Saturday, October 1, 2011
Many thanks to Matt Festa for the invitation to hang out here for a month, to Jim Kelly and Jamie Baker Roskie for sharing space with me, and to my friend and colleague Chad Emerson for not raising a ruckus as I redecorate the cyber-office that he used to occupy.
October will be Notre Dame month here on Land Use Prof Blog. In addition to being smart, eminently personable, and well-traveled, Matt Festa has the good sense to have studied at Notre Dame. Jim Kelly of course teaches there. I obtained my law degree under the Dome, and I am one of those nearly-irrational Notre Dame fanatics who, during twelve Saturdays each fall, jeopardizes his marriage, his friendships with neighbors, and the emotional health of his children by tying his hopes and dreams to the under-developed judgment of 18- to 23-year old scholar-athletes. I anticipate that the quality of blogging here will be inversely proportionate to the quality of football played in the house that Rockne built. If the Irish lose, expect extensive, thoughtful blogging designed to take our minds off… other things.
I’d like to run three, concurrent series of posts while I’m here. First, I hope to invite discussion of my scholarship concerning land use by sharing some of my thoughts in concise form. I am interested in the theoretical justifications for both land use regulation and private property protections for land users. If both private rights and government regulation promote human flourishing—a truly common good—why are they so often in conflict with each other? If one or both of them does not promote the common good, why do we allow them? My views of these questions are perhaps somewhat heterodox among land use scholars of my generation, so I eagerly hope to excite vigorous disagreement.
Second, I plan to share some of the more interesting or amusing tidbits that I have encountered during my reading of land use decisions. Anyone who has practiced in this area will attest that land use decisions are seldom sublime. Town planning officers, zoning boards of appeals, and other land use officials generally (though not always) have good intentions. But their reasoning is sometimes inscrutable, occasionally bemusing, and, every once in a while, downright bizarre.
Third, I hope to comment on current land use disputes. I’ll offer thoughts that I usually keep to myself to avoid imposing them on marginally-interested students.
I look forward to my time here and I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this excellent venture.
And… Go Irish!