Court issued zoning dispute ruling after construction had begun

In several recent posts, we’ve explored the importance of obtaining permits and investigating applicable zoning laws. Without that work, zoning disputes might arise and cause significant delay and/or expense.

Unfortunately, zoning disputes do not always arise in a timely manner. For example, a developer may have obtained all of the necessary building permits, only to be sidelined by community or neighborhood association complaints brought after construction has begun.

Although such after-the-fact disputes may seem unfair, a real estate lawyer knows that they happen all too often. For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that Target Corp. has been ordered to stop work on a shopping center that is already partly built. A local court issued the order in response to a complaint brought by a neighborhood association that was upset that Target’s building project exceeded local height restrictions.

Although not every construction project may involve millions of dollars, as in this example, there’s often a significant financial investment at stake. Accordingly, it makes sense to seek the representation of a real estate attorney at the very outset of a project. An attorney can remind clients that there are appeal options available.

In this case, Target had already build much of the structure, including its foundation, roof and walls, and construction workers are onsite and waiting to get back to work. The equities certainly seem to suggest that Target may have a good case for an appeal, considering it properly obtained permits before breaking ground. With the help of a strong legal team, Target may be able to bring a successful appeal that will allow it to proceed as planned — and as originally approved.

Related Posts: “Ways to approach a zoning or building permit denial,” July 18, 2014; “Boston mayor creates new zoning chief position,” June 7, 2014