This glossary lists brief definitions of terms frequently used in land use and eminent domain contexts. These definitions are provided for clarity and to assist with understanding, and should not be considered as legal authority, or as altering the meaning of terms used in statutes or in appellate cases.
Access–The right to come upon or enter property from a public roadway, or from another privately-owned property.
Adverse Possession–A process to obtain ownership of property belonging to another private owner through use or possession for a set period of time.
Appeal Authority–The person or board that considers appeals from land use decisions. Local governments are required to have appeal authorities, which may be a Board of Adjustment, or an appointed hearing officer.
Board of Adjustment–Traditionally, a board appointed by a local government to consider zoning appeals and sometimes other zoning applications, such as variances. A board may be an appeal authority.
Boundary–The limits of a parcel, indicating where one person’s property ends, and another’s begins. The boundaries of a property are most often defined in the deed to the property, which should be specific enough to reproduce at the actual site of the property.
Boundary by Acquiescence–A legal theory which recognizes long-standing acceptance of an identified boundary line as the actual property line, even if that line does not agree with the parcel’s legal description.
Boundary Marker–An artificial marker, which may be an official monument placed by a government agency or some other permanent structure or marker, that is a reliable starting point to ascertain property boundaries.
Conditional Use–A land use may be designated as “conditional” by a local government, meaning that specific evaluation and approval of the use is necessary. Conditions may be required in order to obtain approval to carry out the use.
Easement–A limited right to use property belonging to another person.
Exaction–In the land use context, a donation of land or money that is required in order to gain approval of a property development.