Call Us Today 714-667-7171

Los Angeles Land Use Entitlements Lawyer

Los Angeles Land Use Entitlements Lawyer


At Blake & Ayaz, our Los Angeles land use entitlements lawyers have been helping clients with their real estate purchases and developments and navigating city zoning laws with a combined experience of nearly 100 years. During this time, we have built extensive knowledge of navigating the local city ordinances to ensure your purchase is not only the right location for you but will also serve your needs based on the land usage designations.

Owning real estate is an accomplishment, no matter if it is residential or commercial. However, the right to own land also comes with the responsibility of using it properly. In cities like Los Angeles, city planners designate specific areas of land for various uses.

For those who are going beyond a personal real estate purchase and looking for a long-term investment for their company or residential building, knowing how land is appropriated throughout the city can help you not only make the right purchase but also ensure its proper development.

Los Angeles Land Use Entitlements Lawyer


Land use laws are commonly referred to as zoning laws. These laws define how Los Angeles land is to be used and can specify the size, shape, style, and location of the structures in a specific area. A common misconception is that property owners have the right to build upon their land in a way that they see fit. Ultimately, however, it is the local zoning laws that determine how land is to be used. In cities like Los Angeles, local ordinances help to shape what communities look like.

Zoning laws originated in California in 1908 and seek to divide land into four categories:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Agriculture

Because of the success California had with these laws, other municipalities followed suit in order to keep communities orderly and safe.

It can be frustrating to follow a local building ordinance on a piece of property that you own. However, these laws help to keep communities uniform in design but also ensure that businesses, homes, or other properties are equitably represented in a given area.

For example, if two city blocks are next to each other and there are no zoning laws, one block may build single-story shops while the neighboring block builds a multilevel shopping mall, which would overshadow the other block and create inconsistent traffic patterns for the area in question putting pressure on city workers.

Zoning laws help to establish traffic patterns, parking areas for commercial businesses, and even pedestrian walkways that help to keep the community flowing and the residents of that community safe.


Property disputes arise when there is a conflict with local zoning laws. For example, when a zoning law allows an industrial building that emits a significant amount of pollution to be placed next to a residential area, there can be a conflict that requires the help of a compliance attorney who can help fight for the rights of the land owners. Common zoning conflicts include:

  • Residential land use. Zones that are deemed for residential use can come with significant restrictions that impact what property owners want to do with that land. If, for example, a person wants to run a home-based business, they must be zoned to be able to do so. Zones can also limit the type of home that can be built on the land.
  • Industrial land use.For manufacturing companies who purchase land, they may need to identify the specific needs of their land for their business purposes. If there are large semi-trucks moving in 24-hour shifts or a significant amount of noise is created in the manufacturing process, local zoning laws could dictate noise ordinances that need to be followed.
  • Commercial land use. Commercial properties are not necessarily to be used for any reason for those wishing to start a business. Some commercial use may be established for storefronts, while others may be specific to restaurants. Knowing the zoning laws that apply to your potentially new property can help ensure it is used for the right reasons.
  • Agriculture land use. While agriculture in a big city may not seem effective, knowing what does and does not qualify as agricultural can help you determine if your new farm-to-table concept from an attached greenhouse can work in the area where you would like to establish it.
  • Historic land use. Many big cities, including Los Angeles, are home to a long history. In an effort to preserve that history for future generations, cities will establish historical sites where construction is not allowed.
  • Aesthetic zoning. In some residential areas, specific aesthetics must be followed. This could include color palettes, landscaping, and more.

These types of zoning regulations can cause conflicts for many land or building owners who wish to redevelop their property. However, with the right attorney, you can navigate these laws to ensure that your property functions in the way you intend to use it. In some cases, even if your property is not zoned for the purposes you would like, your attorney can investigate exceptions that may allow your project to continue forward.


Once you have established the zone for your property, you must then create a development plan for what you wish to do with the property or existing building. This is known as an entitlement agreement. This process is often difficult and can be frustratingly long. However, without it, your project could cost you more time and money with the city to bring your development back into code.

With the help of an attorney, you will need to proceed through the entitlement process, which begins by submitting your plans to the local review board or planning department. Your plans must follow the local ordinances and regulations for the greatest chance of approval. The entity to which you submitted your plans will then be reviewed at an established meeting where you may be required to submit fees and provide information on environmental impacts.

If your plans are not approved, your attorney can help guide you through the appeal process, which is through the city council. Once your development plan is approved, you will then need to submit design plans, which will secure the proper permits to proceed with your development. This step will require the use of an architect for both your potential structure and your landscaping.

Finally, an open meeting will take place with stakeholders from the community in which the development will be a part. This meeting will be advertised with posted notices and mailed notifications. The community in which the development will be must approve of the plans as well. Failure to receive that approval, even with the previous steps successful, could result in the end of your project.


Each development is unique and requires a different approach to applicable entitlements. Some impacts may include:

  • Rezoning. In the event that your development requires rezoning, you can apply to have the land rezoned for the specific use that you wish. However, this process is not always guaranteed and should be something you discuss with your attorney prior to purchasing.
  • Approvals of utilities. If your land is undeveloped, you may need to arrange specific utility installments, including electrical wiring and water piping. In some cases, you may need to sacrifice some of your land to eminent domain in order for the city to properly install these.
  • Variances in zoning. You may need to request zoning variances. For example, you may want to build a three-story office building where the zoning in place only allows for a single story.
  • Landscaping. Landscaping is a nice touch to any development, but ensuring your landscaping not only meets the zoning restrictions but also fits the community may require additional approvals.
  • Approvals of roads. If your development requires new roadways or a redesign of current roadways, the road will need to be approved. This could require easement considerations and impacts on other developments in the area.
  • Permit usage. Permits are necessary for any construction project. In some development proposals, you may need to obtain a conditional permit for use in your specific project. This could account for the impacts on the surrounding communities and the impacts on local traffic patterns or pedestrian areas.

The entitlement process may be frustrating, but it is required from the appropriate approving entities. Without these approvals, your development will end before it begins.


In any development process, there are several challenges and risks that must not only be accounted for but also taken into consideration. These include:

  • Independent consultants will review your plans on behalf of the entity to which your plans were submitted. They will look for the potential impacts on the environment and the population. If these independent investigations reveal concerns, it may not end your development process, but it could delay your ability to move forward for months or years until the concern is mitigated.
  • In addition to independent investigators, local city authorities will need to review all of the plans as well. This includes entities such as the fire department, utility providers, public transportation organizations, and representatives from parks and recreation. This is another area of your project that could encounter challenges that need to be mitigated before moving forward.
  • In the time that your development proposal is in the approval process, new legislation could be passed that may require different specifics to be met.
  • Even if approved, your proposal on paper must then be translated into the development itself, and trusting the right team to carry out the project to the specifics provided could be challenging.
  • Even if a new development is built from an existing one, there could be zoning laws that were previously overlooked that may need to be corrected in your development in order to move forward.

These challenges can cause significant delays in your development. However, with the help of your attorney, you can mitigate many of these setbacks prior to submitting your plans to help ensure your project stays on the development timeline you are hoping for.


With the help of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, you can gain an advantage in your real estate land use and entitlement challenges that could set your project back. Land use attorneys, like those at Blake & Ayaz, provide many benefits, including:

  • Negotiate with federal and state entities by using their knowledge of how these groups not only function but also how to navigate their approval processes.
  • Research local and state zoning laws to ensure they are familiar with how various communities operate and the zoning laws that may apply to them, as well as any applicable exceptions.
  • Review and handle any construction disputes both in and out of court.
  • Ensure that the construction company follows all necessary guidelines, applies for the proper permitting, and meets all required safety regulations.
  • Help mitigate any delays due to environmental concerns by representing you in any litigation, mediation, or negotiation that may be required.

These benefits are not all that a land use attorney can help with, but they represent a handful of the common needs associated with developing land. Land use attorneys can help with a variety of real estate needs, from purchasing to improving to selling. Before embarking on your real estate development plan, you should speak with an attorney who can meet your unique needs.


If you are ready to begin your new real estate development project, get the help you deserve from attorneys who have the experience you need to get your project off the ground. From residential development to commercial and manufacturing properties, the attorneys at Blake & Ayaz can help.

Our team can help you find the right property for you, connect you with the resources needed to ensure your development plan is ready for approval and help you keep your project on track. Contact our team today, and let us help you build your future.

Our attorneys have a combined 60 years of experience helping out businesses and individuals.

Blake & Ayaz services clients in Santa Ana, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, and throughout


We’re Ready To Go To Work For You!