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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in Foster City, California are fairly difficult, 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 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.

While zoning laws appear to be geared just toward protecting residents, they also protect industry, by ensuring that they are free to conduct their business without getting caught up in the several legal disputes that would be inevitable if they were closer to a residential area.

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

If a condition on your property violates the local zoning laws of Foster City, California, there are a few different solutions.

First of all, and most simply, the owner could just fix the violation. If the violation isn't very considerable, 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 Foster City, 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. 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.

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. Typically, 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 Foster City, California Attorney Help?

If you find yourself facing zoning or other land use issues, it's crucial to have good legal advice. A brilliant Foster City, California attorney will help you work within the law to ensure that you are as free as possible to make the use of your land that you want.

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Life in Foster City

Foster City, California is a master-planned city situated in San Mateo County.  It has a population of about 31,000 and is sometimes held to be part of Silicon Valley due to its local industry.  Foster City is considered an affluent community and has been featured several times in Forbes Magazine as well as Money Magazine.

As a master-planned city, Foster City offers many advantages and amenities, such as an efficient distribution of stores, restaurants, and resources.  Master planning helps developers avoid "haphazard" construction and city layout.  This has contributed to much of Foster's City's clean and pristine appearance.  Foster City is also home to a number of attractions, including a boardwalk, a 9-hole golf course, an extensive $4 million Teen Activities Center, and a public amphitheater.  Windsurfing is extremely popular within city limits.

Foster City, California is also known for being an important center for many high-tech companies as well as financial organizations.  The city is headquarters to many nationally recognized businesses such as Adchemy, Gilead Sciences, Life Technologies, Live365, Philips, Sony Computer Entertainment America, and many others.  One can access several points in the Bay Area from Foster City due to its location near the San Mateo Bridge.

Lawyers in Foster City, California often represent their clients at the Superior Court of California, County of San Mateo.  The court house has integrated much new technology including an electronic document camera.  Foster City attorneys are available for assistance in many different fields of law.

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