View Full Version : Haunts in residential zones... Rezone? Special Use?

Dark Tiki Studios
03-04-2013, 10:52 PM
How many of you PRO haunters out there have your haunt in a location that is zoned Residential (or was originally zoned Residential)? Did you get the city to rezone it to "Commercial"? Or did you get some kind of special permit to operate your haunt seasonally on Residential property? Any stories along these lines would be of great help. I know farm land is typically zoned commercial, but it's quite possible to buy residentially zoned property that is 5 acres, 10 acres, or larger (at least in my local area). I'm in the market for a house, and I'm also interested in starting an outdoor pro haunt (I've been working up to it for 4 years now), and I'm wondering if I can "kill two birds with one stone" by buying a house with significant acreage? There are a few in my price range locally. To be clear, I don't want to haunt my home, but I would gladly live on the same site as the outdoor haunt(s). Thank you for your time!

03-05-2013, 08:53 AM
Most likely you would have to go with a special use permit because the city will want to make sure they have control if they feel you are out of line. You would be required to get a permit every year so if the residence of the area complain they would have a way of shutting you down. This would still be a tough permit to get due to the fact that a city will be looking closely at parking and sound issues. A old school or a area where niebors are not very close, parking is what shuts down most home haunts when they start getting too big. People don't want the noise and rude people parking in front of there houses in residential areas, hell I get pissed of when the kid next door has all his friend over for a party. Good luck.


Dark Tiki Studios
03-05-2013, 11:13 AM
We're definitely talking about a rural area... Think of a farm-type property that isn't actually a farm.

Dark Tiki Studios
03-11-2013, 07:11 AM
I'm bumping this up, in hopes of getting more replies now that TW is over.

Greg Chrise
03-17-2013, 10:46 AM
I looked at the overhead view of Mount Pleasant Michigan and what I am seeing is larger farms and very few lots being developed at the 5 to 10 acre level. No matter what deeds and rules say, the people that have purchased a 5 acre gentleman farm lot have been sold the idea of total quiet and a nice place to live and starting to set up a haunted house is not what they had in mind so there WILL be bitching and trying to figure out how to stop you.

Even if everyone for 2 miles in every direction says they are fine with that, there is always one that just isn't having that and wasn't able to be found or asked in the beginning because they are kind of insane.

So in those police pulling up asking about noise and permits and times and complaints and you have to shut down at 10 and all those problems, spending hours trying to comply with some conversation that shouldn't be taking place at all, you are much better off to go further out and lease a few acres from larger farms that are probably 80 to 125 acre lots. Not buy property, lease property. Not residential, agricultural and everything set up to be moveable and temporary.

Google maps is only something to give an idea of where things are and how towns have developed. You have to drive out into the wilderness and see if there are any signs and get a feel for how much you lease a lot to have cows or horses. I have had as much as 17 acres for $400 a month but these days is seems to be a magical $1000 per month to be worth someone's while to have a few acres.

Everything I'm seeing in the overhead google pictures is that the whole town is free of toxic waste dumps and industrial crap, everything is manicured and has a certain vibe to probably not wanting junk anywhere. So the big overall attitude is to own who keeps up the property and cleans up the mess in the end. Plus once you accumulate lots and lots of stuff, where would it all be taken to and stored if a land owner dies or sells out to a developer. Or if you are capable of buying you need to buy the larger acreage and be able to maintain it.

If you can find a lot with lots of wooded areas, the noise problem is taken care of naturally. I'm not seeing a lot of 8,000 SF buildings that could be rented and a very small industrial area. Still the way to start out or continue to operate might feel transient and lots of extra work but makes a profit rather than a credit rating on some computer.

No matter what you end up doing it is lots and lots of work. It is a matter of how sustainable it is and how long a location would serve you. Conversely there is also what the neighbors change out to be once you have gone to some place for many years can also be a problem. You have to drive around and find some place where maybe the current land owner is not able to properly take care of their lot and this becomes a godsend deal for them. There might not be a sign or any intention to ask for help and you have to initiate that deal.

Dark Tiki Studios
03-17-2013, 10:23 PM
Thank you for your advice! The neighbor problem is my number one concern with trying to get a special permit for a residential zone, even out in the rural area. I've been working on building the show---Because all the old pros say to constantly be building and working towards your goal... But at some point I have to overcome the location obstacle. With no location, there can be no haunt.

Last week I made initial contact with someone who staged a warehouse haunt here in 2010 and 11. It was actually a surprisingly good haunt... But the marketing was almost non-existent. My sources tell me that all his haunt stuff is for sale now, and I even heard its still set up at the warehouse. Should be interesting to hear what he has to say. I've always been more interested in doing an outdoor haunt, but who knows?

Judging by the minimal amount of responses I've received to this thread, I'm guessing people haven't had a lot of luck with rezonimg or special use permits.