How to Respond to a Notice of Zoning Violation in Bridgeport
Receiving a Notice of Zoning Violation can be stressful, and failing to respond correctly can have serious consequences. There is no need to panic – simply follow these three steps to determine how best to achieve zoning compliance for your property:
1. Review the Notice to identify what the City thinks is wrong with your property.
A Notice of Zoning Violation in Bridgeport is often called an “Order to Comply” or a “Cease and Desist.” A proper notice should include your name, the date of the alleged violation, the address of your property, the nature of the violation, and a statement of your rights under the law.
Read the notice carefully and look up any zoning regulations referenced in the notice to see how the City believes your property violates the law. Zoning regulations are changed regularly, so make sure you are reading the most current version of the regulations.
It is advisable to consult with an experienced zoning attorney to better understand the nature of your property’s alleged zoning violation and determine the proper course of action.
2. Understand the penalties of noncompliance.
If you receive a Notice of Zoning Violation, it is important that you do not ignore it. The law imposes significant penalties for noncompliance with zoning orders. If you ignore the notice or otherwise fail to act:
- You can be fined. The City may fine you, and those fines could increase each day that the violation continues – particularly if a court finds that your noncompliance is willful.
- You can be sued. The City can bring a zoning enforcement action against you in court, seeking an order forcing you to make changes to your property.
- You can be jailed. If a court determines that your noncompliance is willful, you may be required to serve up to 30 days in jail if your zoning violation continues.
3. Determine the appropriate response.
Generally, there are two ways to respond to a Notice of Zoning Violation: compliance or appeal.
If you determine that the City is right – meaning your property violates one or more zoning regulations – you will need to remedy the violation(s) within the time period provided in the Notice of Zoning Violation. If you require additional time to remedy the violation, you will need to request it from the zoning office as soon as possible.
If you determine that the City is wrong – meaning you believe that your property does not violate any zoning regulations – you may choose to appeal the zoning order, but you must be prepared to prove that your property is zoning compliant. You must act quickly – you only have 30 days from the date on the Notice of Zoning Violation to file an appeal with the Bridgeport Zoning Board of Appeals, and missing that deadline can be fatal to your case.
Receiving a Notice of Zoning Violation can be difficult, and zoning appeal applications can be challenging to complete, file, and argue. Our experienced zoning attorneys are standing by to assist and can represent you before the Bridgeport Zoning Board of Appeals and negotiate with the zoning office on your behalf. Do not hesitate to reach out to our legal team today to learn more about how we can help bring your property into zoning compliance.