Zoning: Variances, Appeals and Amendments

Charlotte, North Carolina Zoning Attorneys

At The Odom Firm, our Charlotte, North Carolina attorneys help individuals and businesses with many different issues relating to municipal zoning ordinances. While much of our work involves eminent domain and condemnation proceedings, we can also assist you with appeals arising from zoning interpretations, citations or notices of violation, variances, and amendments (rezonings).


When you own or lease real estate, situations can arise involving your right to use and enjoy your property pursuant to the local zoning ordinances. Zoning questions can arise in many different situations and may be the result of a property owner being issued a notice of violation or citation from a city, town or other municipality. Regardless of what the circumstances may be, our Charlotte attorneys will help you sort through the issues and find a resolution whether it be through an agreement with the zoning administrator or an appeal to the zoning board of adjustment. Our attorneys have a record of obtaining resolutions of notices of violation at all levels of the courts, including the superior court and the court of appeals.


For individuals and businesses, it is not uncommon for zoning issues to arise around the time that the property is sold and a survey is obtained. While boundary disputes between a next-door neighbor may also arise, more commonly questions regarding compliance with the local zoning ordinance arise.

Sometimes, the question involves the existence of certain required setbacks, side yards, rear yards or other distances required in the ordinance. If your property is not in compliance with the zoning ordinance, a variance may be needed. For example, if your house is built 35 feet from the rear property line but the zoning ordinance requires that your house be 45 feet from the rear property line you may need a variance in order to reduce the required distance by 10 feet.

The most important factor in obtaining a variance is determining that there is a "hardship" to your property as a result of the ordinance sections being applied to your property. That hardship prevents you from being able to fully comply with the measurements set out in the zoning ordinance. Our attorneys have the experience to identify your hardship, prepare your variance application, and obtain the variance needed in order for your intended use of the property to be allowed.

Some common reasons for needing a zoning variance are as follows:

  • adding a second floor over an existing building, house or structure which was constructed prior to the current zoning ordinance sections existing;
  • adding an addition to an existing building, house or structure;
  • discovering in a survey that the existing building, house or structure was constructed by a previous owner in an area which is not allowed under zoning;
  • new construction on a lot that is unusable under the current zoning ordinance sections because it is a unique shape or size or has unique topography and the buildable footprint is too small when adding setbacks, side yards, or rear yards.

Amendments (Rezonings)

There are times when your property simply cannot be put to the use you want because of the existing zoning of the property. In those instances, you will need a zoning amendment or rezoning of your property. Our attorneys at The Odom Firm can provide the necessary guidance to navigate the rezoning process.

Talk with Our Charlotte Attorneys About Your Zoning Issues

Many of our zoning cases are referred to us by lawyers who handle real estate transactions, which is a testament to our reputation for helping clients with zoning matters in the past. In any situation, when a question arises about your rights to use your property under the local zoning ordinance, you can be confident that you will receive the assistance and counsel you need when you call on our North Carolina attorneys.

Our clients own and lease property throughout North Carolina. We invite you to call our Charlotte office at 704-377-7333 to schedule a consultation or contact us using our on-line form.


The Odom Firm is proud to announce that attorney David Murray has been selected to The Best Lawyers in America 2021 for his work in land use and zoning law.  This is David’s 1st year being selected to the Best Lawyers publication.  David is t… Read More
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