Can my local zoning authority prevent me from using my rural land in any manner “absent a primary dwelling” being built first?

There is nothing in the zoning code that specifically states that this is the case and they are so narrowly written that if they were read in that manner, one could conceivably be prevented from even landscaping the property at all. Basically, my zoning authority and I are at an impass. I am currently utilizing my property, which is out in an all but deserted area of the county, to park 3 vehicles and a travel trailer on. The other properties in the general vicinity have numerous cars–like a dozen to several dozen vehicles, debris, garbage

Asked on October 28, 2015 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They can enforce the zoning code against you, but cannot make up or add restrictions not found in the code. Sometimes, though, it's a matter of interpretation (whether reasonable or not): they think the code says or lets them do A, but you think they are limited to B. When that is the case and you cannot resolve it voluntarily with them, your option is to file a lawsuit seeking a court declaration of what the code is and what the restrictions are: only courts can adjudicate, or determine this, if you disagree with the authority's position. If you want to explore this option, consult with a litigator (attorney who does lawsuits): suing the govenment is more complex than most suits, and you really should have professional help.


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