Land use is an important concept that applies to any construction project or real estate development. Understanding land use is essential for anyone interested in keeping up with the regulations associated with developing, constructing, and using specific properties in Charleston, South Carolina.
At Lesemann & Associates, we understand zoning, land use, and municipal laws. You can rely on us for the insights we provide and our ability to translate them into practical solutions.
Planning and Zoning
Planning and zoning define how land is used and controlled. Zoning is the division of land into zones, which are defined by municipal ordinances. Planning involves creating a comprehensive plan for the development of an area. These processes ensure that land is used efficiently and orderly and meets the community's needs. Without planning and zoning, the growth and development of urban and rural areas would occur haphazardly, leading to problems such as traffic congestion, pollution, and lack of open space.
Plans are created through a public process that involves input from citizens, business owners, and government officials. Then, zoning ordinances are enacted by local governments. Both planning and zoning can be controversial because they can restrict what owners can do with their land.
Charleston, South Carolina Planning and Zoning Laws
The City of Charleston is dedicated to promoting and protecting our public health, safety, and welfare through the effective use of land. The city's planning and zoning laws are designed to maintain a high quality of life and allow growth and development.
The city's plan establishes the guidelines for land use, transportation, economic development, and other aspects of growth and development. This plan is updated periodically to reflect the area's changes.
Charleston zoning ordinances divide the city into different districts, each with its regulations. The regulations vary depending on the district but are all designed to promote effective land use.
The city also enforces several other land use regulations related to subdivisions, lot sizes, building setbacks, and environmental protection. These regulations are designed to ensure that new development is compatible with the existing neighborhood.
How Our Charleston Land Use and Zoning Lawyers Can Help
The Charleston land use lawyers at Lesemann & Associates can help you navigate the process of complying with zoning and planning requirements.
We will work with you to ensure that your project complies with all applicable laws and regulations and will fight to protect your rights if opponents challenge your project.
Contact Our Land Use and Zoning Lawyers Today
If you need legal support with any aspect of land use in Charleston, you need to seek legal assistance from a lawyer who understands local planning and zoning laws. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of the land use lawyers at Lesemann & Associates. Our team has extensive experience guiding clients through zoning disputes, variances and exceptions, development plan approvals, and enforcement actions.
Land Use and Zoning FAQ
What is land use?
Land use refers to the purpose that land serves or how it is utilized. Common land uses include residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and recreational. Local governments regulate land use through zoning laws and land use planning to control development and growth.
What is zoning?
Zoning divides a local government's jurisdiction into separate districts with different regulations and allowable land uses. For example, a residential zoning district may prohibit commercial or industrial uses. Zoning aims to separate incompatible land uses for the health and welfare of the community. Zoning regulations control aspects like:
- Allowed uses of land (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.)
- Building density limits
- Building heights
- Setback requirements from property lines
- Parking requirements
How do zoning laws get created?
Zoning laws are enacted by local governments, usually cities and counties. The zoning code is part of the municipality's land use plan. Zoning must follow an adopted comprehensive plan and enable the well-ordered development of the community. Zoning regulations are voted into law by city councils or county commissions.
How are zoning codes enforced?
Planning departments and zoning administrators enforce zoning codes. They review building permits, issue certificates of occupancy, and investigate complaints about code violations. Violators can face fines or be forced to vacate non-compliant buildings or stop prohibited uses.
What is a variance?
A variance is permission to deviate from zoning requirements, usually related to the physical structure, like height, setbacks, or lot coverage. Variances are granted only for special circumstances, like an unusual lot shape, that creates a hardship in conforming to the code.
What is a special exception?
A special exception is a permit allowing use in a zoning district when specific conditions stated in the zoning ordinance are met. For example, a zoning code may allow churches in residential areas as a special exception to the code.
What is the role of land use and zoning lawyers?
Land use and zoning lawyers assist clients in navigating the complexities of land use regulations. They represent property owners, developers, municipalities, and community groups in zoning and land use disputes. This may involve filing variances and special exceptions, opposing proposed rezoning, or negotiating with planning departments on development plans. Contact our Charleston land use and zoning lawyers for assistance protecting your rights.