Zoning & Land Use
Navigate Zoning Laws with a Land Use Attorney
While not a topic most people regularly consider, zoning plays a very large role in our everyday lives. Where you work, where you live, and even where you enjoy a peaceful day at the park are (in part) all decided by zoning. Zoning occurs when a local government divides property and designates classifications for how each parcel of real estate may be used. Many considerations go into these land use decisions, such as plans for future growth of the area, how that growth is best accomplished, and how to best insure property owners do not conflict with one another’s land usage.
The most common zoning classifications are:
Often, the negative aspects of zoning are focused on, as zoning is in essence the act of restricting how a property owner may develop their land. Local zoning boards work to determine the best balance between available space and the needs of the community. Building an apartment complex (a residential structure) between two industrial factories would likely cause a multitude of land use issues, including noise complaints from residents not to mention potential health concerns due to industrial pollution output by the factories. Likewise, erecting a playground in the middle of a dense commercial area may pose a risk to children if heavy traffic and construction is commonplace.
Building codes work hand-in-hand with zoning laws. Many typical zoning disputes are, in reality, building or construction disputes. These may include:
- How or if signage may be displayed
- How many parking spaces and/or their configuration a business must have
- How tall a building may be
Even parcels of land that are in the same class may be zoned differently. Of two adjacent residential parcels, one may be zoned for single-family homes, and the other for multiple-family structures such as condos or apartments. Zoning codes can be quite specific, regulating details such as how far a structure must be from the street, number of rooms within a structure, and even the size of said rooms.
Before you buy a parcel of property, make sure you know how it is zoned. While classifications can be changed, the effort, time, and money you will have to invest are considerable and may leave you with a piece of land unsuitable for your goals. Consult a land use attorney before making that risky purchase. You don’t have to face a zoning dispute alone. At Bogin, Munns & Munns, our real estate and zoning attorneys have experience handles zoning disputes including easements, variances, and subdivisions.
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