Opening a Liquor Store – Who is Responsible for Zoning Issues?

“When you lease a new store should the developer disclose if the store can be opened for a spirits shop (liquor store)? I went through the whole process of opening a new business and was ready to go before the liquor board and found out five days prior that the property was not zoned correctly for this type of store.”

When you are planning on opening a new business, it is your responsibility to make sure that the property on which you are planning to locate your business is zoned properly for the business you have chosen. It would be impossible for a developer to anticipate all of the possible uses for a commercial property on which they worked, nor should they be expected to read the mind of a future tenant.

All that said, if you proactively asked the developer whether opening a liquor store was an acceptable use of the property in terms of zoning, and if the developer told you that it absolutely was, then you might have some opportunity for recourse, but even there, as the prospective business owner, it was your responsibility to either check for potential zoning issues, or to designate someone to do so for you.

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