News & Insights

Has the government “taken” your property with too many regulations?

Under the Federal (and most state) constitutions, the government cannot “take” private property for public use without just compensation. Historically, this meant physically seizing or intruding upon all or part of your property and is often referred to as “eminent domain”. But takings are not necessarily physical. They can result from government regulations restricting the use of your property. It can be difficult to determine when the regulations go so far that they constitute a taking and require compensation.

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When It’s Just Too Much: Limits on Fees Charged by a Zoning Board of Appeals

As many property owners may know, zoning restrictions can have a significant impact on how a property can be used and improved. A zoning board of appeals (“ZBA”) is an independent board whose decisions impact a landowner’s property rights and can frequently affect the value of the property.  Municipalities have authority to charge fees for the ZBA’s functions. However, there are limits on such fees of which landowners should be aware. 

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Beware of Zoning Changes: Protecting Your Non-conforming Use

ZoningLocal zoning codes established by a town, village, or city control and establish what you can do with your property, as well as the size and boundaries of structures. Those codes can change over time, resulting in potential problems for property owners. This is increasingly an issue for many owners as localities look to prohibit certain uses of property because of growing concerns of conservation, exposure risks, etc. However, owners are often protected from a change that makes a pre-existing use illegal because they are considered to have a “prior non-conforming use.”

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