If you are contemplating establishing your business in Highland Township (even in an existing building or strip mall) please discuss your potential location with Planning Department staff prior to signing a lease or purchase agreement.
No new use or change of use for a building, structure or land may be established unless a Land Use Permit is first issued. When you apply for a Land Use Permit, staff will review your proposed use and location and determine first if the use is permissible under the current zoning. If you have selected a properly zoned location, staff then reviews any approved site plan on file, alongside the current zoning ordinance, and compares it to conditions on site to determine what, if any, improvements might be needed to bring the site into compliance with the Ordinance (or approved site plan if those requirements are less stringent).
The items most frequently idenitifed are missing landscape materials, lighting that has been modified to no longer comply with the ordinance, missing directional or parking signs and striping, and dumpster enclosures. A site that has been well maintained or has recently had a change of tenant may need little or no improvement. The cooperation of the business community in this process makes for an attractive community!
Once staff has identified any needed improvements, you will be offered the opportunity to complete the work prior to occupancy, or will be allowed to post a performance guarantee and negotiate a schedule for improvements. Staff can also help you in understanding your options and opportunities for temporary and permanent signage.
Under certain circumstances, you may be required to seek a change of use approval from the Planning Commission, or seek a Special Land Use Approval. Planning Staff is prepared to assist you in understanding and navigating the approval process.
Click here for the Land Use Application form and excerpts of the Zoning Ordinance.