When it comes to owning real estate, zoning can be a big deal. Just because you own a parcel of land does not always mean you can do whatever you want with it. There are laws in place to protect not only your neighbors, but also your city’s comprehensive community plan. In today’s blog post we’re answering some common questions about zoning, and zoning variance in particular.
1. What is a zoning variance?
Communities use set rules, called zoning ordinances, to regulate which properties can be used as residences, which properties can be used as businesses, which properties can be used for agricultural purposes, etc. A zoning variance is an approved deviation from these rules.
2. How do I get a zoning variance?
If you are a property owner and want to use your land or building for purposes other than those it is zoned for, you will need to file an application with your local board of adjustment, county commission, or a similar entity (this will depend on your city or county and an attorney can help you determine which agency is appropriate). A notice will need to be sent to your neighbors to let them know you are trying to get a zoning variance, and then a public hearing will be held.
3. What can I do if my neighbor is trying to rezone and I don’t want them to?
You will have the opportunity to attend the public hearing, and express your support for or opposition to the variance. While simply expressing your opposition certainly cannot guarantee that the variance will not be granted, you will know that your voice has been heard.
Knowledge is power in these matters, so if your neighbor gets a zoning variance you hoped they wouldn’t, do the best you can with what you’ve learned. You can make a plan and be proactive with your property based on what your neighbor wants to do. For example, if they want to make a previously residential property next to your home into a commercial property and you’re concerned about privacy, you can go ahead and start construction on an outdoor privacy wall.
4. Can my neighbor rezone without me knowing about it?
You should receive a notice if your neighbor applies for a zoning variance. If you did not receive this notice due to a clerical error or any other hiccup in the system, you may have legal recourse.
Contact an Oklahoma Property Attorney
At Pence Law Firm, P.C., we often help clients with legal issues related to real property. If you have questions about zoning laws, zoning variances, or a related issue, we encourage you to contact us today!