Zoning and Land Use
Protection of open space and animal habitat is becoming increasingly difficult as our population continues to expand.
The Environmental Law Group is often called upon to assist in many kinds of land use controversies, including easement, timber road access, trespass and zoning. Every person has constitutional rights to own and enjoy private property, but in a society of many competing land uses and boundary issues, controversies will arise.
Undesirable land uses, such as landfills, environmental justice questions and zoning conflicts, are the most common citizen concerns. While zoning protects property values and uses in general, improper and arbitrary zoning to meet special interest needs can often equally destroy land values and ruin the basis for land ownership in the first instance.
Zoning in Virginia is controlled by the local government, which enjoys great deference in its land use decisions. The Virginia Supreme Court has often intimated that the ballot box is the proper route to address bad zoning decisions, but that is often after the fact and too late.
Citizens should study carefully the comprehensive plan, the local zoning ordinances and long-term capital, and water and sewer plans for "consistency" with any questionable zoning action. Local governments are also strictly held to follow the proper procedures notice and other "processes" of the zoning action.
Involvement of counsel at the earliest stage is critical; after the zoning action has already been accomplished may be too late. There are also strict and mandatory time frames in which any action may be brought; these times vary but, in general, any action must be filed within 30 days. The Environmental Law Group offers both consulting and legal representation in land use cases and land disputes.
Contact us for experienced representation
At ELG, we combine scientific expertise and legal knowledge to serve our community in the environmental issues Virginians commonly face. We represent only the plaintiffs in these matters, and our allegiance is to you, our client. Call the firm at 804.433.1980 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation on your case.