Thursday, March 15, 2007

Endicott, Getzler, and Peel, Properties of Law

Propertieslaw Properties of Law: Essays in Honour of Jim Harris (Oxford University Press, 2006), edited by Timothy Endicott, Joshua Getzler, and Edwin Peel has just crossed my desk.  Check it out; there's a wide range of essays in this festschrift, including ones on legal theory, precedent, and human rights, as well as property.  There are essays on property by Richard Epstein, Tony Honore, and Stephen Munzer, among many, many others.  I'm looking forward to this volume and hope to have a little more to say about it once I've finished it.  Nice size for a festschrift as well, eighteen authors in about 400 pages.

Al Brophy
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March 15, 2007 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jois on Affordable Housing and Civic Participation

Goutam U. Jois (Harvard Law School) has posted Affordable Housing and Civic Participation: Two Sides of the Same Coin on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Over the past several decades, America's inner cities have deteriorated socially, economically, and politically. Simultaneously, civic engagement, almost by any measure, has been on the decline: Americans vote less and volunteer less, go out to dinner with friends less and attend PTA meetings less.

In this Article, I argue that the two phenomena are linked, at least from the perspective of remedies. Specifically, by rebuilding our inner cities to promote mixed-use, mixed-income development, we can revitalize some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in our country while simultaneously engendering the mechanisms to foster increased civic engagement in our participatory democracy.

Ben Barros

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March 15, 2007 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Homeowner Holdouts

BoingBoing has a cool post that includes some homeowner holdout photos - people who have refused to sell, and are now surrounded by parking lots.  Even better is this earlier post, which has two spectacular holdout photos.

UPDATE:  Following up on Tish's link in the comments, this post on Peering Into The Interior has some background on the China photo.

UPDATE2:  Tish has links to more on the holdout in China.

Ben Barros

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March 13, 2007 in Land Use, Property Theory, Takings | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (1)

Urban Growth Boundaries

The NY Times has an interesting article on an urban growth boundary in Miami-Dade county.  An excerpt:

WHEN John Alger, a farmer, visits his property 30 miles southwest of Miami, he sees endless rows of corn. But his mind is on another kind of line.

Mr. Alger’s 1,260-acre farm is divided by the Urban Development Boundary. In 1983, county officials drew the boundary, a jagged line around Homestead and neighboring cities like Princeton and Florida City. Outside the line, development was limited to one dwelling per five-acre lot; the goal was to keep the land from being built on. Inside the boundary, which hugs Route 1 and Florida’s Turnpike, by contrast, construction was encouraged. Someday, as the density increased, there might be public transportation. . . .

On one side are farmers who would like to be able to maximize the value of their land, which means allowing the boundary to shift. Katie Edwards, executive director of the Dade County Farm Bureau, which represents Mr. Alger and other farmers, believes market forces should determine where development occurs in Miami-Dade County.

On the other side are environmentalists, who consider the boundary sacrosanct. Miami-Dade is nearly 40 miles wide at Homestead. To the east is Biscayne National Park, which includes much of Biscayne Bay, fed by water that runs above and below Miami-Dade. . . .

[T]o Mr. Alger, the drawing of the line was “a giant wealth transfer from those outside the boundary to those inside it.”

“If you’re on the right side of the U.D.B., you’ve got a lot of wealth,” Mr. Alger said.

These days, land outside the boundary is worth about $60,000 an acre, depending on soil and topography, said Rick Swentek, a veteran real estate broker in the area. Inside the line, it is worth significantly more. Mr. Alger and his family are offering one 30-acre plot, where they now grow corn, for just under $800,000 an acre, or around $24 million for the entire parcel.

Ben Barros

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March 13, 2007 in Land Use | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Nagle on Moral Nuisances

John Copeland Nagle (Notre Dame Law School) has posted Moral Nuisances on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

Nuisance law provides a remedy for activities that substantially interfere with the use and enjoyment of one's land. Most nuisance cases today involve environmental pollution or unwanted noises, sights, or smells. Historically, though, nuisance law had a much broader application that regulated brothels, saloons, and gambling parlors - what I call moral nuisances.

I articulate a theory of moral nuisances that applies when (1) a substantial and legally cognizable interference with a landowner's use or enjoyment of his or her land is caused by (2) an action that is regarded as immoral by a reasonable person within the community (3) whose harm outweighs the benefit of the offending conduct, and (4) which is not protected by the law. A moral nuisance claims is even stronger when (5) the activity is not only immoral, but illegal as well. This article illustrates the application of this test by using the example of Mark v. Powers, a 1999 Oregon state court case which held that a state wildlife area that was used as a nude beach constituted a nuisance to the neighboring landowners.

This article also considers the harms that may be remedied by nuisance law. A nuisance case can be premised on the sight of an offensive activity, the inability to use one's property because of the embarrassment caused by the activity, reasonable fears, or any more general interferences – such as excessive noises or physical harassment – with the plaintiff's use of his or her property. The mere awareness of the activity, any improper temptation produced by the activity, and reduced property values are not sufficient to establish a nuisance.

Ben Barros

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March 12, 2007 in Land Use, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)