Land use laws commonly involve zoning laws that govern the development of real estate.
The federal government typically does not directly regulate the zoning of property. Instead, local and state governments are in charge of regulating the use of property in their local communities. However, the federal government does indirectly influence how land use regulated by how it distributes money for state and local projects.
Four entities have authority over how land is used:
Zoning is the way property is divided into zones such as:
These zones are typically separated from each other and include further laws on:
A landowner should obtain a copy of the zoning map and ordinances where their land is located. The government office overseeing the zone area typically have a copy of the map. Check the map for zone designation. Designations include zones like agricultural and cumulative.
If this happens, a landowner generally has some options. They can apply for a zoning variance, which allows them to the land in a way it was not originally intended. This requires a landowner to show that they will incur serious financial problems if the variance is not approved.
Request a permit. This is called a conditional or special permit because it allows a landowner to use the land in a way it is not zoned for. The permit expires when the land is sold or transferred.
Determine whether the land is considered non-conforming use. A landowner does not have to conform property to new zoning laws.
Land use laws are complicated. It is highly recommended that you contact a real estate lawyer about any land use concerns you have.
Last Modified: 07-21-2015 03:25 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.