Land Use Planning & Zoning Attorneys in Gainesville, FL

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Land Use Planning & Zoning Lawyers in Gainesville, FL

What is Land Use Planning?

Land Use Planning is a general term used to describe the regulation of land development in an efficient and ethical way. Land Use Planning is meant to discourage the possibility of land use conflicts, create an orderly scheme for development, and encourage public participation in the process. Counties and cities have been tasked by the State of Florida to implement plans to manage the following aspects of development:

  • Location of different types of uses (residential, commercial, etc.)

  • Timing of development and planning for the future

  • Type of development and proximity to other land uses

  • Density and intensity of development

  • The compatibility of types of uses with the area of the proposed development

  • Concurrency management (involving the capacities of emergency services, public schools, and traffic implications)

Whether you are interested in rezoning your own property or you are concerned about a potential negative impacts of a proposed development in your neighborhood, the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates can help you through this complicated process. Our land use and zoning lawyers offer thoughtful examination of all the facts that would be relevant in land use and zoning changes.

What kinds of laws regulate Land Use and Zoning?

Florida has enacted the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act, which is provided for in Chapter 163, Part II of the Florida Statutes. This law requires that all local governments throughout the state adopt, maintain, and implement land use plans and development regulations for all future development. This law also establishes the right for adversely affected citizens to challenge local plans and amendments in Florida courts, as well as requires the participation of the public in the comprehensive planning process. Additionally, each municipality adopts its own zoning ordinances that provide the specific standards of development in the municipality.

Can I challenge changes to the local comprehensive plan?

All counties, cities, and towns in Florida have adopted some kind of comprehensive plan that sets forth future planning goals for the municipality. All rezonings and large scale amendments to the comprehensive plan must first go through the public hearing process where any adversely affected property owner may testify with his or her objections to any proposed changes in land use. A land use attorney can act as a representative for a group of homeowners. The land use attorney can argue points of law relating to, and provide experts to testify on the following:

  • Environmental concerns

  • Concurrency management (traffic implications, local school capacity, the availability of emergency services like police and the fire department)

  • Compatibility of adjacent uses

  • Consistency with the goals and objectives of the local comprehensive plan

What happens when you violate a zoning law?

If you violate a zoning regulation governing the types of uses allowed on your property, the matter will most likely be referred to your local code enforcement office. They will issue a Notice of Violation that could result in fines if the problem is not addressed. However, the decisions of any municipal agency may be challenged, in which case a hearing must be held before the municipality to determine whether the property owner violated the zoning code. Other property issues related to these kinds of zoning disputes may require experience with easements, eminent domain, and riparian rights.

How do I change the use of my own property?

You can file an application to change the use of your property in many ways, including rezoning the property, adopting a comprehensive plan amendment, applying for a variance, or applying for a special exception with the local municipality. This will lead to a public hearing before the city or county commission, where they will either approve or deny your application based on the evidence you provide. These decisions, like most government decisions, can be appealed in Florida courts.

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The Law Office of Knellinger, Jacobson & Associates provides legal advice and representation for individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners in Gainesville, Florida, and communities throughout north central Florida, including cities such as Ocala, Starke, Palatka, Lake City, Middleburg, Trenton, Bronson, Lake Butler, Cross City, Williston, Chiefland, Alachua, Jasper, Live Oak, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Alachua County ● Putnam County ● Clay County ● Bradford County ● Union County ● Columbia County ● Gilchrist County ● Levy County ● Marion County ● Hamilton County ● St. Johns County ● Dixie County