Zoning Planning & Land Use Law in Pennsylvania
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania has laws which govern how individual parcels of land can be used, and how they cannot. These rules aren't always simple, and this article should serve as an introduction to some of the most common issues that homeowners might face, though it is not meant to turn a layperson into an expert.
"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.
There are numerous different reasons that cities might engage in zoning - but it is usually designed around making cities more livable, by preventing conflicting uses from clashing with one another. After all, few people would want to live in a house next to a vacant lot, if there is a chance that somebody could decide to build a pig farm next door. The security provided by zoning laws helps maintain property values
Zoning laws generally acknowledge the necessities of things like factories, sewage treatment plants, and stockyards, but recognize that such activities shouldn't be done in residential areas.
Possible Outcomes of Boundary and Title Disputes in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Zoning laws are often quite extensive and meticulous, and it's very possible that your property in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania contains some minor zoning violation that you don't know about. If this happens to you, you have significant 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 major inconvenience, you should obviously do this.
Occasionally, however, a landowner wants to make improvements on their property which might constitute a slight violation of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania'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. Generally, variances are granted when the violation is very minor, and, enforcing the letter of the zoning law would not do much to advance its broader purpose.
Also, if the zoning laws governing your property have changed, and some aspect of it is now violating the new rules, these changes can generally not be enforced against you, because it would be unfair to apply a new law retroactively.
What Can A West Mifflin, Pennsylvania Attorney Do?
If you suddenly become involved in a zoning dispute with your local government, it's essential to seek competent legal representation. The counsel of an experienced West Mifflin, Pennsylvania 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.