I commented the following in response to a post by Jess.
To set the scene:
My son thought he'd do a house flip. He's a registered builder and a realtor.
What a nightmare.
He found a house for $10k. Opened the door and found a flooded basement with a broken pipe for who knows how long.
He rebuild a foundation wall.
Repoured the basement slab.
Thoroughly remodeled the interior.
New wiring. New High Efficiency furnace and water heater.
Removed the chimney.
Resided the exterior.
New windows and cabinetry.
A very nice house now, it turns out it is zoned commercial, surrounded by similar houses (also zoned commercial) whose property value has gone up due to his renovation.
My son is trying to get a zoning variance so that if the house he is trying to sell should burn, the new owner can rebuild as a residence, since they rezoned his property commercial as part of "The Master Plan".
If the house should burn, since it is in a commercial zoning district, there is no guarantee that he can rebuild a residence. Even though the property was a residence and is amongst other residential homes.
Every meeting he goes to, every official he talks to refers him to the same person, who continually tells him he cannot get a variance until the house actually burns down, whereupon there is a good chance the new owner (if the new owner can actually get financed under these conditions to buy the place) will get a variance.
But the variance cannot be given in advance, and they refuse to rezone in deference to "The Master Plan".
It sounds so socialist.