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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in Arizona

The laws controlling how land can and cannot be used in Scottsdale, Arizona are fairly intricate, 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. Normally, 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 created next to daycare centers, pig farms should not be created 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 useful by helping it prevent costly nuisance lawsuits.

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

If something on your property is in violation of a Scottsdale, Arizona zoning law, the landowner has many avenues.

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

Of course, just fixing a zoning violation isn't always modest or easy, and may interfere with your planned use of your property. For instance, you might have just undertaken a considerable remodeling of your home, and later found out that some small part of it technically doesn't conform to Scottsdale, Arizona'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 extremely minor, and enforcing the ordinance would be unduly burdensome and not in the public interest.

You also have considerable 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 Scottsdale, Arizona Attorney Help?

If you are in the process of physically altering your property, you are almost sure to face some contentions having to do with local zoning laws. If you find that zoning laws are making it very hard to use your property as you see fit, you may have legal recourse, normally in the form of a variance. Of course, your chances of success in any zoning dispute will be immeasurably increased if you have the assistance of a qualified Scottsdale, Arizona attorney.

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Life in Scottsdale

Located in Maricopa County, Scottsdale is truly one of the desert state's gems. With a population of 245,000 the sizeable city is a vacation destination for many people across the country. Not surprisingly, Scottsdale has more spas than any other city in the country, a number that sees spa-seekers visiting the city year round for some much needed rest and relaxation.

Scottsdale is often described as the "South Beach in the desert" because of the busy nightlife scene and many luxury hotels that the Arizona city has to offer. And what nightlife is complete without many of the nation's top cities to serve the clientele before their night on the town. Scottsdale sits in the middle of two other popular Arizona cities -- Phoenix and Paradise Valley.

Scottsdale is also famous for the many golf courses the city has to offer beginners and professionals. In fact, the Robb Report dubbed Scottsdale "The Best City to Live in for Golf." In addition to golf, Scottsdale is home to many professional and minor league sports teams. The Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Phoenix Suns (NBA), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), and Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB) all call Scottsdale home. 

Scottsdale also has some college charm as it is home to Arizona State University. The Sun Devils have a great law school that produces many of Scottsdale's top lawyers. WIth a city of this size, Scottsdale lawyers are skilled in a range of practice areas to serve their clientele ranging from professional athletes, to a citizen with an everyday legal question.

Scottsdale is a wonderful city to work, play, and relax in and the desert climate makes it a great place to be any month of the year!

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