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Photo of Real Estate Law Blog Jacob C. Walbourn
859-231-8780, ext. 102
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I have a true passion for justice, which is what drew me to the practice of law. I believe everyone should have the ability to navigate the legal process. Throughout my career I have tried to …

Showing 8 posts by Jacob C. Walbourn.

I Love It When a Comprehensive Plan Comes Together

It’s that time again – Lexington has been and remains busy assembling its 2018 Comprehensive Plan, titled “Imagine Lexington,” which will provide guidance on how the city will regulate land use over the next five years. This is a complex process that takes place in two phases. The recently concluded Phase I has already set out the goals and objectives of the plan, which we’ll examine in this blog post. The next phase, Elements and Implementation, may take the remainder of 2018 to hash out, although the Planning Commission suggests it will draft it through the summer. This plan is not just mandated by law; it helps mold a vision for the community of how it handles growth and expansion, which will shape the city for decades to come. 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 >

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 >

Non-Conforming Uses

In its most basic form, a nonconforming use is the use of a property which is no longer a permitted use under current zoning regulations but was permitted under prior zoning (or, in some cases, before there was zoning). In effect, a prior permitted use is grandfathered in despite the current zoning status. For instance, imagine the neighborhood where you run a business is rezoned as a residential area. Does this mean you have to shut your doors? No. Non-conforming uses play a key role in real estate development as a creative solution to promote urban infill through reuse of existing properties, as it may allow a use that is not otherwise permissible More >

Where the First Amendment and Land Use Meet: Planet Aid v. City of St. Johns

Generally speaking, land use regulations and zoning laws arise from practical and aesthetic concerns and considerations, and are driven by state and local law. However, sometimes a community’s desire to regulate a seemingly minor issue can implicate our most fundamental rights under the Constitution. Last month, we discussed the Supreme Court’s decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which involved an analysis of the First Amendment’s applicability to local sign ordinances. Finding that restricting signage based on the content of the sign was impermissible under the First Amendment, the Supreme Court struck down Gilbert’s ordinance. Commentators have since described this as the “sleeper case” of the Supreme Court’s term, representing a substantial shift in First Amendment jurisprudence. The case has since been used to justify striking down local and state bans on political “robocalls” and panhandling, and could possibly extend to call in to question laws aimed at consumer protection and securities law. Indeed, Reed and the reaches of the First Amendment are currently in the forefront of controversies involving everything from soda labelling, to the rights of topless performers operating in Times Square. More >

The Newest Sign for Some Sign Ordinances: Stop

Posted In Land Use Law

Sign ordinances and regulations are a fixture of city and county zoning and land use regulations, designed to prevent unattractive clutter from obstructing the public view. In creating these regulations, however, local governments run the risk of infringing some of the most basic constitutional rights. Signs inherently include a component of speech, and regulation of the former may unintentionally interfere with the latter. The town of Gilbert, Arizona, learned this lesson the hard way in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision of Reed v. Town of Gilbert. More >

Infill and Adaptive Reuse – Is It Right For My Project?

Fewer words in the context of land use planning come with as negative a connotation as “sprawl.” There’s a good reason for this, as the term denotes a move outwards from the heart of a city, pushing communities further apart into low density suburbs while the core of the area falls into decay. Sprawl has been cited as the cause for everything from environmental damage to community segregation, with inherently negative consequences for cities that fail to plan for sustainable growth. To combat sprawl, however, communities have turned to creative and innovative revitalization efforts such as infill and adaptive reuse as a way to slow the outward push and revitalize existing residential, commercial and even industrial spaces. More >

The Role of the Comprehensive Plan in Land Use Planning

Posted In Land Use Law

The comprehensive plan is the most important tool in land use planning. In its most basic function, it provides a roadmap for the development of a community’s most limited resource, the land itself. More than just a rigid set of directions, however, the comprehensive plan lays out a community’s vision for the future, providing guidance as to how the community will grow and thrive while striking an appropriate balance between competing uses.

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