You need to work with a local attorney whom is well versed in zoning changes. Do not try and handle it yourself as there are many pitfalls that using common sense will not get you to your goal and in fact quite likely will lead you to a dead end without a chance to try again. For example, look at the pitfall questions I found on a zoning change request form...and there are ways to effectively get through them with the assistance of an attorney experienced in zoning change who knows how your particular zoning committee operates and who knows the local laws to utilize to your advantage :
1. A unique physical condition exists within or adjacent to the subject tract or structure(s) located thereon which distinguishes it from other similarly situated, and which creates an exceptional hardship, difficulty, or inequity that would result from literal enforcement of the ordinance;
2. The condition or characteristic noted above is not caused by an action of the property owner, occupant, or applicant;
3. The variance is the minimum amount necessary to allow a reasonable use of the property;
4. The sole reason for the variance is not a desire of the owner, occupant, or applicant for increased financial gain or reduced financial hardship;
5. The variance will not adversely affect public health or safety, and will not substantially or permanently interfere with the appropriate use of adjacent conforming property in the same district; and,
6. The variance will not alter the essential character of the zoning district within which the subject property is located, and is in harmony with the intent and purposes of the zoning ordinance.
Speak with the city zoning clerk. What you want is to know their recommendation of which attorney is good and experienced in zoning changes but since they are not allowed to provide any recommendations of the sort you would need to ask the question creatively. My suggestion to accomplish that is to ask the zoning clerk who are some of the attorneys that handle zoning changes that they see most frequently at their counter.
You or your legal representative will need to go in front of a committee perhaps several times which can take a few months and may need to respond to their liking with perhaps some challenging questions so preparation is critical. I suggest you sit in on a zoning meeting or two to get a sense of what you can anticipate. Best of luck.
May 26, 2016