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What to Do if You are Facing a Zoning Dispute

As a property owner, you want to be able to use your property for what suits your needs. You probably paid a lot of money for the property and now you want to utilize it. Unfortunately, there are many local laws in place that could limit the use of particular properties for specific purposes. A zoning dispute can be very complicated, and it might prevent you from moving forward with your plans. If you are facing a zoning dispute, consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

What are Zoning Disputes?

A zoning dispute is a disagreement about the use of a particular property. A zoning dispute happens when a property owner wants to utilize the property in a way that is not allowed by zoning ordinances. Generally, municipalities put ordinances in place that are designed to protect their citizens. Cities and towns try to create areas within their community that will provide for urban planning. Certain parcels of land or lots are zoned for purposes such as residential or commercial.

Typically, residential property is for use only for homes. Commercial property is meant for businesses. Other types of zoning categories may include industrial, agricultural and historic.

Zoning disputes can also occur for reasons other than property usage. A building must comply with the ordinances when it comes to the placement of buildings, restrictions on building size, parking, and the number of buildings that can be located on a parcel, for example.

Zoning Regulations

Municipalities must adhere to the general statutes in law that govern city and county zoning. As a result of years of regulatory implementation and changes, the laws that govern zoning can be complicated and confusing. Zoning ambiguities can result in disputes. Wisconsin laws such as the 2015 Wisconsin Act 391 include details that can be taken differently, as litigation has shown.

A zoning violation may happen when the local municipality finds a problem or when neighbors file complaints. If you receive a zoning violation, you must address it swiftly.

What to Do About a Zoning Dispute

Zoning disputes can cause turmoil and confusion and can cause delays and fines. First, you will want to determine the nature of the dispute. In some cases, minor disputes can be settled through negotiations. If you do resolve a dispute, you should always memorialize it through written documentation. If the dispute is not easy to resolve, you may need help from a knowledgeable attorney. Litigation is often the best way to handle a complex zoning dispute. Your attorney will review the details and gather evidence to present for your case. If you already have a violation, you could accrue substantial penalty fees until you resolve the matter.

Zoning disputes can be challenging and costly, so it is helpful to seek legal guidance as soon as possible in the process. If you are facing a zoning dispute, don’t delay. Call our law office at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online for a consultation.

Published September 19, 2022
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