South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Model Home Used as Sales Office Violates Zoning Ordinance
Description Iowa high court held that for a home builder to use a model home as a sales office in a single-family residential area where businesses were not permitted was a violation of the city zoning ordinance as a commercial enterprise.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Zoning; Business; Residential Area; Violation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Regency built a model home in a residential subdivision in Ames, Iowa. The home was for potential buyers to see a finished unit and was staffed by an employee of Regency. The city issued a citation against Regency for violating a zoning ordinance by "permitting a commercial use of premises located in a residential zoning district by allowing the premises to be used for a place to facilitate commercial transactions." The trial court held for the city; Regency appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. The developer's use of a model home violates the zoning ordinance prohibiting commercial use of premises. Although the building was designed as a single-family dwelling, its use as such was delayed while it was operated as a sales office to sell other homes in the development.

Citation City of Ames v. Regency Builders, Inc., --- N.W.2d --- (2002 WL 31519595, Sup. Ct., Iowa, 2002)

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