Land use and zoning laws affect residential and commercial land development, subdivision of property, changes to existing structures, business uses and other matters involving real property rights. Most of these matters require approval and permission from local governments and may involve municipal, state, and federal law. Our attorneys have experience in all areas of land use regulation in Tennessee, both in representing governmental planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals and local governing bodies and on behalf of developers and private property owners.
Identifying and understanding the applicable ordinances and regulations is the first step. As cities and counties have amended their zoning ordinances and subdivision regulations and adopted new building codes, the rules have become more varied from one city or county to the next. The process has also become more complicated as more actions and uses require special exceptions, variances, conditional use permits, and design review.
We can advise and assist in the processing of preliminary and final subdivision plats, applications for conditional use permits, variances, and other requests for exception to underlying zoning ordinances. By being involved early on and meeting with the engineering and planning professionals before plans are formally submitted, we can help ensure your project is presented in the most legally advantageous way. Our experience and understanding of land use law helps us make your case to local government staff and to help obtain their support.
Our land use attorneys also attend and make appearances at local government meetings and hearings to ensure evidence in your favor comes to light. This is a crucial step in the process to ensure that record is established. Litigation is an extreme result, and a last resort. However, litigation may be the only course to reach an approval if local officials receive inaccurate advice or otherwise fail to follow the law. Our extensively experienced attorneys can advise you on the likelihood of litigation early in the process and although we cannot always predict what a court will do, we can reasonably assess your chances of success.
Cool Springs Law Firm helps its clients weigh land use decisions and allows them to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. We are advocates for your plans and build strong arguments with the goal of obtaining decisions in your favor.
EMINENT DOMAIN (CONDEMNATION)
Eminent domain (or condemnation) is the right of the federal, state or local government to take private property for public use. The taking may be for a utility project, right-of-way or even a public building, such as a school or other government building.
Although the government’s right to take property is broad, the Constitution prohibits the taking of private property without Just Compensation, defined as “a fair equivalent in money” or fair market value. The value of real property is often based upon recent sales of comparable properties; however, no two parcels of real estate are exactly the same, and many factors may affect the value.
In almost all cases, the government will make a property owner an offer to purchase their property prior to filing a condemnation lawsuit. Government representatives should be willing to discuss the project and answer any questions that the private property owner may have. However, under any circumstances, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss your situation if you believe your land is going to be condemned.
Todd Moore PLC represents both individual landowners and governmental entities in eminent domain and inverse condemnation cases. If you would like to discuss a potential condemnation matter, please do not hesitate to contact us. In these types of cases, initial consultations are always free of charge.