Land Use Litigation
Land Use Litigation
Land use litigation broadly describes both the local appeal of zoning decisions or permit denials within the municipal or county government and the review of such local decisions in state and federal courts.
Such decisions affect everything from the extension of a carport into a side yard setback to the zoning approval of a $100 million commercial development. Are you in a boundary dispute with your neighbor? Do you find your sister will not sell her portion of your mother’s home?
Finding your real estate tied up at the whims of another is emotional and costly. Our firm can assist you with these matters.
In many states, administrative permit decisions and zoning ordinance interpretations by local officials are appealed to the Board of Adjustment, which also determines whether variances from local ordinance requirements should be granted. Depending on the state and local government, other types of decisions are appealed from a lower administrative or board level to the Board of Adjustment or the elected body (Board of Aldermen, City Council, County Commission, etc.) such as denials of subdivision plans, special use permits, building permits, local environmental permits, variances, and zoning aesthetic standards. Historic District Commissions (or similarly named boards dealing with neighborhoods covered by one or more types of historic statuses) typically hear appeals from property owners whose request to make certain structural alterations has been denied.
Some local government decisions are administrative in nature and involve an objective determination of whether an application complies with regulations. The elected body typically makes legislative decisions using broadly granted powers to consider matters within their discretion.
Our long-term relationships with local boards and inspectional service managers give you the benefit of a likely positive outcome.
Quasi-judicial decisions, more common among Boards of Adjustment but also employed at the elected body level in some states, involve the application of courtroom procedures to control the types of evidence considered so that the board appropriately makes findings of fact and conclusions of law.
As a general rule, all local government decisions can be and are appealed to state courts once local appeals are exhausted. Federal courts rarely hear land-use decisions unless a constitutional issue is involved.
These same courts control landlord and tenant disputes. Our firm call also assists with this type of Land Use litigation.
Contact our firm to discuss your legal needs.