“Land use” and “zoning” each have different meanings and independent legal significance. Land use is determined by a city or county’s comprehensive plan, which governs the future use of property within the boundaries of the city or unincorporated county. Zoning, on the other hand, represents the current permissible uses of specific properties within a given city or county. In Florida, zoning must not be inconsistent with land use designations. Sometimes, zoning districts are not compatible with an owner’s intended use of his property. In such cases, an amendment or variance may be the best option; or it may not be appropriate and may even conflict with the land use designation in the comprehensive plan. In the event of conflict, a land use amendment would be required; however, seeking a land use amendment is more likely to invite challenge from citizens. For this reason, the process of amending zoning is often less fraught with conflict than amending land use.
Abrams Law Firm, P.A.’s founder and president, Ryan Abrams, Esq., received a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and has experience representing local government entities in land use and zoning matters. The firm is well-qualified to represent individuals and businesses who seek zoning amendments, variances or land use amendments. We also can represent citizen groups who seek to challenge zoning or land use changes when they are not lawful or are inappropriate.