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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in Escondido, 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 don't exist just to protect residential use - it also protects people 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 Escondido, California's Zoning Laws?

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

First of all, and most simply, the owner could just fix the violation. If the violation isn't very significant, and fixing it wouldn't cost very much, this is probably the best and easiest option.

Sometimes, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of Escondido, 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. Generally, variances are granted when the violation is very 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. Generally, 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 Escondido, 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 encounter 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 assistance of a good Escondido, California real estate attorney will greatly improve one's chances.

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Life in Escondido

Escondido is located in San Diego County, California.  The name "Escondido" is a Spanish word meaning "hidden".  This is in reference to the city being situated in a valley and bordered by scenic hills.  Escondido has a population of about 144,000 and is growing at a rapid rate. 

Many major business and companies have their headquarters in Escondido, California.  Some of the major employers for Escondido residents include Stone Brewing Company, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Escondido's population growth is supported by the presence of several residential communities, including Hidden Trails and Valley Center.

Escondido, California is an excellent city for leisure and entertainment.  The downtown area features a number of cafes, art galleries, and restaurants.  During the spring and summer seasons, the city hosts "Crusin' Grand", which is a public automobile show held every Friday.  Crusin' Grand features ultra-hip hot rods, historic cars, and live DJ music.  Other fun events include the Grape Day Parade and Festival, the Community Wellness Expo, and an Independence Day Celebration. 

Lawyers in Escondido assist their clients through a variety of legal services.  Escondido, California attorneys also contribute to the community through participation in city planning and development projects.  Escondido lawyers are knowledgeable of the various laws and regulations that are unique to the city.

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