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Are you a homeowner victimized by zoning laws?

It doesn't take religion or politics to get a strong reaction from a group of people — just mention zoning laws and you're sure to see the sparks start to fly.

Those who support residential zoning laws are quick to point out that they keep people from moving broken-down trailers onto property adjacent to million-dollar homes. Those against the laws retort that if you own your property, you should be able to do as you wish with it, as long as it's legal.

While there will probably never be a meeting of the minds on zoning, it's important to understand how zoning laws can affect homeowners.

Homeowner Associations (HoA's) can contain very restrictive covenants for the most mundane features of a home. Some developments even restrict the colors of paint you can use on your home or the type of roof material. Flying the American flag can be forbidden, and even parking a pickup truck in your driveway can be verboten.

If you are the type of person who likes to express your individuality, living in this type of community might not be the best choice for you and your family.

Easements can become another headache for homeowners. Most properties have easements that allow utility workers to access the property to do their jobs, but some easements may allow neighbors or others to access land owned by others for fishing, hunting or other activities. If you are adversely affected by an unwelcome stream of boozed-up, gun-toting he-men, it may be in your best interests to try to learn more about the zoning laws here in Maricopa County and how they affect your rights as a homeowner.

Source: FindLaw, "What Are My Rights as a Homeowner?," accessed Jan. 19, 2018

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