Zoning And Eminent Domain

Zoning is of critical importance in an eminent domain case. The zoning of a property impacts the "best and highest use" to which a property may be put, which determines the meaning of full compensation. Therefore, it makes sense that potential or actual zoning changes can dramatically impact the outcome of your eminent domain lawsuit, or even initiate a lawsuit themselves.

The issue of zoning and eminent domain is complicated, and this page represents only a basic background. To determine how zoning matters in your case, please call 407-208-2652 or email The Florida Property Rights Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

Potential Zoning and Full Compensation

When you are arguing for full compensation for your property, you can ask that the court take into account a potential zoning change when determining the property's "best and highest use." Such a zoning change would have to be reasonable or likely in order to be factored into compensation. You would have to demonstrate similar zoning changes undertaken on other properties in the area and that your property could be adapted to a similar purpose. You would also have to demonstrate that the property would gain value by such a zoning change.

Is Downzoning an Eminent Domain Taking?

In Florida, many municipalities are considering "downzoning" properties, often for conservation purposes. In downzoning, a property is re-zoned by a government body to prevent certain types of uses, often high-density, high-value uses are targeted. The goal is to protect an area by stopping the spread of urban sprawl that depends on dense development.

When downzoning occurs, the value of your property is significantly impacted. Does this loss in value constitute an eminent domain taking of your property? In most cases, no. The current standard is that a zoning board or entity must only show that the zoning change is "fairly debatable," meaning that there is reasonable support for it, even if not a preponderance of evidence. And the perception is that the downzoning also benefits the landowner with compensatory givebacks in terms of protecting the area from urban sprawl.

To receive eminent domain compensation for a downsizing action, you must demonstrate that:

  • The downzoning is unreasonable
  • You (and perhaps your neighbors) are unfairly impacted by the action
  • You (and perhaps your neighbors) do not receive reasonable giveback from the change.

Getting compensation in this type of case can be very difficult, but in some cases you may be able to receive compensation for property value lost to downzoning.

To learn whether you can receive compensation for a downzoning action, please contact The Florida Property Rights Law Firm today.

The Florida Property Rights Law Firm represents individuals and businesses when the State of Florida or other governmental entities attempt to take their land, improvements, and/or business by the use of Eminent Domain. Granted by the US and Florida Constitutions and by the Statutes of the State of Florida, Eminent Domain gives the government the right to condemn private property for a public use without the owner's consent. However, the law also has strict demands that the government prove the need for the condemned property, and that the government provide full compensation to the property's owner(s).

The eminent domain attorneys at the Florida Property Rights Law Firm are committed to helping you fight the condemnation proceeding to either keep your private property or ensure you receive full and just compensation.

If the State of Florida, any local government or utility company has condemned or is considering condemnation of your property, please call the Florida Property Rights Law Firm for free information regarding your rights. We represent business and private property owners throughout the State of Florida.

We offer a free initial consultation. In most cases, Florida law demands that the condemning authority pay all your court costs, including attorneys' fees. If you are being faced with a condemnation order, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting the Florida Property Rights Law Firm, PA. Please call or email us today.