Zoning restrictions can have a dramatic impact on the property owner's ability to utilize their land how they want. As a result, it is helpful for property owners burdened by a zoning regulation that is in conflict with their intended use of the property to be familiar with the different options that may be available for zoning relief.
One option is to request a variance. There are two types of variances landowners can request for zoning relief. One type addresses the use of the land and the other type addresses the structures built on the land. When requesting either type of variance, the property owner must demonstrate that conforming to the zoning requirement would create an undue hardship for them. In some situations, there may also be a requirement that the variance not be detrimental to the public interest.
In general, when challenging a zoning regulation there are also two methods of doing that. One method is to challenge it based on the procedure used to adopt the zoning ordinance. In some places, there may be a requirement that the zoning regulations conform to a master plan. When the zoning ordinance does not conform to the master plan, it may be possible to challenge it on that basis. In addition, the U.S. Constitution prohibits an unlawful taking of property which requires that the property owner have due process when property is taken. Additionally, federal law also requires that any taking of property must be for public use and the property owner must be fairly compensated for the taking.
Land use law provides important options and resources for property owners concerned with property regulations, including zoning ordinances which can dramatically impact the use of their property. Land use law, however, can be complex and it is important to understand the laws in your state, as well as federal laws, which is why careful and trained guidance to help with a zoning issue can be helpful.