Zoning Planning & Land Use Law in Florida
The laws controlling how land can and cannot be used in Niceville, Florida are fairly intricate, and can be confusing to laypersons. This should provide a basic overview.
Localities usually divide their jurisdictions into segments, referred to as "zones," on which particular types of use are permitted. For instance, one area of a town might be zoned for residential use, a nearby one for commercial use, and areas on the outskirts zoned for industrial use. This practice is called "zoning."
Zoning serves many 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 substantially.
Zoning laws don't exist just to protect residential use - it also protects individuals 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 preventing legal disputes.
Possible Outcomes of Boundary and Title Disputes in Niceville, Florida
Suppose you find that some condition on your land is in violation of Niceville, Florida's zoning laws. In cases like this, you have quite a few avenues.
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 likely the best and simplest option.
Occasionally, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of Niceville, Florida's zoning laws. In this case, the owner can apply for a variance - an official agreement from the local government to not enforce a certain 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.
Additionally, zoning ordinances cannot be applied against you retroactively. For instance, suppose you built a 3-story house on your property, and your property was zoned to allow 3-story houses to be built at the time of construction. And then, years later, the area you reside in is re-zoned, to only allow 2-story houses. Can the local government force you to remove a whole level of your house? Of course not. Applying a law retroactively is unconstitutional. On the other hand, any future changes you want to make to your property will have to comply with the applicable zoning ordinance as it is currently written.
What Can A Niceville, Florida Attorney Do?
If you find yourself facing zoning or other land use issues, it's essential to have good legal advice. A seasoned Niceville, Florida 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.