Starting a development project takes a considerable amount of work and planning. When you first begin to design this project, there may be land use issues and disputes that arise, which could call for the assistance of a land use attorney. The main objective of land use planning is to make sure that a piece of land is used efficiently and that any resources on the land are properly utilized. The way that you use the land needs to match the vision or development goals that the city currently has.
During land use planning, it’s common for disputes to arise, which is when you may require representation from a land use attorney in Los Angeles. There are many reasons why a land use dispute may occur, which include everything from restrictions being placed on environmentally sensitive land to land being zoned for controversial uses.
Land use attorneys have the expertise needed to research zoning laws, review any disputes that pertain to construction, take cases to court, and make sure that the project meets all of the necessary safety regulations. You can also look into hiring a land use attorney to advise you on zoning laws, building ordinances, and construction permits.
Whether a land use dispute arises because of environmental concerns or potential impacts on the local community, having a land use attorney by your side can help you navigate any of these hurdles and complete your development project without significant delays. This article goes into more detail about land use attorneys and the benefits derived from hiring one.
What does a Land Use Attorney do?
Land use attorneys have an extensive amount of skills and knowledge for every facet of land use and project development. They are able to represen, individuals, businesses, and trade groups in these matters. These types of attorneys also have a clear understanding of how the government works, which is essential when attempting to navigate land use disputes.
Each land use attorney will have a different strength or specialty that they focus on. For instance, some land use attorneys focus on handling compliance and permitting issues for any clients looking to expand operations or develop new sites. It’s highly recommended that you hire a land use attorney with experience in handling negotiations with city councils, local governments, and zoning boards.
Keep in mind that a reputable land use attorney should also be able to negotiate with federal and state agencies that overlook land use and environmental issues. The many projects that land use attorneys are able to work with include everything from shopping centers and hotels to apartment complexes and residential homes. If you believe that issues could occur with your project, you might not want to begin construction until you’ve hired a land use attorney you know you can trust. The many land use compliance approvals that these attorneys can help you obtain include:
- Development incentives
- Planning and zoning
- Project entitlements and permits
- Inverse condemnation and eminent domain
- Conditional use permits and variances
- Environmental Impact Reports
- Redevelopment approvals
- Historic preservation
How Expensive are Land Use Attorneys?
Before you start searching for the right land use attorney to hire for your project, you should first understand how expensive it is to hire these attorneys. Land use attorneys typically charge by the hour and may cost anywhere from $200-$600 per hour. However, the costs of hiring a land use attorney can be structured in different ways. The three cost structures that land use attorneys can use include hourly rates, contingency fees, or flat fee.
The most common method that these attorneys use to bill their clients is the hourly rate fee schedule. In the majority of cases, the fee will remain the same while the attorney represents you. However, a retainer fee is commonly charged alongside the hourly rate, which is a certain amount of money that you pay upfront to secure the services of the land use attorney in question. Keep in mind that the lawyer will deduct from this fee until it has been exhausted, after which the hourly rate will begin to be applied.
The second fee arrangement that land use attorneys can use is a contingency fee. However, this fee isn’t that common with land use attorneys. Because of how the fee is applied, contingency fees are usually required when hiring a personal injury attorney. When an attorney asks for a contingency fee, this means that they will only be paid in the event that they win your case, which would result in you receiving compensation that they would deduct their fee from.
Another fee that land use attorneys could request is a flat fee, which is most commonly used when the case is simple and straightforward. For instance, attorneys typically charge a flat fee when representing a real estate transaction. This fee could be anywhere from $1,000-$5,000. When a case is expected to take a long time and require many different types of work, land use attorneys usually charge an hourly rate, which allows for a more basic fee structure.
Tips for Finding the Right Land Use Attorney or Firm to Work With
Any land use attorney may charge a considerable sum of money for their services, which is why you should always search for a reputable land use attorney that you can be confident in. Some developers and individuals will make the mistake of hiring the firm that offers the lowest rates. While an affordable hire may seem appealing, there’s usually a reason why an attorney offers lower prices than everyone else. Whether the attorney doesn’t have much experience or isn’t as qualified as they should be, spending less typically results in worse legal representation.
While there are many tips and guidelines for you to consider while searching for the right land use attorney, the most important tip to remember is to do your due diligence. You can find dozens of reputable land use attorneys in and around Los Angeles, which is why you should have an effective process in hand for whittling down your options. The first thing you should do is look online for land use attorneys in Los Angeles, which is information that you can gain with a basic Google search.
Once you’ve gathered a list of land use attorneys, search for online reviews that can paint a clearer picture of the quality of service the attorney provides. You should also contact any attorney that you’re seriously considering working with. Any land use attorney you contact should be able to answer all of the questions you have about your project or some of the more common land use disputes that could affect development. If the answers to your questions are ever vague, it’s possible that the attorney isn’t as qualified as they should be when representing a complex real estate project.
Where to find Land Use Attorneys in Los Angeles
There are several useful resources at your disposal that will help you find a land use attorney who can represent your project. Three of the top websites that are available for finding land use attorneys are detailed in the following.
Super Lawyers is a sleek and easy-to-use website that allows you to search for different types of lawyers across a wide range of locations, which includes Los Angeles. You’ll need to enter the exact type of lawyer you’re searching for to obtain accurate results.
Type in “land use and zoning” to find lawyers in Los Angeles who can provide you with the services you’re looking for. You’ll then be given a list of the top-rated land use attorneys in Los Angeles. You can view each attorney’s profile as well as their email address and phone number.
FindLaw is a highly popular website that makes it easy to find and contact lawyers for any legal subject. Once you reach the FindLaw homepage, you’ll notice two empty search boxes in the middle of the screen. The first box allows you to enter the legal issue that you need help with. The second box gives you the opportunity to enter the county, city, or zip code that you would like the search to apply to. When you place your cursor in the first box, you’ll notice three options come up on the page, which allow you to search by name, browse legal issues, or browse law firms.
Once you enter the necessary information, you’ll be taken to a page of search results with information and contact info from various attorneys and law firms. Some lawyers will also have reviews that can help you determine if the lawyer is worth your money. Along with contact info and website links, FindLaw tells you which attorneys offer free consultations.
Avvo is another great website for finding lawyers in your vicinity. This website works just like the other two, which means that all you need to do is enter your location and the practice area to bring up relevant search results. The results come with numerous filters that can help you narrow your search.
For instance, you can look for lawyers with specific ratings, which are based off customer reviews. You can also separate lawyers by the amount of experience they have. One filter option allows you to search for lawyers who have been licensed for at least five or 10 years. A profile, website link, and phone number are available for each lawyer.
Land use attorneys have the skills and capabilities needed to represent you in regards to any land use disputes that arise. They can also provide you with legal advice on everything from building permits to zoning variances. If you believe that a land use attorney can be beneficial for your development project, there are many reputable attorneys in Los Angeles who can provide you with the quality of legal representation that you deserve.
Jason Somers, President & Founder of Crest Real Estate
With over 15 years of professional experience in the Los Angeles luxury real estate market, Jason Somers has the background, judgement and track record to provide an unparalleled level of real estate services. His widespread knowledge helps clients identify and acquire income producing properties and value-ad development opportunities.