Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome to Las Vegas...

When I'm not researching, writing, and teaching about land use and development, I have a bit of a guilty research pleasure:  amusement park law.

It all started early on in my lawprof career when one of my mentors recommended selecting at least one area of research simply because you enjoy the topic in a non-legal context, too.  For the Emersons, that's certainly theme parks and related amusements (waterparks, museums, zoos...you name it). 

So, I took that wise professor up on his advice and now write about the amusement industry, covering both legal and non-legal topics.

The reason I mention this (and the reason why my blogging will be pretty light this week) is because I just arrived in Las Vegas for the big annual amusement industry conference:  the IAAPA Attractions Expo.   I'll be participating in several sessions on all types of legal and regulatory issues facing the industry.

Hopefully, I'll also be able to meet up with co-blogger Ngai Pindell and check out some of the latest land use happenings in Vegas later this week.

In the meantime--in keeping with the dual theme of land use and theme parks--check out here and here for two recent land use disputes involving amusement industry participants.

And, of course, don't forget this classic dispute:

Management at the park has confirmed that this ride---the Scandia Screamer was selected as an attraction at the park because the motor noise is so very low. Additionally, in order to compete in a competitive market, they needed to maintain an attraction that would draw thrill-seekers.

Though the Screamer is in fact one of the quietest rides considering the motor, sound is only one of the major issues that neighboring residents have with the ride. One resident, John Eams, claims that the amusement attraction violates his privacy, as riders can see directly into his back yard when catapulted to the ride's maximum height. Other neighbors have complained that seeing the ride lit up nightly is an eyesore. Thus, residents are considering filing a class-action lawsuit against the amusement park.

--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.

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