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How a Restrictive Covenant Can Be Anything But

Restrictive covenants can be a protective measure to prevent competing uses, or they can be a thorn in the side of someone attempting to develop land subject to one. These clauses, whether set forth in deeds or as separate covenants, place restrictions on the uses of the property. Further, unless they have a particular expiration date, they run with the land despite future transfers. Whatever the intended effect of a restrictive covenant, they tend to be viewed with higher levels of scrutiny by the courts, as restrictions on land in perpetuity run against public policy preferences that hold that land should be given as freely as possible. In other words, you must choose the words of a restrictive covenant very carefully, or the provision may not mean what you think, or have the effect you intend. More >

Easements Made Easy: The Basics of Easements on Real Property

Easements are one of those real estate concepts on which it’s difficult to get a consensus. To some, they are harmless items that can be ignored. To others, they are a fatal encumbrance on a piece of property, restricting its use and diminishing its value. While both opinions may be true depending on the circumstances, the fact is that easements generally fall somewhere in between those two extremes. To understand why, it is important to have a general understanding of what easements are and how they affect real property rights. More >

Planning and Zoning: 3 Things to Look for When Purchasing Property

The conventional wisdom is that real property is a solid investment – after all, they aren’t making any more of it, and it’s often billed as “one of a kind.” Of course, just because the wisdom is conventional doesn’t mean it’s correct. In reality, there are a multitude of considerations that potential real property purchasers should take into account, and a careful review of these will generally result in sounder investment decisions. The condition of any buildings, access to the property and environmental assessments all should be factors in the purchase decision, but there are additional issues from a land use planning perspective that will impact whether an investment in real estate will pay off in the long run. More >

Investing in Real Estate: Where Do You Start?

Investment in real estate, whether residential or commercial, is a great vehicle for building wealth. For many people, however, the most difficult part of building a portfolio of real estate investment is knowing just where to begin. There are more options and moving parts than may be evident at first blush, so new investors might be either hesitant to enter the field or far too brash in diving into an investment without a definitive road map. Both paths are fraught with difficulty and failure. More >

A Supreme Court Denial Creates an Uncertain Foundation for Affordable Housing Attempts

Often, United States Supreme Court cases have repercussions and wide-ranging effects that are a predictable outgrowth of the particular holdings. What is not always so clear, however, is the way in which denying certiorari (turning down the opportunity to hear and decide a case) can affect those with a stake in the outcome of a particular interpretation. In the case of California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose,[1] the denial of certiorari by the Supreme Court may have a profound impact on both affordable housing and the housing industry itself in the short term.


[1] 61 Cal. 4th 435 (2015) More >

City planning board votes “no” to garbage transfer station on Lisle Industrial

BY BETH MUSGRAVE

Lexington Herald-Leader

April 26, 2016

A Lexington planning body rejected a bid by Republic Services to put a garbage transfer station on an 8-acre site on Lisle Industrial Avenue after a more than three-hour hearing.

The Board of Adjustment voted unanimously Friday after hearing testimony from Republic Services of Kentucky officials and a dozen neighbors who opposed the transfer station. Republic Services requested a conditional use permit to put the transfer station at 203 and 205 Lisle Industrial Avenue, which is zoned heavy industrial. The site was previously used by Wise Recycling. More >

A Primer on “Safe by Design” Land Use Planning

One of the more interesting facets of land use planning is its ability to impact our lives in a multitude of ways. We can intuitively understand and grasp the concepts of keeping certain types of land use apart – the landfill and the residential neighborhood, for example. These are facially obvious ideas, even if they can still generate controversy from time to time. What is not so obvious, however, is how and where land use planning can impact us in more subtle ways, especially with regard to public health and safety. More >

New 2016 ALTA/NSPS Survey Standards Now In Effect

In the real estate survey world, boundaries are shifting. In October of 2015, the American Land Title Association (“ALTA”) and National Society of Professional Surveyors (“NSPS”)[1] approved the 206 Minimum Standard Details Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys, and these became effective as of February 23, 2016. There are a number of changes to the required surveys designed to create a more easily understood plat and thwart potential miscommunication among surveyors, title companies, clients and lenders.


[1] It should be noted that the NSPS is a successor organization to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (“ACSM”), so these standards are an update to the prior “Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys.” More >

New Accounting Standards from FASB Create Big Changes for Leases

In February, The Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued an Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) addressing financial reporting about transactions involving leases. These new accounting standards have been in gestation for many years, and any company that leases any property, from equipment to real estate, will be affected by them. More >

Regulatory Takings Cases and the Relevant Parcel: Murr v. Wisconsin

This summer, in Murr v. Wisconsin,[1] the United States Supreme Court will make an important decision on property rights and regulatory takings under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. At issue in the case is whether two legally distinct parcels of land can be treated as one for regulatory purposes if they share common ownership. In a time when planning and zoning regulations change sporadically, this case has broad implications for owners of commercial property, farmers, developers, mining operations and others that hold legal title to adjoining properties, so these groups should pay particular attention to this case.


[1] Murr v. Wisconsin, 359 Wisc. 2d 675 (Wis. App. 2014), rev. denied, 862 N.W.2d 899 (Wis. 2015) More >

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