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Zoning considerations relevant to Colorado real estate transactions

Do you ever wonder why and how the various areas of your Colorado city or town came to feature a rational divide among commercial, residential and industrial districts?

Urban areas ranging from the largest enclaves down to the smallest municipalities have zoning rules and regulations that govern development. As noted in one in-depth article on zoning, local government control over land/building development dates back more than a century in the United States.

The formal reasons put forward in support of zoning are several. Thoughtful controls help an area grow in an orderly and safe way. Reasoned restrictions keep incompatible uses at bay (e.g., no smoke-emitting factory in a residential neighborhood). Zoning ordinances help to preserve property values. A certain conformity attaches to a community via zoning regulations.

This must be noted, too: Controversy and resistance to zoning can also attach in instances where it is perceived as unfair, not carried out for the general good of the public or selectively applied to a single party. The above-cited article notes that a zoning dictate is permissible “if it is reasonable and not arbitrary,” and that is far from being routinely the case.

In fact, zoning is challenged by individuals and businesses in Colorado and nationally with some frequency. Perhaps one party is being singled out and asked to suffer an unfair restriction. Maybe a claim that an alleged government action grounded in good faith and for the larger public good is really an unconstitutional taking of private property has merit. Zoning restrictions sometimes hinder business owners’ ability to advertise and accommodate patrons. Zoning often operates as restrictive covenants imposed on homeowners by HOA boards in planned communities.

Zoning law is unquestionably complex. The above subject overview stresses that ‘an owner who contests a zoning requirement is ill advised to try to argue his or her case without legal assistance.”

The attorneys at the Denver law firm of O’Brien Legal Services provide diligent and comprehensive assistance to valued clients across the virtual universe of real estate matters, including issues linked with development and zoning.

We welcome contacts to the firm to discuss our proven representation in this exciting and challenging area of law.

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