State, County & Municipal Law
Counties, cities and towns throughout Arizona actively regulate businesses and other individual activities within their limits. For example, it is common for local business permits to be required, and most counties, cities and towns regulate where businesses may locate and operate through local zoning requirements. They may also choose to regulate pollution and environmental issues, regulate noise in both commercial and residential areas, control traffic created by business activities, and to impose aesthetic regulations for signage and upkeep of properties. All of these county and municipal regulations can limit your ability to operate your business or to use your residential property as you choose or in the way that makes most sense for your lifestyle or business needs.
The ability of counties, cities and towns to regulate your business or use of property is not unlimited. For instance, Arizona governments are generally required to operate through open meetings and “backroom” decisions that impact your rights can be challenged. Also, many constitutional, statutory and regulatory protections limit government interference with private commercial or individual conduct. As just some examples, zoning and signage laws may have to provide exceptions for pre-existing uses and may face First Amendment tests if they infringe free speech rights. Governmental regulations that destroy your ability to operate or use property in particular ways may result in inverse condemnation claims that entitle the property owner to be compensated by the government for devaluing the property. And, due process requirements often impose on counties, cities and towns requirements to fully inform you in advance of changes in their laws or regulations that might impact your use of property or the operations of your business, and to allow you to be heard in a public forum to appeal or contest the change. If the county, city or town does not comply, you may have the right to stop the city or town action, or to at least force formal consideration of the impacts any new law may have on you.
Though professionally trained and conscientious, government regulators can become confused by the multi-layered requirements of law governing their authority. They may face threats of lawsuits and even personal liability claims by citizens upset by their decisions. Helping government work more efficiently and avoid the consequences of even accidental violations of citizens’ rights is the type of service our firm prides itself on.
Because most governmental regulation is both legal and beneficial to our communities, our firm is pleased to represent parties on all sides of county or municipal disputes. Though we are careful to avoid legal conflicts that might compromise any client’s interests, we believe that our broad perspective, respecting the interests and objectives of all sides in a county or municipal dispute, makes us a far more valuable resource on any side of a dispute.