Miles & Stockbridge’s thorough knowledge of and extensive working relationships with governmental agencies throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and Southern Delaware are the keys to our effective Land Use & Zoning practice. Zoning regulations ultimately reflect a political process that has become one of the biggest challenges facing developers of commercial and residential properties, and our Land Use & Zoning lawyers are skilled at navigating that process for our clients. Our established presence throughout the region, combined with our strategic alliances with preeminent local counsel when needed, positions our Land Use & Zoning attorneys to pursue the crucial municipal approval of permits and zoning applications (including appeals) on the time-sensitive basis that developers require.
While zoning and land use may seem like synonymous terms, they involve distinctly different regulatory processes — and our Land Use & Zoning lawyers are well versed in the details of both. In the Maryland jurisdictions where our Real Estate practice is focused, land use issues are typically decided by a municipal or county department of development and a development or planning board. Such bodies regulate the entire commercial and residential development process, involving issues from environmental and floodplain compliance to highway access. For clients needing to navigate this complex system that is a key step in the regulatory process, our Land Use & Zoning lawyers offer local knowledge, established relationships and respected technical real estate development and financing skills.
Our Land Use & Zoning practice has particular strength in the challenging task of zoning appeals. Our lawyers regularly appear before zoning boards and political authorities to demonstrate the change-of-use prerequisites necessary for rezoning and are adept at advising clients on the complex political issues involving a zoning change. For example, when a major corporate client sought a variance to develop an office property near a residential area, our advice to emphasize the company’s importance as an employer was crucial in securing backing for the change. Because Miles & Stockbridge is known for the quality representation of its clients, such appeals often have special force and are effective counterpoints to the political opposition brought by neighborhood associations and similar groups. Our combination of local presence, real estate knowledge and business insight can be the key to successful resolution of similar zoning controversies.