Zone Planning And Land Use
Zoning and land use planning are governed by both federal and states laws, depending on who has jurisdiction over the subject property. Zoning refers to the local government's permit for specific uses of certain lands. Parcels of land can be designated as commercial, residential, or special. Mixed residential-commercial areas are areas where commerce and residences are grouped together, while special areas are areas allocated for sports complexes, areas, and malls. Land can also be designated as agricultural or industrial. In addition, zoning is also used to designate the types of buildings that can be erected in a certain area. With respect to the construction of buildings and houses, local governments has different requirements.
Zoning laws vary from state to state but the goal is the same -- to separate incompatible property uses. This means that industrial areas are designated certain distance from residential areas to minimize any untowardly incidents that typically happen in industrial zones. In addition, zoning laws are also sensitive as to the needs of the citizens, providing different access roads for industrial trucks and family cars. Zoning is an inherent power of the state, which is why there are numerous legal issues arising from this power. States, in order to provide the basic services needed for its citizens, routinely tramp over the property rights of individuals or private entities. In addition, one of the complaints of citizens with respect to zoning would be social and economic segregation through exclusion. Moreover, there are complaints with respect to taxes as municipalities are able to artificially maintain high housing costs.
One of the most common legal disputes with respect to zone planning and land use would be disputes between neighbors with respect the right to build. It is not uncommon for prospective property buyers to consider the "view" from the property as an essential factor in deciding whether to purchase such property. The "view" increases the value of the property, which is why properties with views are purchased easily. This view, however, can be obstructed because of another person's right to build. All persons are granted the right to build, for as long as the building requirements are complied with. But this right often interferes with another's person privilege. In the suits arising from a neighbor's right to build, it is best to contact an expert land use attorney as there may be intricacies accompanying this dispute that cannot be seen at plain sight by an ordinary property buyer.
Another common legal dispute with respect to zone planning and land use is property easements. There are numerous ways that another person may encroach upon the property of another person without being detected. Often, the property at issue may be a small portion of the property but the cost of litigating the issue may not be commensurate as to the value of the encroached property. The laws provides for various remedies to property owners whose land has been eased upon, with some of the remedies not requiring expensive litigation. It is thus best for property owners to seek the help of a counsel to determine which remedy to pursue in order to avoid costly litigation.