Help with non-comforming use commercial daycare, Charlotte NC

5 Replies

Hello all.  I have purchased a building in a residential neighborhood (R-5) in Charlotte NC, that was run as a commercial childcare facility for nearly a decade.  Then those folks lost the property to foreclosure.  Zoning is telling me the property has lost it's valuable non-conforming use status as a commercial childcare center because the property has not been used as such for more than 12 months.  I think this is BS--it was not used because it was in foreclosure!  

I could use any help/advice in how to try and get the nice folks down at the city offices to reinstate the commercial childcare status. I want to rent this place out, and I don't need to tell you how much more I can ask in rent if it's allowed as a commercial childcare facility, versus a home childcare facility or, even worse, a SFH or duplex (all of those uses are allowed). To convert it back to anything but it's previous commercial use would require me to restructure at least 30% of the interior, as there are no legal bedrooms as it currently sits.

Thanks in advance.  :)

We bought a similar place. An old mansion with 8 bedrooms, 2 offices and an apartment. It was used for many years by the Catholic Church as a home for wayward girls. It was up to date with all commercial zoning etc etc.

As soon as we bought it the town rezoned it single family residential. Those we flipped it to have been trying for some time to get a variance to at least zone it for a B&B. 

My strategy would be to approach the powers that be & in documenting the request for a variance (to reinstate the commercial designation) mention the fact that commercial tax assessments would be higher. This would certainly benefit the city/town.

Good luck..

I like the way you think, @Pat L.  !  Appeal to their pockets.  

BTW, I see you're from upstate NY.  So am I--I grew up in Schoharie County, but lived in Albany as an adult.

Originally from Australia I still have difficulty resigning myself to the weather up here!!!

Check with the town regarding their affiliation/promotion of young female Entrepreneurs staring a small business. The local SBA may also be able to offer advice or have some clout.

Terri, I don’t think the strategy of emphasizing the increase in tax revenue will get any traction as Mecklenburg County has over 350,000 parcels that are surely valued in excess of several billion dollars. 

Given the Charlotte zoning ordinance's complexity (one of the most difficult I've ever encountered), I would find a civil engineer or land use/zoning attorney who has firsthand experience working with planning dept staff. A short 10-15 minute discussion of your need should clarify whether there’s a reasonable possibility of obtaining approval for your desired use.

FYI: the ordinance defines two types of daycares: a “Childcare Center” can have 13-79 kids; a “Childcare Center in a Residence” can have 6-12. The former is allowed in a large percentage of districts which could work in your favor: multi-family, urban residential, mixed-use conditional, transit oriented development, institutional, research, office, business and even urban industrial/industrial. 

Thanks, @Russ Wallace  .  I was thinking of contacting an attorney who specializes in zoning issues.  This property was allowed to operate as a "commercial childcare center" (with 13-79) kids, even though it is in an R-5 residential district.  I don't know how they had obtained that status, but I want it back!  Thanks for the tips.  Everyone has given me some great info.


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