When should you consult a land use attorney about municipal matters?
By Sean Turley
There are a number of situations that might require the support of a land use attorney; but broken down simply, you might consider engaging an attorney in situations in which you are proposing a project, fighting a project, or settling a dispute among land owners.
Preparing for a proposal
A land use attorney can provide valuable insight when it comes to performing a critical review of something you’re planning to propose to help smooth out the process in advance and resolve any issues before you actually make the proposal.
Say you’d like to subdivide your land. In addition to obtaining proper approvals and permitting, an attorney can advise on how to anticipate which questions you’ll need to answer as part of this process and what you can expect along the way. Being prepared in advance allows you to approach any challenges with confidence, potentially reduce expenses, and ensure your project moves forward as smoothly as possible.
Challenging a project
Alternatively, you may seek the advice of a land use attorney when you’re challenging a project. Your neighbor may have applied for or retained a permit for a new structure on their property, but you believe there’s an issue. An attorney can help identify any actual violations of your town’s ordinances on your neighbor’s part and whether or not you’re in a position to challenge the project. If so, they can provide support in building and presenting your case.
Disputes among land owners
Neighbors may run into disagreements about things like the location of boundary lines, the use of easement, and the proper interpretation of a deed. A land use attorney can assist by first addressing the issue with the neighbor to find a resolution. If needed, an attorney can also provide support in filing a lawsuit if both parties are unable to come to an agreement.
What to look for in a land use attorney
- Someone who is experienced both in front of planning boards and before courts in case the situation advances to that level.
- An individual who is well versed in state law and municipal ordinances.
- An attorney who has experience with similar situations.
- Particularly when you’re trying to get something approved, choose an attorney who is invested in understanding your goals and learning about your project as a whole.
Reach out to our land use team for more information about how an attorney can provide support for your land use needs.