Thursday, February 24, 2011

Howland on The Private Market for Brownfield Properties

Like yesterday's featured article from Cityscape, Marie Howland's (U. Md.- Planning)The Private Market for Brownfield Properties also takes advantage of Baltimore's industrial heritage to track brownfield sales. Here's the abstract:

This study examines land sales over a 10-year period - 1990 to 2000 - in one southwest Baltimore industrial district - Carroll Camden - to determine the effect of land contamination on property sales and sales price. I tracked all sales, selling price, time on the market, and the presence of land contamination in the 5,580-acre area. The results indicate that after the mid-1990s, contaminated parcels sold on the private market, with price discounts that accounted for contamination and cleanup. Out of the 144 parcels sold over the 1990-to-2000 decade, positive and market-clearing prices were found for 45 parcels with either confirmed or historical-reasons-to-suspect contamination. Interviews with owners and brokers of parcels on the market for 2 years or more and analysis of the data indicate that the contaminated parcels that did not sell within the 2-year period (1) had above-market asking price; (2) were small and odd-shaped; (3) had inadequate road access for modern trucks; (4) had outdated water, sewer, and telecommunications connections; or (5) had incompatible surrounding land uses. Two policy implications result from these findings. First, if a city such as Baltimore wants to revitalize an industrial area - maintaining its industrial function and remediating contamination - government-subsidized cleanups may not be the most cost-effective policy. Rather, the city should (1) modernize the outdated infrastructure, including roads and fiber optic connections; (2) remove the outdated residential structures that sit in the midst of the industrial area and diminish the desirability of some land parcels for industrial use; (3) consolidate small and odd-shaped properties that are not conducive to modern manufacturing, warehousing, or other industrial uses; (4) ensure city services are efficiently provided, including trash cleanup and police and fire protection; and (5) improve access and egress for modern trucking. The evidence from the Baltimore study indicates that the private sector will discount land prices and assume cleanup responsibilities. The second policy implication is that the market is capable of brownfield cleanup in some locations.

Jim K.

 

February 24, 2011 in Community Economic Development, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, HUD, Nuisance, Redevelopment, Scholarship, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guignet and Alberini on Voluntary Cleanup and Brownfield Redevelopment

A recent issue of HUD's Cityscape journal contains several articles on land use and remediation of environmental contamination.  The first featured here is Voluntary Cleanup Programs and Redevelopment Potential: Lessons from Baltimore, Maryland by Dennis Guignet and Anna Alberini (both U. Md.--Ag. & Resource Econ.).  Here's the abstract:

In the United States, policy has increasingly shifted toward economic incentives and liability attenuation for promoting cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites, but little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. These policies include, among others, state Voluntary Cleanup Programs (VCPs), which were established in the United States in the 1990s and, to date, have been implemented in nearly every state. This article focuses on 116 Baltimore properties that were enrolled and participated in the Maryland VCP from its inception in 1997 to the end of 2006 and examines what type of properties tend to participate in these programs, how these properties compare with other eligible but nonparticipating sites, and what the redevelopment potential of VCP properties and implications is toward open-space conversion.

We find that most applicants (66 percent) actually requested a No Further Requirements Determination directly, rather than proposing cleanup. Nevertheless, the VCP led to the identification and environmental assessment of 1,175 acres of contaminated land in the city of Baltimore alone. In Baltimore, VCP properties tend to be industrial, located in areas zoned as industrial, and away from residential neighborhoods. In more recent years, larger properties have increasingly enrolled in the program. Most participating sites are reused as industrial or commercial properties. In contrast with Alberini (2007), these findings suggest that, in Baltimore, pressure for residential development has not driven VCP participation to date. Based on differences in zoning requirements, the VCP may reduce demand for potentially contaminating activities on pristine land by as much as 1,238 to 6,444 acres, in Baltimore alone.

Jim K. Free Download

February 23, 2011 in Community Economic Development, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, HUD, Industrial Regulation, Nuisance, Redevelopment, Scholarship, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Callison on the LIHTC and Geographic Desegregation

Bill Callison (Faegre & Benson, LLP; also ABA Forum on Aff. Housing and Comm. Dev. Law) has posted Achieving Our Country: Geographic Desegregation and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, 19 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just. 213 (2010).  Here's the abstract:

This Article, which blends educational policy, housing policy, and tax policy, argues that one path down the precipice of racial inequality is to reverse a path that led us to where this problem began; namely, the racial segregation of the places where we live. This Article examines the country’s most important subsidy for creating affordable housing, the Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”), and considers whether the tax credit program has served as a tool for desegregating metropolitan neighborhoods. After concluding that the LIHTC program has not been an effective tool for reducing or eliminating continuing patterns of racial segregation and poverty concentration, this Article proposes numerous programmatic changes that could allow the tax credit program to promote greater geographic desegregation. Others have considered the impact of fair-housing laws on the LIHTC program. This Article contributes to that literature by going beyond fair housing to examine both the “cooperative federalism” concepts embedded in the program and the economic structure of tax credits, and by making practical suggestions on how the program can be improved to obtain racial integration. It takes a two-prong approach: First, this Article encourages more robust national guidance in order to encourage states to use credits to foster desegregation. Second, this Article considers changes to the economic structure of the program to provide incentives to developers and investors who undertake to provide affordable housing that results in desegregation.

Jim K.

February 18, 2011 in Affordable Housing, Development, Housing, HUD, Inclusionary Zoning, Land Trust, Landlord-Tenant, NIMBY, Planning, Race, Scholarship, Smart Growth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reiss on First Principles for an Effective Federal Housing Policy

David J. Reiss (Brooklyn) has posted First Principles for an Effective Federal Housing Policy, forthcoming in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law.  The abstract:

Federal housing policy is heavily funded and made up of a morass of programs. This article provides a taxonomy of goals for housing policy. The article first asks what the aim of housing policy is. In other words, what can a well-designed and executed housing policy achieve? The answer to this question is not at all clear-cut. Some argue that the aim of housing policy is to allow all Americans to live in safe, well-maintained and affordable housing. Others argue for a more modest aim – achieving an income transfer to low- and moderate-income families that mandates that the income transferred is consumed in increased housing. And yet others argue that the main aim is to create a nation of homeowner-citizens, a goal which hearkens back to Jefferson’s idealized “yeoman farmer” and continues through to George W. Bush’s “ownership society.”

Beginning with these possibilities, I identify and categorize various “principles” of American housing policy. This is an important exercise because 80 plus years of housing policy; hundreds of billions of dollars; and literally hundreds of different housing programs have all conspired to confuse the essential aims of American housing policy. This article seeks to clarify debates surrounding American housing policy as the Obama Administration puts its own stamp on this field.

Matt Festa

October 12, 2010 in Affordable Housing, Federal Government, History, Housing, HUD, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nanda & Pancak on State Minimum Service Requirements for Real Estate Brokers

Anupam Randa (University of Reading) and Katherine A. Pancak (Connecticut--Business--Center for Real Estate & Urban Economic Studies) have posted Real Estate Brokers’ Duties to Their Clients: Why Some States Mandate Minimum Service Requirements, published in Cityscape, Vol. 12, No. 2, p. 105, 2010.  The abstract:

This study attempts to determine why certain states have adopted real estate broker minimum service laws in the United States. The federal government and academic literature assume that such laws were the result of anticompetitive industry collusion and, therefore, serve no consumer protection justification. Using hazard models and state data over 8 years, however, we find that factors reflecting state brokerage influence - strong industry associations and broker membership on licensing boards - do not result in the enactment of minimum service laws. Factors suggesting consumer protection motivations - greater number of complaints against brokers, stricter prelicensing requirements, and a Democratic state legislature - increase the likelihood of law adoption.

Matt Festa

October 9, 2010 in Federal Government, Housing, HUD, Local Government, Real Estate Transactions, Scholarship, State Government | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hollander on Shrinking Cities

Justin Hollander (Tufts--Planning) has posted Moving Toward a Shrinking Cities Metric: Analyzing Land Use Changes Associated with Depopulation in Flint, Michigan, in Cityscape, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2010 .  The abstract:

Cities around the globe have experienced depopulation or population shrinkage at an acute level in the last half century. Conventional community development and planning responses have looked to reverse the process of depopulation almost universally, with little attention paid to how neighborhoods physically change when they lose population. This article presents an approach to study the physical changes of depopulating neighborhoods in a novel way. The approach considers how population decline creates different physical impacts (more or less housing abandonment, for example) across different neighborhoods. Data presented from a detailed case study of Flint, Michigan, illustrate that population decline can be more painful in some neighborhoods than in others, suggesting that this article’s proposed approach may be useful in implementing smart decline.


Matt Festa

May 11, 2010 in Detroit, Housing, HUD, Scholarship, Smart Growth, Sprawl | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Collinson and Winter on U.S. Rental Housing Characteristics

More interesting work from HUD: Rob Collinson and Ben Winter have posted U.S. Rental Housing Characteristics: Supply, Vacancy, and Affordability, HUD PD&R Working Paper 10-01.  The abstract:

The aim of this working paper is to document key empirical facts on U.S. rental housing market conditions – reporting both current conditions (as of second quarter 2009) as well as notable historic trends. This analysis draws upon the findings of existing scholarly work and includes original analysis utilizing a mix of public and proprietary data.

This working paper is not a comprehensive assessment of U.S. rental housing market conditions; rather it focuses on describing market dynamics in the context of rental housing supply, variations across local rental housing markets, conditions in the nation’s assisted rental housing stock, and the evolving need and demand for affordable rental housing.

Matt Festa

May 9, 2010 in Federal Government, Housing, HUD, Landlord-Tenant, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Schwemm & Pratt on Disparate Impact Under the Fair Housing Act

Robert G. Schwemm (Kentucky) and Sara K. Pratt (Consultant) have posted Disparate Impact Under the Fair Housing Act: A Proposed Approach, a report commissioned by the National Fair Housing Alliance.  The abstract:

The issue of whether the prohibitions of the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) extend to practices that produce a discriminatory effect/impact – as well as those prompted by intentional discrimination – is still not fully resolved. While four decades of litigation have produced a strong consensus among the lower courts that the FHA does include an impact standard, the Supreme Court has never ruled on this issue, and defendants continue to contest it. The result is that courts must still deal with this issue, and, to the extent uncertainties remain, the effort to obtain voluntary compliance with the FHA without the need for expensive and time-consuming litigation is undermined.

As the agency primarily responsible for enforcing and interpreting the FHA, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (“HUD”) has a potentially decisive role to play in resolving this issue, because courts accord substantial deference to HUD’s interpretations of the FHA. With respect to the impact issue, HUD has regularly expressed the view in various contexts that the FHA includes such a standard, but the agency has not yet issued a formal regulation on this matter. HUD should do so now, in order to help clarify this issue for courts, litigants, and the public at large.

This Paper seeks to help facilitate this process by providing a detailed analysis of cases and other sources dealing with the impact issue under the FHA. Part I provides some background on this issue. The basic justification for HUD’s adopting an impact regulation is set forth in Part II. Part III discusses the scope and limits of the approach suggested here. Parts IV and V analyze the respective burdens of proofs for plaintiffs and defendants in impact cases under the FHA, thereby describing the particular circumstances that would be appropriate for impact-based claims. Finally, the two appendices provide, respectively, possible language for such a regulation and examples of impact-producing practices that might violate the FHA.

Matt Festa

May 7, 2010 in Affordable Housing, Federal Government, Housing, HUD, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

HUD's Report to Congress on the Root Causes of the Foreclosure Crisis

Christopher E. Herbert (Abt Associates, Inc.) & William C. Apgar (Abt Associates, Inc.) have posted Report to Congress on the Root Causes of the Foreclosure Crisis.  The report appears to be the official report to Congress by HUD's Office of Policy Development & Research, based on a draft by the two authors as contractors.  The abstract:

This study of the root causes of the current extremely high levels of defaults and foreclosures among residential mortgages represents the final report to Congress by the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pursuant to Section 1517 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 (P.L. 110-289). The problems in the mortgage market are routinely referred to as a “foreclosure crisis” because the level of defaults and foreclosures greatly exceed previous peak levels in the post-war era and, as a result, have drawn comparisons to the levels of distress experienced in the Great Depression. This report contains a review of the academic literature and industry press on the root causes of the current foreclosure crisis, data and analysis of trends in the market, and policy responses and recommended actions to mitigate the current crisis and help prevent similar crises from occurring in the future.

Matt Festa

May 5, 2010 in Federal Government, Financial Crisis, HUD, Mortgage Crisis, Mortgages, Real Estate Transactions, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 16, 2010

APA's National Planning Conference

The American Planning Association held its National Planning Conference, where 5,000 planners met last weekend in New Orleans.  Coverage of the conference is available at the APA's website.  They have a number of column-length press release articles about each of the major events, including the opening keynote by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan; the interesting-sounding Delta Urbanism Symposium; the APA/AICP Annual Meeting; the closing keynote by White House Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carion, Jr.; and other events.  According to the APA's write-up, Carrion spoke for President Obama:

"I bring you greetings on behalf of the President of the United States of America," said Carrión. "I think you know more than most associations, professions, or interest groups that the President really gets this profession. He understands the importance place planning plays in the national and global conversation."

In an inspiring speech, Carrión explained the administration's support for smart planning, innovation, and sustainability to make our cities, towns, villages, and country a better place to live. . . .

He explained that it is the job of the federal government to support our local communities and help create a better quality of life.

The APA website also has photos and links to media reports about the National Planning Conference.

Matt Festa

April 16, 2010 in Conferences, Federal Government, HUD, Planning, Smart Growth, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wershbale on the Second Amendment and Public Housing

I often tell my land use students that there is hardly any public policy or private law issue that doesn't have some sort of land use question involved, if for no other reason than because all human activity necessarily takes place on land, and land is a unique and finite resource.  The conflict between public law and private rights is often fought over land use controversies.  Furthermore, I often advise con-law junkies that in practice, many constitutional issues involving civil rights and liberties are played out in disputes over land use rights and regulations (see, e.g., exclusionary zoning, billboard regulation, sexually-oriented businesses, and RLUIPA).  

Proving my point in a new way is an article posted by Jamie L. Wershbale (U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development) titled The Second Amendment Under a Government Landlord: Is There a Right to Keep and Bear Legal [Fire]Arms in Public Housing?, forthcoming in St. John's Law Review, Vol. 84.  The abstract:

This article explores the constitutionality of banning legal firearms in government-owned public housing developments, an issue which is far from clear. Public housing is federally-subsidized low-income housing, owned and operated by local governmental entities known as Public Housing Authorities (“PHAs”). Many PHAs nationwide have banned all firearm possession on PHA-owned premises, based on their authority as landlords, property-owners, and in exercise of their inherent police power to control crime. Such bans potentially violate public housing tenants’ gun ownership rights, under either state law or the Second Amendment. This article evaluates public housing firearm bans in light of the right to armed self-defense articulated in District of Columbia v. Heller, and in contemplation of Second Amendment incorporation under the forthcoming Chicago v. McDonald decision. The analysis considers the constitutionality of public housing firearm bans under federal housing law, state law, and the Fourteenth Amendment, with an eye towards future litigation.

Matt Festa

April 6, 2010 in Affordable Housing, Caselaw, Constitutional Law, Federal Government, Housing, HUD, Local Government, Scholarship, Supreme Court, Urbanism | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sustainable Communities Initiative

From the Obama administration:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2010


THURSDAY: Top Obama Administration Officials to Promote Sustainable
Communities, Environmental Justice at Smart Growth Conference

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun
Donovan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will visit Seattle on
Thursday, February 4, to address the 9th Annual New Partners for Smart
Growth Conference. They will be joined by Environmental Protection Agency
Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus.

Speaking before an audience of more than 1,500 key planners, public health
professionals, developers, government staff and elected officials
Secretaries Donovan and LaHood and Assistant Administrator Stanislaus will
discuss the ways their agencies are working together through the Obama
Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities to improve access
to affordable housing, provide better transportation options, and protect
public health and the environment.

“EPA, HUD and DOT are working together to rebuild our foundations for
prosperity, a process that starts with rethinking the ways our communities
grow,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.  “The interagency Partnership
for Sustainable Communities is working to give our communities what they
need to grow and thrive with economic resilience and environmental
sustainability.”

“I am proud to announce HUD’s brand new Office of Sustainable Housing and
Communities today,” said Donovan. “Working with our partners at DOT and EPA,
this new office will help us streamline our efforts to create stronger, more
sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local
innovation and building a clean energy economy.”

“Our Partnership really is a new way of doing business in Washington, to
help our nation meet 21st century challenges,” said LaHood. “Working
together, we’re creating jobs to revitalize our economy, while helping state
and local transportation agencies to build the capacity they need to promote
livable, walkable, sustainable communities.”

The President proposed $527 million in his budget for an ambitious new
livability initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation.  Its Office
of Livable Communities will be a focal point for initiatives such
as expanding transit in low-income neighborhoods.  It will fund a grant
program to help state and local transportation agencies provide more
transportation choices that spur economic development.

The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, taking place Feb. 4-6, is the
premier national smart growth conference, bringing together experts from a
wide range of disciplines to discuss transportation, housing and urban
development, public health, equitable development, environmental protection,
and other topics. The partnership agencies are working together more closely
than ever before to meet the president’s challenge to coordinate federal
policies, programs, and resources to help urban, suburban, and rural areas
build more sustainable communities.

The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is managed by the Local
Government Commission, in partnership with EPA, DOT, and other public and
private sponsors.

More about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities:
http:/www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership

More on EPA’s Smart Growth Program:
http:www.epa.gov/smartgrowth

More information on HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities:
www.hud.gov/sustainability


Jamie Baker Roskie

February 5, 2010 in Clean Energy, Climate, Community Design, Conferences, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Federal Government, Housing, HUD, Planning, Politics, Race, Redevelopment, Smart Growth, Sustainability, Transportation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)