Zoning Attorney Houston

Zoning Lawyer Houston

Real Estate Attorney Houston and our zoning and land use attorneys have extensive experience providing clients with expert zoning and land use advice, which are key considerations in any real estate transaction in Houston, whether purchase/sale, development, or lease.

Prior to a contract, we provide zoning due diligence in the form of expert zoning analyses and memos so that clients have a clear understanding of how a given property may be used or developed “as-of-right,” and of the land use approvals that can be utilized to increase a property’s use or development potential — and its value.

Our zoning and land use attorneys have many years of experience successfully obtaining land use approvals, such as rezoning’s, special permits and variances from the Department of City Planning, Board of Standards and Appeals and Landmarks Preservation Commission. We work with the City agencies, local community planning boards and elected officials to expeditiously guide our clients through the public review processes required for such approvals and to ensure approval.

We are also adept at identifying creative interpretations of applicable law and obtaining zoning determinations from the Department of Buildings, thereby enabling clients to realize the full development potential of their property without the need for special approvals.

The acquisition and use of “air rights” has become an increasingly important component of real estate development in Houston, and our zoning and land use lawyers have successfully represented both purchasers and sellers of air rights by negotiating and preparing zoning lot merger, development rights transfer, and light and air easement agreements and declarations.


Real Estate Attorney Houston have the public policy skills and contacts to represent private and public landholders and developers before city councils, county boards, state planning commissions and other local, state, and federal administrative bodies. We help them obtain permits and other entitlements and are effective at helping build broad public support. Real Estate Attorney Houston lawyers are equally skilled at challenging adverse administrative actions and will vigorously defend approved projects if they hit political or regulatory snags.

The full range of compliance approvals that we facilitate encompasses:

  • Zoning and planning
  • Project permits and entitlements
  • Variances and conditional use permits
  • Development incentives
  • Takings, eminent domain and inverse condemnation
  • Historic preservation
  • Environmental Impact Reports (EIR)
  • The Houston Environmental Quality and National Environmental Policy Acts
  • Redevelopment and adaptive reuse approvals


Real Estate Attorney Houston work closely with local government officials to make certain the land for real estate and development projects has the appropriate zoning and required permits and approvals. Real Estate Attorney Houston lawyers analyze local land development codes, zoning ordinances, development regulations and other restrictions and requirements to ensure that they do not conflict with a client’s proposed project.

Such efforts form a solid foundation for obtaining the necessary government permits and zoning approvals. They also enable our team to effectively negotiate development agreements, easements, licenses and other agreements that may be required for project completion.


We are skilled at negotiating development agreements to lock into place the necessary entitlements, permits and land use designations for our clients’ projects. Our lawyers regularly prepare development pacts with local redevelopment agencies to secure municipal financing and long-term development rights, and excel at applying unique local or regional statutes such as Houston’s Subdivision Map Act. Once zoning approval is set, we often prepare reciprocal easement agreements, operating covenants and other commercial and residential development documents that facilitate project completion.


Land use disputes can involve straightforward issues of municipal annexation, subdivision regulation, redevelopment law, development agreements and impact fees. In such instances, clients rely on Real Estate Attorney Houston and our experience with local administration of land use regulations, including advice on the interpretation and enforcement of zoning regulations. We have particular strength in the challenging task of zoning appeals, and regularly go before zoning boards and political authorities to demonstrate the change of use prerequisites necessary for rezoning.

For more complex controversies, JMBM has extensive trial and appellate experience in land use litigation. A decade ago, our lawyers argued the high-profile permitting and takings case, Landgate, Inc. v. Houston Coastal Commission, before the Houston Supreme Court, and we have litigated many other land use disputes involving:

  • Condemnation and inverse condemnation
  • Compensation for regulatory takings and state land acquisitions
  • Restrictions on development of environmentally sensitive lands
  • Validity of exactions and development fees
  • Zoning for controversial uses, such as quarries
  • Hearings and protests over the adequacy of zoning procedures