Law 620:  Land Use Planning

The Land Use Planning course deals with the legal framework for land use decisions and regulations. The course examines land use decisions from the differing perspectives of governmental agencies, developers, landowners, other communities within the region, and potential residents. The constitutional and statutory rights of these groups are discussed, with particular emphasis placed on the taking issue, the appropriate level of judicial review of administrative or legislative land use decisions, and the remedies available to a successful complainant. Among the land use techniques singled out for special attention are planning, zoning, subdivision regulation, transfer of development rights, planned unit developments, contract zoning and aesthetic regulation (including billboard ordinances, architectural review, and historic preservation). The existing division of land use powers and the current trends in planning and zoning are examined in light of the following themes, among others: Are goals of efficiency served? Is adequate protection provided to those affected by local land use decisions, especially the poor and members of minority groups? Would a better accommodation of interests be reached without government regulation?

Sequence and Prerequisites: None. The course should provide a useful foundation for courses in related areas such as natural resources, environmental law, and state and local government.

Evaluation: Examination

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