Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A potential fix to conditional review of multi-family housing?

At yesterday's Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute RoundUp on housing, my small group breakout session with Erin Clark got to talking about the standards on which multi-family housing decisions get made.  After that call, I was thinking if there might be a way to tinker with the basic structure of entitlement elements that would shift the presumption in favor of multi-family housing and lessen the NIMBY effect.  I realize some will consider this an incidental fix, but consider...

Most multi-family housing units require some kind of discretionary permit, usually a conditional use permit (CUP).  In most states, the statute authorizing such permits requires that a CUP be "in compliance with the comprehensive plan," or similar language.  While I am all for comp planning, the reality is that this is the legal window through which the usual assaults on multi-family housing--traffic and noise--enter the fray, and the decisionmaking.  

My proposal is this:  for multi-family housing, local governments establish certain additional standards relative to issuance of CUPs.  Many local governments do this routinely for anything from drive-thrus to chain stores name it.  Why couldn't there be special presumptions that apply to multi-family housing and what "compliance with the comp plan" means?  For instance, a city could adopt something like the following as presumptions of compliance:

Multi-family projects are presumed to be in compliance with the comprehensive plan if the project affirmatively furthers location choices for low income individuals in an underserved location.  Non-compliance with the comprehensive plan must be shown by clear and convincing evidence through expert testimony.  This applies, but is not limited to, effects of a multi-family project on traffic and noise.

Again, I realize that this will not solve the housing problem in America.  But I do think that presumptions like these related to multi-family housing could make it easier for decisionmakers to evaluate--and approve--multi-family units even in the face of NIMBY opposition.  It also has the virtue of working within the existing system that most local governments will not have the money to change significantly for the near future.

I'd be curious folks' thoughts.




August 12, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Festschrift in Honor of Julian Conrad Juergensmeyer now available

The Festschrift II in Honor of Julian Conrad Juergensmeyer on the Occasion of his Retirement:  International Perspectives on Urban Law & Policy is now published in the Journal of Comparative Urban Law and Policy.  Check it out here:

August 11, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 9, 2020

APA Planning & Law Division announces 37th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

From Brian Connolly:

Full letter and instructions here:  Download APA-PLD Student Writing Competition 2020

To Whom It May Concern:

The Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association announces its 37th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition. The Competition, which honors the memory of three leading figures in American city planning law (R. Marlin Smith, Richard Babcock, and Norman Williams) seeks writings from applicants on a question of significance in planning, planning law, land use law, local government law or environmental law. The Division is excited to announce that it has updated the Competition for 2020. This year, the Competition will be open to both current students and recent graduates (within the past five years). We will also accept a greater variety of formats, including short essays, longer pieces on topics for a broader audience, or law review articles. As in past years, the winning entry will be awarded a prize of $2,000, the Second Place paper will receive a prize of $400 and we will award one Honorable Mention prize of $100. All three winning entries will be published in the semi-annual newsletter of the Division or, if a winning entry is suitable for law review publication, the Competition Committee will work with the winner to place the entry in a mutually-acceptable journal. Additionally, for winning entries that comment on a current topic of interest to planners and land use lawyers, the Competition Committee will invite one or more of the winning authors to coordinate and present a nationally-broadcast webinar on behalf of the Division. The deadline for submission of entries is October 31, 2020 and winners will be announced by December 1, 2020. Please refer to the enclosed official rules for further details. Our past experience has shown that teachers in planning, planning law, land use law, local government law or environmental law are in an ideal position to stimulate student and recent graduate interest in research and writing and to encourage participation in the Competition. Each year, many of the entries appear to have been prepared initially for courses or seminars. We hope you will add your support to the Competition by encouraging your current and past students to submit entries. 

August 9, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Manuscripts - Zoning and Planning Law Report

Patricia Salkin, the editor of the Zoning and Planning Law Report is seeking 18-20 double spaced page manuscripts that are practitioner focused for upcoming monthly issues of the newsletter.  This is a wonderful opportunity to either preview work you are doing towards law review articles and book chapters, or you can excerpt recently published work and frame it for practitioner use.

In addition, if you are from New York or wish to publish something specific about either New York law or federal law with a New York focus, please submit to Patricia Salkin for the bi-monthly New York Zoning Law and Practice Report.

The reviews are quick and if appropriate for publication you will get a date.  One set of page proofs and then the articles go to publication.  They are available on Westlaw. 

Email Salkin at 

August 9, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Limitations of Government Authority in Response to Public Health Emergency – FREE CLE (Live Webcast Only)

I am giving a free CLE webinar for the Idaho State Bar this Friday called, "Limitations of Government Authority in Response to Public Health Emergency."

Event Details
Date: August 7, 2020 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
August 7, 2020; 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm (MT); 1.0 Idaho CLE Credit (pending); other jx may permit CLE by local rule


Anyone can register for free here.


Professor Stephen R. Miller, University of Idaho College of Law, will review cases across the country challenging state and local governments’ coronavirus-related public health measures, such as stay-at-home orders and mask mandates. The discussion will cover legal theories advanced by litigants, as well as decisions rendered by courts thus far.

I will discuss Idaho statutory provisions for about 15 minutes, then turn to a review of national cases that would be relevant for any jurisdiction.  Hope to e-see some of you there.

August 5, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)