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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws controlling how land can and cannot be used in Cupertino, California 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.

Local governments have numerous different reasons for enacting zoning laws, ranging from ensuring that residential areas are peaceful and quiet, to safeguarding property values. For instance, 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 individuals 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 preventing legal disputes.

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

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

Initially, and perhaps most evidently, you can correct the violation. If the violation is comparatively minor, and correcting it would not cost you much or be a considerable burden, this might be the best way to go.

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 Cupertino, 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 extremely 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 complete 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. Typically, these new regulations cannot be utilized 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 Cupertino, 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 disagreement will be markedly improved if you hire an accomplished Cupertino, California real estate attorney to help.

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Life in Cupertino

Cupertino is the Northern California suburb just north of San Jose. Cupertino has a population of 50,000 people, many of which work in the Silicon Valley.

Cupertino is most famous for being the home to Apple, Inc. The computer software giant was started in Cupertino in 1976 and has remained in the city every since, although much bigger in size than when it first started. In addition to Apple, there are many other major computer software companies that are located in Cupertino such as Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and IBM. 

Just over an hour from San Francisco, Cuptertino has plenty of attractions for its residents and visitors to enjoy. In addition to a thriving software industry, Cupertino is also home to many talented lawyers. Not just specializing in issues dealing with technology, Cupertino attorneys are able to help their clients with any legal issue they may encounter. Local law schools include Stanford, Santa Clara, and UC Hastings are just a few of the bay area law schools that have helped to educate Cupertino lawyers. The weather, the culture, and the many local lawyers make Cupertino a great place to be a lawyer or a client!

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