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Municipalities have the right to create zones and land use regulations. However, sometimes these zones are outdated, or a new property owner wishes to change them to improve their business.

Whether you wish to expand your current business and need to remove governmental restrictions on the land or want to purchase a dilapidated residential property and create a successful retail business, the zoning and land use attorneys at KJK can help you fight to change the zone of your property.

We can negotiate with your local or city government, defend your rights at a public hearing and build goodwill with the local residents to ensure you receive the zoning you need.

Legal Services

Your partners in
zoning matters

KJK offers a wide variety of zoning and land use legal services. Besides representing you at appeals or hearings, we also offer advice, can help with negotiations, and have experience with eminent domain.

Rezoning
  • If you want to change the zoning of your property, you can ask for a rezoning. Depending on locale of the property, you may need to speak with the relevant city council or your village government. If your property is located in a county or township, you must also comply with state law, making it more difficult to rezone in these areas.
  • Rezoning is complicated since zoning and land use planning usually considers the entire area, including public health, population density and the environment. You may need to prove that your development benefits the area in some way.
  • Before fighting to rezone your property, consult with KJK’s Zoning and Land Use attorneys to see if it’s necessary. If your area follows Cumulative Zoning, multiple zones may exist within one area. However, Euclidean Zoning is more restrictive.
  • You may also want to consider altering your plan to stay within the current zoning or ask for a use variance instead. KJK can advise you on your business expansion or property addition. Before investing in a property or a project, consult with KJK to ensure you can alter the zoning, or your project fits within the current regulations.
Zoning Commission Appearances & Negotiation

When applying for a rezoning, you may need to appear before your local Zoning Commission. KJK can represent you, presenting an argument on your behalf and negotiating with the commission to get the best outcome for you and your business.

Boards of Zoning Appeals Appearances

If you have unsuccessfully asked the Zoning Commission to change your property’s zoning or believe the Zoning Commission has wrongfully zoned your property, you can appear before the board of zoning in an appeal. Having skilled legal representation at the appeal from KJK can boost your chances of success. We can use a cohesive plan to convince the board of zoning that your project can help the local economy or encourage tourism.

Exactions

Many municipalities include exactions or costs you must pay to the municipality in agreements with developers. Exactions exist to offset any problems the development could cause, such as increasing pollution or traffic problems.

The KJK team can help you negotiate exaction terms in your lease or sale agreement and also ensure you comply with the requirements once agreed. 

Municipal Government Appearances

Whether you’re fighting to change your zoning or having issues with neighbors over who has access to a road, you may need to appear before your municipal government to argue your case. Preparing for these appearances involves significant legal research and knowledge, which the team at KJK can provide. We can also represent you at the appearance, presenting a competent and persuading case to the government.

Design Review Board Appearances & Negotiation

If you want to make changes to your property that could affect the neighborhood’s overall appearance, you may need to appear before your local design review board. While some localities focus on historical preservation, others require permission for certain structures or expansions.

The team at KJK can help you determine whether you must run your changes by a design review board. If the board is hesitant about your changes, we can initiate negotiations to help you make the changes you wish.

Overlay Districts

Overlay districts put additional restrictions on an area of land. While you might purchase a plot in a retail-zoned area, you may need a geotechnical report before beginning construction if it has an additional overlay district.

At KJK, we can help you understand all the zones, including any overlays that affect your property. Whether you want to fight to alter them or need advice on how to proceed with your plans within the current restrictions, the KJK team can help.

Takings & Eminent Domain

Eminent domain allows the government, whether local, state or federal, to claim private property for public use. The federal government has used this power to create national parks, expand highways or build railroads. However, the state and your local government can also utilize this power.

If the government takes your property under eminent domain, they must provide you with just compensation. If you believe their offer is low, you can take the government to court in an appropriate action, a specific lawsuit at state level. The team at KJK can represent you, ensuring you receive the highest amount of compensation possible for your property.

Use Variances

Use variances give investors an allowance to use the property in a way not usually allowed by the zoning. Because each locality creates its own zoning requirements, the application and decision process may differ. At KJK, we can help you determine what type of use variance to ask for, how to apply for it, and help you appeal in the event of a denial.

Unlike rezoning, use variances only affect your property and could revert if you sell your property.

Case Study:

KJK Wins Rezoning for Royalton Collection

KJK has a long-standing history of winning zoning and rezoning cases. Our client invested in a vacant building, which required significant repairs because they thought the property was perfect for a shopping center. However, they quickly realized that the zoning only allowed for office buildings.

The client came to us for advice, and our team proceeded to fight for approval for a zoning change to allow a retail shopping center on the premises. Our multifaceted strategy included winning the support of local private homeowners by making presentations to their HOA boards. We also met with the city council and the Zoning Commission to present a comprehensive argument for the rezoning.

KJK succeeded in changing the zoning for our client, who has begun development and leased over 70% of the available space.

zoning & land use

Attorneys

Matt Viola

Matt T. Viola

CHAIR

Steven Marrer

Steven A. Marrer

CHAIR

Steve Richman

Stephen D. Richman

PARTNER

Steven Marrer Cleveland Attorney

Steven A. Marrer

Partner

Steve Richman

Stephen D. Richman

Senior Counsel

Matt Viola Cleveland Real Estate Attorney

Matthew T. Viola

Partner

Get in Touch

Optimize Your Business Goals and Objectives

If you need to challenge a zoning commission, call the team at KJK today to arrange an initial consultation. We can create a plan to win your zoning case and help you expand your business.

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