Understanding Land Use Laws and Zoning Requirements

What Exactly Are Land Use Laws?

Primarily enacted to protect the environment, land use laws govern how individuals can use specific parcels of property, regardless of if they are privately owned. Land use laws vary from state to state, and the governing of and modifications of these laws are administered by municipalities within these states.

In addition to determining how and when property owners may use these parcels, these state and local governing bodies make determinations concerning easements (other parties may access private land for specific purposes), and eminent domain (a government entity may appropriate private land for a specific purpose). Rules that specifically indicate how land in certain areas may be used is referred to as zoning (i.e. in this “zone” there can be certain kinds of homes, businesses, etc.)

The Pluses and Minuses of These Regulations

Effectively administered land laws and zoning regulations result in a land use balance that reduces pollution, overcrowding, waste, and traffic. It can also enhance property values for owners and encourage sustainable community growth. But poorly understood and administered land laws can to lead to abuses and discrimination against certain groups of people. Many times these issues occur because individuals are unaware of their rights under these laws.

How Lawyers Can Help

Landowners often don’t know that zoning variances can be applied for to allow more flexible use of property. Because of the many complexities of land use under the law, the assistance of a land use attorney should always be sought. These attorneys can:

  • establish zoning ordinances on parcels for clients
  • help clients acquire zoning variances
  • help clients resolve boundary issues and land disputes
  • help clients acquire and file permits for land use
  • help clients acquire or dispute easement rights
  • help clients fight eminent domain claims

In hiring a Palm Springs land use and zoning attorney for their property needs, clients are assured of a lawyer who is familiar with the requirements and restrictions of the area, and who knows how to apply them to the best advantage of clients. That’s why individuals shouldn’t hesitate to contact such an attorney when dealing with matters involving land use laws and zoning.