People develop and purchase real estate with ambitious ideas of how to develop it. But simply owning property doesn’t give the person unlimited freedoms to do whatever they wish. State laws and local ordinances provide guidance on how property is used and govern an area’s development. Often, owners don’t agree with how laws apply to their property, leading to a zoning dispute.
Zoning disputes are complicated procedural and legal processes and if handled improperly, can result in decisions that could negatively affect the property owner. If you are a respondent or petitioner involved in a zoning dispute, consider consulting with an attorney to avoid costly mistakes and protect your rights.
There are multiple types of zoning issues that can arise, however, below are a few of the more common disputes:
Nonconforming use – Some owners don’t research before developing property and use the property in a way that does not comply with local ordinances. As an example, an owner may not be able to operate a business from an area that is zoned residential unless the property qualifies for an exception.
Building restrictions – Zoning laws restrict how many buildings can be built on a parcel and also the size of a building.
Variance requests – A property owner asks the local zoning authority to make an exception to the zoning ordinance for a building type they plan to erect or for an activity they intend to pursue. Sometimes, when neighboring property owners are alerted to this request, disputes arise when the neighbors object to the proposed use.
Setback disputes – Zoning ordinances set how much distance there is between buildings and the property line. A zoning dispute may arise when a property owner builds a shed, garage, or another type of structure without approval.
Depending on the type of dispute, you may be able to come to a resolution through negotiation and conversation. If that’s not possible, then you may have to proceed through the legal process, which might involve a hearing in front of a local board. Aggrieved parties may appeal the board’s determination to a local court if the hearing’s outcome is not in their favor.
The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio assist business owners with zoning ordinance issues. To speak with an attorney, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.