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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in California
The laws controlling how land can and cannot be used in Santa Ana, California are fairly perplexing, and can be confusing to laypersons. This should provide a basic overview.
Local governments will usually divide the city or town into sections, called "zones," each of which is designated for a specific use, such as residential homes, commercial businesses, agriculture, manufacturing, etc. This process is known as "zoning."
Zoning serves several different purposes - but it its major one is to increase or preserve property values by ensuring that conflicting uses don't result in legal disputes. Obviously, if you bought a house in a residential neighborhood, and your neighbor could just convert his property into a steel mill, your property's value as a residential lot would decrease significantly.
Zoning also serves the interests of industry, as well as residents. By ensuring that there are places where heavy industry can take place, well-planned zoning regulations will ensure that industrialists are free to practice their trade, and that residents will not be disturbed by those activities, which makes industry more feasible by helping it prevent costly nuisance lawsuits.
What if My Property Violates Santa Ana, California's Zoning Laws?
If a condition on your property breaks the local zoning laws of Santa Ana, California, there are a few different solutions.
It should be discernible that the first option you should consider is to correct the violation. If doing this wouldn't cost you very much, or pose a major inconvenience, you should obviously do this.
But what happens if you've invested a large amount of effort and money into improving your land, and you later discover that you've committed some relatively minor zoning violation? You are generally entitled to seek what is known as a "variance" in these cases. A variance is simply when your local government makes a small exception to the zoning rules to accommodate a small violation that would be difficult to fix. A variance will usually be granted if the violation doesn't harm anyone, and enforcing Santa Ana, California's zoning laws to the letter would not, in this case, advance their purposes.
Also, if the zoning laws governing your property have changed, and some aspect of it is now violating the new rules, these changes can generally not be enforced against you, because it would be unfair to apply a new law retroactively.
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How Can a Santa Ana, 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 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 reputable Santa Ana, California real estate attorney will greatly improve one's chances.
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Life in Santa Ana
Santa Ana is the county seat of the infamous Orange County, California. Santa Ana is the 4th most densely populated area in the United States with over 325,000 residents. Santa Ana is known nationally for it's beautiful coastline and it lends its name to the Santa Ana Freeway that bisects the city as well as the winds that historically fuel wildfires in Southern California, the Santa Ana Winds. One of the reasons people flock to Santa Ana is for work with Orange County at the Santa Ana Civic Center. Santa Ana has a high number of skilled lawyers because it's the location of the Orange County Supreme Court and the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse.
Santa Ana's close proximity to Los Angeles attracts many corporate headquarters. Behr Paint, Corinthian Colleges, First American Corporation, and The Orange County Register all have their corporate headquarters in Santa Ana. Ingram Micro is the world's largest information technology distributor and outdoes all of the others as the top employer in Santa Ana besides Orange County. For those folks commuting out of the city by way of public transit, Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner runs through Los Angeles to San Diego. Santa Ana also has service from the Metrolink Orange County Line to Oceanside and the Inland Empire Line running to San Juan Capistrano and San Bernardino.