Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ALPS Deadline Extended

We here at Land Use Profs are big fans of the annual meeting of the Association of Law, Property and Society (ALPS). In fact, I beleive it was the one place you could find all our permanent bloggers in one place last year!

The 5th Annual Meeting will take place in Vancouver May 2-3, 2014. The deadline for submitting proposals has been extended to the end of the month. Infor below:

The time for submitting a paper or a panel proposal to the Conference is extended.  Registration information and hotel information will be posted and opened after the Vancouver Planning Committee completes its organization and review of proposals.

 Association for Law, Property and Society

Please join us for our 5th Annual Meeting… in Vancouver!

Special participants for this year’s meeting:

·      Joe Singer(Harvard, USA)

·      Andre van der Walt(Stellenbosch, South Africa)

Registration still open but closing soon!

See Announcement Below

 

 

 

 

 

The Association for Law, Property, & Society (ALPS) is a scholarly organization for those engaged in scholarship on all aspects of property law and policy including real, personal, intellectual, intangible, cultural, personal, and other forms of property.  Its annual meeting brings together scholars from many disciplines to discuss their work and to foster dialogue among those working in property law, policy, and theory.

 

The 5th Annual Meeting of ALPS will be held in Vancouver at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Law at Allard Hall.

 

We welcome proposals for papers or panels in any area of property law & society scholarship. Potential topics include:

  • Aboriginal rights & title
  • Eminent domain & regulatory takings
  • Histories of property
  • Housing/urban development/planning
  • Inequalities of property
  • Intellectual Property
  • Land/environment/resources
  • Property & civil rights
  • Property law & economics
  • Property & poverty
  • Property transfers & risk
  • Teaching property law
  • Theories of property

Submissions may be of individual papers or of panels. Panel proposals may include a collection of paper presentations, roundtables, or book panels.

 

Submit proposals to alps2014@law.ubc.ca by 15 January 2014 31 January 2014.

The standard length of each session will be 90 minutes and we expect sessions to include time for questions and discussion from the audience as well as presentation. Commentators are optional, but if included the papers need to be shortened to allow for audience questions and discussion.

If submitting a panel, submit individual paper abstracts as well as a panel abstract. Abstracts should be no more than 250 words.

We look forward to welcoming you to Vancouver!

 

May 2-3, 2014

Submit proposals to:

alps2014@law.ubc.ca

Proposals due by Jan. 15, 2014 January 31, 2014.

Conference participation will be confirmed by Feb. 15, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

January 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The 50 most downloaded land use articles on SSRN in 2013

Below is a list of the 50 most downloaded articles on SSRN within the last year (search conducted on January 9, 2014) that results from the search term "land use."  There are lots of other ways to slice and dice the SSRN database to find land use articles; this seemed the most fair and cross-cutting.  I am open to posting such lists others may generate.  In the meantime, the list below forms a pretty good reading agenda.

1 Incl. Electronic Paper Two Steps Forward for the 'Poor Relation' of Constitutional Law: Koontz, Arkansas Game & Fish, and the Future of the Takings Clause 
Cato Supreme Court Review, pp. 215-243, 2012-2013 (Symposium on the 2012-13 Supreme Court Term), George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 13-48
Ilya Somin 
George Mason University School of Law 
Date posted: 
15 Sep 2013

Last revised: 
18 Sep 2013

Accepted Paper Series
225 Downloads

2 Incl. Electronic Paper Koontz: The Very Worst Takings Decision Ever? 
Forthcoming in New York University Environmental Law Journal, Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 28-13
John D. Echeverria 
Vermont Law School 
Date posted: 
27 Aug 2013

Last revised: 
20 Dec 2013

Accepted Paper Series
175 Downloads

3 Incl. Electronic Paper A Summary of Present and Future Climate Adaptation Law 
U.S. Global Warming Law, 2d Edition, Michael Gerrard and Jody Freeman, eds., ABA Press, 2013, Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 13-4, Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 13-2
J. B. Ruhl 
Vanderbilt University - Law School 
Date posted: 
09 Feb 2013

Last revised: 
20 Feb 2013

Accepted Paper Series
153 Downloads

4 Incl. Electronic Paper The Dark Side of Town: The Social Capital Revolution in Residential Property 
99 Virginia Law Review 811 (2013), Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper No. 2013-23
Stephanie M. Stern 
Chicago-Kent College of Law 
Date posted: 
02 Apr 2013

Last revised: 
10 Jun 2013

Accepted Paper Series
152 Downloads

5 Incl. Electronic Paper Area of City Impact Agreements 
Stephen R. Miller 
University of Idaho College of Law - Boise 
Date posted: 
15 Jan 2013

working papers series
135 Downloads

6 Incl. Electronic Paper Fiscal Zoning and Economists' Views of the Property Tax 
William A. Fischel 
Dartmouth College - Department of Economics 
Date posted: 
20 Jun 2013

working papers series
127 Downloads

7 Incl. Electronic Paper Shifting Paradigms Transform Environmental and Land Use Law: The Emergence of the Law of Sustainable Development 
Fordham Environmental Law Journal, 2013
John R. Nolon 
Pace University - School of Law 
Date posted: 
06 Feb 2013

Last revised: 
10 Mar 2013

Accepted Paper Series
108 Downloads

8 Incl. Electronic Paper Banning Lawns 
George Washington Law Review, 2014, Forthcoming
Sarah Schindler 
University of Maine - School of Law 
Date posted: 
16 Jun 2013

Accepted Paper Series
103 Downloads

9 Incl. Electronic Paper Community-Scale Renewable Energy 
San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law, Issue 4, 2013, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 642
Hannah Jacobs Wiseman and Sara C. Bronin 
Florida State University - College of Law and University of Connecticut - School of Law 
Date posted: 
28 Apr 2013

Accepted Paper Series
103 Downloads

10 Incl. Electronic Paper Agenda 21 Is Evil: The Agenda 21 Disinformation Campaign in the United States: An Ethical Critique of an Attack on Sustainability 
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-34
Donald A. Brown 
Widener University - School of Law 
Date posted: 
13 Jun 2013

Last revised: 
01 Jul 2013

working papers series
96 Downloads

11 Incl. Electronic Paper Crowdsourcing Land Use 
78 Brooklyn Law Review 385 (2013), U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 427
Lee Anne Fennell 
University of Chicago Law School 
Date posted: 
27 Mar 2013

Last revised: 
23 Dec 2013

Accepted Paper Series
94 Downloads

12 Incl. Electronic Paper Putting Exclusionary Zoning in its Place: Affordable Housing and Geographical Scale 
40 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1667 (2013)
Christopher Serkin and Leslie Wellington 
Vanderbilt Law School and Brooklyn Law School 
Date posted: 
24 Nov 2013

Accepted Paper Series
90 Downloads

13 Incl. Electronic Paper Preface and Introduction - Native American Natural Resources Law: Cases and Materials, Third Edition 
J. Royster, M. Blumm & E. Kronk, Native American Natural Resources Law: Cases and Materials, Third Edition, Carolina Academic Press, 2013, University of Tulsa Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013 - 02, Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06/2013
Judith Royster Michael C. Blumm and Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner 
University of Tulsa College of Law , Lewis & Clark Law School and University of Kansas - School of Law 
Date posted: 
19 Jan 2013

Last revised: 
17 Dec 2013

Accepted Paper Series
89 Downloads

14 Incl. Electronic Paper Can't Buy Me Love: Monetary Versus In-Kind Remedies 
University of Illinois Law Review, No. 1, p. 151 (2013)
Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir 
Hebrew University - Faculty of Law 
Date posted: 
26 Jan 2013

Accepted Paper Series
86 Downloads

15 Incl. Electronic Paper Urban Transport Sustainability in Mauritius: A Balanced Scorecard 
OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 05, No. 11, pp. 83-104, 2012
Md. Habibur Rahman Hoong Chor Chin and Nomita Seebaluck 
National University of Singapore - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering , National University of Singapore - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mauritius Ports Authority 
Date posted: 
16 May 2013

Last revised: 
19 May 2013

Accepted Paper Series
84 Downloads

16 Incl. Electronic Paper Exactions Creep 
Supreme Court Review, Forthcoming, University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 665, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 448, Kreisman Working Paper on Housing Law and Policy No. 1
Lee Anne Fennell and Eduardo M. Penalver 
University of Chicago Law School and University of Chicago - Law School 
Date posted: 
26 Oct 2013

Last revised: 
03 Jan 2014

Accepted Paper Series
81 Downloads

17 Incl. Electronic Paper Reducing Crime by Shaping the Built Environment with Zoning: An Empirical Study of Los Angeles 
University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 161, No. 699, 2013
James M. Anderson John MacDonald Ricky Bluthenthal and J. Scott Ashwood 
RAND Corporation , University of Pennsylvania - Jerry Lee Center of Criminology , University of Southern California - Keck School of Medicine and RAND Corporation 
Date posted: 
13 Feb 2013

Accepted Paper Series
76 Downloads

18 Incl. Electronic Paper Nollan and Dolan and Koontz – Oh My! The Exactions Trilogy Requires Developers to Cover the Full Social Costs of Their Projects, But No More 
Program for Judicial Awareness, Working Paper Series No. 13-512
Christina Martin 
Pacific Legal Foundation 
Date posted: 
03 Nov 2013

working papers series
72 Downloads

19 Incl. Electronic Paper What Every Land Use Lawyer Should Know About the Emerging Use of Health Impact Assessment and Land Use Decision Making 
New York Zoning and Planning Law Report, Vol. 16 No. 6 (May/June 2013)
Pamela Ko and Patricia Salkin 
The Sage Colleges and Touro College - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center 
Date posted: 
28 Jun 2013

Accepted Paper Series
71 Downloads

20 Incl. Electronic Paper Implications of Recent Spectrum Sharing Efforts within the U.S. 
TPRC 41: The 41st Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy
Greg Leon and Douglas Sicker 
University of Colorado at Boulder - Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program and University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Computer Science 
Date posted: 
02 Apr 2013

working papers series
70 Downloads

21 Incl. Electronic Paper Leveraging Land to Enable Urban Transformation: Lessons from Global Experience 
World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6312
Nancy Lozano-Gracia Somik V. Lall Cheryl Young and Tara Vishwanath 
affiliation not provided to SSRN , World Bank , University of California, Berkeley and World Bank - Economic Development Institute 
Date posted: 
15 Jan 2013

working papers series
69 Downloads

22 Incl. Electronic Paper Blightened Scrutiny 
UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 5, 2014
Andrew Tutt 
Yale University - Information Society Project 
Date posted: 
10 Sep 2013

Accepted Paper Series
67 Downloads

23 Incl. Electronic Paper Hydrofracking: State Preemption, Local Power, and Cooperative Governance 
Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 4, 2013
John R. Nolon and Steven E Gavin 
Pace University - School of Law and Pace University - Land Use Law Center 
Date posted: 
30 Apr 2013

Last revised: 
11 Jun 2013

Accepted Paper Series
67 Downloads

24 Incl. Electronic Paper Solving Urban Challenges in Developing Countries: The Case of Lahore, Pakistan 
GMU School of Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-16
Ammar Anees Malik 
George Mason University - School of Public Policy 
Date posted: 
15 Jun 2013

Accepted Paper Series
66 Downloads

25 Incl. Electronic Paper Determinants of Agricultural Land Expansion: Evidence from Indian States 
Amarendra Pratap Singh and K. Narayanan 
IIT Bombay and IIT Bombay 
Date posted: 
17 Jan 2013

working papers series
60 Downloads

26 Incl. Electronic Paper The 2012 Smart Growth Report: Progress Towards Smart Growth in Canada 
Murtaza Haider Ray Tomalty and Bartek Komorowski 
Ryerson University , Smart Cities Research Services and Smart Cities Research Services 
Date posted: 
03 Apr 2013

Last revised: 
22 Apr 2013

working papers series
59 Downloads

27 Incl. Electronic Paper Combatting Sea-Level Rise in Southern California: How Local Governments Can Seize Adaptation Opportunities While Minimizing Legal Risk 
19 Hastings West Northwest J. Envtl. L. & Pol’y 463 (2013), UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 13-11, 
Megan M. Herzog and Sean B. Hecht 
UCLA School of Law and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law 
Date posted: 
20 Apr 2013

Last revised: 
21 May 2013

Accepted Paper Series
58 Downloads

28 Incl. Electronic Paper Food, Energy, and Environment Trilemma: Sustainable Farmland Use and Biofuel Industry Development 
Xin Wang Michael K. Lim and Yanfeng Ouyang 
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 
Date posted: 
23 May 2013

working papers series
58 Downloads

29 Incl. Electronic Paper Leopold's Last Talk 
2 Wash. J. Envtl. L. & P. 236 (2012)
Eric T. Freyfogle 
University of Illinois College of Law 
Date posted: 
15 Jun 2013

Accepted Paper Series
58 Downloads

30 Incl. Electronic Paper Land Use Regulations and Property Values: The 'Windfalls Capture' Idea Revisited 
Chapter in: 'The Oxford Handbook of Urban Economics and Planning' (Nancy Brooks, Kieran Donaghy, and Gerrit-Jan Knaap, eds.) pp. 755-786, Oxford University Press, 2012
Rachelle Alterman 
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology 
Date posted: 
14 Aug 2013

Accepted Paper Series
57 Downloads

31 Incl. Electronic Paper RLUIPA's Equal Terms Clause and the Circuit Split: It's All About the Money 
Danielle Acker Susanj 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
Date posted: 
01 Feb 2013

working papers series
56 Downloads

32 Incl. Electronic Paper Group Deliberation and the Endowment Effect: An Experimental Study 
Houston Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 1, 2012
Jeremy A. Blumenthal 
Syracuse University - College of Law 
Date posted: 
30 Jan 2013

Accepted Paper Series
55 Downloads

33 Incl. Electronic Paper DIY Urbanism: Property and Process in Grassroots City Building 
Marquette Law Review, Vol. 97, 2014, Forthcoming
Celeste Pagano 
Florida Coastal School of Law 
Date posted: 
17 Sep 2013

Accepted Paper Series
54 Downloads

34 Incl. Electronic Paper Land Use in the Unzoned City 
Land Use in the Unzoned City (Spring 2012).
Matthew J. Festa 
South Texas College of Law 
Date posted: 
28 May 2013

Accepted Paper Series
52 Downloads

35 Incl. Electronic Paper Dilemmas of Urban Development: A Survey of Addis Ababa City Residents’ Opinion on Urban Agriculture 
Wellington Jonga 
Ethiopian Civil Service College 
Date posted: 
15 Mar 2013

working papers series
49 Downloads

36 Incl. Electronic Paper Disaster Justice: The Geography of Human Capability 
23 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 23 (2012), Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Research Paper No. 2013-02
Robert R. M. Verchick 
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law 
Date posted: 
31 Jan 2013

Accepted Paper Series
49 Downloads

37 Incl. Electronic Paper Sustainable Cities of Tomorrow: A Land Use Response to Climate Change 
in Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge (Jessica Owley & Keith Hirokawa eds.) Environmental Law Institute (2014 Forthcoming)
Stephen R. Miller 
University of Idaho College of Law - Boise 
Date posted: 
16 Nov 2013

Accepted Paper Series
47 Downloads

38 Incl. Electronic Paper Community Land Trusts: Why Now is the Time to Integrate this Housing Activists’ Tool into Local Government Affordable Housing Policies 
36(9) Zoning & Planning Law Report 1 (2013)
Stephen R. Miller 
University of Idaho College of Law - Boise 
Date posted: 
26 Oct 2013

Last revised: 
19 Nov 2013

Accepted Paper Series
46 Downloads

39 Incl. Electronic Paper Sovereignty, Human Rights and the Global Land Grab 
Jubril Agbolade Shittu 
Babcock University 
Date posted: 
06 Jul 2013

working papers series
45 Downloads

40 Incl. Electronic Paper Symposium: Post-Zoning: Alternative Forms of Public Land Use Controls 
78 Brook. L. Rev. 305 (2013) , Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No. 349
Christopher Serkin and Gregg P. Macey 
Vanderbilt Law School and Brooklyn Law School 
Date posted: 
10 Jul 2013

Last revised: 
20 Aug 2013

working papers series
45 Downloads

41 Incl. Electronic Paper Second Best Practices?: Addressing Mediation's Definitional Problems in Environmental Siting Disputes 
Idaho Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 1, 2012
Sean F. Nolon 
Vermont Law School 
Date posted: 
31 Jan 2013

Accepted Paper Series
43 Downloads

42 Incl. Electronic Paper 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), Forthcoming
Marie Boyd 
University of South Carolina - School of Law 
Date posted: 
26 Jul 2013

Accepted Paper Series
43 Downloads

43 Incl. Electronic Paper Short-Term Global Crop Acreage Response to International Food Prices and Implications of Volatility 
ZEF- Discussion Papers on Development Policy No. 175
Mekbib G. Haile Matthias Kalkuhl and Joachim von Braun 
Bonn University , University of Bonn - Center for Development Research (ZEF) and Center for Development Research (ZEF) 
Date posted: 
02 Mar 2013

working papers series
42 Downloads

44 Incl. Electronic Paper Urban Energy 
Fordham Urban Law Journal, (invited symposium), 2013, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 640
Hannah Jacobs Wiseman 
Florida State University - College of Law 
Date posted: 
25 Jun 2013

Last revised: 
30 Oct 2013

Accepted Paper Series
42 Downloads

45 Incl. Electronic Paper Congestion, Agglomeration, and the Structure of Cities 
FRB of Philadelphia Working Paper No. 13-25
Jeffrey Brinkman 
Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia 
Date posted: 
01 Jun 2013

working papers series
41 Downloads

46 Incl. Electronic Paper United States Flood Control Policy: The Incomplete Transition from the Illusion of Total Protection to Risk Management 
23 Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum 151 (2012), Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper
A. Dan Tarlock 
Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago-Kent College of Law 
Date posted: 
15 Feb 2013

Accepted Paper Series
41 Downloads

47 Incl. Electronic Paper Legal and Institutional Analysis of Land Expropriation in China 
Lei Chen 
City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - School of Law 
Date posted: 
14 Oct 2013

working papers series
40 Downloads

48 Incl. Electronic Paper Breaking Up Payday: Anti-Agglomeration Zoning and Consumer Welfare 
Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 75, 2014, Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2346515
Sheila Foster 
Fordham University School of Law 
Date posted: 
30 Oct 2013

Last revised: 
31 Dec 2013

Accepted Paper Series
39 Downloads

49 Incl. Electronic Paper Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Through Land Use Decision Making in Malaysia 
International Conference on Public Policy and Social Science, November 2012
Sharifah Zubaidah Abdul Kader Maizatun Mustafa and Azlinor Sufian 
International Islamic University Malaysia , International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) 
Date posted: 
12 Jan 2013

Accepted Paper Series
39 Downloads

50 Incl. Electronic Paper Community Benefits Agreements: A Symptom, Not the Antidote, of Bilateral Land Use Regulation 
Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 78, No. 2, 2013, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-109
Alejandro E. Camacho 
University of California Irvine School of Law 
Date posted: 
26 May 2013

Accepted Paper Series
39 Downloads

 

January 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

CFP: Challenges of Urban and Rural Transformation

The deadline for the 20th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management
(ISSRM)is fast approaching. I have attended this conference in the past and really enjoyed it. I think of it generally as more about environmental management, but this year's theme of Urban and Rural Transformation might be particularly interesting to our readers. And hey, who doesn't want to go to Germany in June! The conference will be held in Hannover, Germany, from June 8 - 13, 2014.
 Abstracts for organized sessions, individual papers and posters are due Sunday, January 12, 2014, at midnight (Central European Time).

More info here

January 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fischel on suburban densities

William Fischel (Dartmouth) has posted Optimal Suburban Densities:  History and Theory, on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

A paradigmatic developing suburb, Acton, Massachusetts, was zoned in 1955 to produce a community of 45,000 people. In 2010, Acton had about 23,000 people and is unlikely to grow much more. I develop a simple model in the Tiebout (1956) tradition to explain why Boston's suburbs, and by extension, most suburbs, have adopted land-use regulations that are arguably too restrictive. The baseline model is that of a single developer who owns all the land in a community and commits herself to a master plan. Private covenants assure that the community will be fully developed, and competition among community developers creates at least locally optimal densities. This outcome is contrasted with a model in which undeveloped land is owned by many developers, who must coordinate their land-use decisions by way of public zoning. Their initial zoning plan is disciplined by the wariness of prospective homebuyers, who decline to buy homes in towns without zoning. New homeowners, however, realize that developer control of zoning could lead to changes that will result in excessive density. As enough of them arrive, they take over the reins of zoning to avoid overdevelopment. 

In a stable housing market, I show that a system by which all homeowners pay for community services by property taxes plus exactions or impact fees for later, higher-cost development leads to the same optimal outcome as a private developer. Finally, I argue that an exogenous shift in housing demand, such as that caused by unexpected inflation in the 1970s, and the (perhaps endogenous) adoption of extra-municipal regulations, is apt to cause all zoned communities to adopt additional restrictions. These can be modeled as if the town acquired a monopoly on development rights because other towns simultaneously limit growth. Acton and all of Boston's suburbs and those of other high-productivity metropolitan areas end up with populations that are arguably too small and housing prices that are too high.

 

January 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Assessing Public Interest in Conservation Properties

Welll Stephen beat me to the punch in getting his post up about the Town of Hawley Case. I've been ruminating on a bit lately. I have really mixed feelings about how important this case might be. Conservation organizations have long battled with locals (citizens and governments) when they protect land. In some cases, locals may be offended by what might be seen as an outsider coming in and telling them what their town should look like. These complaints have been particularly salient overseas where big US NGOs buy up property for "conservation" and remove the inhabitants or restrict their traditional practices. We see it here in the United States too (not sure everyone in the Catskills is so happy about New York City shaping development trends when it buys conservation easements to protect its water supply). Local land trusts generally face less opposition where they are made up of community members and work closley with other community groups and local goverenments. But there is no question that cash-strapped governments might get ornery when more and more of the landscape is held by tax-exempt organizations hoping to avoid paying property taxes on their parcels.

Let's delve into the Hawley case a little here. First of all,although this case involves a land trust, it is not about conservation easements. (Jess sheds a little tear) Although NEFF (New England Forestry Foundation) holds a lot of conservation easements, the land that is at stake in the case is land that they own outright (or in fee simple as we lawyers like to say). Lots of land trusts do this. For example, I am on the Board of the Western New York Land Conservancy and we own some properties outright and have conservation easements over others (or as they are termed in Massachusetts – conservation restrictions). In the Hawley case, the Town is not seeking to assess taxes on the conservation restriction owner (which I think would be a fascinating idea) but is going after property taxes from a landowner.

Now here is where it gets interesting. The Town is arguing that this supposed conservation land is not really providing much of a public interest. This makes this case very important for people trying to protect conservation land. The Town is not arguing that NEFF shouldn’t qualify as a tax-exempt charitable organization but that this parcel in particular is not worthy of tax-exempt status for purposes of property law. This could be an important result for land trusts and others trying to conserve land. How much do you need to do to prove that you are promoting and protecting the public interest? Is it just enough that it is pretty or that some critters live there? Well, not in Massachusetts. Land trust will have to look carefully at state laws to see what is needed for a property to be exempt. In this case, the court seemed really focused on the lack of public access but we could see other people wondering about how much value “scenic” is worth. This 120-acre parcel purported to be in the public interest because it provided wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, recreational opportunities and sustainable forest products. The appellate court was not persuaded by NEFF's assertion of educational value.

The amount of taxes assessed here were only $172.87 but many conservation properties are worth far more – especially those in areas with strong development pressures (arguably the most important places for conservation easements).  The Nature Conservancy and other groups already voluntarily pay fees to municipalities here and there (and have sparked scandals when threatening to cease payments), but it would be pretty pricey for smaller land trusts to do this. It might make land trusts turn more frequently to using conservation easements over buying property outright (which may not be the best move from a conservation standpoint).

 

January 9, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Will land trusts become a target for local governments seeking tax dollars?

The Boston Globe is reporting an interesting story on a battle between land trusts and local governments seeking precious tax revenue.  From the story:

A wide range of conservation groups in Massachusetts are worried their finances could take a major hit if a small town in the Berkshires wins a case slated to come before the state’s highest court Monday.

The case could determine whether cities and towns, which are hungry for cash, can tax conservation land owned by groups such as the Nature Conservancy and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. More than 1.25 million acres in Massachusetts have been protected from development.

The dispute revolves around how publicly accessible and active the land needs to be to qualify for a charitable tax exemption. Conservation groups argue that merely preserving the land for public use should be sufficient to exempt it from taxes. But a small town in Western Massachusetts has challenged that paradigm by arguing that the land needs to be broadly available or else face a tax bill.

Read the full article here.  Is this a one-off case or a trend?

Stephen R. Miller

January 8, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blogging AALS: NYC's resilience plan

At yesterday's panel on urban resilience there was a discussion of New York City's post-Sandy plan to make the nation's largest city more resilient to climate change and big weather events.  The report, A Stronger, More Resilient New York, is a surprisingly approachable document.  Two sections that I imagine would be especially interesting to this blog's readers are the "Funding" and "Implementation" sections, the latter of which provides hundreds of specific policy action items that bring resilience theory down to "punch card" reality.  Well worth a look.

Stephen R. Miller

January 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 3, 2014

The rhetoric of land use since 1800, as told by Google Books

A friend of mine introduced me to Google's NGram Viewer, which permits searches of terms in Google's database of books, for particular terms over the past several hundred years.  I decided to run several searches on top land use terms.  Here is a chart that shows the relative occurrence of several top land use terms since 1800 in American English, followed by a graph of the same terms relative occurrence in British English.

What's interesting is that the graphs make clear that the term "land use" is very much a twentieth century invention arising about the time of the rise of zoning.  But what to make of the spike of those terms in the 1980s and subsequent decline?  In addition, the term "takings" starts to rise around the 1980s, as well.  Might these rhetorical trends be related?  On the other hand, "eminent domain" was a much more common term in the early part of the twentieth century than it is today.  And interestingly, the rise and fall of the same terms differ in British English as opposed to American English.

Any other notable trends in there you see?

Fun stuff...  

American English:

 

 

British English:

 

 Stephen R. Miller

January 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blogging AALS: Enviro resilience panel and the coffee situation

The AALS conference is in full swing and some good panels already. Several quick notes.

First, the coffee situation here is dire. I found Fika, a Swedish coffee shop on 58th between 6th and 7th. A nice reprieve from the conference and an only-in-New York joint (espresso, Jay Z on the radio, Swedish language place mats, etc.)

Second, I thought I'd pass along the email on the replacement session for the canceled Enviro section field trip:

The Sections on Environmental Law and Natural Resources and Energy Law have cancelled the AALS Annual Meeting Field Trip on Disaster Management, Climate, Adaptation, and Building Resilience: The Lessons from Hurricane Sandy scheduled for Friday, January 3rd. The fee of $85 to attend the field trip will be refunded after the Annual Meeting.

As a reminder, in place of the field trip, the Sections will hold this program on Friday, January 3 at 1:30-3:15pm in the Concourse E Room on the Concourse Level in the New York Hilton Midtown.

Finally, who wants to sneak out to MoMA for an hour or two? Email me: millers at uidaho dot edu.

Stephen R. Miller

January 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Hercules slays AALS travel plans!

Law profs from across the land intent on arriving at the greatest law conference of them all--AALS--have hit up against Super Storm Hercules.  I know of at least a few colleagues who are stranded in far flung cities with canceled flights.  To all of you, safe travels, and keep on coming!  Most of the land use-related panels aren't until Saturday, which will give the city plenty of time to clean up the white stuff.  I was just out to dinner in Chelsea and here are several pix of the storm rolling in:

Photo 1

Photo 2

And in case you're stuck in an airport and need a distraction, here is a cheat sheet for brushing up on the 12 labors of Hercules, none of which have anything to do with shoveling snow, as best I can tell.

Stephen R. Miller

January 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Maybe you need a new picture of America's public lands delivered to your inbox every day this coming year?

The Department of the Interior runs a fun tumblr site that also allows users to sign up for a daily e-mail with a pic of land the department administers.  Here is the link to sign up, and below is the tumblr's New Year's Day photo from Canyonlands in Utah:

Happy new year everyone! From all of us at the U.S. Department of the Interior, we want to wish you a safe and happy 2014.Here is a beautiful Mesa Arch sunrise with the Washer Woman arch in the background at Canyonlands National Park in Utah.Photo: Sarah Chah (www.sharetheexperience.org)

Happy new year!

Stephen R. Miller

January 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)