Real Property: Zoning

  • Pursuant to its police powers, government may enact statutes to reasonably control land use.
  • The variance: Principal means to achieve flexibility in zoning—proponent must show:
      • Undue hardship, or
      • Variance won’t cause detriment to neighboring property values.
        • Variance is granted or denied by administrative action—typically a zoning board.
  • Nonconforming use: A once lawful, existing use now deemed nonconforming by a new zoning ordinance. It cannot be eliminated all at once unless just compensation is paid. Otherwise it could be deemed an unconstitutional taking.
  • Unconstitutional exactions:
    • Exactions: Those amenities government seeks in exchange for granting permission to build.
      • EX: You are a developer seeking permission to build a 200-unit residential development in the town of Utopia. The town tells you that it will grant you the requisite permit if you agree to provide several new streetlights, a small park and wider roads. To pass constitutional scrutiny, those exactions must be reasonably related both in nature and scope to the impact of the proposed development. If they are not the exactions are unconstitutional.