Entries by Zach Brown

Distinguishing Land Use and Zoning

When trying to develop property for certain uses, it is likely that a local government has placed restrictions on how that property may be developed. Local governments do this in order to take advantage of a more efficient use of resources, plan for future growth, and for the general safety and welfare of the public.

Eminent Domain and Just Compensation

How does government acquire the land it uses to install utilities or construct new roads? It exercises an authority that is called eminent domain. Eminent domain allows the government to take private property if it is for a “public use.” The phrase “public use” is contentious since, depending on who is defining it, could greatly limit or increase the government’s authority to take private property. This article gives some background on what eminent domain is, and how property owners can either fight it or at least be fully compensated for it.

Distinguishing Variances and Special Exceptions

There are many avenues that property owners could travel to get around certain restrictions that local governments impose upon property throughout their jurisdiction. Sometimes local governments will restrict, for example, how high buildings can be built, or how property can be used.