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Many say land use is political. Some say land use is legal. Others say land use is planning. At Womble Carlyle, we think land use is all three.
Who are we?
We are a team of attorneys and other professionals located in nine offices in five contiguous states (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia) and the District of Columbia who know that successful projects require integrated political, legal and planning services.
We believe that projects require one of two levels of services – primary or special situations assistance, and we match the level of our services to each client’s needs on a project- by- project basis.
Together with our in-house land planning professional, our real estate development attorneys provide our first level of service. They are knowledgeable in land use and zoning, and consult members of our core land use and zoning team as needed. Many times, primary assistance fully satisfies our clients’ needs.
Special Situations Assistance
When a project shifts a community’s paradigm or becomes a lightning rod, special assistance is necessary. Members of our core land use and zoning team practice exclusively in the areas of land use law and litigation, land litigation, municipal law, and land planning. Those team members dispatch whenever needed to marshal the facts and develop creative applications of local, state, and federal laws to advance a project to success.
A distinguishing feature of our Core Team is that members previously worked for a significant period in local or state governments. Consequently, our Core Team knows how to work within the powers and limitations of governments to identify and implement creative solutions. Although litigation may be necessary to blaze a trail to success, our team recommends it only after all reasonable efforts have been exhausted, and when litigation provides the best potential solution for our client.
Click here for four case studies illustrating our special situations services.
Game Changing Projects
Some projects change a community. The change might be new jobs, a major investment, or a type or level of development unforeseen.
We identify, assemble and coordinate a specifically tailored team of professionals to provide a single integrated solution for our client. The skills, experiences, and contacts of team members are matched to specific issues, regulations, and jurisdictions associated with each project. We identify obstacles and opportunities arising from game changing projects, and develop positive and lasting relationships between the project and governments to enhance the value of our clients’ projects. The following case studies provide real-world examples of challenges our clients have faced and demonstrates how our Core Team helped them achieve their objectives:
Case Study 1
Game Changing Industrial Facility
Sometimes, a client has a mission critical facility to build and a short timeline to build it. In those situations, we assemble a multidisciplinary team to achieve our client’s goal. If you want more detail as to how this approach works, click here for a complete case study.
Case Study 2
Game Changing New Community
Do you have a “field of dreams” vision for a new community? If so, typically you encounter governments that have not recognized your vision yet. Because we understand governments and infrastructure development, we help transform your vision into a lasting reality where a government cooperates hand-in-hand with you to match your development of a new place with infrastructure development. If you want more detail as to how we did this in one case, click here for a complete case study.
Lightning Rods and Political Footballs
Sometimes, the best projects become lightning rods and political footballs. Our team knows how to restore focus on the merits of the project and address political issues. Case studies 3 and 4 describe two such situations:
Case Study 3
Moratorium and Changing the Rules
Local governments are diverse and idiosyncratic. A proposed project may satisfy governmental land plans and requirements, but become a lightning rod where elected officials abruptly begin trying to changes the rules to stop a particular project. In those special situations, an immediate response is necessary and frequently the response includes negotiation and litigation in order to drive the project to success. If you want more detail as to how we handled this type of problem in one case, click here for a complete case study.
Case Study 4
Location drives where great projects are placed, but clients cannot select their neighbors. Powerful neighbors can pose substantial barriers to success. They have passion and time to develop multiple arguments and open multiple fronts to attack a project. A successful project must win all arguments and on all fronts; whereas, as opponents only need to win one argument or on one front. We understand these realities and assist clients to anticipate fronts and arguments, prepare for these challenges, and prevail. If you want more detail as to how we handled these problems in one case, click here for a complete case study.
The team has also created a series of videocasts on such topics as land use, zoning, development agreements and more.
How we can Help?
Regardless of the level of service needed, we can help. Contact us for a preliminary off-the-clock assessment of your project/situation. We look forward to helping you.
Our attorneys have decades of varied experience in land use law. Our clients want to use their land for their intended purposes, not legal battles. Our focus is on helping clients bring their projects to successful completion and avoid litigation.
When differences can’t reasonably be resolved with others, we represent our clients – land and business owners, developers, governments and others – in land use litigation.
We also represent city and county governments in a wide array of municipal activities, including utility development, land use and zoning matters.
Our land use and zoning experience includes:
Our clients’ projects range from industrial and manufacturing facilities, mixed use, retail, office and other commercial uses, multi-family residential, utilities and a variety of public/private partnerships.
Representative Client Matters