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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in Ohio

In Dayton, Ohio, there are laws which determine what can and can't be done on given parcels of land. These laws get pretty involved sometimes, and aren't always very accessible to laypersons. This article should serve as a good overview of these laws.

Municipal governments which practice zoning typically follow a similar scheme: the town or city is divided up into "zones," or areas in which particular types of use are permitted. For example, the downtown area might be zoned for commercial and office use, and perhaps for large, multi-unit apartment buildings. The surrounding areas will typically be zoned for residential and small-scale commercial use, and the outskirts zoned for manufacturing and other heavy industry.

Zoning serves several different purposes - but it its main one is to increase or preserve property values by ensuring that conflicting uses don't result in legal disputes. Obviously, if you bought a house in a residential neighborhood, and your neighbor could simply convert his property into a steel mill, your property's value as a residential lot would decrease significantly.

Zoning laws generally acknowledge the necessities of things like factories, sewage treatment plants, and stockyards, but recognize that such activities shouldn't be conducted in residential areas.

What if My Property Violates Dayton, Ohio's Zoning Laws?

You have quite a few options if you find that a planned or current use of your property violates Dayton, Ohio's zoning regulations.

It should be noticeable that the first option you should consider is to correct the violation. If doing this wouldn't cost you very much, or pose a major inconvenience, you should obviously do this.

Of course, simply fixing a zoning violation isn't always affordable or easy, and may interfere with your planned use of your property. For example, you might have just undertaken a significant remodeling of your home, and later found out that some small part of it technically doesn't conform to Dayton, Ohio's zoning laws. If this happens to you, you can apply to your local zoning board for what's known as a "variance." This is simply a decree by the zoning board that the particular rule your property violates no longer applies. The Supreme Court has held that local zoning boards have to grant variances when the violation is very minor, and enforcing the ordinance would be unduly burdensome and not in the public interest.

You also have significant protections if a zoning law changes, and you find that the land you've been living on for years is suddenly in violation of the new law. In general, zoning laws cannot apply to structures and uses which were built or commenced before the law was changed. Under the U.S. Constitution, it's not permissible for state or local governments to pass laws which have retroactive effect. You should know, however, that any future changes you make to your property will have to comply with the new zoning law.

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How Can a Dayton, Ohio Attorney Help?

If you are in the process of physically altering your property, you are almost certain to face some issues having to do with local zoning laws. If you find that zoning laws are making it very difficult to use your property as you see fit, you may have legal recourse, usually in the form of a variance. Of course, your chances of success in any zoning dispute will be immeasurably increased if you have the help of a qualified Dayton, Ohio attorney.

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Life in Dayton

Dayton is located in Montgomery County, Ohio.  The approximate population is 141,527 and is seen as the fourth largest metropolitan area in Ohio. 

What Dayton is known for is its involvement in the industrial, aerospace, and engineering research industry.  The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has had a significant impact on Dayton's involvement in innovation via these industries.  Overall, Dayton's economy is seen as a service-oriented economy.  These services include legal services.  Dayton is home to many small and mid-size law firms practicing in all areas of law.  Thus, Dayton residents and businesses should rest assured because the legal services industry is capable of handling all legal inquiries and issues.

Dayton is also home to many attractions for tourists.  Such attractions include The National Museum of the United States Air Force, the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Dayton Art Institute, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and America's Packard Museum. 

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