Saturday, June 16, 2012

Interesting Call for Papers

Here is a call for papers that may be of interest to some of our readers. I would love to submit somthing myself, but it seems like this is the 100th event scheduled for October 12th.

Call for Papers: Washington and Lee's "Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History"

From the CFP:

Washington and Lee University School of Law’s Law and History Center, in partnership with Virginia Sea Grant, will host a symposium on Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History. Recognizing the unique impact that the colonial legal experience continues to have on Eastern states, the symposium will focus on the application of legal historical research to contemporary problems and opportunities in the areas of policy-making, property rights, and hazard resilience in coastal communities. Panel presentations and potential topics include:

- How the colonial legal experience affects modern property rights and our responsiveness to climate change

- Historical and modern property doctrines—particularly nuisance, zoning, and eminent domain—and their relation to current climate change challenges and policies

- Changing notions of acceptable land use and natural resources

- Environmental hazard resilience policies and opportunities for their enhancement via legal strategies

We are open to suggestions of other related topics.

You can download the full CFP here:

 

Jessie Owley

June 16, 2012 in Climate, Conferences, Environmental Law, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Death and Life of Affordable Housing--panel video

Via Congress for the New Urbanism, I came across this link to what looks like a great panel discussion hosted by the Cato Institute and cosponsored by Next American City, called "The Death and Life of Affordable Housing."  Here is the link to the video.  The session features a terrific lineup of thoughtful commentators.  From the event description:

Featuring Ryan Avent, Author of The Gated City; Adam Gordon, Staff Attorney, Fair Share Housing; Randal O'Toole, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute, and author of American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership; Matthew Yglesias, author of The Rent Is Too Damn High; moderated by Diana Lind, Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief, Next American City. . . .

The Cato Institute and Next American City will jointly host a panel discussion about housing and development policy in American cities. For several decades, U.S. policymakers have grappled with how to make housing more affordable for more people. In the past year, several new books have claimed that various government tools, such as zoning and subsidies, have limited people's access to desirable, affordable housing—while other leading thinkers have suggested that markets alone will not create socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. With a shared goal of creating livable, affordable communities for all people—but diverging ideas of how to get there—the panel will give voice to a range of perspectives on the hotly debated issue of how to shape 21st-century American cities.

I plan to check it out this weekend.  Enjoy,

Matt Festa

June 15, 2012 in Affordable Housing, Books, Conferences, Development, Environmentalism, Housing, Lectures, Planning, Scholarship, Sustainability, Urbanism, Zoning | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Space Event in Istanbul on Disaster Preparedness (via Georgia State)

Prof. Julian Juergensmeyer (Georgia State) writes to inform us about what looks like a truly fascinating opportunity:

The Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth is pleased to announce a Study Space Program in Istanbul, Turkey March 31- April 6, 2013.

A Study Space is a week-long intensive workshop, in which academic scholars and professionals come together to study and develop solutions to the challenges being faced by cities throughout the world. This program will focus on disaster preparedness from an interdisciplinary perspective of land use policies, building restrictions, and the handling of environmental refugees. It will be a collaboration with the Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University's Law School in New Orleans and the law school at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey.

The workshop will use the issue of earthquakes in Turkey as a focused topic and also as a springboard toward a larger discussion of disaster preparedness and urban land use in the modern world.  Contact Prof. Juergensmeyer for any questions.  With its interdisciplinary and transnational basis, this is surely going to be a really rewarding event. 

Matt Festa

June 15, 2012 in Comparative Land Use, Conferences, Environmental Law, Planning, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Call for Papers: AALS Sections on Property and Natural Resources/Energy Law to Host Joint Program

I meant to post this when it came out late last month but exam grading swallowed me up for a while; many of you have probably already seen this announcement elsewhere.  Anyway, tomorrow (June 15) is the deadline to submit abstracts for what will surely be one of the highlights at next year's AALS. Via Shelley Saxer and Tim Mulvaney:

The AALS Section on Property is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for its joint program with the AALS Section on Natural Resources & Energy Law during the AALS 2013 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  This joint program, entitled “40 Years of Environmental and Natural Resources Law: A Prospective Look,” will forecast how the law surrounding environmental and natural resources might change in the four decades to come.  It is scheduled for Monday, January 7, and accompanies a companion program jointly sponsored by the AALS Sections on North American Law and Environmental Law, which is entitled “40 Years of Environmental and Natural Resources Law: A Retrospective Look.”  Therefore, this event in its entirety will include four interrelated one-and-one-half-hour sessions.

The specific session organized by the Section on Property is centered on “A Prospective Look at Property Rights.”  Broadly speaking, the panelists will examine the legal and political issues that local, national, and international communities confront in seeking to balance public and private interests in the face of significant modern environmental and natural resource challenges.  The Section on Property seeks one to two papers that will advance this session’s theme and complement the scholarly perspectives of the following speakers: Maxine Burkett (University of Hawaii School of Law), Steven Eagle (George Mason University School of Law), John Echeverria (Vermont Law School), and Carol Rose (invited) (University of Arizona College of Law).  The George Mason Law Review has agreed to publish papers emanating from this session’s presentations in the spring of 2013.

Full-time faculty members of AALS member and fee-paid law schools are invited to submit an abstract not exceeding one page by e-mail to Shelley Saxer (Pepperdine University School of Law), the Chair of the Section on Property Law, at Shelley.Saxer@pepperdine.edu by June 15, 2012.  Professor Saxer will select one or two of the submissions for inclusion in the program in consultation with the Section’s officers.  Submitting authors will be notified of the results of the selection process by July 1, 2012.  To assure timely publication, selected authors should plan to submit their papers of 7,000-8,000 words above the line to the George Mason Law Review by November 1, 2012.  The selected authors will be responsible for paying their annual meeting registration fee and travel expenses.  Questions should be directed to Professor Saxer at the above-noted email address.

Matt Festa

June 14, 2012 in Conferences, Environmental Law, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Works in Progress Workshops

I have been a bit quiet on the blog these past few days because I have been busy attending some amazing events. I already told you all about Widener's Constitutional Environmental Rights Workshop that I found inspiring for kick starting some long-planned work on the Public Trust Doctrine, but I also want to take a moment to praise a new Junior Environmental Law Scholar Works-in-Progress Workshop.

Amanda Leiter of American University's Washington College of Law organized an excellent weekend. Five of us submitted works in progress. We all read each other's work closely and a couple of others joined in to provide comments. We spent 60-90 minutes on each person, with indepth discussions. It was amazingly helpful. We ended on Saturday with a field trip to Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, a truly hidden jem on the Anacostia River. Events like this are remarkably productive and fun. So who out there wants to coordinate the first Land Use Works-in-Progress event? (please invite me)

Jessie Owley

June 12, 2012 in Conferences, Environmental Law, Scholarship, Water, Wetlands | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Call for Presenters: ABA Land Use "Professor's Corner" Teleconference (August 8, 2012)

First, a big congrats to Jessica Owley and Stephen R. Miller on permanently joining the Land Use Prof Blog!  An exceptional blog just got even better!  

How often do you get a chance to make a presentation to a national audience of legal scholars without ever leaving the confines of your own office?  The ABA's RPTE Section has begun holding monthly "Professor's Corner" teleconferences at which law professors from across the country discuss recent court decisions.  Land Use Prof Blog's own Matt Festa made a presentation at one of these teleconferences back in May.  The upcoming August 8th teleconference (12:30 Eastern/ 11:30 Central) will focus solely on land use law issues, and the ABA is seeking two additional panelists to give 15-minute presentations on a recent land use decision of their choice.   

Presenting at an ABA Professor's Corner teleconference obviously requires no travel, gives you an excuse to read up on a recent case, and is something worthy of adding to your CV!  If you're potentialy interested in being a panelist, please contact me directly at rulet@missouri.edu for the details. 

Troy Rule

May 24, 2012 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Survey for Environmental/Land Use Profs

I am excited for the upcoming AALS midyear workshop on Torts, Environment and Disaster.In particular, we will have a session addressing head on the opportunities and needs for mentoring and making connections across and within communities of scholars. In preparation for a session on 'Generations of Environmental Law' at the upcoming AALS midyear meeting, my fellow panelists and I have created a survey for environmental law professors. With this survey, we hope to get a sense of the types of mentoring available to environmental law faculty as well as get some suggestions for improvement. If you consider yourself a land use or environmental law professor, please add your voice. The survey is only 9 questions and should take 5-10 minutes. We will share the results at the conference and with the environmental law community via listserv and blogs. We appreciate your participation and our community’s efforts to improve connections among colleagues.

Begin Survey

Thanks for your participation,

Jessie Owley

(co panelists = Daniel A. Farber, Bruce R. Huber, John Copeland Nagle, Hari Osofsky, Melissa Powers, and Kalyani Robbins).

May 22, 2012 in Conferences, Environmental Law, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Land Use at the UN--Sustainability in Developing Nations

If you're hanging around the United Nations tomorrow, consider attending this interesting panel that Dean-elect Patricia Salkin will be moderating on Sustainability in Developing Nations: Opportunity for Public-Private Partnerships.

On behalf of the Government Law Center of Albany Law School, please consider joining us for a special program at the United Nations on May 16, 2012 that focuses on sustainability and public private partnerships. 

The afternoon program includes Professor John Dernbach from Widener Law School (and his forthcoming book on sustainability will be released at the program), Professor John Nolon from Pace Law School and Professors Keith Hirokawa, James Gathii and Alexandra Harrington from Albany Law School.

The program is free and open to the public but an RSVP is required for security purposes.  The announcement is here: http://www.albanylaw.edu/media/user/glc/upcoming_events/051612_UN_Sustainability_Program_Flyerv2.pdf

Sounds fascinating.  Both property law and sustainability are among the keys to global progress over the next decades.  Thanks to Keith Hirokawa for the pointer. 

Matt Festa

May 15, 2012 in Comprehensive Plans, Conferences, Economic Development, Environmental Law, Scholarship, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

ABA "Professors' Corner" Teleconference on Property Cases

On Wednesday I'll be part of the ABA's "Professor's Corner" teleconference, to discuss Severance v. Patterson, the Texas Open Beaches Act case. The teleconference is Wednesday, May 9 at 12:30 eastern/11:30 central. All are welcome to participate at the number below. The blurb:

The ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section’s Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group has a regular (and free!) monthly teleconference, “Professor’s Corner,” in which a panel of three law professors highlight and discuss recent real property cases of note.

Members of the AALS Real Estate Transactions section are encouraged to participate in this monthly call (which is always on the second Wednesday of the month).

The May 2012 call is this Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time (11:30 a.m. Central, 9:30 a..m. Pacific). The call-in number is 866-646-6488. When prompted for the passcode, enter the passcode number 557 741 9753.

The panelists for May 9, 2012 are:

Professor Tanya Marsh, Assistant Professor of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law. Professor Marsh will discuss Roundy’s Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, 674 F.3d 638 (7th Cir. 2012). Decided in March 2012, this case held that Roundy’s (a non-union supermarket chain) did not have the right to exclude third parties (in this case, non-employee union organizers) from common areas of shopping centers in which it operated.

Professor Matt Festa, Associate Professor of Law, South Texas College of Law. Professor Festa will discuss Severance v. Patterson, 2012 WL 1059341 (Tex. 2012). In this case, decided March 30, 2012, the Texas Supreme Court struck down the “rolling easement” theory of public beachfront property access under the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Professor Wilson Freyermuth, John D. Lawson Professor and Curators’ Teaching Professor, University of Missouri. Professor Freyermuth will discuss Summerhill Village Homeowners Ass’n v. Roughley, 270 P.3d 639 (Wash. Ct. App. 2012), in which the court refused to permit the mortgage lender to exercise statutory redemption after its lien was extinguished by virtue of a foreclosure sale by an owners’ association to enforce its lien for unpaid assessments. He will also discuss First Bank v. Fischer & Frichtel, 2012 WL 1339437 (Mo. April 12, 2012), in which the Missouri court rejected the “fair value” approach to calculating deficiency judgments under the Restatement of Mortgages.

It should be an interesting conversation with a good variety issues to discuss. Please feel welcome to participate, whether or not you are a currently a section member.

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who participated, and to Wilson Freyermuth for moderating and Tanya Marsh for inviting me.  The ABA RPTE Section will be doing this every month, so stay tuned for more interesting discussions to come!

Matt Festa

May 8, 2012 in Beaches, Caselaw, Conferences, Mortgages, Property, Property Rights, Real Estate Transactions, Scholarship, State Government | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Markell on Climate Change and the Roles of Land Use and Energy Law

David L. Markell (Florida State) has posted Climate Change and the Roles of Land Use and Energy Law: An Introduction, Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 27 (2012).  It's the intro to a Symposium issue.  The abstract:

The challenges posed by climate change are daunting and have spawned an enormous literature, indeed many literatures. The legal regimes that govern our use of land and energy have already been and will continue to be integral to the effort to devise effective responses. My aim in this introductory essay is to identify and review six aspects of climate change in an effort to capture some of the ferment that now exists as policy makers, scholars, and others wrestle with the challenges that climate change poses for extant legal regimes. I then briefly summarize the articles in this symposium volume.

Matt Festa

March 20, 2012 in Climate, Conferences, Environmental Law, Oil & Gas, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 2, 2012

ALPS Program

Greetings from the 3d annual meeting of the Association for Law, Property & Society (ALPS) at Georgetown Law Center in DC.  Day 1 was great, with a lot of very interesting presentations.  Most importantly (for me), I'm done, so I can relax and enjoy tomorrow's panels.  My co-bloggers Jim Kelly and Ken Stahl still have to present tomorrow!  Lots of other esteemed colleagues are here to discuss their current research, as is appropriate for what has quickly become the premier conference for academic property and land use law.

If you couldn't make it but would like to see what's going on at ALPS this year, you can check out the conference program at the link. 

Matt Festa

March 2, 2012 in Conferences, Property, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Urban Agriculture: It’s Not an Oxymoron"

From Heidi Gorovitz Robertson at CSU, an announcement for their upcoming symposium:

Cleveland-Marshall College of Law seeks proposals for presentations at  Urban Agriculture: It’s Not an Oxymoron, Policies for Cultivating City Land and Increasing Access to Local Food, a symposium on law and policy issues connected to urban agriculture, land use, and the local food movement. 

As the movement towards local food continues to grow, cities are finding that they must develop law and policies to allow for and regulate agricultural practices within urban communities. Many cities are implementing policies to increase urban food production through regulation, incentives, and more comprehensive land-use and public-health policies.  Cities are doing so because they are recognizing that increasing agricultural land use can be a good answer to declining populations and an excess of abandoned or foreclosed properties.  Cities are also recognizing that increasing access to local food can provide economic and public health benefits.

This symposium will explore the laws and policies that cities have implemented to increase local food production and access to local food.  It will also address some of the benefits and challenges of implementing these policies.  Finally, it will address the need to strengthen the urban, suburban, and rural food connection to move towards more sustainable and reliable local food production.  All papers concerning these or related issues are welcome.  

The symposium will take place in Cleveland, Ohio on April 20, 2012.  C|M|LAW invites academics, practitioners, policymakers, and others to submit presentations or scholarly papers on related topics.  A proposal for your paper or presentation, of no more than three pages, should be...submitted via the link below.  

For more information about the symposium, please visit C|M|Law’s website.

Jamie Baker Roskie

 

February 1, 2012 in Agriculture, Conferences | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ALPS deadline!

Registration for the annual meeting of the Association for Law, Property, and Society--i.e., ALPS--ends tomorrow, Jan. 20.  So give your paper topic one last edit and then by all means submit it and register for the conference

ALPS has quickly become the very best academic conference for property, land use, and envrionmental law scholarship, and the collegiality is unmatched.  Hope to see you there.

Matt Festa

January 18, 2012 in Conferences, Property, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nelson Symposium--Digging up some Dirt (Law)

Michael Allan Wolf sends along information about the 11th Robert Nelson Symposium at the University of Florida School of Law: “Digging Up Some Dirt (Law): How Recent Developments in Real Property Law Affect Landowners and Local Governments.”  From the description:

“Digging Up Some Dirt (Law): How Recent Developments in Real Property Law Affect Landowners and Local Governments” will welcome national and state experts to explore the impact on landowners and local governments of recent and proposed changes in the law of adverse possession, eminent domain, easements and mortgages.

Here is a link to the brochure.  You can register at the website.  Looks like a timely and interesting event with an excellent lineup of speakers, including Carol Brown (UNC), Ann Marie Cavazos (FAMU), Alex Johnson (UVA), Jessica Owley (Buffalo), and Professor Wolf (UF).

Matt Festa

January 18, 2012 in Conferences, Conservation Easements, Eminent Domain, Local Government, Mortgages, Scholarship, Servitudes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

State & Local Government section--Cities in Recession program

From an email sent by Rick Su (Buffalo), the Chair of the AALS Section on State & Local Government Law, here is something that may be of interest to land users.  The Section is already planning for the 2013 AALS meeting in New Orleans:

The tentative title is Cities in Recession. The program will look into the many ways that cities have not only been affected by, but are also responding to, the current economic downturn. This should provide a timely lens for exploring a wide range of local government issues, from municipal finance to education to economic development. In addition, it offers an opportunity to look at both distressed and resilient cities. The planning for this panel is in its early stages; I eagerly welcome any comments or suggestions that you might have (ricksu@buffalo.edu).

Matt Festa

January 14, 2012 in Conferences, Development, Economic Development, Finance, Financial Crisis, Local Government, Scholarship, State Government, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 6, 2012

CFP: Wetlands Policy Conference at Buffalo

Via Jessica Owley, news of an interesting upcoming conference at Buffalo:

Save The Date and Call for Papers
Beyond Jurisdiction:
Wetlands Policy for the Next Generation
26-27 April 2012 at SUNY Buffalo Law School
Buffalo, New York

Beyond Jurisdiction: Wetlands Policy for the Next Generation will bring together academics from law and other fields to join advocates in an exploration of the future of wetlands law and policy from a variety of perspectives (normative, empirical, instrumental, etc.). As is true of many areas of law and social policy, the world of wetlands is inherently political and value-laden—the law is often be a poor means of accomplishing contested social objectives in this area. A debate sparked by U.S. Supreme Court decisions and related federal actions have focused wetlands scholarship and advocacy during the past decade on exploring the parameters of which “waters of the United States” fall under federal jurisdictional. Such concentration has detracted from scholarship and study of many other important issues related to wetlands policy, such as mitigation, the Tulloch rule, nationwide permits, local and state policy developments, international treaty obligations, and other matters. This conference is designed to broaden the focus of exploration and include voices of scholars, activists, scientists, media professionals, and others.

We welcome many voices to this discussion, and invite submissions on any related topic of legal, policy, or additional matters related to wetlands and other jurisdictional waters, including:

· Mitigation
· Tulloch/discharge issues
· Ecosystem services
· State and local governance
· Enforcement
· Permit processes (including nationwide and regional permits)
· Administration of the Clean Water Act
· International and transnational protections

Accepted papers will be published either in a special journal issue or as a chapter in an academic press book. You are invited to submit a paper abstract or presentation proposal of no more than 400 words by Monday, 13 February 2012 to http://baldycenter.info/cgi-bin/applications/rfp.cgi <http://baldycenter.info/cgi-bin/applications/rfp.cgi> .

For more information, contact Kim Diana Connolly at kimconno@buffalo.edu or 716-645-2092

Matt Festa

January 6, 2012 in Conferences, Environmental Law, Federal Government, Scholarship, Water, Wetlands | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Salkin & Gross on International Comparative Property Rights

Patricia Salkin (Albany) and Daniel Gross (Albany) have posted International Comparative Property Rights: A Cross-Cultural Discipline Comes of Age. The paper is being given this weekend at the Brigham-Kanner Conference, which is being held in Beijing this year. The abstract:

This article provides an overview of the differences and similarities among a select group of nations through an examination of their real property protection regimes. The countries selected – South Africa, India, Chile, Singapore and Ghana – were chosen to illustrate how geographical, social, and economic diversity all contribute to different property rights cultures and legal approaches. Part II of this article examines general international or global factors that affect property rights. Part III offers a focused look at the historical and cultural development of property rights in the five selected countries. Part IV follows with a discussion of some of the domestic factors present in these five different countries that contribute to or influence the development and enforcement of different property rights regimes. The article concludes in Part V with a discussion about the importance of understanding the property rights regimes in other countries to better enable practitioners to provide responsible legal counsel to clients.

This one looks really interesting for those who are looking at comparative perpsectives. There have been a lot of land use and property related articles posted recently (I think we're probably two articles behind just on Prof. Salkin's recent work!)-- we'll be bringing them to you soon . . . and if you have an article that you'd like us to post about, let us know.

Matt Festa

October 12, 2011 in Comparative Land Use, Conferences, Property Rights, Property Theory, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 7, 2011

2012 Conference Proposals

It's hard to believe, but we're already in the thick of the season of calls for participation for next year's academic conferences. Here's a few conferences that I recommend, with links to their registration pages:

Law and Society Association: June 5-8, 2012, Honolulu, Hawaii. CFP deadline: Dec. 6, 2011.

Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and Humanities (ASLCH): March 15-17, 2012, Texas Wesleyan, Fort Worth, Texas. CFP Deadline: Oct. 15, 2011.

Association for Law, Property, & Society (ALPS): March 2-3, 2012, Georgetown Law, DC. Registration deadline: Jan. 20 (early bird Nov. 15, 2011).

Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS): July 29-Aug. 4, 2012, Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton, Florida. CFP deadline: Oct. 31, 2011.

Northeast Regional Scholarship and Teaching Development Workshop: Feb. 3-4, 2012, Albany Law School, New York. Registration deadline: Nov. 15, 2012.

I've been to each of these gigs in the past, and they've been tremendously helpful to me as a scholar and teacher. It's also been my personal experience that these conferences in particular tend to be accessible and hospitable for junior scholars--including junior faculty, grad students, VAPs/fellows, and practitioners. These conferences (ALPS excepted) are not land-use-specific, but there are usually more than enough property/land use/environmental folks as well as interesting interdisciplinary panels. There's nothing as helpful as the chance to present your work, share ideas, and meet others in the field.

Matt Festa

October 7, 2011 in Conferences, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Somin on Blight Condemnations in New York after Goldstein and Kaur

Ilya Somin (George Mason) has posted Let there be Blight: Blight Condemnations in New York after Goldstein and Kaur, part of a February 2011 symposium “Taking New York: The Opportunities, Challenges, and Dangers posed by the Use of Eminent Domain in New York”, and published at 38 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1193 (2011). The abstract:

The New York Court of Appeals’ two recent blight condemnation decisions are the most widely publicized and controversial property rights rulings since the Supreme Court decided Kelo v. City of New London. In Kaur v. New York State Urban Development Corp., and Goldstein v. New York State Urban Development Corp., the Court of Appeals set new lows in allowing extremely dubious “blight” condemnations. This Article argues that the New York Court of Appeals erred badly, by allowing highly abusive blight condemnations and defining pretextual takings so narrowly as to essentially read the concept out of existence.

Part I briefly describes the background of the two cases. Goldstein arose as a result of an effort by influential developer Bruce Ratner to acquire land in Brooklyn for his Atlantic Yards development project, which includes a stadium for the New Jersey Nets basketball franchise and mostly market rate and high-income housing. Kaur resulted from Columbia University’s attempts to expand into the Manhattanville neighborhood of West Harlem. When some of the landowners refused to sell, Ratner and the University successfully lobbied the government to declare the land they sought to be blighted and use eminent domain to transfer it to them.

Part II addresses the issue of blight condemnation. Goldstein and Kaur both applied an extraordinarily broad definition of “blight” that included any area where there is “economic underdevelopment” or “stagnation.” In addition, the court opened the door for future abuses in three other, more novel, respects. First, it chose to uphold the condemnations despite evidence suggesting that the studies the government relied on to prove the presence of “blight” were deliberately rigged to produce a predetermined result. Second, it dismissed as unimportant the fact that the firm which conducted the blight studies had previously been on the payroll of the private parties that stood to benefit from the blight condemnations. Finally, the court refused to give any weight to extensive evidence indicating that Ratner and Columbia had themselves created or allowed to develop most of the “blight” used to justify the condemnations. The court’s approach opens the door to future abusive condemnations and violates the text and original meaning of the New York State Constitution.

Part III discusses Goldstein and Kaur’s treatment of the federal constitutional standard for “pretextual” takings. In Kelo and earlier decisions, federal courts made clear that “pretextual” takings remain unconstitutional despite the Supreme Court’s otherwise highly deferential posture on “public use.” Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has been extremely unclear as to what constitutes a pretextual taking. As a result, courts have taken widely differing approaches to the issue. Nevertheless, Kaur and Goldstein are outliers in this area, deferring to the government more than almost any other court that has addressed the question since Kelo. They virtually read the concept of pretext out of existence.

Looks like another insightful piece on this still-controversial subject.

Matt Festa

October 3, 2011 in Caselaw, Conferences, Constitutional Law, Development, Eminent Domain, New York, Property Rights, Redevelopment, Scholarship, State Government, Takings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 26, 2011

PIELC Seeks Panel Suggestions

The students at University of Oregon are seeking panel suggestions for their annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.  Submit your panel ideas here.  For more details on the conference, which is March 1-4, 2012, visit this page.  And details about previous conferences are available here.

Thanks to John Bonine for the heads' up.

Jamie Baker Roskie

September 26, 2011 in Conferences, Environmental Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)