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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in Brea, California are fairly complex, 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. Usually, 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 several 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 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 Brea, California's Zoning Laws?

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

It should be clear, however, that the ideal solution is to simply fix any condition on your property which is in violation of a local zoning law. If the violation is not serious, and correcting it won't significantly interfere with your use of your property, this is probably the best course of action.

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 Brea, 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 generally 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.

Additionally, if you have been living 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 current 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 Brea, California Attorney Help?

If you want to make improvements to your property, apply for a variance, or contest a zoning regulation as being applied to you retroactively, you have a right to do so, including some constitutional protections. However, your chances of prevailing in a zoning dispute will be markedly improved if you hire an experienced Brea, California real estate attorney to help.

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Life in Brea

Brea, California is a city in Orange County, California. Its population is slightly under 40,000 people. Brea is known for its warm climate, high standard of living, and low crime rates. In 2006, it was named by Sunset Magazine as one of the best suburbs to live in the Western United States.

Brea, California can trace its origins back to the late 1800s, when oil was discovered across much of Southern California. Brea became a boomtown as the oil industry moved in.

These days, the economy of Brea, California is largely dominated by banking, finance, retail, and other service-based industries. Many white-collar professionals, such as attorneys, live and work in Brea, California. Brea, California is the birthplace of Cruz Reynoso, a prominent civil rights lawyer, and the first Hispanic justice on the California Supreme Court.

There are many other lawyers in Brea, California who are not as famous as Mr. Reynoso, but who tirelessly advocate for their clients every day. If you need legal help, you could do a lot worse than finding a Brea, California lawyer.

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