Glossary of Property - Zoning
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- What is eminent domain?
- Power of the gov't to seize private property for puglic use, upon payment of just compensation.
- What is just compensation - in the eminent domain context?
- fmv of the property seized - amount a buyer and seller w/ agree upon - m/ reflect the most profitable possible use for the land, regarldess of the use intended for it.
- What is a taking?
- Any interruption in the ordinary use and enjoyment of property - need only be partial and temporary to qualify
- If the gov't takes/destroys the land during a war to prevent the enemy from getting it, can the owner claim eminent domain?
- No, wartime is a special case where losses are non-compensable due to the fortunes of war.
- Are noise and vibration, which c/ destroy property, recoverable under eminent domain?
- Yes, considered a taking by modern cours, entitled to compensation to the extent of the damages.
- What is zoning?
- Means of land regulation via the enactment of statutes designed to protec the health, safety, morals or welfare of hte public - based on state's police power.
- When does a zoning ordinance constitute a taking of land w/o just compensation?
- Reasonable return test - if the resturction is so burdensome that the L c/n recover a reasonable return on his investment in the rpoperty or makes the land econimcally worthless, theres been a taking.
Balancing test - weigh the private hardship created by the restriction against the public benefits it creates - if private is greater, there is a taking.
Prevention of harm test - desinged to prevent harm to the public c/never constitute a taking since considered a noncompensable exercise of police power; if it designed to benefit the public, it is a taking.
- What is a nonconforming use?
- Use that violates a zoning ordiance but it existed before the ordinance came into effect.
As long as it d/n endanger health or safety, it m/b allowed to continue until the L has enough time to amortize his investment, its only the existing use that c/ continue.
If destroyed, c/n rebuild nonconforming use - m/ comply with zoning ordinance.
- What is a variance?
- Adminstrative action allowing a property owner to avoid the restrictions of a zoning ordinance.
A variance s/b granted if:
1. it is unreasonable economically to use the land only for zoned purpose;
2. unique circumstances of the property owner, not shared by general neighborhood conditions make the zoning unreasonable;
3. essential character of the neighborhood w/n change if the variance is granted.
- What is Euclidean zoning?
- City is separated into regions that are zoned into use districts - typically residential, commercial or industrial.
Most common zoning.
- What is spot zoning?
- Occurs when a single parcel of land is restricted in use in a way inconsistent with its surroundings. ILLEGAL unless it has a justification as part of a comprehensive plan to serve the general welfare of the public.
- How does subdivision regulation differ from zoning regulation?
- Zoning addresses the USES to which land m/b put.
Subdivision focuses on the specifics of land development for residential pruposes - developer files a subdiv map with appropriate gov't agency, indicating lots into which the vacant land w/b subdiv. As long as subdiv has adequate design and the developer dedicates land or pays fees for gov't services that the subdiv w/ require, subdiv is proper and capable of approval.
- How do aesthetic ordinances affect zoning? (city full of popsicle stick homes and you want an eskimo pie home)
- If basis of ordininance is aesthetic, ordinance maintains a consistent complexion of the neighborhood and is upheld. C/n have a discriminatory intent or they w/ constitute an Equal Protection violation.
- Can zoning ordinances prohibit unrelated people from living together?
- Yes, furthers goals like preventing overcrowding, whereas a zoning ordinance c/n probihit family members (blood or marriage) from living together.
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