How disputes over land use can be resolved

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2022 | Real Estate Law |

Cities, counties and even the state of Florida can set different zoning restrictions for different areas. These restrictions can affect the height and size of the building, where the building can be located on the plot of land, the type of business that can be run of a building, whether an area needs to be residential housing only, restrictions on the use of utilities and other factors.

Before starting most construction projects, the owners of the property typically need building permits from the appropriate governmental agency. Once the application for the permits is submitted, the government agency could grant the permits, deny the application or grant it with conditions based on the current zoning laws in the area. Depending on the decision, it will greatly affect the owners’ ability to complete the project or certain elements of the project.

Process for using a special magistrate

If the owner disagrees with the development order. They must first use all administrative appeals available to them prior to initiating a request for reconsideration to a special magistrate though. However, if it remains unresolved after exhausting the administrative appeals, the owner can appeal to a special magistrate. They do have 30 days to appeal once the order becomes final. After receipt of the request to change the initial order, the government agency has 10 days to submit the request to a special magistrate who will decide whether or not to overturn the initial determination.

The special magistrate must then hold a hearing on the appeal within 45 days of receipt of the request. At the hearing, both sides can present their case and evidence to the special magistrate and also have witnesses talk to the special magistrate as well. The special magistrate will then make recommendations after the hearing. After that, it is up to the government agency to accept or reject the recommendations or to modify their initial decision.

Zoning and land-use restrictions in Florida can be very complicated matters, but very important ones for developers and owners of property. The dispute resolution process and appeals process for initial permit decisions can also be complicated and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.