Land Use, Zoning, and DevelopmentWe regularly advise our clients on all aspects of land use, zoning and development matters in metropolitan Maryland and Washington, D.C. We represent developers in securing approval for development projects, including assessing feasibility, providing strategic advice on application preparation, meeting with government staff and decision-makers, assisting with community outreach, and making appearances in public meetings before decision-making bodies. We have extensive experience with all levels of approvals, such as subdivisions, site plans, rezonings, special exceptions/conditional uses, variances and environmental approvals.
We advocate on behalf of property owners in connection with comprehensive master plans, to ensure that the final master plan language supports our clients’ long-term goals. This work is crucial to long-term property value, as master plans can set the parameters for zoning, height and recommended land uses for 20 years or more. Our advocacy in this arena includes both public testimony and private meetings with government staff and decision-makers, with demonstrable impacts.
When a client’s goals cannot readily be met within the parameters of the applicable zoning code, we draft a zoning text amendment that accommodates those goals, drawing on our extensive experience in precise, effective legislative drafting. We then pursue enactment of the amendment with advocacy work at the staff and decision-maker levels.
We represent both developers interested in acquiring land and property owners interested in selling it, drafting development agreements ranging from straightforward to complex. Our experience with the needs of both developers and property owners gives us the insight to craft a workable, practical deal, whether we are representing the seller or the buyer.
Our lawyers work as a team to challenge land use decisions on behalf of our clients, bringing to bear both subject matter expertise and litigation skills to craft successful appeals.
In addition to advising private clients, we provide legal and consulting services to local government entities in a range of matters, including development agreements and zoning code revisions. Françoise Carrier of our firm served as Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board from 2010 to 2014, and during that time played a central role in drafting and advocating for a complete re-write of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance, which was adopted in 2014. Her experience as a government official, and the extensive experience of other attorneys in the firm in representing government officials, make us uniquely qualified to advise public-sector clients in even the most complex situations.