There are times when a residential or commercial property owner will need to request a variance in order to use the land in a way that is usually not permitted by the zoning ordinance. For the landowner, there is a lot on the line and he or she must show exactly how the request meets local and state zoning laws. This is where an attorney can step in, to help protect the landowner's interests and rights.
At Phillips & Angley, we represent Massachusetts landowners in variance cases, including challenges made on appeal and cases where a variance application is denied. Whether the case involves an area variance or a use variance, here is how hiring a lawyer can help:
A careful and detailed review of all supporting documents
The local zoning board is the administrative body that holds the discretion when it comes to granting variances. When this board denies an application, the first step is a careful review of their decision, along with all of the paperwork pertaining to the request. If there is opposition, you will want to have a lawyer also carefully look over any materials and documentation that was provided to the board.
Seek out substantive or procedural errors in a board's decision
Mistakes can and do happen. This is why it is important to not just take the board's decision at face value, but to have a legal professional review all the documentation to see if there is still a way to have the variance possibly approved. If errors are tied to the board's decision, our legal professionals will remand -- or send the case back -- for decision.
When applicable, work toward a resolution
Depending on the specifics of a variance request, if there is an opposing party that is involved in the appeal, now may also be the time to work toward a resolution through negotiation. However, one should never just accept a deal. Rather, it is best to have an attorney involved to make sure the rights and best interests of the landowner are being protected and that a decision made today will not negatively affect the future.