Land Use Planning and Zoning

Real estate is among the most sought-after forms of property, and it is also one of the most highly regulated areas of economic activity. Favorable results in the planning and zoning variance stages can ensure a transaction or project goes smoothly. Unfavorable results may delay a project for weeks or months – or may end it before it begins. As a result, owners, developers, and buyers and sellers of property can all benefit from guidance from lawyers with experience in land use, planning, and zoning law.

At Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Isley, our firm represents citizens, landowners, and project developers. We handle matters that include rezoning, variances, conditional use permits, and other development approvals from city or county departments, boards, and commissions. If you’re facing a land use, planning, or zoning issue in Raleigh or anywhere in North Carolina, we can help.

Matters We Handle

Every piece of land is unique. Even when two lots or parcels are quite similar in terms of size and applicable regulations, they are not identical – and the differences may be crucial to the choice between them.

Because no two pieces of land are the same, the strategy for addressing land use, planning, and zoning matters related to real estate cannot be the same in any two cases either. Instead, it is essential to create a legal strategy that is tailored to the property, its location, the regulations at issue, and the governing agencies, boards, or commissions that enforce those rules. The land use, planning, and zoning attorneys at Blanchard, Miller, Isley & Lewis can do just that.

Our attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of land use, planning, and zoning matters. Just a few of the matters we have handled successfully for our clients include:

  • Reviewing and evaluating local ordinance requirements
  • Negotiating with public officials and planning staffs to resolve disagreements
  • Coordinating community outreach and public relations strategies
  • Presenting cases at public hearings before local boards to obtain required approvals and other favorable results for our clients

Land use claims may cover a wide range of issues. They may address building and public safety codes; cemetery, water, fire, or improvement districts; development and use; environmental laws and regulations; zoning, variances, and rezoning; and planning.

Land use claims can also be political and adversarial. As with many local government issues, understanding the personalities and goals in play may be just as important as understanding the law when it comes to obtaining a favorable result.

Our team has the experience, knowledge, and judgment needed to handle a wide range of issues, including questions that do not fall in any of the above categories.

Understanding Land Use, Planning, and Zoning

North Carolina’s counties and cities each have local ordinances governing land use and zoning. Zoning ordinances are local or municipal law that establish rules for building codes and land usage in the jurisdictions within which they apply.

In most North Carolina cities, certain areas of land are “zoned” for different types of uses. Most often, these are classified as “residential,” “commercial,” or “industrial.” Each of these types of use may be subdivided further. For instance, within a “commercial” area, certain parcels of land may be zoned to permit only certain types of businesses to operate on them.

An area’s or parcel’s zoning may raise a host of issues regarding its use and the plans its owner, buyer, or seller have for the land. Customer parking, setbacks, access for deliveries, the number and type of employees a business may have, and the use of signs or other forms of advertising, and other similar matters, may all be regulated by the terms of the zoning itself, or may fall under the purview of other local, municipal, or state ordinances.

As a result, one of the first questions many entrepreneurs, buyers, or sellers ask is how a property is zoned and what that means for the plans they may have for that property. Because applicable laws may be created by governing bodies as large as the federal government or as small as a neighborhood association, careful research into applicable land use regulations is essential before finalizing any business plan or property purchase. When a problem arises, an experienced attorney can help.

Get Help from Our North Carolina Land Use Planning and Zoning Lawyers

Both Mr. Isley and Mr. Lewis have extensive experience handling matters related to land use, planning, and zoning. During his eight years as a member of the Raleigh City Council, Mr. Isley gained a unique and informed perspective on land use matters, which enriches his work on land use, planning, and zoning as part of his legal practice. Mr. Lewis has represented clients before numerous local governmental authorities on matters ranging from zoning requests and special use permits to economic development, telecommunications, and real estate development.

To learn more, contact Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Isley today. Your consultation with our office is fully confidential.