we live in a rural area and do not want a bunch of strangers driving out to our neighborhood, nor do we want our property to lose value. Do we have a leg to stand on?
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In order for a change in the zones to be effectuated, a hearing must be conducted before the local zoning board. Notice of the hearing must be given to all residents, usually by newspaper. You can probably also go online and learn when these hearings take place. Attend the meeting and express your objection. If possible, gather other neighbors and friends to also express their objection. Churches are not taxpaying bodies and so your village is probably not strongly motivated to approve a zoning change.
You might also wish to consult with an attorney who concentrates his or her practice in zoning and municipal matters.
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Your question doesn't give me enough information. Is it a true zoning change or is it an application for something known as a "conditional use" or "special exception"? Generally jurisdictions do not favor what's called "piecemeal rezoning" which allows specific property owners to seek a zoning change absent fraud, change, mistake or irregularity. If this is what your neighbor is attempting to do, he's likely to have a tough road ahead of him.
That being said, if operating a church is a use permitted by "special exception" then it means that the use is presumed compatible with your neighborhood upon a showing that it doesn't overburden the rest of the neighborhood. (I'm being general here). This also involves hearings.
If you're truly worried, consult a land use attorney in your area to find out what's going on and how your neighbor is attempting to obtain this use for his property. Keep in mind, however, that there is a presumption that a property owner can use his property for any use deemed permitted in whatever zone you're in.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.
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