Zoning Planning & Land Use Law in Missouri
The laws that regulate how land can be used, and what structures can be built on individual pieces of land in Salem, Missouri can sometimes be a bit intricate. This article will not make its reader an expert, but should serve as a good introduction to the subject.
Municipal governments which practice zoning normally 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 normally be zoned for residential and small-scale commercial use, and the outskirts zoned for manufacturing and other heavy industry.
There are a lot of rationales and purposes for zoning laws. In general, they're based in common sense: chemical plants shouldn't be constructed next to daycare centers, pig farms should not be constructed in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and other simple principles similar to that. Zoning laws, by keeping conflicting land uses separate, make life easier for all parties, ensuring that property values will be preserved, and that necessary industries can be conducted where they will not bother anyone.
Zoning laws don't exist just to protect residential use - it also protects persons 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 Salem, Missouri
Zoning laws are frequently quite extensive and meticulous, and it's quite possible that your property in Salem, Missouri contains some minor zoning violation that you don't know about. If this happens to you, you have substantial legal protections.
It should be evident that the first option you should consider is to correct the violation. If doing this wouldn't cost you very much, or pose a huge inconvenience, you should obviously do this.
Sometimes, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of Salem, Missouri'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. Usually, variances are granted when the violation is quite minor, and, enforcing the letter of the zoning law would not do much to advance its broader purpose.
Moreover, 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 Salem, Missouri Attorney Do?
If you find yourself facing zoning or other land use issues, it's important to have good legal advice. A knowledgeable Salem, Missouri 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.