We receive calls all the time from frustrated property owners who have found themselves at odds with local officials over whether their land use—be it commercial, religious, or residential—is permitted at their property. These conflicts can quickly escalate when neighboring property owners get involved and start demanding action from local officials. While these issues occasionally stem from a misunderstanding of what is occurring on the property or a mischaracterization of the land use in question, they can also occur when a property owner either fails to read or misreads the applicable zoning and land use regulations.
Modern zoning and land use regulations are far more complex than they were just ten years ago. They have expanded in both scope and depth. Whether your land use is prohibited, permitted, or conditionally permitted may depend on an analysis of the following:
-a municipality’s master or comprehensive plan
-the current zoning map
-overlay zoning requirements
-planned unit development requirements
-a future land use map
-the relevant zoning district regulations
-prior zoning permits and approvals for the specific property
-the municipality’s off-street parking requirements
And this is not even a comprehensive list of the types of land use regulations which may be in play.
Property owners that try to navigate this complex regulatory web alone often get in trouble. They often end up spending far more time and money getting out of trouble than they would have spent retaining a competent land use attorney to help them navigate the land use regulations on the front end. Unfortunately, even zoning officials sometimes provide property owners inaccurate information. In the end, no one wants to receive a cease-and-desist letter or wind up in court over something that could have been avoided in the first place.
If you need help navigating your local zoning and land use regulations, please let us know. We have handled a wide variety land use and zoning matters, and we are here to help.