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

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption