Law 792:  Land Use Planning

The Land Use Planning course provides students with an introductory understanding of the governmental structure, legal aspects, and professional practice of land use planning. Topics discussed in the class include comprehensive planning, subdivision/development regulation, by-right zoning, special approvals such as variances, planned developments, special use permits, and the intersection of land use planning with legal and planning issues in transportation. Throughout the course, we will explore questions about how policy goals are given the force of law, who participates in that process and who does not, to which populations the benefits and burdens of the law flow, and the remedies and standards of review available to individuals challenging land use planning decisions. The course provides a foundation for students interested in pursuing more advanced studies in land use law and urban planning. It will also provide practical knowledge for students seeking careers in local government or real estate law. 

Sequence and Prerequisites: Law 602, Property is a prerequisite.


Three assignments comprise the bulk of the grade for this course. A subdivision and zoning exercise requires students to apply ordinance language to a selection of land development proposals. A mock Plan Commission case requires students to analyze a specific land use proposal, prepare a report, and deliver a presentation in a simulated Plan Commission hearing. A short paper requires students to analyze policy and legal considerations of a current topic in land use law. In addition to these assignments, final grades may be modified on the basis of exceptionally strong or poor performance.

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