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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in El Cajon, 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 El Cajon, California's Zoning Laws?

Suppose you find that some condition on your land is in violation of El Cajon, California's zoning laws. In cases like this, you have quite a few 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.

Sometimes, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of El Cajon, 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 particular zoning regulation. Usually, variances are granted when the violation is quite minor, and, enforcing the letter of the zoning law would not do much to advance its broader purpose.

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 El Cajon, California Attorney Help?

If you are in the early stages of a major construction or remodeling project on your property, especially if it is in a residential area (where zoning laws tend to be most restrictive), you are likely to confront 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 guidance of a knowledgeable El Cajon, California real estate attorney will greatly improve one's chances.

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Life in El Cajon

El Cajon, California is a city in San Diego County. It has a population of just under 100,000 people.

El Cajon, California was formed from a land grant from the Mexican government in 1845, and was officially incorporated as a city in 1912.

El Cajon is located inland from San Diego, and as a result, its climate has more variation than San Diego from one extreme to another, but compared to most other places, its climate can be considered quite mild. Summers in El Cajon, California are quite warm, though it rarely gets extremely hot.

Like most places in California, El Cajon sports a large amount of ethnic and religious diversity. El Cajon, California is also home to a burgeoning art and culture district, including art galleries, and a strong commitment to public art.

If you are facing a legal issue in El Cajon, California, chances are good that there is a lawyer nearby who is capable of handling your problem, whatever it might be. El Cajon, California lawyers are always ready to meet the legal needs of their community. If you have any legal trouble whatsoever, no case is too big or too small for an El Cajon attorney.

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