Managing the land that makes up your municipality in Ohio is crucial for the general welfare of your community. Still, a zoning regulation can be challenged by residents if they feel it causes more harm than good. Having your zoning rules litigated can be costly, so it helps to know why courts generally rule in favor of zoning regulations so that you can craft land rules that courts will approve.

The Cornell Law School explains that the Supreme Court has recognized the ability of governments to use zoning rules in many ways. Past court rulings have permitted governments to determine how high buildings can be and how far back they can be placed from a road or street. Governments are also empowered to restrict the number of houses that can be built to preserve open space. Sites deemed to be of historic significance can also be protected.

Courts tend to have problems with zoning regulations if they are found to be unreasonable or if provisions seem to be arbitrary. Courts look more favorably on land-use rules if they significantly relate to the general welfare, health and safety of the community they govern. In the event that a municipality acquires land from another party, a court will likely determine the validity of the acquisition by whether the land owner was properly compensated.

FindLaw points out that people may challenge zoning regulations based on any number of factors. They can include, but are not limited to, the following characteristics:

  • the purpose of the regulation
  • the character of the community
  • characteristics of the property, such as size and location
  • effects of the regulation on property value
  • the need of the municipality served by the regulation

Because the factors involved in validating a zoning regulation can be subjective, disagreement may be inevitable in some cases. It helps any municipality to seek legal assistance in composing a zoning regulation to give it the best chance of standing up in court in the event it is challenged.