Norfolk Land Use & Zoning Lawyer, Virginia

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John F. Faber

Land Use & Zoning, Eminent Domain, Real Estate, Banking & Finance
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J. Dale Bimson

Land Use & Zoning, Mediation, Municipal, Administrative Law
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David Brandt Oakley

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Land Use & Zoning, Civil Rights, Trusts, Business
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LEGAL TERMS

EASEMENT

A right to use another person's real estate for a specific purpose. The most common type of easement is the right to travel over another person's land, known as... (more...)
A right to use another person's real estate for a specific purpose. The most common type of easement is the right to travel over another person's land, known as a right of way. In addition, property owners commonly grant easements for the placement of utility poles, utility trenches, water lines or sewer lines. The owner of property that is subject to an easement is said to be 'burdened' with the easement, because he or she is not allowed to interfere with its use. For example, if the deed to John's property permits Sue to travel across John's main road to reach her own home, John cannot do anything to block the road. On the other hand, Sue cannot do anything that exceeds the scope of her easement, such as widening the roadway.

CONSIDERATION

The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one for... (more...)
The basis of a contract. Consideration is a benefit or right for which the parties to a contract must bargain; the contract is founded on an exchange of one form of consideration for another. Consideration may be a promise to perform a certain act -- for example, a promise to fix a leaky roof -- or a promise not to do something, such as build a second story on a house that will block the neighbor's view. Whatever its particulars, consideration must be something of value to the people who are making the contract.

RESTRAINT ON ALIENATION

A provision in a deed or will that attempts to restrict ownership of the property -- for example, selling your house to your daughter with the provision that it... (more...)
A provision in a deed or will that attempts to restrict ownership of the property -- for example, selling your house to your daughter with the provision that it never be sold to anyone outside the family. These provisions are generally unenforceable.

ACT OF GOD

An extraordinary and unexpected natural event, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or even the sudden death of a person. An act of God may be a defense aga... (more...)
An extraordinary and unexpected natural event, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or even the sudden death of a person. An act of God may be a defense against liability for injuries or damages. Under the law of contracts, an act of God often serves as a valid excuse if one of the parties to the contract is unable to fulfill his or her duties -- for instance, completing a construction project on time.

SECURITY DEPOSIT

A payment required by a landlord to ensure that a tenant pays rent on time and keeps the rental unit in good condition. If the tenant damages the property or le... (more...)
A payment required by a landlord to ensure that a tenant pays rent on time and keeps the rental unit in good condition. If the tenant damages the property or leaves owing rent, the landlord can use the security deposit to cover what the tenant owes.

TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY

Personal property that can be felt or touched. Examples include furniture, cars, jewelry and artwork. However, cash and checking accounts are not tangible perso... (more...)
Personal property that can be felt or touched. Examples include furniture, cars, jewelry and artwork. However, cash and checking accounts are not tangible personal property. The law is unsettled as to whether computer data is tangible personal property. Compare intangible property.

ILLUSORY PROMISE

A promise that pledges nothing, because it is vague or because the promisor can choose whether or not to honor it. Such promises are not legally binding. For ex... (more...)
A promise that pledges nothing, because it is vague or because the promisor can choose whether or not to honor it. Such promises are not legally binding. For example, if you get a new job and promise to work for three years, unless you resign sooner, you haven't made a valid contract and can resign or be fired at any time.

CONTRACT

A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts tha... (more...)
A legally binding agreement involving two or more people or businesses (called parties) that sets forth what the parties will or will not do. Most contracts that can be carried out within one year can be either oral or written. Major exceptions include contracts involving the ownership of real estate and commercial contracts for goods worth $500 or more, which must be in writing to be enforceable. (See statute of frauds.) A contract is formed when competent parties -- usually adults of sound mind or business entities -- mutually agree to provide each other some benefit (called consideration), such as a promise to pay money in exchange for a promise to deliver specified goods or services or the actual delivery of those goods and services. A contract normally requires one party to make a reasonably detailed offer to do something -- including, typically, the price, time for performance and other essential terms and conditions -- and the other to accept without significant change. For example, if I offer to sell you ten roses for $5 to be delivered next Thursday and you say 'It's a deal,' we've made a valid contract. On the other hand, if one party fails to offer something of benefit to the other, there is no contract. For example, if Maria promises to fix Josh's car, there is no contract unless Josh promises something in return for Maria's services.

SERVIENT TENEMENT

Property that is subject to use by another for a specific purpose. For example, a beachfront house that has a public walkway to the beach on its premises would ... (more...)
Property that is subject to use by another for a specific purpose. For example, a beachfront house that has a public walkway to the beach on its premises would be a servient tenement.

SAMPLE LEGAL CASES

Hale v. BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS, TOWN OF BLACKSBURG

In these consolidated appeals, the principal issue we consider is whether the circuit court correctly applied Code § 15.2-2307 in finding that the owner/developers of a parcel of real property obtained a vested right to a particular use of the property under a rezoning ordinance subject to ...

Goyonaga v. Board of Zoning Appeals

This appeal arises from a petition for certiorari filed in the appropriate circuit court challenging a stop work order issued by a zoning administrator and upheld on appeal to the local board of zoning appeals. The stop work order was issued to prohibit renovations of a residential ...

Arogas v. FREDERICK BD. OF ZONING APPEALS

Initially, we note that we will not consider the petitioners' original petition because the petitioners failed to incorporate or refer to their initial petition in the amended petition. We have held that "`when a circuit court sustains a demurrer to an amended [petition] which does not ...

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