Zoning code violations may result due to the improper use of land or a building. Certain types of activities can only take place in designated "zones," which are defined by state, city, and municipal codes. Most cities divide geographic regions into zones such as: residential, business, industrial, and agricultural. Zoning ordinances are often subject to frequent change.
For instance, if business activity such as product manufacturing is being held in a residential area, this will likely be considered a zoning code violation. Other common examples of zoning code disputes may include:
- Constructing a building that is not allowed in that particular zone
- Building a structure (or an addition to a structure) that is too tall or that obstructs another person’s view or access to light/air space
- Conducting various operations in non-designated areas, including: manufacturing, packaging, selling, growing, labeling, and other business/industrial activities
- Living in spaces that are not designated as residential areas
- Creating amounts of pollution or noise that exceed local limits
There may be many other types of zoning code violations. Every city has different zoning ordinances, and these may be changing all the time. The needs of businesses, industries, and residential areas all need to be balanced in order for the community to run efficiently. This can result in a constant changing of zoning codes throughout the year.
Zoning code violations can result in several different legal consequences, such as fines, revoked operating licenses, and civil charges. Some defenses to zoning code violations include a mistake in fact (for instance, it was a different organization that actually violated the law), an error in reporting data, or a delay in filing suit (for instance, if the city or a neighborhood takes too long in reporting a violation.
As mentioned, zoning codes can be subject to changes throughout the year. One of the best ways to avoid a violation is to be aware of any changes in zoning laws or to hire a lawyer for advice.
Every state and city has its own set of zoning codes. You may wish to hire a real estate lawyer if you have any questions or legal issues involving a zoning code. Your attorney can provide you with the legal information that’s needed to clarify your question. Also, you may wish to hire a lawyer if you need to appear in court due to a zoning code violation. Your attorney can represent you and your organization, and can help ensure that your rights are being protected.