Land use and urban development raise a broad range of unique real estate issues, many of them highly contentious. These issues require a legal practice with broad capabilities and experience to address all of the factors at play – including political and administrative law matters and adjacency issues.
The lawyers in our Real Estate team have been involved in the development of planned communities, resort developments, mixed-use, low- and moderate-income tax credit housing, urban renewal projects, medical centers, regional shopping malls, office parks, research parks, assisted living and retirement communities, residential subdivisions, transit oriented developments, industrial parks, golf courses, sports, leisure, and theme parks, and educational campuses and facilities.
Zoning is inherently local, and our offices are geographically diverse to assure local expertise. Our land use planning service area involves all aspects of commercial, industrial, retail, multi-use, resort, and residential land use planning, including:
Private use restrictions
We have extensive experience in the negotiation, drafting, and implementation of contractual master land use covenants, conditions, and restrictions; the organization and implementation of property owners associations, architectural control committees, and related governing bodies and committees; and the enforcement of private restrictive covenants.
Interplay with adjacent properties
Our land use team involves handling issues associated with the interrelationship of adjoining properties, including reciprocal use agreements; easement agreements; access and non-access agreements; drainage agreements; joint development agreements; privately created special use districts; special taxing districts; shared utility arrangements; resolution of conflicting use controversies; and similar matters affecting adjoining properties.
Government regulation of land use
We regularly represent real estate developers and operators in connection with the governmental regulation of the development process, including zoning, subdivision, platting, planned unit developments, variances, import fees, licenses, permits, special use arrangements, extraterritorial jurisdiction matters, annexation and deannexation matters, agreements relating to the provision of governmental services, right-of-way and dedication matters, roadway matters, historic preservation and landmarking, curb-cut issues, thoroughfare plan issues, condemnation matters, water and sewer matters, sign ordinance and permit compliance, noise ordinance matters, code compliance matters with governmental agreements and service delivery agreements, and other related matters associated with local, state, and federal regulation of real estate development. We assist with Federal laws protecting wetlands and endangered species, which can combine with state and local environmental and land-use controls to cause complex legal problems for development proposals.
We do not believe that land use issues should be dictated solely by legal considerations and concerns. We believe in the concept of a "team approach" toward the development of the comprehensive land use plan for an overall project. This team includes the owner/developer, the land planner, the feasibility study consultants, the engineer, the marketing consultant, and the architect. Each team member has a unique perspective and contribution toward the development of a comprehensive plan. We work as a part of this team, and develop a final set of restrictive covenants that takes into consideration the various perspectives of all consultants. The final restrictive covenants should be a workable and marketable document that effectively balances the owner/developer's need for a strong, solid, enforceable land use scheme, with the practical need for a document that is not only constructive, readable, and saleable, but also furthers the orderly development of the overall project.
Land use & urban development experience
When a large manufacturer sought to create a greenfield campus of 850,000 square feet in five buildings over an area considered environmentally sensitive, our lawyers represented the client in the land acquisition, proving advice on the land use disputed which arose, and represented the client in the construction of the campus.