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Land Use, Zoning and Planning Law in New Jersey
In Vineland, New Jersey, there are laws which determine what can and can't be done on certain parcels of land. These laws get pretty involved sometimes, and aren't always very accessible to laypersons. This article should serve as a good overview of these laws.
"Zoning" is the process by which a local government makes laws determining how individual pieces of land within its jurisdiction can be used. Usually, towns or cities are segmented off into "zones," each one being designated for a specific type of use. Examples of typical zoning categories are single family residence, commercial, multi-unit housing, or industrial.
Local governments have numerous different reasons for enacting zoning laws, ranging from ensuring that residential areas are peaceful and quiet, to safeguarding property values. For instance, 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.
While zoning laws appear to be geared just toward protecting residents, they also protect industry, by ensuring that they are free to conduct their business without getting caught up in the numerous legal disputes that would be inevitable if they were closer to a residential area.
What if My Property Violates Vineland, New Jersey's Zoning Laws?
You have quite a few options if you find that a planned or prevailing use of your property breaks Vineland, New Jersey's zoning regulations.
First of all, and most simply, the owner could just fix the violation. If the violation isn't very significant, and fixing it wouldn't cost very much, this is likely the best and simplest option.
What if, however, you've invested a significant amount of time and money into making an improvement on your property, only to find that it breaks your local zoning laws in some minor way? In this case, you can apply for a variance. This is essentially an exception to the zoning rules. If declining to enforce these rules would not harm anyone, and would not do much to advance the purpose of Vineland, New Jersey's zoning laws, a variance will usually be granted.
Furthermore, 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.
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How Can a Vineland, New Jersey Attorney Help?
If you want to make improvements to your property, apply for a variance, or contest a zoning regulation as being applied to you retroactively, you have a right to do so, including some constitutional protections. However, your chances of prevailing in a zoning dispute will be markedly improved if you hire an experienced Vineland, New Jersey real estate attorney to help.
Zoning Planning & Land Use Attorneys in the Largest NJ Cities
Life in Vineland
Vineland is the largest city in the state of New Jersey, encompassing just over sixty nine square miles. Vineland is located in Cumberland County and has a population of just over 57,000 residents. Vineland gets its name after the city's fertile soil, which is perfect for growing grapes.
Not surprisingly, Vineland was the birthplace of giant juice producer Welch's Grape Juice. Vineland is also home to the Vineland Produce Auction -- the east coast's largest farmers cooperative. Other points of interest in Vineland include: the site of New Jersey's only drive-in theatre, and the Palace of the Great Depression. Not all grapes, the city has a bustling downtown and also has an Urban Enterprise Zone which gives a 31/2% reduced sales tax to shoppers that purchase goods in the zone.
Vineland is also home to a thriving legal community, with some of the Garden State's top lawyers practicing their craft there. Vineland lawyers are skilled in a range of legal specialties and able to help their local clients with any legal problem he or she may be facing. In addition to a booming legal practices, other Vineland professionals such as doctors and lawyers are also contributing to the city's overall growing professional community.