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Zoning and land use laws can impact owners’ intentions

| Jul 21, 2020 | Real Estate Disputes |

It can take years for a Texas resident to save enough money for a down payment on a parcel of real property. Depending on where they buy and what they wish to own, their parcel may be a small tract in an urban area of a far-reaching ranch in the wide-open spaces of the state. Real property is diverse in nature and can be used for diverse purposes, and often the ways in which it can be used is dictated by zoning and land use laws.

Zoning and land use laws can be implemented at practically all levels of government. Individual cities and municipalities can impose these laws on land within their borders, and states may adopt certain regulations on how different areas may be developed. Before an individual buys a parcel of real property, it is important that they know how they may use it based on the regulations that affect it.

For example, within a community, different areas may be zoned for different purposes. A city may zone a commercial area for businesses, restaurants, and other areas of commerce. There may be limited locations for mixed business-residential buildings. Outside of the commercial zoning area, the city may limit the use of land to only residential structures. Building and operating businesses within the zone may be prohibited.

Often, on the outskirts of communities, cities allow for agricultural and manufacturing zoning. These types of industries can be noisy as they may involve livestock, heavy machinery, and other large equipment. They often need space for their businesses to grow and may operate on schedules that would disrupt residential and commercial landowners.

Due to the different ways that land can be used, and the interest of communities to group similarly-used parcels together, land use and zoning laws dictate where and how parcels may be developed and managed. However, landowners should know that they may have options for addressing problems when land use and zoning rules conflict with their intended uses for their properties.

In some jurisdictions, landowners may apply for variances to use their properties in ways otherwise not permitted by the applicable zoning and land use rules. A variance does not change the zoning rules for a parcel of property, but effectively gives the landowner a waiver so that they do not have to comply with them. Similarly, when a property owner has been using their property for a particular use and the area in which the property exists is zoned for a separate purpose, the property owner may be able to seek a permit to continue using their land against the new zoning rules.

The ability of a landowner to use their property as they intend is important and can be costly to them if zoning and land use rules prohibit them from sticking to their plans. Assistance with real property legal issues, such as those related to land use and zoning, can be sought from helpful real estate and property attorneys. This post is informational in content and should not be used as legal advice.

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