Land Use, Zoning, and Planning

Land Use, Zoning and Planning:
Land use and zoning laws are often complex. There are specific laws in place that govern land use, zoning, and planning, however there may be differences in their procedural application between local counties and municipalities. Additionally local land development ordinances are often in place to govern how a particular municipality envisions property development in their jurisdiction.

Land use and zoning cases are typically heard before local zoning commissions, planning boards, boards of adjustment, historic preservation commissions, and other similar bodies. Changing a land use designation requires planning and can involve meetings with local municipal planners, engineers, Department of Transportation (DOT), and legal counsel. Our attorneys are experienced with the intricacies of the various steps in this process and can assist with the particulars involved with different land use cases.

Attorney Adam J. Marshall has served on several municipal land use commissions including the board of adjustment, and zoning commission where he served a term as commission Chair. He is also a member of the North Carolina Bar Association's Zoning, Planning and Land Use section. Additionally, Law Firm Carolinas maintains an active Real Estate and Community Association practice where our attorneys can offer expertise and assistance.

Zoning and Rezoning:
Zoning laws are in place to dictate how a property will be used within a certain portion of the community. Often a change in use will require that property owners apply to their local planning department for a change in zoning. For example, owners may need a rezoning application to take a piece of property from a residential zoning designation to an office use designation. Similarly, an owner in a light industrial district that wants to add a more intense use to their property, which is only allowed in a high industrial zoning district, will need to consider a zoning change.

Boards of Adjustment:
Some land use changes do not require a wholesale zoning change. Owners, may need a variance from the setback requirements in a particular neighborhood in order to build an improvement on their property, or an owner may not necessarily need to make a zoning district change, but may need to have a specific use allowed that requires a Special Use Permit. These are all changes to the use of land that may require application be made to a local municipal board such as the Board of Adjustment.