Friday, November 15, 2013
I no longer follow Georgia news closely, but recently my Facebook feed lit up with multiple article postings and opinions about the Atlanta Braves' plan to build a new stadium in suburban Cobb County, abandoning Turner Field, which they've occupied for only 16 years. Sentiment amongst my friends is running about 20 to 1 against the move. It even merited national attention from a Huffington Post blogger. He brings up the not-unfamiliar criticism that Cobb County has no business spending $450 million on a new stadium when they're furloughing teachers:
Now it seems that Cobb County is one of the 100th wealthiest counties in America, and the 12th most educated. So $450 million must be chump change -- it's not like they're Philadelphia, slashing public school teachers in the face of massive budget cuts. Oh, wait... actually they are sort of like that: "Cobb County's school board approved a 2013-14 budget Thursday night that will result in five furlough days for all employees, the loss of 182 teachers through attrition and a slimmer central administration staff."
The cuts are the result of reduced state aid and lower property tax revenues -- although apparently the lower property tax revenues that are low enough to mean fewer teachers aren't so low that they can't BUILD A NEW BASEBALL STADIUM! For a team that already has what you and I might, sanely, consider a pretty new baseball stadium.
I'm friends with several local government lawyers, and my friend, law school classmate, and former member of the Georgia legislature Rob Teilhet rightly pointed out that building the stadium has no direct relationship to school funding. But, as Land Use Prof chief blogger Matt Festa noted in a blog post he wrote in 2009 on stadium controversies generally, claims are often made that the overall economic development caused by the stadium will benefit the community generally. This project is no exception.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Applications open for GSU's Study Space VII: Barcelona: Beyond Affordable Housing: An Interdisciplinary Multinational Approach to Adequate Housing Options
The Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth at Georgia State University College of Law in cooperation with Tulane University Law School’s Payson Center for International Development is pleased to announce our upcoming Study Space program, Beyond Affordable Housing: An Interdisciplinary Multinational Approach to Adequate Housing Options. This program is being offered at the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain May 5-9, 2014.
Study Space is a weeklong intensive workshop in which scholars, government representatives, and private sector professionals develop solutions to legal, social and policy challenges in urban areas. Using Barcelona as a case study, participants will explore: barriers to affordable housing such as zoning and land use laws; optimal siting of affordable housing; habitability and creating healthy environments; protection from forced eviction; housing discrimination; right to housing, and; homelessness.
Applications are currently being accepted online; the deadline to apply is February 7, 2014. Please visit our website for more information and the online application: http://law.gsu.edu/metrogrowth/3240.html
If you have any questions, please contact Karen Johnston at email@example.com.
Sheila Foster (Fordham) has posted Breaking Up Payday: Anti-Agglomeration Zoning and Consumer Welfare, 75 Ohio St. L.J. ___ (forthcoming 2014). Here's the abstract:
In the last decade, dozens of local governments have enacted zoning ordinances designed to limit the concentration of payday lenders and other alternative financial services providers (AFSPs), such as check-cashing businesses and auto title loan shops, in their communities. The main impetus for these ordinances is to shield economically vulnerable residents from the industry’s lending practices in the absence of sufficiently aggressive federal and state consumer protection regulation. This Essay casts considerable doubt on whether zoning is the appropriate regulatory tool to achieve the consumer protection and welfare goals animating these ordinances. The author’s analysis of the aftermath of payday lending zoning restrictions in one state demonstrates that while such laws may play a role in reducing the number of payday lenders in the immediate urban area, they do not shield consumers from these lenders altogether. Further, the economic literature on agglomeration economies suggests that there are costs to consumer welfare from limiting or breaking up retail agglomerations. Such “anti-agglomeration” zoning restrictions can prevent consumers from capturing the benefits of the price and product competition that result from retail agglomerations. This Essay concludes that if the main impetus behind anti-agglomeration zoning measures is to protect local residents from the high interest rates and loan terms associated with the payday industry, it might be that these measures are working against their intended purpose and actually harming consumers who lack viable financial services alternatives. As such, in weighing the costs and benefits of payday lender agglomeration, lawmakers should consider more carefully the effects of anti-agglomeration zoning measures on consumer welfare.
Sheila has written terrific articles on social capital and urban geography. I'm glad to see her confront, as a land use regulation problem, activities identified as detrimental to social capital and explore some of the same strategies used by communities to respond to the marketing of pornography.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Several years ago, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Northern Light Productions produced a series of films called Making Sense of Place. I just had a chance to watch one of the films about Cleveland, which was filmed in 2006, and I would still highly recommend it. Here is how the Lincoln Institute describes the three films:
Making Sense of Place is a documentary film and educational outreach project launched by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The first film, Phoenix: The Urban Desert examined explosive, dispersed growth in the booming Southwest metropolis and the practical and environmental issues that have accompanied. The second film, Cleveland: Confronting Decline in an American City, traces urban decay, and efforts at revitalization, in what was once America's 5th largest city. The third film, Portland: Quest for the Livable City, explores innovation and conflict about growth and land use regulation, in Portland, Oregon.
If you haven't already watched these films, the Cleveland and Phoenix films are available on social media and linked below. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!
Hanoch Dagan (Tel Aviv) has posted his anthology entry entitled Expropriatory Compensation, Distributive Justice and the Rule of Law in Rethinking Public Interest in Expropriation Law (Mostert & Verstaapen eds., forthcoming 2014). Here's the abstract:
This Essay examines the possible justification for providing less than full (fair market value) compensation for expropriation. One obvious justification applies in cases of public measures, where the burden is deliberately distributed progressively, namely, where redistribution is the desired goal of the public action or, at least, one of its primary objectives. Beside this relatively uncontroversial category, two other explanations are often raised: that partial compensation is justified by reference to the significance of the public interest, even if it is not redistributive, and that it can serve as a means for adjusting the amount of the compensation to the specific circumstances of the case. This Essay criticizes both justifications, arguing that the former is normatively impoverished while the latter affronts the rule of law. The notion of partial and differential compensation, however, can serve as a powerful tool for developing a nuanced expropriation doctrine that serves important property values, and also targets the potentially regressive effects of a uniform rule of full market value. The proposed doctrine draws careful, rule-based distinctions between types of injured property (fungible vs. constitutive) and types of benefited groups (local communities vs. the broader society).
One of the wonderful benefits of participating in the annual gatherings of the Association of Law, Property and Society is the opportunity to emgage with scholars from other countries. A 2011 panel focusing on his book Property: Values and Institutions (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011), which Dean Dagan participated in personally, was one of the best discussions of property theory that I've ever had the chance to hear.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Stephanie Maloney (Notre Dame Law Review) has posted her note entitled Putting Paradise in the Parking Lot: Using Zoning to Promote Urban Agriculture, 88 Notre Dame L. Rev. 101 (2013). Here's the abstract:
This Note explores municipal zoning regulations related to urban agriculture and evaluates specific zoning mechanisms that can be implemented to efficiently promote the accommodation of urban agriculture and access to locally grown food. Consideration of the benefits and costs of urban agriculture, alongside the zoning practices of leading cities, will assist in developing zoning laws that meet the needs of American cities and citizens. Part I of this Note introduces the concept and history of urban agriculture, providing an overview of its benefits and challenges. Part II examines municipal zoning and the principle zoning restrictions that impact farming and gardening in a city. Part III reviews the varied efforts of municipalities to support urban agriculture by incorporating it into local zoning codes. Part IV concludes by offering recommendations for the municipal integration of agriculture into the urban fabric, with particular attentiveness to participatory policy-making in the form of food policy councils.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sackett (of Sackett v. EPA) arrested for alleged sex trafficking and embroiled in big-time contract disputes
As land use lawyers everywhere know, the Sacketts were the darlings of the libertarian land use set last year; the Pacific Legal Foundation represented the couple in Sackett v. EPA, a case that dealt with whether administrative compliance orders were judicially reviewable under the APA (well, PLF said the case was a "land grab" by bureaucrats, but that was the PR folks talking).
The Sacketts had their moment of victory at the Supreme Court, but promptly managed to get in trouble with the law several times over since. The Sacketts' latest troubles are not filling in wetlands, but allegedly involve sex trafficking and big-time contract disputes. From the Bonner County Daily Bee:
A Priest Lake businessman embroiled in a high-profile wetland dispute with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been arrested in North Dakota on a federal sex-trafficking charge.
Michael Thomas Sackett made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Bismarck on Tuesday and was held in custody until [last] Friday, court documents indicate.
Sackett, 47, attempted to entice an underage girl to commit a commercial sex act on Sunday in Williams County, N.D., a criminal complaint alleges.
United States District Judge Charles S. Miller Jr. granted Sackett a conditional release on Friday, ordering him to remain at a residence he keeps in Williston, N.D. However, Sackett will be allowed limited in-state travel with electronic monitoring. Sackett was further ordered to surrender his passport.
A Bismarck attorney representing Sackett in the criminal case, Jacob Rodenbiker, did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
If convicted of the felony, Sackett could face a lifelong prison sentence.
Timothy Purdon, a U.S. Attorney for the district of North Dakota, moved to seal an affidavit of probable cause in the case to avoid compromising the ongoing criminal investigation or jeopardize the safety of undercover Homeland Security agents conducting the probe, according to court records.
Sackett made national headlines after suing the EPA in 2008 over the disputed wetland, which the agency accused him of filling while developing a home site near Priest Lake.
The case ultimately went before the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled last year that Sackett had a right to challenge an EPA compliance order.
The case was remanded to Idaho’s federal court, where it pending amid a flurry of briefings.
Sackett and two Idaho businesses he owns — Priest Lake Storage LLC and Sackett & Sackett LLC — were sued last year in U.S. District Court by the Cincinnati Insurance Co. over an alleged breach of contract involving a Granite Reeder Water & Sewer District construction project.
The Ohio-based insurance company is seeking a $559,000 judgment against Sackett.
Sackett and his wife, Chantell, filed notice in February that they were seeking protection under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in February. A bankruptcy petition filed by the couple lists $2.3 million in business-related liabilities and assets of up to $500,000.
Stephen R. Miller
How can the Constitution protect landowners from government exploitation without disabling the machinery that protects landowners from each other? The Supreme Court left this central question unanswered — and indeed unasked — in Koontz v St. Johns River Water Management District. The Court’s exactions jurisprudence, set forth in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, Dolan v. City of Tigard, and now Koontz, requires the government to satisfy demanding criteria for certain bargains — or proposed bargains — implicating the use of land. Yet because virtually every restriction, fee, or tax associated with the ownership or use of land can be cast as a bargain, the Court must find some way to hive off the domain of exactions from garden variety land use regulations. This it refused to do in Koontz, opting instead to reject boundary principles that it found normatively unstable. By beating back one form of exactions creep — the possibility that local governments will circumvent a too-narrowly drawn circle of heightened scrutiny — the Court left land use regulation vulnerable to the creeping expansion of heightened scrutiny under the auspices of its exactions jurisprudence. In this paper, we lay out this dilemma and suggest that it should lead the Court to rethink its exactions jurisprudence, and especially its grounding in the Takings Clause, rather than the Due Process Clause. The sort of skepticism about bargaining reflected in the Court’s exactions cases, we suggest, finds its most plausible roots in rule-of-law concerns implicated by land use dealmaking. With those concerns in mind, we consider alternatives that would attempt to reconcile the Court’s twin interests in reining in governmental power over property owners and in keeping the gears of ordinary land use regulation running in ways that protect the property interests of those owners.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Back in September, Chicago became the latest city to adopt an ordinance requiring benchmarking of energy use in its large buildings. It is a notable accomplishment; only New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Boston, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, California, and Washington State have similar ordinances.
I do not see why these ordinances have not caught on more quickly: the reporting is not terribly onerous; the upside for good actors in the market is huge; and operating costs of large office buildings seem like something that should have been a standard part of due diligence processes in real estate deals a long time ago. It is likely only the realities of the triple-net lease, which typically require tenants to pay operating costs and maintenance of their space, that insulated building owners from worries about energy efficiency. Hopefully more cities will jump on the benchmarking bandwagon and force building owners to bring energy efficiency back into the market price of their buildings.
Stephen R. Miller
Monday, November 4, 2013
The New York Times has an interesting article today about how a small Iowa city--like other small cities around the country--is witnessing the influx of campaign money from the Koch bothers' libertarian Americans For Prosperity group. The influx of outsider money is receiving a skeptical response in the liberal-leaning area. For readers of this blog, perhaps of equal interest is what is buried deep in the article: that the major issue in the community is debt the city took on through a tax-increment financed development. From the article:
A central issue in Coralville’s elections is the city’s decision to borrow tens of millions of dollars to turn a once-blighted stretch of riverfront into a development called the Iowa River Landing. The city retained ownership of some of the buildings, including a Marriott hotel and convention center and a brewery. City officials also lured a Von Maur department store to the development with as much as $16 million in incentives.
“I don’t think government should operate private enterprise,” said Mark Winkler, a City Council candidate the citizens group has backed. “Government should own libraries, police stations.”
Critics complain that the debt has prevented the city from lowering property tax rates. They also complain that the complex rules of tax-increment financing siphon property tax money away from the schools, leading the state to pay $2.5 million toward Coralville schools each year.
But city officials argue that their investments have helped the economy boom — $757 million in retail sales last year, a more than fourfold increase since 1997 — and that the debt will be paid. They blame General Growth for stirring much of the criticism, saying the developer was upset that Von Maur went to the Iowa River Landing and not the mall.
To me, this raises the question of whether libertarian groups, like those funded by the Koch brothers, will aggressively go after public-private partnerships generally. And if they do, will that raise the ire of traditioanl conservatives, such as those often found in the real estate and development communities who often need such public funding mechanisms to make large private projects a reality?
Perhaps this will become one way in which the larger "civil war" within the Republican party plays out in land use issues.
Stephen R. Miller
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Last Friday EPA released 17 draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans for comment, one for each region and also one for each program. I looked at several and found them useful resource documents with land use issues discussed throughout the plans. Comments on the drafts are due January 3, 2014. From the press release...
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans for public review and comment. In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order on Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change announced today, the Implementation Plans provide detailed information about the actions EPA plans to take across the country to help communities adapt to a changing climate.
“To meet our mission of protecting public health and the environment, EPA must help communities adapt to a changing climate,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These Implementation Plans offer a roadmap for agency work to meet that responsibility, while carrying out President Obama’s goal of preparing the country for climate-related challenges.”
The impacts of a changing climate – including increased extreme weather, floods, and droughts – affect EPA’s work to protect clean air and water. The draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans recognize that EPA must integrate climate adaptation planning into its programs, policies, rules, and operations to ensure that the agency’s work continues to be effective even as the climate changes.
EPA released its draft agency Climate Change Adaptation Plan on February 9, 2013 for public review and comment, and expects to issue the final version this Fall. In 2009, all federal agencies were required to develop Climate Change Adaptation Plans by the federal Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. Under Executive Order 13514, the Task Force was charged with developing recommendations for the President on how to increase the nation’s resilience to
climate change. The new Implementation Plans provide information about how EPA will meet the agency-wide priorities identified in the draft Climate Adaptation Plan released earlier this year.
The comment period on EPA’s draft Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans closes on January 3, 2014.
More information on EPA’s Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plans: http://epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/fed-programs/EPA-impl-plans.html
More information on EPA’s draft Climate Change Adaptation Plan: http://epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/fed-programs.html
More information about EPA’s climate adaptation activities: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/effects/adaptation.html
Stephen R. Miller
Friday, November 1, 2013
Marie Boyd (South Carolina) has posted Zoning for Apartments: A Study of the Role of Law in the Control of Apartment Houses in New Haven, Connecticut 1912-1932, 33 Pace L. Rev. 600 (2013). In it, she reviews building records and Sanborn maps to give her reader a complete picture of the restrictions placed on apartment development before and after New Haven's first zoning ordinance in 1926. Here's the abstract:
This article seeks to contribute to the legal and policy debates over zoning by providing a more detailed examination of the impact of apartments on both pre-zoning land use patterns and the zoning process during the formative initial stages of zoning in the United States than has been provided in the literature to date. Specifically, this Article analyzes the impact of apartments on both pre-zoning land use patterns and the zoning process in New Haven, Connecticut. It focuses on the period beginning with the selection of New Haven’s first Zoning Commission in 1922, and concluding with the passage of New Haven’s first zoning ordinance in 1926. Through this detailed historical account of the realities of zoning, this Article demonstrates how — due to delays in the enactment of zoning — New Haven’s first zoning ordinance, rather than shaping the future growth of the regulated area, was instead shaped by existing land use patterns and political considerations.
Environment and Urbanization issues new edition on urban resiliency to climate change . . . and makes access free for 25 days!
From the press release...
The new edition of the journal Environment and Urbanization focuses on ways cities can increase their resilience to climate change.
The following papers feature in the October 2013 issue:
- Towards resilience and transformation for cities within a finite planet
- Urban environmental challenges and climate change action in Durban, South Africa
- The constraints on climate change adaptation in a city with a large development deficit: the case of Dar es Salaam
- Incorporating climate change adaptation into planning for a liveable city in Rosario, Argentina
- Experiences of integrated assessment of climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation modelling in London and Durban
- The political underpinnings of cities’ accumulated resilience to climate change
- Shared learning” for building urban climate resilience – experiences from Asian cities
- Governing urban climate change adaptation in China
The journal has also produced a page of links to 50 papers it has published on climate change and cities since 2007. All are free to download for 25 days.
"The ways that cities respond – or fail to respond – to the threats climate change poses will have big effects on the development prospects of entire nations," says the journal’s editor, Dr David Satterthwaite, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development.
"Since 2007, Environment and Urbanization has sought to increase awareness of and attention to the challenges of adapting to climate change in cities in low and middle-income countries. The 50 papers we have published show that there is a much to learn from cities and low-income communities as they innovate and implement solutions that build their resilience."
Hat tip to my colleague, Anastasia Telesetsky, who forwarded this to me.
Stephen R. Miller
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Next City has just started a brand new blog called "Resilient Cities," which could be a fun read.
Resilient Cities also happens to be the symposium topic for this spring's 2014 Idaho Law Review symposium for which I am the faculty advisor. We are going to have a tremendous line-up of speakers and practitioners, which we plan to release soon.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
So it's been quite awhile since my last post, but I felt compelled to share the end of the story about putting a Wal-Mart in downtown Athens, Georgia. If you're a longtime reader of the blog you may remember that an Atlanta based developer proposed a mixed-use development, anchored by a Wal-Mart, in the center of Athens. (See my previous post here.) Although Wal-Mart never expressed official interest in the project, many local residents were highly opposed to the idea.
Yesterday the local paper featured a story saying that the developer has now abandoned the project entirely, due to market conditions. The development featured student apartments as its residential component, and downtown Athens is already overbuilt in that category. However, the site, while topographically challenging, is prime real estate. I'm sure as market conditions improve something will eventually be built there.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Pace Land Use Law Center's annual Land Use & Sustainable Development Conference: Leading Communities toward a Resilient Future: December 6
Join us on December 6th at the NYS Judicial Institute at Pace Law School in White Plains for the Land Use Law Center’s annual Land Use & Sustainable Development Conference. This year’s theme is Leading Communities toward a Resilient Future. Sessions will discuss the challenges communities in the New York Metropolitan area face because of natural disasters, a changing climate, new demographics and technologies, and inequitable living conditions. Leaders are emerging who are creating new strategies for community resiliency in the face of economic, social, and environmental change. The Opening Keynote will be delivered by, Majora Carter, internationally renowned urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. Our Lunch Keynote speaker is Stephen Hardy of MindMixer. As a practitioner, Stephen has managed a host of complex community planning projects, including the sustainable rebuilding of Greensburgh, Kansas, after a catastrophic EF-5 tornado wiped out most of the community’s structures. We invite you to attend to learn about the flexible tools, models, and policies that strengthen communities to build equitable, sustainable, and economically prosperous places for people. CLE and CM credits available.
***Early bird pricing closes Nov. 6!***
Monday, October 28, 2013
My one qualm with the otherwise very useful report—and I admit to my bias—is that there is little discussion of the legal structures necessary to create place and how the regulatory environment can affect the kinds of community engagement that occur in neighborhoods of our largest cities. Readers of this blog know that several of us here have written about the importance of legal structures in placemaking, which may prove a useful legal supplement to the MIT report. Two recent articles include Ken Stahl’s Neighborhood Empowerment and the Future of the City in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and my article, Legal Neighborhoods, in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, both of which speak to the importance of law in creating community.
Here is an excerpt from the report’s conclusion, which I thought was a nice discussion of the importance of community engagement:
It should be obvious by now that effective engagement of community tops the list of crucial characteristics of successful placemaking, but since it’s surprisingly rare to see it done well, it bears some discussion. The projects that are most successful at engaging their communities are the ones that treat this engagement as an ongoing process, rather than a single required step of input or feedback. Further, effective engagement is sensitive to each community’s individual social context. In Corona Plaza, the community design forums held in traditional town-hall settings failed to attract the community of new immigrants from Mexico and Ecuador, so plaza officials elected to bring the designs to the plaza itself, during a cultural festival. Children are frequent users of public places but are usually overlooked in the planning process. Mike Lanza, the founder of Playborhood, simply provides fun toys, installations and spaces for kids to play in his Menlo Park, CA front yard and provides opportunities for them to paint pavement, scrawl on playhouse walls and personalize this space—appropriate levels of engagement for young children in a private yard. Other communities are difficult to identify or may not fit traditional notions of that term: business people mostly hidden from view who leave the area at 5pm, suburban families who drive to cities to use an urban green space, tourists in a downtown park. Temporary, tactical, and event-based placemaking can help identify communities that might otherwise go unnoticed, by allowing them to self-identify. These initiatives engage community by giving them something tangible to react to, which makes the placemaker’s job of outreach and inclusion easier. The act of creating, rather than reacting or opposing, brings a self-selected group to the table—a group ready to deliberate and create positive change. As Team Better Block has found during the weekend events it facilitates, “trouble makers and naysayers will quickly drop out when physical work is involved.” The best forms of community engagement, and in fact the best forms of placemaking, are those that recognize and exploit the virtuous cycle of mutual stewardship between community and place. This is the conceptual glue that supports success at the project level and propels the placemaking field forward. In most successful cases, the “completion” of the project is far from the end of the placemaking effort. Success at identifying these ongoing “making ” activities and engagement in the civic processes that support them, creates the mutual relationship between community and place that lifts these placemaking projects above a simple sum of the parts.
I recently published an article entitled Community Land Trusts: Why Now is the Time to Integrate this Housing Activists’ Tool into Local Government Affordable Housing Policies, which may be of interest to housers out there. From the abstract:
A recent study found that housing expenses in the period from 2006 to 2010 were 52 percent higher for the typical household living in each of the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas than they had been in 2000. This rise in housing expenses, coupled with stagnant wages in those same locations over the same period, is one of the major reasons that community land trusts (CLTs) have risen from a fringe housing movement to the center of cities’ efforts to provide affordable housing within the last decade. In addition, many cities see CLTs as a way to provide perpetually affordable units, a benefit not provided by inclusionary zoning ordinances that often only require affordability for a term of years. This article explores how some cities have already added CLTs to their list of affordable housing policy tools, ultimately arguing that the current economic environment presents a strong case for more cities to start CLTs at this time. Even where cities are not ready to take such steps now, the dramatic rise in CLT formation nationally, as well as the massive city-wide CLTs planned for several major cities in the U.S., such as Chicago, Illinois and Irvine, California, are developments that land use and zoning lawyers will want to watch. If the massive CLTs ultimately work as planned, other cities are likely to follow suit in embracing CLTs, a move that in turn could alter how project proponents meet inclusionary housing requirements and revolutionize how affordable housing dollars are spent by local governments. The article proceeds by offering a history of CLTs; reviewing 10 characteristic features of the “classic” CLT structure; reviewing the rise of cities’ use of CLTs and presents, in detail, a review of two of the most ambitious city-backed CLTs started by Chicago and Irvine; reviewing several legal and policy issues unique to city CLTs; and finally making the case for why cities should consider starting CLTs now.
The impetus to CLTs may be growing even stronger as developers find increasing success in challenging inclusionary housing ordinances. In addition to the cases I discuss in the article, a new California Supreme Court case, Sterling Park v. City of Palo Alto, makes it easier for developers to challenge inclusionary housing requirements by permitting developers to obtain a permit to build and challenge the requirement at the time of assessment, which is often far after construction has begun. The California Supreme Court has also taken up another case, CBIA v. City of San Jose, which directly challenges San Jose’s inclusionary housing ordinance. While the appellate court upheld the city's inclusionary housing ordinance, CBIA in the California Supreme Court's hands may substantially alter how inclusionary housing ordinances operate in California, and could prove influential elsewhere.
While CLTs are not an antidote to the woes of inclusionary housing ordinances—in fact, the largest CLTs are funded in part by contributions mandated by inclusionary housing ordinances—CLTs deserve a solid look from cities seeking another approach to housing affordability.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Not sure how many of you are readers of Land Use Policy, but it is one of my favorite journals. I just finished reading one of its early-released pieces (i.e., it has an official print publication date of 2014, but is available online now) that I am quite taken with.
Researchers Thomas Rudel and Patrick Meyfroidt, examine how rural land use planning in developing countries is coping with the combined crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and food security. Worldwide it is tricky grappling with out to address these issues individually and it gets even harder to come up with policies tackling all three. They identify two interesting trends: (1) emergence of trans-scalar land use planning and (2) growing discussions about "tradeoffs" in land use planning. While we see the second one here in the US a bit (heck I even talk about it my work), the trans-scalar land use planning approach seems to be at odds with US approaches.
Trans-scalar is well thinking about land use needs and desires at multiple scales. Such land use planning is not just based on local community needs and desires but also considers broader scales/levels such as neighboring communities, on a national level, or even on a global level. Rudel & Meyfroidt present a helpful background summaries of how different regions view land use planning (this article is useful for these summaries alone even if you aren't interested in the rest of it). Their description of the localism/indivudalism we see in North America contrasts with the global pushes we see in developing countries emphasizing outsider interests in land use planning. Fascinating, eh? We can even see how this fits into the neoliberal paradigm as we globalize land use planning to compensate for losses to biodiversity and to mitigate climate change impacts. I also just enjoy their description of land use planning as pretty much anarchy.
Check it out --
Thomas K. Rudel & Patrick Meyfroidt, Organizing Anarchy: The Food Security–Biodiversity–Climate Crisis and the Genesis of Rural Land Use Planning in the Developing World, 26 Land Use Pol’y 239 (2014).
ABSTRACT: Shortfalls in global food production, coupled with the growing visibility of climate change's disruptive effects, have underlined for many observers the importance of devoting rural lands to their ‘optimal’ use, where they can make maximal contributions to the global imperatives of feeding the human population and maintaining vital environmental services. In this context observers have endorsed rural land use planning as a way to insure that, at least in theory, lands get devoted to their best uses. In practice, land use planning in the developing world has resembled ‘organized anarchy’. Small landholders with insecure land tenure, overseas investors seeking large land deals, NGOs representing indigenous peoples, government officials, and staff from international environmental NGOs and multilateral organizations have come together in strategic action fields to struggle over and sometimes negotiate land use plans for contested landscapes. These plans represent a strategic, spatially explicit response to the climate change–biodiversity–food security crisis.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
California ARB Chair Lecture Series webcast: Climate Change and Los Angeles: A Close Up View of the Future
The California Air Resources Board--the state's lead agency charged with implementing California's climate change laws--holds a great lecture series that is live webcast. An upcoming lecture on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:00 Noon, PDT, seems particularly appropriate for readers of this blog, especially those who want to catch up on some of the science of climate change. Details are below, as well as instructions on how to learn of future live webcasts.
“Climate Change and Los Angeles: A Close-up View of the Future”
Alex Hall, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:00 Noon, PDT (WEBCAST)
Byron Sher Auditorium, 2nd Floor, Cal/EPA Building
1001 I Street, Sacramento, California
Dr. Hall will present results from The Climate Change in the Los Angeles Region Project, an ongoing series of studies to predict regional climate at the middle and end of the 21st century under "mitigation" and "business-as-usual" greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.
- Using a combination of dynamical and statistical techniques, Dr. Hall and his team developed very high resolution regional models that "downscale" more than 30 global models.
- This allowed the team to zoom in on the LA region, producing climate change projections at a
2-kilometer (1.2 mile) resolution.
- In this presentation, Dr. Hall will discuss his downscaling methods, summarize what his team discovered about temperature, snowfall, and other aspects of climate in the LA region, and explore the implications of his work for policymakers and the public.
The full announcement can be viewed at:
For “external” users please check the external WEBCAST
calendar at: http://www.calepa.ca.gov/broadcast/?bdo=1
Your e-mail questions will be aired during the question & answer period following the presentations.
WEBCAST Viewers, e-mail your questions to:
For more information on the Lecture and Series please
contact: Peter Mathews at (916) 323-8711 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive notices for upcoming Lectures please go to:
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