Zoning Planning & Land Use Law in Minnesota

The laws that regulate how land can be used, and what structures can be built on individual pieces of land in Buffalo, Minnesota 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.

Municipal governments which practice zoning usually follow a similar scheme: the town or city is divided up into "zones," or areas in which particular types of use are permitted. For example, the downtown area might be zoned for commercial and office use, and perhaps for large, multi-unit apartment buildings. The surrounding areas will usually be zoned for residential and small-scale commercial use, and the outskirts zoned for manufacturing and other heavy industry.

The purpose of zoning is to preserve property values, and make towns and cities more livable. For example, without zoning laws, a company might be able to buy a vacant lot next to your house and construct a noisy, smelly, dirty factory on it.

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 avoiding legal disputes.

Possible Outcomes of Boundary and Title Disputes in Buffalo, Minnesota

If something on your property is in violation of a Buffalo, Minnesota zoning law, the landowner has many options.

It should be obvious that the first option you should consider is to correct the violation. If doing this wouldn't cost you very much, or pose a massive inconvenience, you should obviously do this.

Of course, simply fixing a zoning violation isn't always modest or easy, and may interfere with your planned use of your property. For example, you might have just undertaken a considerable remodeling of your home, and later found out that some small part of it technically doesn't conform to Buffalo, Minnesota's zoning laws. If this happens to you, you can apply to your local zoning board for what's known as a "variance." This is simply a decree by the zoning board that the particular rule your property violates no longer applies. The Supreme Court has held that local zoning boards have to grant variances when the violation is extremely minor, and enforcing the ordinance would be unduly burdensome and not in the public interest.

You also have considerable protections if a zoning law changes, and you find that the land you've been living on for years is suddenly in violation of the new law. In general, zoning laws cannot apply to structures and uses which were built or commenced before the law was changed. Under the U.S. Constitution, it's not permissible for state or local governments to pass laws which have retroactive effect. You should know, however, that any future changes you make to your property will have to comply with the new zoning law.

What Can A Buffalo, Minnesota Attorney Do?

If you find yourself facing zoning or other land use issues, it's crucial to have good legal advice. A brilliant Buffalo, Minnesota 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.