Our country’s environment is protected by special laws set up by the federal and state governments. These land use laws and zoning requirements regulate how real estate is used and developed. Each state has municipalities that look after how property is used within their boundaries. These municipalities deal with all sorts of legal issues, including easements and eminent domain. An easement lets a non-owner of a property use the land. Eminent domain is when the government uses its right to buy private property for public use.These laws and regulations are set up to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public. They basically regulate how land is used and focus on preventing overcrowding and incompatibility as it affects the environment. They also are aimed at looking at not only the transit requirements within an area, but also at providing a safe environment for pedestrians. Land use laws and zoning regulations are used by local governments to watch over how their communities are developed and maintained. Their main purpose is to protect neighborhoods by regulating businesses and industry and by managing traffic flowing through these neighborhoods. These laws oversee and control construction within local boundaries. Zoning regulations include how high a building can be built and how massive it can be. Regulations also include such things as density, signage and parking allowances.Zoning restrictions can sometimes be avoided. To do this, a property owner must apply for a variance that will allow him to do something to his property that is against a zoning regulation. This variance lets a property owner avoid certain zoning laws but generally the owner must appear at a public hearing or at least meet with the planning commission. The owner must prove that the variance will allow him to avoid a hardship that would result from a zoning code. The owner must also give proof that the variance he is asking for won’t adversely affect neighboring properties.Land use laws and zoning requirements often receive criticism because they seem to violate civil rights. People who own their land often think that they have the right to do whatever they choose with their property. Others feel that the economic efficiency of a given property is hindered somewhat by stringent zoning restrictions. However, advocates of these regulations see it differently. They feel that by placing certain restrictions on some land parcels, there is an overall benefit to the surrounding properties because their value is increased.