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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California

The laws governing how land can and cannot be used in Laguna Niguel, 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 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.

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 many legal disputes that would be inevitable if they were closer to a residential area.

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

You have quite a few options if you find that a planned or current use of your property violates Laguna Niguel, California's zoning regulations.

It should be clear, however, that the ideal solution is to simply fix any condition on your property which is in violation of a local zoning law. If the violation is not serious, and correcting it won't substantially interfere with your use of your property, this is probably the best course of action.

What if, however, you've invested a considerable amount of time and money into making an improvement on your property, only to find that it violates your local zoning laws in some minor way? In this case, you can apply for a variance. This is basically an exception to the zoning rules. If declining to enforce these rules would not harm anyone, and would not do much to advance the purpose of Laguna Niguel, California's zoning laws, a variance will normally be granted.

Further, if you have been living 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 current 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 Laguna Niguel, 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 Laguna Niguel, California real estate attorney to help.

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Life in Laguna Niguel

Laguna Niguel, California is a city in Orange County. Laguna Niguel is known for its affluence, and upscale amenities. It currently has a population of about 63,000 people. 

Laguna Niguel was incorporated in 1959, and was built from a detailed master plan, making it an early example of a master-planned community. When construction of the I-5 freeway completed in the early 1960s, the population of Laguna Niguel, California began to grow much more rapidly.

Like many communities in Orange County, Laguna Niguel is quite affluent. The median household income is over $100,000 per year, with many successful professionals, such as lawyers, making it their home. Many of these professionals work in other nearby cities. The top employers within the Laguna Niguel city limits are generally in the retail industry. 

Because of its large concentration of professionals and businesses, there are many lawyers in Laguna Niguel, California who are capable of handing a wide range of legal issues. If you live in the area, and need legal advice, it's very likely that a Laguna Niguel, California attorney can help you out.

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