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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in Culver City, 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 don't exist just to protect residential use - it also protects persons who engage in other types of use of land, by making sure that they are able to do their business, without bothering neighboring landowners, and thereby avoiding legal disputes.

What if My Property Violates Culver City, California's Zoning Laws?

If something on your property is in violation of a Culver City, California zoning law, the landowner has various options.

First, and perhaps most apparently, you can correct the violation. If the violation is relatively minor, and correcting it would not cost you much or be a substantial burden, this might be the best way to go.

Of course, simply fixing a zoning violation isn't always inexpensive or easy, and may interfere with your planned use of your property. For example, you might have just undertaken a substantial remodeling of your home, and later found out that some small part of it technically doesn't conform to Culver City, California'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 quite minor, and enforcing the ordinance would be unduly burdensome and not in the public interest.

You are also protected if your land is currently in full compliance with local zoning regulations, but the area where your land sits is re-zoned, and your property is suddenly not in compliance with the new zoning regulations. Usually, these new regulations cannot be used to force you to change existing conditions on your property. No laws can be applied retroactively, under the U.S. Constitution. Of course, if you make any improvements on your land after the law changes, you'll have to comply with the new law.

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How Can a Culver City, 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 Culver City, 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 Culver City

Culver City, California is located in the western portion of Los Angeles County.  The city has a population of about 39,000 people.  It is famous for being a center for television and motion picture production, as it was home to MGM Studios.  Today, MGM Studios is now Sony Pictures Studios and produces many films and television shows.  Culver City's motto is "the Heart of Screenland". 

Sony Pictures Entertainment is the top employer in Culver City, California.  In addition to the Sony studios, Culver City is home to other major production companies like Culver Studios and the NFL Network.  The list of motion pictures produced in Culver City includes films such as The Wizard of Oz, Grease, City Slickers, and Air Force One.  Some television shows made there have included Jeopardy! and Lassie.  Many celebrities have lived in Culver City, like actress Drew Barrymore, singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, and actor Jack Black.

Culver City California is also known for its many different events and attractions.  For example, residents can enjoy the Ballona Creek bicycle path, the Culver Ice Arena, and the Culver City Symphony Orchestra.  The Kirk Douglas Theater is also a popular destination.  Visitors can take the Sony Studios tour or the town's Historic Walking tour.

Lawyers in Culver City, California represent a diverse body of clients, organizations, and companies.  Culver City lawyers often handle claims that are complex in addition to simpler claims.  Experienced attorneys in Culver City provide a wide range of legal services for the community.

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