning question

We tried the personal training studio and got smacked down. This was after we'd signed the lease and didn't have a zoning clause in the lease (something that says: "If the County won't let you operate here, the lease is broken"). The County had the same requirement of 1 parking spot per 90 sq ft. We had no shot at this as our space has zero parking.

We got around it by finding an obscure clause in the zoning guidelines for places within 1000 ft of the subway - totally saved our bacon.

The whole rub of this was, I checked with the County Zoning Board before we signed the lease, told them the address and location, and they said because of the way the building was classified (C-3 vice C-2, whatever that means) that I wouldn't require parking. It was just when I went back to get the actual Certificate of Occupancy that they said "Oh, sorry, whoever you talked to that said that was wrong, you need parking..."

Bottomline: Get everything in writing. Get a clause in the lease that accounts for zoning issues.
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Old 01-15-2009, 07:39 PM   #7
John Velandra
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Re: Zoning question

Yep.... zoning's a BIG issue. We paid for our layouts, attorneys and even went to City hearing to get shot down. All to the tune of ~ $5K... live and learn
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Old 01-16-2009, 07:10 AM   #8
Camille Lore
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Re: Zoning question

Elaine- you can probably get a reduction in parking spaces required. This may require a trip to the Zoning Board of Adjustment though, which will cost you a bit of $$.
I am a commercial zoning officer. Please let me know what municipality you are looking at and if their ordinances are online. Maybe I can find a hole for you.
While it may be safer to bring an attorney to a ZBA/ZHB meeting with you, it's not required or even necessary sometimes. Send me a PM if you like.
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