The government has the power to enact zoning laws, or create different “zones” for different types of property uses. Used properly, zoning is meant to promote public health and safety by making sure incompatible land uses—like a school and a power plant—are not too closely situated. But today, abusive and exclusionary zoning largely regulates much of how and where we live. In this way, zoning makes it harder to construct new or affordable housing and erects needless barriers to opening a new business.

What is more, once these zoning laws are in place, the government may sometimes wish to change them. This is called “rezoning,” and it, too, can cause major problems for property owners. That is especially true for those who may have already purchased property, built structures, or opened a business—only to learn later on that they have been rezoned and their use is no longer legal.

If you have experienced any of the following, you could be the victim of zoning abuse:
  • You have been told that your property is not zoned for your desired use;
  • You have been told that your proposed use is compatible with the zoning code, but that your property is too small to accommodate your desired use;
  • You have been told that you must make site improvements—like landscaping or extra parking—that you do not want or need;
Likewise, if you have experienced any of the following, you could be the victim of a re-zoning decision that violates your property rights:
  • You have been told that you will need a special use permit (SUP) or a zoning variance to to use your property;
  • You have been told your property has been classified as a “non-conforming” use;
  • You have been told that you may continue using your property, temporarily, but have been given a deadline by which you must bring the property into compliance with the new zoning laws; or
  • You have been told that your property is being “amortized,” which means that you have been given a specific period of time to recoup your financial investment in your property before you must bring it into compliance with the new zoning laws.

If you are experiencing any of these issues, the Institute for Justice may be able to help you for free. To get started, please fill out the form below.

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