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Land Use Legality

Issue: What is the likely use for a property apparently bisected by a floodplain, potentially encumbered by an easement for a common area clubhouse, and containing a building that has standing water in its crawl space? Could the property be subdivided to make it more usable, or would a proposed tenant/purchaser’s plans for the property violate zoning restrictions?

Approach: HMG conducted an extensive analysis of zoning and flood zone conditions and requirements for the property, and concluded that elevation restrictions would complicate any efforts to subdivide the site. Standing water was cause for concern for the one usable structure. HMG confirmed that an encumbrance, approved but never recorded, still existed in favor of a homeowners association on adjacent property. Although the adjacent homeowners association could in theory have invoked its right to use the onsite structure as its clubhouse (thereby eliminating sources of income for the property owner), our research led us to conclude it was highly unlikely. Finally, we determined that although the tenant had already begun using the property, the tenant’s use conformed with zoning restrictions.

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