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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in Arizona

The laws controlling how land can and cannot be used in Mesa, Arizona are fairly complicated, and can be confusing to laypersons. This should provide a basic overview.

"Zoning" is the process by which a local government makes laws determining how individual pieces of land within its jurisdiction can be used. Typically, towns or cities are segmented off into "zones," each one being designated for a specific type of use. Examples of typical zoning categories are single family residence, commercial, multi-unit housing, or industrial.

There are a lot of rationales and purposes for zoning laws. In general, they're based in common sense: chemical plants shouldn't be constructed next to daycare centers, pig farms should not be constructed in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and other simple principles similar to that. Zoning laws, by keeping conflicting land uses separate, make life easier for all parties, ensuring that property values will be preserved, and that necessary industries can be conducted where they will not bother anyone.

Zoning also serves the interests of industry, as well as residents. By ensuring that there are places where heavy industry can take place, well-planned zoning regulations will ensure that industrialists are free to practice their trade, and that residents will not be disturbed by those activities, which makes industry more feasible by helping it prevent costly nuisance lawsuits.

What if My Property Violates Mesa, Arizona's Zoning Laws?

If a condition on your property breaks the local zoning laws of Mesa, Arizona, there are a few different solutions.

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

Occasionally, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of Mesa, Arizona's zoning laws. In this case, the owner can apply for a variance - an official agreement from the local government to not enforce a certain zoning regulation. Usually, variances are granted when the violation is quite minor, and, enforcing the letter of the zoning law would not do much to advance its broader purpose.

Furthermore, if you have been residing on your property for a long time, and made improvements on it that complied with the zoning laws in effect at the time, a new zoning law that would be violated by your prevailing use of your property, the new law cannot be enforced against you. The U.S. Constitution bars the passage of "ex post facto," or retroactive, laws. Once the laws take effect, however, you'll have to comply with the new zoning laws with respect to any new improvements you want to make on your property.

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How Can a Mesa, Arizona Attorney Help?

If you are in the early stages of a major construction or remodeling project on your property, particularly if it is in a residential area (where zoning laws tend to be most restrictive), you are likely to confront one zoning law issue or another. Of course, having read this article, you should now be aware that you have rights when it comes to contesting a zoning law as applied to you. While such contests do not always come out on the side of the landowner, the guidance of a reliable Mesa, Arizona real estate attorney will greatly improve one's chances.

Zoning Planning & Land Use Attorneys in the Largest AZ Cities

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Life in Mesa

Mesa is a Maricopa County city that's home to 440,000 Arizona residents. That population earns Mesa the title of 3rd largest city in the state behind nearby Phoenix and Tucson. Mesa serves as a ?bedroom community' meaning that many Mesa residents work in nearby cities. One positive thing about the bedroom community is that a number of good schools in the area like the Maricopa Community College. It's the largest of any Maricopa County Community Colleges. Arizona state University and A.R. Still University both operate small campuses in Mesa. Mesa Public Schools are the top employer although Banner Health and Boeing both have strong installations together employing over 12,500. Boeing actually produces the Apache AH-64 attack helicopter at a facility adjoining Falcon Field.

Mesa hosts the WAC Baseball Tournament and the Chicago Cubs spend spring training playing Cactus League games at HoHoKam Park. The upscale Fiesta Mall on the Westside of Mesa offers outstanding shopping for locals and tourists alike. However, Mesa Riverview on the Northside of the city boasts funky stores and eateries like Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. METRO Light Rail, local freeways like local U.S. Route 60, and a number of local airports service Mesa's commuters.

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