What Should I Know About Zoning Laws Before Purchasing Land?

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If you are planning to buy and develop land, you most likely have some questions about your area’s zoning laws. Zoning laws are the rules that regulate how you can use and develop your property. They can affect everything from the size and shape of your house, to the type of business you can run, to the number of animals you can keep, and more. Zoning laws are not the same everywhere. They vary from county to county, and even from city to city. Each local government has the authority to zone its own territory, as long as it follows some general principles and state laws. Therefore, before you buy land in Florida, you need to do your homework and find out what zoning laws apply to your property. Our knowledgeable Florida land use & zoning attorneys can help. Read on and reach out to Ansbacher Law to learn more about the basics of zoning laws.

Important Information About Zoning Laws

Prior to acquiring any land in Florida, you should take the following into account:

Zoning Districts

Zoning laws partition the land into different zones, such as residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and so forth. Each zone has its own set of regulations and restrictions regarding what you can lawfully do with your property. For instance, in a residential zone, you may be prohibited from operating a business or erecting a highrise. Conversely, in an industrial zone, you may be prohibited from building a house or keeping livestock. You learn more about what zone your property is in by checking the zoning map of your county or city. You can also contact the local planning department or zoning office for more information, or speak with a competent attorney who can steer you in the right direction. You should always verify the zoning of your property before you buy it, as it may not align with your expectations or plans.

Permitted Vs. Conditional Uses

One of the most important things to know about zoning is that within each zone, there are different categories of uses that are permitted or prohibited. Permitted uses are inherently authorized and do not necessitate any special authorization or conditions. On the contrary, conditional uses are activities that may be granted under specific circumstances, yet require a special permit or approval from the local governing body.

For instance, in a residential zone, a single-family dwelling may be a permitted use, but a bed and breakfast may be a conditional use. To ascertain the permitted and conditional uses within your specific zone, as well as any particular requirements such as parking, landscaping, signage, noise regulations, and others, it would be prudent to consult an attorney who can assess the zoning ordinance applicable to your county or city. If you want to do something that is not permitted or conditional in your zone, you will most likely have to apply for a variance or a rezoning. An attorney can provide valuable assistance in this regard.

Zoning Enforcement

Zoning laws are enforced by the local government or its designated agency. Violations of zoning regulations can result in various penalties, including fines, injunctions, revocation of permits, or even the demolition of structures. Moreover, non-compliance with zoning regulations can lead to lawsuits initiated by neighbors or other affected parties. This is why it is imperative that you consistently adhere to these regulations and secure all necessary permits and approvals before starting any construction or development on your property.

The bottom line is that if you have any questions or uncertainties about the zoning laws in your area, it is in your best interests to speak with a dedicated Florida real estate lawyer from Ansbacher Law. We are prepared to walk you through each step of the legal process ahead so you can have the peace of mind you deserve.