How do I dispute a proposed zoning change?
In order for a zoning change to occur, the local zoning authority will have to approve it. Before any re-zone has legal effect, the proposed change(s) must go through a public comment period. Any affected property owners will be provided notice of the impending zoning change, and be given ample opportunity to review it before the public hearing, at which point they will be able to present an argument for or against it. In order to prepare for the opportunity to comment on a proposed rezoning change, consult an with an experienced attorney prior to taking action.
Take Part in the Rezoning Process
Although each city has a different process, typically the rezoning proposal, whether generated by a citizen or initiated by city officials, will be presented to the public prior to taking effect. Property owners with an interest in the zoning change may attend public hearings conducted on the matter and attempt to influence the decision of the zoning board. If you would like to take advantage of the opportunity to comment on the rezoning proposal, be sure to pay attention to the scheduled meetings of the zoning board so that you can present your argument. Be aware of the fact that rezoning proposals take a lot of factors into account before a decision is made, so when you take part, it makes sense to effectively prepare your reason to oppose a rezoning proposal.
Whenever you have objections to a change in zoning, eliciting the help of surrounding property owners will strengthen your case. In fact, a few states require the critics to file a protest petition. Regardless of whether a petition is required, gathering support of interested property owners impresses local officials, and will likely increase your chance of influencing a vote on a rezoning proposal.
Research Available Legal Remedies
In the event that your resistance to a proposed rezoning is not successful, you may have legal remedy depending on the extent of the zoning change. Although most zoning changes are designed by city planners wary of any potential conflicts with their lawful authority, it is possible that a rezoning, either as it is proposed or as it is enacted, has an unlawful impact on property owners. If you feel that a zoning board does not have the legal right to enforce a rezoning proposal that it has passed you may file an appeal of the decision or even file a lawsuit. Before taking any action, consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether or not there is an available legal remedy. This avenue is likely a last ditch attempt to prevent a change in zoning, but in rare circumstances may be successful.
Get Legal Help
Keep in mind, the changing of zoning codes is always a long process, and taking the opportunity to present your argument against a rezoning proposal is easier in the beginning of he process than later. If you are notified of a rezoning proposal, and would like to stand in opposition to the change than it is important that you work with a local attorney familiar with the rezoning process for advice and assistance in crafting a meaningful and compelling argument.