Some places the zoning laws are so restrictive and their penchant for daily compounding fines so dastardly, it's like being in a communist state where the only difference is you get to claim ownership on a paper, but in actuality every thing you do on the property requires this or that permit, even to the removal of a tree or someplaces a shrub. Since busy bodies or anyone with some excuse to bother you can call and complain anonymously and have the zoning dept on your back, it becomes a tool of harrassment for those who use it in that manner. Often it's used to try and move a person off a piece of property that someone else wants. For instance if a developer wants some property close to water or a good view to put in a condo or apartments, if he can create a hardship through the zoning department on the person living there, he hopes to be able to force them through fines to get feel compelled to sell it to get out from under the legal requirements of the zoning dept. The guy at the zoning department gets his payoff secretly from the developer, the property owner sells just to not be harassed any longer, especially if he can't do what the zoning department wants, such as painting or making some repairs they say is mandatory. So who should have had the greater rights? The owner of course, but instead the ones that have the power over his rights are the zoning department and through them the developer. The zoning officer makes out and the developer gets what he wants. Yes, it can end up in a court, but that's usually after a mandatory arbitration process with the zoning department in which the whole purpose of it is to build a case against the property owner, not really to be of any advantage to the property owner. It's a nasty corrupt situation in many places, it overrides property owners rights, it makes property owners no better than serfs to the zoning departments whims. One of the worst places I ever lived for that type of stuff was Tampa, and my one regret in regards to this story is that it didn't happen there.