Experienced Land Use and Zoning Attorney
You have purchased the property, but you would now like to change its zoning designation or obtain a Conditional Use and/or a Special Exception Use.
While you can certainly hire an attorney like Andrew Patrick Lannon, Esq., B.C.S., who is board certified in City, County & Local Government Law and has personally handled thousands of land use and zoning matters in his career, to address this matter for you, the approach we employ at L5 Law is different than other land use/zoning practitioners in the State of Florida, and it is for the exclusive benefit of the Client.
We recommend that you contact us to receive a referral for a quality land planner. These individuals have a master’s degree in Land Planning and cost the Client substantially less per hour than an attorney with a Juris Doctorate.
Hire L5 Law when it is clear that the Client’s land use item is going to fail (i.e., receive an adverse decision). This generally occurs after the Client and Land Planner have met ex parte (if permitted in that jurisdiction) with each individual County Commissioner or City Councilmember, and have tallied their votes on the land use item. At that point, L5 Law can attend the County Commission or City Council meeting, preserve the record for appeal and handle the appeal to the applicable Florida Circuit Court.
Surrounding Property Affected by Local Government’s Land Use Decision
If you are a neighboring property owner and you completely disagree with the applicable County Commission or City Council’s decision on some land use matter regarding another, adjacent parcel, you have Constitutional rights you must preserve.
For example, you live in a rural community. The County Commission has approved a commercial business in your rural community which completely disrupts your quality of life and your ability to use and enjoy your real property. Your rights under Article I, section 2 of the Florida Constitution are far superior to any local government’s LDRs and must be vindicated in Court.
If you wish to appeal the local government’s decision, you must hire legal counsel to do so promptly, for you only have 30 days to appeal per Rule 9.100(c)(1) of the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure.
In some situations, you may have the unique opportunity to file a de novo lawsuit pursuant to section 163.3215(3)-(4), Florida Statutes (2021), which is an actual lawsuit, not an appeal, with discovery (e.g., depositions) and a trial.
If you are in need of assistance, please contact L5 Law for a free consultation.
Land Use and Zoning Legal Process
Pursuant to Chapter 163, Part II, Florida Statutes (2021), every local government (all 67 counties and 412 municipalities) must adopt a Comprehensive Plan “to guide and manage future development consistent with the proper role of local government.” § 163.3161, Fla. Stat. (2021).
As part of this process, land development regulations (LDRs) are adopted by the applicable local government and enforced by the local government’s Growth Management Department. These LDRs, inter alia, establish zoning districts within the geographical boundaries of the applicable county or city.
Within each zoning district are listed all of the “Permitted Uses,” “Accessory Uses,” “Conditional Uses” and “Special Exception Uses” for that particular parcel of property.
A Permitted Use and an Accessory Use come with the property’s acquisition. For example, if you live in a “CC” (“Community Commercial”) zoning district, you can own and operate, e.g., an automobile parts store, because that is listed as a Permitted Use in “CC” zoning. The Accessory Use (typically parking) is necessary for the automobile parts store’s customers.
A Conditional Use and a Special Exception Use, however, must be granted by the applicable County Commission or City Council after a public hearing thereon.
Carrying forward the example provided supra, an example of a Conditional Use in “CC” zoning may be automobile towing services. So, the owner of the automobile parts store may have a contract with AAA and want to operate this type of business simultaneously from the same location. Once the applicable County Commission or City Council approves the land use item, that Conditional Use then becomes one of the arrows in the quiver of the property owner.
Continuing with this example, a Special Exception Use in “CC” zoning may be oil change facilities. Thus, the automobile parts store owner may desire to also provide oil changes to his/her customers. Once the applicable County Commission or City Council approves the land use item, that Special Exception Use then becomes one of the arrows in the quiver of the property owner.