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Helmsing Leach’s land use & zoning attorneys routinely represent landowners, potential buyers, and developers in securing the land use entitlements they need to develop, use, or sell their land. We also have extensive experience representing municipal city councils, planning commissions, and zoning boards on these same types of matters from the governmental perspective. Our experiences on both the governmental and property owner sides of the land use and zoning practice area provide us with a unique perspective to help find creative and suitable solutions to the land use and zoning issues facing our clients.

What is Land Use Law?

Land Use Law encompasses a set of legal principles and regulations that dictate how land can be utilized and developed. It governs a wide range of activities, including zoning regulations, land development ordinances, environmental laws, and property rights. Essentially, land use law determines what types of activities or structures are allowed on specific parcels of land, aiming to promote orderly and sustainable development while balancing the interests of property owners, communities, and the environment. It addresses issues such as land zoning, subdivision regulations, building codes, historic preservation, and natural resource management.

Land Use and Zoning Law Attorneys in Mobile, AL

Land use and zoning attorneys help property owners and potential buyers obtain the necessary zoning, subdivision, and other approvals needed to complete their real estate development projects. We have helped our clients in the following types of matters:

In addition to these services, we have also assisted our clients with their real estate developments by providing the following services:
Our attorneys have represented large and small developers on land use and zoning matters – from big-box stores and regional developers to locals. We recently advised the Mobile Area Association of Realtors on the City of Mobile’s multi-year rezoning effort. We also represented the developer in a contentious rezoning and PUD of land for a grocery store anchored development in Midtown Mobile. We have also successfully represented developers of petroleum tank farms, shopping centers, utility companies, and apartments.

Get Professional Legal Advice from Our Zoning Law Attorneys

Helmsing Leach’s land use & zoning attorneys save our clients’ time and money by guiding them through the approvals process for a given project. We also ensure legal and regulatory compliance, helping our clients avoid issues related to the use of real property.

There is only a limited amount of time during the Purchase Agreement due diligence to try to change zoning and lot lines, and delays can jeopardize deals from closing. Also, due to the contentious nature of some rezonings, any missteps or delays along the way can cost the client far more than just time.

Question & Answer

Who regulates the use of land in Alabama?

In Alabama, the regulation of land use primarily falls under the jurisdiction of local governments, including municipalities and counties. These local governments establish and enforce zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and comprehensive land use plans that govern how land can be used and developed within their jurisdictions. Additionally, state agencies may play a role in regulating certain aspects of land use, such as environmental protection and natural resource management. However, the authority to regulate land use is predominantly delegated to local governments, allowing them to tailor regulations to the unique needs and characteristics of their communities.
To determine if your intended use of your property is lawful in Alabama, you need to review the relevant zoning ordinance and land use regulations for your specific location. These regulations outline the permitted uses, development standards, and any special requirements or restrictions that apply to properties within different zoning districts. By examining the zoning map and ordinance provisions, you can identify the zoning classification of your property and whether your intended use is allowed as-of-right, requires a special permit or variance, or is prohibited altogether. Consulting with a land use and zoning attorney can provide further clarification and guidance on interpreting the applicable regulations.
The timeline for rezoning property in Alabama can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the rezoning request, the efficiency of the local government’s review process, and any public input requirements. Generally, the rezoning process involves submitting an application to the appropriate local planning or zoning authority, followed by a review period that may include public hearings, staff evaluations, and consideration by advisory boards or elected officials. This process can take several months to over a year, especially if there are significant concerns or opposition from stakeholders. Engaging with experienced professionals, such as land use attorneys and planners, can help streamline the process and mitigate delays.

When subdividing property in Alabama, you must consider factors such as the size and complexity of the subdivision, regulatory requirements, and public input processes. The subdivision process involves several steps: preparing a subdivision plat or plan, submitting it to the local planning or zoning authority for review and approval, and complying with any applicable subdivision regulations and ordinances. Overall, the subdivision approval process can range from a few months to over a year, depending on the specifics of the project and the efficiency of the regulatory review process.

If your subdivision or rezoning application is denied in Alabama, you may have options for appeal or recourse. Depending on the circumstances and the procedures outlined in the local zoning ordinance or subdivision regulations, you may be able to request reconsideration by the decision-making body, such as a planning commission or zoning board of adjustment. Alternatively, you may have the right to appeal the decision to a higher administrative or judicial authority, such as a city council or circuit court. Consulting with a land use attorney can help evaluate your options and determine the best course of action to pursue.

Land use and zoning attorneys handle a variety of common issues related to property development, regulatory compliance, and land use disputes. These may include zoning disputes and variances, conditional use permits, subdivision approvals, environmental regulations and permitting, historic preservation, land use litigation, eminent domain proceedings, and comprehensive planning. Additionally, land use attorneys provide legal advice and representation to clients seeking to navigate the complex regulatory framework governing land use and development, advocating for their interests before local governments, administrative agencies, and courts.
The role of a land use and zoning attorney is to assist clients in understanding, navigating, and complying with the intricate regulatory landscape governing land use, zoning, and development. At Helmsing Leach, our land use and zoning attorneys provide legal advice and representation to property owners, developers, businesses, and governmental entities on a wide range of issues related to land use planning, zoning regulations, permitting, and property rights. We work closely with clients to identify opportunities and challenges, develop strategies to achieve their objectives and advocate for their interests in administrative proceedings, negotiations, and litigation. We also collaborate with other professionals, such as planners, engineers, and environmental consultants, to address complex land use issues comprehensively.