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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in Bellflower, California are fairly confusing, 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 common zoning categories are single family residence, commercial, multi-unit housing, or industrial.

Local governments have many different reasons for enacting zoning laws, ranging from ensuring that residential areas are peaceful and quiet, to protecting property values. For example, most people wouldn't buy a home in a neighborhood where they knew it was possible for a neighbor to turn their house into a factory.

Zoning laws usually 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 Bellflower, California's Zoning Laws?

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

First of all, and most simply, the owner could just fix the violation. If the violation isn't very substantial, and fixing it wouldn't cost very much, this is probably the best and easiest option.

However, it isn't always practical or affordable to correct a minor violation of a zoning law. For example, suppose you have just spent a large amount of money and effort remodeling a house to turn it into your dream home. You thought you were in total compliance with local zoning laws when you did this, but find out that there is some small, technical violation of Bellflower, California's zoning laws. In these cases, you have recourse in the form of a variance. You are entitled to petition the local zoning board to grant you a variance, which is an official decision not to apply a particular provision of a zoning law to a single violation. These aren't always granted, but usually have to be granted if the violation doesn't interfere with anyone else's use of their property, and doesn't thwart the purposes of local zoning laws.

Moreover, zoning ordinances cannot be applied against you retroactively. For example, suppose you built a 3-story house on your property, and your property was zoned to allow 3-story houses to be built at the time of construction. And then, years later, the area you live in is re-zoned, to only allow 2-story houses. Can the local government force you to remove a whole level of your house? Of course not. Applying a law retroactively is unconstitutional. On the other hand, any future changes you want to make to your property will have to comply with the applicable zoning ordinance as it is currently written.

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How Can a Bellflower, California Attorney Help?

If you suddenly become involved in a zoning dispute with your local government, it's imperative to seek competent legal representation. The counsel of an efficient Bellflower, California real estate attorney can make it much easier for you to act within the law to use your own property as you wish, or at least be as free as possible to make improvements to your land.

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Life in Bellflower

Bellflower, California is a city in Los Angeles County, California. Its population is currently about 76,600 people. The city got its name from the bellefleur (French for "pretty flower") apple, which grows in many orchards in the area.

Bellflower, California was originally settled as a community of dairy farmers of Dutch, Japanese, Portuguese descent. After WWII, booming property values ended up turning Bellflower, and many other nearby towns, into a residential area.

These days, the economy of Bellflower, California is driven in large part by the retail and healthcare industries. Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest employers in Bellflower, employing doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. In addition, a large healthcare institution like that is going to employ many administrative professionals, such as lawyers and accountants.

If you need legal advice in Bellflower, California, you will almost certainly be able to find a Bellflower, California attorney who can help you with whatever legal issue you might be facing.

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