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land use & zoning Archives

Tuscon clashes with university over zoning issues

Zoning laws create many interesting challenges for every party who plans to build or expand a structure. Often, when we think of zoning issues, we envision a real estate developer fighting to build a certain number of units on a parcel, or a business working to expand while acknowledging the restrictions of the area where they are located. Recently, however, a much larger institution came under fire for threatening zoning laws.

Proposed historic overlay causes landowner problems

Zoning laws can cause great headaches if a landowner does not properly deal with them in a timely manner. Of course, in some cases, maintaining the right to do what you want with your own property is a fight in and of itself - even when you think you've prepared properly. This struggle recently came into focus for a Phoenix landowner after the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission moved to rezone a structure with a historic preservation zoning overlay.

Sedona residents protest new water tower

One of the primary purposes of zoning laws is often protecting and preserving elements of nature that surround a community, They ensure that the short-term desires of the present are not upheld: to walk all over hundreds or thousands of years of natural resources for the sake of convenience or fleeting business interests. Our neighbors in Sedona are currently facing a tricky dilemma — many city officials and industry professionals say that the community needs to install a new water tank to meet the demands of living in a dry, demanding area. However, many residents of the area where the water tank would be installed don't want the tank disrupting their community, fearing that it will affect their home values, among other things.

Gila River deal demonstrates complexity of water rights

Here in Arizona, and in many other parts of the country, access to water is far more complicated than you might expect. Especially because of it's relative scarcity compared to other parts of the country, the statutes that govern water resources and who may control them are very important, but often misunderstood or taken for granted.

Subdivision put on hold for zoning issue

Contrary zoning can easily make or break nearly any real estate venture. Recent news out of Kingman demonstrates just how complicated it can be to work with zoning boards to achieve a successful rezoning effort. A developer seeking to rezone an area to allow for more dense residential building withdrew a petition for rezoning after it became clear that the request would be denied. The primary issue seems to be the susceptibility to flooding in various parts of the parcel in question.

Eminent domain options

For landowners in America, acquiring your own slice of the American dream in the form of real estate is sadly not the end of the story. Under some circumstances, land you own may be forcefully taken away from you through "eminent domain" — but the process is not automatic, and you do have options if you know where to look. Like most legal processes, the sooner you seek qualified legal counsel and take action, the more room you may have to negotiate.

Appeals court says state law supersedes federal drug law

The Arizona State Court of Appeals handed down a ruling recently, instructing Phoenix officials that they could not refuse to grant marijuana dispensaries the necessary zoning to begin construction. While some attention was pointed to the fact that the dispensary in question for this particular case would be located in an unincorporated part of Sun City, the majority of the decision established that officials are not allowed to override state law that legalizes the medical use of marijuana with federal law that maintains that marijuana is illegal to distribute, possess or imbibe.

Why is building so complex on the Reservation?

Arizona is a unique and special place in many ways, representing one of the most complex intersections of long-standing regional cultures in the entire country. One of the most fascinating and complicated facets of the state is the vast areas within our state lines that are designated as the Navajo Reservation. When it comes to land usage and building in particular, the Reservation presents some very specific challenges.

Border wall faces land use problems

When it comes to land use laws, Arizona may soon be the site of a very complicated conflict. Roughly 75 miles of Arizona's southern border extends through the middle of the Tohono O'odham Nation, a reservation that dips down into Mexico. The already features relatively low-grade fencing to delineate the border, but many members of the O'odham people venture down to Sonora, Mexico to meet with family and tribe members. Of course, one of the most publicized stories of the last couple of years in Donald Trump's plan to build a wall across the whole southern border of the country as it meet with Mexico. This could, however, prove a difficult legal task without approval from the Tohono O'odham Nation.

How do I apply for a variance from a zoning ordinance?

When it comes to land use and zoning issues, each county in every state usually maintains its own set of procedures and standards for how zoning codes are applied and enforced. Here in Maricopa county, the local governance recognizes that, in some cases, some zoning ordinances may in fact do more harm than good when interpreted strictly. As with many regulations, in an effort to account for many instances of use, regulations are often both specifically restrictive while being written broadly enough to be applied to circumstances beyond what the architects of the regulation envisioned in its writing.

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