How to Legally Challenge New Construction as Inconsistent with the Local Community

New condo building

New retail developments, hotels, factories, and other buildings seem to be popping up all over. While this generally points to a robust local economy and can be viewed as a sign of a thriving neighborhood or city, these new structures can also be disruptive to a community when they don't seem to fit with "the feel of the place."

Legally challenging approved developments in your neighborhood can be done; however, concerned citizens must go through the right procedures. This article will explore the steps one can take to dispute new construction that seems incongruent with the community.

Timing is Crucial

This belongs at the top of the list of things to consider when attempting to bring a dispute. Why? Because often by the time people in an area get wind of a new construction project, it's too late to do anything about it. This certainly isn't always the case – consult a real estate attorney for detailed information on your particular state and city – but more often than not, by the time construction begins, the window of opportunity to challenge the project has closed.

What's the window of time? In a majority of states, citizens only have thirty days. A few areas offer a slightly longer 45-day window. Take note, though: this doesn't mean thirty days from the start of construction, but thirty days from the date of approval of the construction project. However, attorneys experienced in land use and zoning, as well as real estate law, can often challenge the thirty-day limitation. 

Legally Challenging an Approved Development

The reason zoning laws exist is to protect and promote the neighborhood as a whole and maintain what fits with the master plan of the neighborhood. If you feel that an approved development in your area would go against this master plan or will have a detrimental effect on your property or the neighborhood, there are several ways to legal challenge the development. Your municipality's zoning board has an appeals process for these challenges. A real estate attorney can help you navigate this process.

Simply disliking that something is being built in your neighborhood is not sufficient cause for bringing a challenge to the local zoning board. However, if your resistance to the new construction is based in a solid legal complaint, your challenge may be successful.

If your real estate attorney can prove that the development is incompatible with pre-existing developments, structures, or uses of these, you may be able to put a stop to it. A challenge can also be brought on the basis that a person did not receive notice of the proposed development and was thus unable to participate in a public hearing on the matter.

A real estate attorney will be able to provide you with more information on your legal rights regarding land use and zoning in your neighborhood and is an invaluable resource in navigating real estate law and legal challenges to proposed developments.

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