Friday, July 16, 2010
Jeffrey Hester (William J. Tucker & Assocs.) and Danaya C. Wright (Florida) have posted Pipes, Wires, and Bicycles: Rails-to-Trails, Utility Licenses, and the Shifting Scope of Railroad Easements from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries, published in Vol. 27, Ecology Law Quarterly. The abstract:
This article responds to a series of class action suits filed against railroads, telecommunication companies, and the federal government claiming that once railroads abandon their corridors, all property rights shift to adjacent landowners. This article reviews the state law on this matter and offers a theory of how courts should handle these cases. After discussing the history of nineteenth-century railroad land acquisition practices, it analyzes the scope of the easement limited for railroad purposes, then discusses the role of abandonment in affecting the rights of third party users of these corridors as well as successor trail owners. The article concludes with a theory of railroad easements that interprets the railroad's powers based on the public participation that helped create and establish these corridors and the tenuous claims of adjacent landowners.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
One of the tricky things facing many U.S. jurisdictions is the number of houses and apartments sitting empty. Among other things, these can increase crime and other safety hazards.
Plus, from the private side of things, its a huge drain on future housing demand.
That's why if you attend a typical Planning Commission meeting, you won't find many development plans or large subdivision plats on the agenda. There just isn't enough demand with all of the currently empty housing supply in the U.S. (an amount that some like the Realtor association estimate at over 3 million).
Well, if you thought that we here in the U.S. were in a sticky wicket of sorts, then check out these new estimates of empty housing in China: over 64 million units (note: access to the article requires a free registration to that site).
If this number is even remotely accurate (and it uses a very interesting metric to establish the estimate), then what we've seen to date in the worldwide housing crisis has been nothing more than an appetizer of problems.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Charles M. Haar (Harvard) and Michael Allan Wolf (Florida) have posted Planning and Law: Shaping the Legal Environment of Land Development and Preservation, published in Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 10419-10431, 2010. The abstract:
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
On The New Republic's excellent "The Avenue" blog, Christopher Leinberger (author of The Option of Urbanism) discusses a recent Brookings debate with Joel Kotkin (author of The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050). From Walking--Not Just for Cities Anymore, Leinberger notes:
I just had a debate with Joel Kotkin, whom many consider to be an apologist for sprawl. Surprisingly, there is a convergence between his view of the next generation of real estate and infrastructure development and mine: a constellation of pedestrian-friendly urban development spread throughout metropolitan areas, redeveloping parts of the central city and transforming the inner, and some outer, suburbs. There are certainly differences between the two of us: I happen to see significant pent-up demand for walkable urban development and massive over-building of fringe car-oriented suburban housing and commercial development.
In fact, I see compelling evidence that the collapse of fringe drivable suburban markets was the catalyst for the Great Recession, and the lack of walkable urban development due to inadequate infrastructure and zoning is a major reason for the recovery’s sluggishness. Joel feels the demand for walkable urban development is a fraction of the future growth in households. I think rail transit, biking and walking infrastructure are crucial to make this walkable urban future happen; Joel thinks bus rapid transit is as far as we have to go in the transit world… making cars more technologically efficient is his main answer.
I have been hoping that Leinberger will prove correct about his belief in the untapped market demand for walkable urbanism, which has not persuaded Kotkin and other critics. Leinberger concludes:
We need move away from 20th century concepts that confuse the conversation. If I am right, 70 to 80 percent of new development should be in walkable urban places, and my research leads me to think the majority of that development will be in the suburbs.
July 13, 2010 in Density, Development, Downtown, Exurbs, Financial Crisis, Local Government, Mortgage Crisis, New Urbanism, New York, Pedestrian, Planning, Sprawl, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 13, 2010 in Beaches, Caselaw, Coastal Regulation, Constitutional Law, Environmental Law, Judicial Review, Property Rights, Scholarship, Supreme Court, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
13th Annual Takings ConferenceJamie Baker Roskie
July 13, 2010
The 13th annual edition of the Conference on Litigating Regulatory Takings Challenges to Land Use and Environmental Regulations will be held at U.C. Berkeley School of Law in Berkeley, California on November 5, 2010. The conference speakers include a wide range of distinguished scholars and practitioners from around the country.
Featured topics will include the Stop the Beach Renourishment decision, future prospects for the judicial takings concept, takings problems raised by sea level rise and other consequences of climate change, controversial new decisions applying an expansive interpretation of the Penn Central analysis, the state of eminent domain law five years after Kelo, the intersection of breach of contract and takings claims against the government, takings litigation arising from regulation of water, and takings claims based on the federal rails to trails program.
Conference sponsors include Vermont Law School, U.C. Berkeley School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr, the California League of Cities, and the Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association.
The full conference brochure is available at: http://forms.vermontlaw.edu/elc/landuse/Takings10/Takings2010Brochure.pdf.
For registration, go to http://forms.vermontlaw.edu/elc/landuse/Takings10/
For additional conference information, please contact Jane D'Antonio at Vermont Law School at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact John Echeverria at
Vermont Law School
164 Chelsea Street, PO Box 96
South Royalton, Vermont 05068
Monday, July 12, 2010
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin recently released information related to county health rankings.
This guest column in Daytona Beach News-Journal shares some interesting thoughts about that information and focuses on how land use policies can negatively affect community health:
Neighborhoods that have high levels of poverty often have more fast food, liquor, gun and tobacco stores than grocery stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. These neighborhoods also tend to lack parks or green space but have railyards or industrial parks, air or soil pollution, segregated housing, unsafe streets and crime. These conditions put neighbors at risk for homicide, asthma, substance abuse, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental stress, among others
Additionally, several of our cities have invested in Community Redevelopment Areas to try to improve neighborhood living conditions that combine mixed use, public transportation, affordable housing, open and green space and removal of blight. The city of Daytona Beach has also utilized Hope VI Revitalization funding from HUD to improve housing. All of these efforts to improve our community make me proud to be here. Little did all of us know that these efforts would also improve the health of our community.
The only thing I really disagree with is the last sentence above. "Little did all of us know" is really not true. Many people from across the professional spectrum have been noting for nearly 20 years that the Euclidean practice of separating almost all uses, including even compatible and complementary ones, was on the fast track toward unsustainability.
Hopefully, as more people realize this, the necessary amendments to our nation's land use codes can be made to turn back the sprawling tide of single-use development that has caused so many problems--including the health related ones that this article focuses on.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.
Amnon Lehavi (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law) has posted The Global Law of the Land, University of Colorado Law Revew, vol. 81, p. 425 (2010). The abstract:
Sunday, July 11, 2010