Land Use Issues
Coast Land Law works with property owners, developers, and investors to help them develop and manage their real estate projects. In Oregon, “land use” typically refers to real estate issues related to the rules and regulations of developing your property. The common issues we help clients with include:
- Land development
- Research rules and regulations
- Conditional uses and variances
- Partitions and property line adjustments
- Site and design review
- Advocacy to government staff
- Representation at hearings
- Setback issues
- Quasi-judicial hearings
- Nonconforming uses
- Conditions of approval
- Code enforcement
This is not an exhaustive list and is merely offered for illustration.
Understanding Land Use Issues
In Oregon, “land use” rules and regulations which govern real estate development, including whether and to what extent real estate development is permitted.
Typically, real estate development primarily involves rules and regulations based on local ordinances at the city and county levels, depending on the location of the project. However, federal and state laws may play a role, depending on the nature of the property and the proposed development.
Real estate development requires the person or entity seeking to develop real estate to work with government officials, including planning staff, building officials, public works officials, and others.
Typically, most land use approvals involve working with local planning staff to ensure success and identify potential obstacles to development early. Where possible, working collaboratively with local officials will ensure timely and efficient development.
While sometimes real estate development projects are straightforward and routine, some projects may involve controversial issues. Neighboring property owners and concerned citizens may actively oppose development, adding a political dimension.
Certain projects may require appearances at meetings held by local planning commissions and/or city councils, which discuss proposed projects and make decisions about them in public settings. Applicants have the opportunity in public meetings to present their projects and persuade decision makers to approve them.
The Priorities of Community Development
“I enjoy land use cases because they often involve communities’ priorities and challenges. These priorities and challenges drive each community’s real estate development,” says Sunil.
“How Clatsop County approaches certain land use issues may differ from how Tillamook County approaches them. Similarly, how Seaside handles certain land use issues may differ from how Cannon Beach approaches them.”
Taking an interest in land use, trial lawyer Sunil Raju makes it a point to regularly attend meetings held by the planning commissions and city councils on the Oregon coast, even when he does not have a project in front of them.
“This will sound kind of goofy to some people, but I think the land use process is fascinating and enjoy learning how each community’s staff and decision makers approach projects. You get a sense of each community’s values and struggles. Because of the transparency of the process, you can learn a lot by studying how each community is addressing real estate development.
“Also, you get to know the particular tendencies of individual staff and members of the planning commissions and city councils. Members of the planning commissions and city councils are elected public officials and have certain policies and agendas which they embrace. Being aware of these issues can be extremely helpful to understanding your audience,” explains Sunil.
- Represented clients in efforts to obtain exceptions to development limitations.
- Appeared before a planning commission and persuaded members not to pass a proposed regulation which would have limited our client’s business.
- Helped our client avoid code enforcement action based on work done as an unlicensed contractor.
- Advised our clients regarding their neighbor’s proposed development project and potential impacts on our clients’ property.
- Worked with our client against their neighbors’ efforts to lobby local officials to take adverse action against our client’s property.
- Assisted our client with review of a decision made by the planning commission and potential options for appeal.
- Guided our client through appearance in front of the city council regarding a proposed adverse action against their property.
- Negotiated with planning staff to obtain approval of the proposed development project, allowing the project to move forward.
- Developed a presentation with client’s consultant to explain their complex project to decision makers.
- Identified preferences by decision makers and helped our client customize their development proposal to fit those preferences.
Contact an Experienced Land Use Attorney on the Oregon Coast
For assistance with land use matters on the Oregon coast, call Coast Land Law at (503) 470-7070 or contact us online to find out more information.