Zoning Planning & Land Use Law in Massachusetts
The laws that regulate how land can be used, and what structures can be built on individual pieces of land in Burlington, Massachusetts can sometimes be a bit convoluted. This article will not make its reader an expert, but should serve as a good introduction to the subject.
Local governments will normally divide the city or town into sections, called "zones," each of which is designated for a particular use, such as residential homes, commercial businesses, agriculture, manufacturing, etc. This process is known as "zoning."
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 typically acknowledge the necessities of things like factories, sewage treatment plants, and stockyards, but recognize that such activities shouldn't be conducted in residential areas.
Possible Outcomes of Boundary and Title Disputes in Burlington, Massachusetts
Suppose you find that some condition on your land is in violation of Burlington, Massachusetts'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 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 Burlington, Massachusetts'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.
Additionally, zoning ordinances cannot be applied against you retroactively. For example, 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 live 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 Burlington, Massachusetts Attorney Do?
If you suddenly become involved in a zoning dispute with your local government, it's necessary to seek competent legal representation. The counsel of an accomplished Burlington, Massachusetts real estate attorney can make it much easier for you to act within the law to use your own property as you wish, or at least be as free as possible to make improvements to your land.