Contesting the Applicant's Request to Rezone His Property
UPDATED: September 18, 2013
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Once the application for rezoning has been filed, the local governmental entity in charge of reviewing the rezoning request will hold public hearings before the city council or local zoning board for public review and comments. Affected property owners are then given the opportunity to present their arguments for and against the applicant's rezoning proposal.
Participating in the Rezoning Process
Interested property owners may attend public hearings and express their opinions and concerns on the approval of the rezoning request. Many factors are taken into account before a decision is made, so concerned homeowners should know that they can influence the outcome on whether the zoning board will grant the applicant's petition. Realizing this, if you oppose the applicant's request for rezoning, prepare detailed arguments including photographs and charts explaining your case. The skill of an attorney can greatly assist you in making a successful presentation.
There is strength in numbers. So, if you oppose the zoning change, elicit the help of surrounding property owners to strengthen your case. File petitions, write letters, and show the force of neighborhood groups at the public hearings. A few states even require the critics to file a protest petition. Regardless of whether a petition is required, gathering neighborhood support impresses local officials, and will likely increase your chance of influencing a vote on the rezoning proposal.
Research Available Legal Remedies
In the event that your opposition to the proposed rezoning is not successful, you may still have a legal remedy depending on the extent of the zoning change. It is possible that this rezoning, either as it is proposed or as it is enacted, has an unlawful impact on property owners. If you believe the zoning board does not have the legal right to enforce this rezoning proposal that it has passed, you may file an appeal of the decision or even file a lawsuit. Before taking such action, consult an attorney to determine whether or not there is an available legal remedy. This avenue is likely your last attempt to prevent a change in zoning, but may be successful.