After determining that a $66-million-dollar chateau was illegally constructed, a French court ordered the owner to tear it down. The owner had apparently failed to obtain the required planning permissions before constructing the 32,000 square foot palace. Accordingly, the Court ordered the owner to take down the chateau and restore the countryside to its original condition, which included only a 2,000 square foot farmhouse.
While this outcome may seem severe, it is actually not that uncommon. Even here in New York State, Judges often order owners to remove some or all of a building when the Court determines that it was built without permission or that the approvals for the building were illegally granted. Such orders are used to ensure that zoning laws are followed and to prevent illegal approvals from being used as an excuse to build non-conforming structures.
These cases demonstrate how complicated it can be to obtain the correct permits and planning approvals for fresh construction, new uses, or other land development projects. That’s why it’s so important for everyone — residents, municipalities, and businesses — to retain experienced zoning and land use attorneys whenever a new construction, change in use, or zoning amendment is proposed. The cost, time, and energy involved in fixing a problem after it arises can be significant, which is why it’s so important to get these things right the first time.
The Zoghlin Group offers a range of services for clients dealing with zoning issues, municipal law questions, or land use problems. We can assist with applying for — or challenging — permits and local approvals on behalf of municipalities, developers, builders, citizen groups, or individuals. For local governments, and for Planning or Zoning Boards, we can also act as Special Counsel or General Counsel, by advising municipal clients on how to best address their local zoning needs, and by defending them in litigation when the need arises. If you, your business, or your municipality is dealing with a zoning or land use issue, don’t try to go it alone — be sure to contact an experienced attorney for help.
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