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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws controlling how land can and cannot be used in Del Mar, 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 Del Mar, California's Zoning Laws?

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

It should be apparent 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.

Occasionally, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of Del Mar, California's zoning laws. In this case, the owner can apply for a variance - an official agreement from the local government to not enforce a certain zoning regulation. Typically, variances are granted when the violation is extremely minor, and, enforcing the letter of the zoning law would not do much to advance its broader purpose.

Furthermore, if you have been residing 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 prevailing 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 Del Mar, California Attorney Help?

If you are in the early stages of a major construction or remodeling project on your property, particularly if it is in a residential area (where zoning laws tend to be most restrictive), you are likely to face one zoning law issue or another. Of course, having read this article, you should now be aware that you have rights when it comes to contesting a zoning law as applied to you. While such contests do not always come out on the side of the landowner, the help of a seasoned Del Mar, California real estate attorney will greatly improve one's chances.

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Life in Del Mar

Del Mar is located in San Diego County, California. With a smaller population of about 4,500, Del Mar is an upscale city known for its beautiful beaches and legendary surfing.  The name "Del Mar" means "by the sea" or "of the sea", as it is located directly on the Pacific Coast.  The city was mentioned in the Beach Boys hit song, "Surfin' USA". 

Del Mar is home to several beaches which are known as excellent surfing spots.  In particular, 15th Street Beach in Del Mar was listed as #4 on Time Magazine's list of "100 Greatest Beaches in the World".  Other beach sites include Torrey Pines State Beach and North Beach, affectionately known as "Dog Beach" by the many dog owners who frequent the area.

Del Mar, California is also famous for being the home to the annual San Diego County Fair.  The fair is one of the most popular summer fairs in all of California and is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.  The Fairgrounds also houses the Del Mar Racetrack.  In addition to the world-class beaches at Del Mar, the area is an excellent site for employment, with top hirers such as Kitchen 1540 and Pacifica Del Mar.

Lawyers in Del Mar, California handle a variety of different legal claims and disputes.  Legal inquiries can be directed to an experienced Del Mar lawyer.  Del Mar lawyers typically represent clients at the nearby Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.

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