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Land Use

driving project results

Statewide exerience with zoning boards, planning approvals and land use litigation

Overview

The use of real property for productive purposes has become highly regulated and complex. Chambers USAAmerica’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Best Lawyers®, and Delaware Today’s Top Lawyers™ have selected Morris James attorneys as among the leading land use attorneys in Delaware. We are very familiar with the local development climate, as well as Delaware’s court system and local hearing bodies. According to Chambers USA, our clients applaud “not only [our] understanding of the law itself, but also how individual federal, state and local agencies apply it in practice.”

Why our clients rely on us:

  • Morris James pursues land use approvals from the administrative process through litigation if necessary, whereas our competitors will not always agree to litigate.
  • Morris James has competent land use counsel located in each of Delaware’s three counties and the deepest bench in a single firm, a major advantage for clients with state-wide operations or complex matters.
  • Firm lawyers have also worked in all the state’s major municipalities, including Wilmington, Newark, Rehoboth Beach, and Lewes.
  • Due to its memberships in State Law Resources and ALFA, Morris James can activate regional or national networks of land use attorneys to pursue matters with common zoning issues, including in conjunction within its Government Relations department.
  • National companies such as Perdue Foods, Clear Channel, and Choice Hotels value the firm’s local connections, complex analysis and polished work product.
  • Home grown institutions such as Beebe Healthcare also choose the firm for zoning matters.

Optimal Outcomes With Our Multidisciplinary Practice

Our resources as a multidisciplinary law firm enable us to draw on the experience of colleagues from aligned legal disciplines, including real estate transactions, government relations, litigation, corporate, and tax to achieve optimal outcomes. For example, clients may seek to utilize a team of firm specialists to draft a conservation easement or trust and obtain associated tax advice.

Representations

Morris James represents major developers, investors, and builders. We also work with institutions, business owners, and individuals planning for new projects and buildings, expansions, and additions to existing improvements. Our attorneys have successfully defended against challenges to zoning and other development approvals, as well as zoning and building code violations. We also craft legislation to overcome project development impediments and shepherd bills and ordinances through the process to adoption. Here is a list of representative representations our attorneys have handled.

Drafting and Review of Documents

A key component of our Land Use Practice concerns drafting and review of land use applications and the documents normally required to implement a zoning or subdivision approval, such as deed restrictions and easements, and maintenance association documents. Additionally, we use our land use knowledge to write optimal use provisions in leases, deed restrictions, developer agreements, and neighborhood association contracts. We also review and analyze government agency records such as prior zoning approvals, existing violations and future land use plans, condemnation plans, environmental reports, and proposed zoning legislation to support new acquisitions.

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