Land Use

This course provides an overview of zoning and land use regulation. Zoning is a type of public control that places many limits on how land is used. Each city or county places all its properties into zones.

Course Category: Self-Study Courses

Course Level: Advanced

CLE Credit: Substantive

CLE Hours: 20.0

Fees: $250 for Members and $300 for Non-members

Course Materials: Self-study courses typically come with a PDF of the complete textbook, a PDF of the textbook by chapter and a glossary of terms. Once you’ve finished studying, you’ll take the corresponding exams to earn CLE. 
Description: This course provides an overview of zoning and land use regulation. Zoning is a type of public control that places many limits on how land is used. Each city or county places all its properties into zones for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other uses. Land use regulations vary widely from state to state, county to county, and city to city. Property owners can sometimes make requests for changes to the permitted uses and prohibited uses with applications for conditional uses, variances, zoning changes, or other requests. A paralegal can assist an attorney in many ways throughout the approval process for development projects or in challenging the uses or planned uses of land, which have been raised by neighbors, governments, or business entities. After completing this land use course, a paralegal may assist in these ways:
  • Obtain copies of state or federal statutes
  • Research case law on client’s issues
  • Use and become proficient with the city or county zoning and planning website
  • Obtain copies of the city or county zoning and planning ordinances
  • Obtain copies of any zoning and planning formulas, qualitative or quantitative information,  spreadsheets, maps, diagrams, flow charts, tables, appendices
  • Identify the zone in which a client’s real property is located
  • Identify the permitted uses of the client’s property within that zone
  • Understand and obtain the zoning code’s definitions related to the client’s issue
  • Determine if the client’s request fits within a conditional or accessory use within that zone
  • Determine the type of application the client should use such as subdivision application, condominium, construction application, building permit, remodeling permit, variance, conditional use permit, zoning change, tax lot adjustment, combining tax lots, and obtain it
  • Collect information about previous decisions from the city or county planning department to assist in accessing the client’s chances for success
  • Visit and obtain factual or legal information from planning board or department
  • At the city or county offices, research and obtain factual or legal information from previous planning board or department decisions of the client, of the property, of the neighboring properties or other related matters
  • Determine the rule making procedure for city or county planning board or department
  • Determine what elements of procedural due process are allowed or required at in-person conferences, hearings, trials, and appeals; such elements might include notices, witnesses, experts, cross-examination, jury trials, representation by attorneys and exhibits
  • Obtain information about neighboring properties, if related to the client’s issue
  • Obtain copies of any private covenants or deed restrictions from the client’s deed, abstract or title report, or recorded survey
  • Assist in developing alternative plans for client’s project
  • Assist in developing strategies for administrative proceedings, court litigation, or appeals
  • Obtain information about deadlines after an application is filed or a process begins; develop a time line for client

* The distinguished ACP© credential is only available to current NALA Certified Paralegals. Anyone, regardless of credentials, may take this course solely for gaining knowledge and will receive a certificate of completion upon successful completion of the course and exam.

Course Year: 2018


Self-Study Instructions

Access Period

After you purchase a self-study course you will receive an enrollment email. If you do not receive an enrollment email please check your spam and make sure you add to your safe senders list.

To access course materials after enrollment please click on “My Courses” then “Self-Study” at

Self-Study courses expire after 1 year.

Courses are priced for individual use and consumption and are not intended for rebroadcast and sharing.

Refunds or Cancellations

No cancellations or refunds are provided.

Self-Study FAQs

All self-study courses qualify for CLE through NALA.  For more information on other institutions please click here.

If available, you may use the print function from your browser to print the material. This is copyrighted material and any distribution is strictly prohibited. Not all self-study courses have printable material.

No, a textbook is either included or not necessary for the self-study courses.

No, the courses are designed as continuing education courses and may qualify as meeting continuing education requirements for professional certifications and attorney licenses.  In addition, the courses may be used in the classroom to supplement formal training.  However, the courses are not designed to take the place of formal paralegal training as may be available through a community college or university.