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Univ. of Kentucky College of Law

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Wolf Family Lecture in Real Property

The Wolf Family Lecture Series is endowed by a gift from UF Law Professor Michael Allan Wolf, who holds the Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government Law, and his wife, Betty.  Past scholars who have delivered the Wolf Family Lecture in the American Law of Real Property include Tom Merrill, Greg Alexander, Lee Fennel, Joe Singer, and Vicki Been. 

This year, Daniel Farber of Berkeley spoke about his recent work on climate change:

He said if the government is allowed to place restrictions on what landowners can do with their property due to a changing coastline – such as restricting how close to build to the water or preventing the use of “hard-armoring” (sea wall) to protect their land – property values could plummet. On the other hand, if a sea-side cottage is swallowed by the ocean, is it the government’s fault for not stepping in or simply a bad investment?

One possible solution to ease the blow of losing land to the sea might be transferrable development rights – the owner may be given rights to develop in another part of the community.

[...] Farber pointed out that real property lawyers will be a big part of deciding just how these questions and concerns will be addressed.  “I think real property lawyers are going to be involved in a lot of this stuff in a way that will change a little bit the nature of the practice,” Farber said. “There are going to be a lot of issues for clients to worry about, connecting to climate changes, there are going to be a lot of risks to worry about, there are going to be a lot of changes in land use planning.”

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