Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Geary on Land Use Policies and Modular Home Construction

Charlene Geary (Independent) has posted The Effects of Land Use Policies on Modular Home Construction: A Comparative Case Study of Three Counties in Massachusetts on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The primary objective of this comparative case study is to identify the law and policy barriers to modular home construction in Massachusetts with a particular focus on restrictive covenants and municipal land use policies.

This is a comparative case study of 3 counties in Massachusetts including Dukes County, Nantucket County, and Barnstable County. The three counties in the study were chosen on the basis that they share the same population range of 10,000- 20,000, and the similar cost of construction for new homes ranging $200,000-$600,000 from 2007-2009. A Registry of Deeds search was also conducted from 2003-2013 to identify any restrictive covenants that prohibit on the mode of construction during this timeframe.

The main findings in the study conclude there are no law and policy barriers to modular home construction in the three counties in the case study. Modular homes must be built to the same standard as site-built homes according to the Massachusetts State Building Code, which is the only building code in Massachusetts. The study also concluded there is a lack of awareness of modular homes being a viable building option, which leads to the discrimination of modular homes. Creating an awareness that modular homes have evolved into an equally comparable product in relation to site-built homes is the key element to the future success of modular home construction.

The research also concludes that restrictive covenants are not a barrier to modular home construction in the three counties in Massachusetts. The Registry of Deeds search did not identify any restrictive covenants that prohibit on the mode of construction from 2003-2013. The continuation of this study in other counties in Massachusetts, other New England states, and into the southern part of the country will bring the modular home industry closer to an answer in rectifying the restrictive covenant dilemma that currently exists in the south.

January 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 12, 2015

More Bad News for Bikeshare

The New York Times details the struggles of PBSC Urban Solutions, a company that (used to) operate bike share programs and build bike share bikes:

“That bike, nobody can argue with his bike,” said Josh Squire, the chief executive of CycleHop, a bike-share operator that does not use the Bixi technology.

The Montreal company also developed free-standing docking stations with solar panels for power and Wi-Fi to transfer payment and operations data. The stations, which can be lifted onto the back of a truck, could be easily removed for road repairs, construction projects or unfriendly Montreal winters.

But the city’s dream of self-financing proved elusive. While money was flowing in from foreign buyers, it was immediately going out again to keep Montreal’s bikes rolling. Users could buy passes of various durations at rates that had been set unrealistically low, while operating costs were higher than anticipated. That left the company struggling to pay its suppliers.

The video below is from an earlier Times article about the problems that have popped up in New York's bike share program:

January 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alterman on U.S. Regulatory Takings Debate through an International Lens

AltermanRachelle Alterman (Israel Institute of Technology) has posted The U.S. Regulatory Takings Debate Through an International Lens (The Urban Lawyer) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The United States leads the world in the complexity of its regulatory takings law, the amount of academic writing devoted to the topic, and the intensity of the surrounding public debate. This is one of the (ancillary) findings of a large-scale comparative study of regulatory takings law. A look from the “outside” may shed light on American takings law and the “property rights” debate. An international looking glass can allow both sides in this debate either to fi nd alternative models to support their own position (with appropriate adjustments) or to develop middle-of-the road approaches towards a rapprochement in this longraging contest.

In every country where land use regulations and development controls operate (the vast majority of countries today), they change the economic value of real property. The question addressed here focuses on the downwards effect — what Americans call “regulatory takings.” Do landowners have a right to claim compensation or some other remedies from the planning authorities? This topic addresses an inherent raw nerve of planning law and practice, bearing deep economic, social and ethical implications. However, not in every country does the issue generate the same intensity of legal and public debate as it does in the United States.

This article draws on the findings of comparative research encompassing thirteen countries around the world. Readers of this Festschrift, who are acquainted with American takings law, will be able to view it from this new perspective. A comparative perspective can help to create a sense of scale and proportionality that conventional domestic legal analysis cannot offer.

January 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 9, 2015

If the Government Takes Your Raisens is it a Taking

Will Baude does some digging on raisin price regulations:

The raisin regulations require raisin producers to reserve a portion of their crop to be sold by the government; the government determines both the portion and the price, which it sometimes sets to be basically zero. The Hornes argued that these regulations are a taking of the raisins, and that they are therefore entitled to a determination about whether the government’s chosen compensation is “just compensation” within the meaning of the Takings Clause.

Normally, when the government takes your property away from you, as opposed to regulating it, that’s a taking. I take it that if the government told me to set aside part of my land and forced me to get rid of it for a government-determined price, that would be a taking. But the Ninth Circuit concluded that wasn’t true of the raisins for two reasons — first, because they were personal property rather than real property, and second because they did not lost all of their rights in the raisins, since they “retain the right to the proceeds of their sale.” (The kind of taking I’m talking about here is called in the cases a “per se taking,” as opposed to a regulatory taking, which sometimes, but rarely, arises when property is subject to burdensome regulations.)

January 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lehavi on the Globalization of Property Law

Amnon Lehavi (ICH - Radzyner) has poted Land Law in the Age of Globalization and Land Grabbing (Book Chapter) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

Is land becoming a global commodity? Who are the actors shaping such a cross-border market for real estate and who remains excluded from participating in it? Which types of interrelations do local and supranational legal systems have in ordering property rights and other legal interests in what is otherwise considered the quintessential location-fixed asset? How are law, economics, politics, and culture likely to interact in the context of land in an age of increasing globalization?

This chapter underscores the tension between the conceptual oddity and practical significance of cross-border effects of land law, and shows how the scope and nature of such extraterritorial implications have changed significantly over the past few decades in view of certain political, economic, and social processes. This turn of events constantly puts pressure on national legal systems that had traditionally viewed this field as literally embodying the law of the land. At the same time, current market trends toward globalization are far from resulting in clear-cut convergence among legal systems or in a shift of the mainstay of legal ordering to the supranational realm. This chapter analyzes the inherent dilemmas and challenges that land law faces in adequately addressing the changing landscape of real estate in the age of globalization.

January 9, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Everyone Hates Penn Station

Slate summarizes:

New Yorkers are known to disagree about a lot of things. Who’s got the best pizza? What’s the fastest subway route? Yankees or Mets? But all 8.5 million New Yorkers are likely to agree on one thing: Penn Station sucks.

There is nothing joyful about Penn Station. It is windowless, airless, and crowded. Some 650,000 people suffer through Penn Station on a their daily commute—more traffic than all three of the New York area’s major airport hubs combined.

[...] Though Penn Station is a drab, low-ceilinged rat maze of a station, it used to be the opposite. It was vast, light-filled, and gorgeous. It was the fourth-largest building in the world when it was finished.

January 8, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Conference Announcement: Sustainability

Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators (SCALE)

May 8, 2015

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law – Arizona State University

The Law and Sustainability Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is pleased to announce its First Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators (SCALE) Conference to be held on May 8, 2015 at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Armstrong Hall on the Arizona State University Campus in Tempe, Arizona.

This new conference will be an annual, national event for legal academics researching in sustainability-related areas. The conference will offer a unique forum for panels and presentations falling within one or more broad subject matter areas pertaining to sustainability, including but not limited to:

  • Climate Change Law
  • Energy Law
  • Water Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Natural Resources Law
  • Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Agricultural and Food Law
  • Disaster Law

The conference’s inaugural keynote speaker will be Professor Daniel Esty, Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy at Yale Law School.

Presenters who are interested will also have an opportunity to join in an organized hike of a nearby mountain on the morning of Saturday, May 9, 2015.

For information on how to submit panel or presentation proposals, please click here.

January 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Van der Walt & Raphulu on the Right of Way of Necessity

Andre Van der Walt (Stellenbosch) & Tshilidzi Raphulu (Stellenbosch) have posted The Right of Way of Way of Necessity: A Constitutional Analysis (Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law) on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The aim of this contribution is to present a constitutional analysis of the legitimacy and justifiability of the common law principles that regulate the judicial granting of a right of way of necessity. A right of way of necessity is a peculiar servitude of way that enables the owner or user of landlocked land (dominant tenement) to gain access to public transport network systems over neighbouring land (servient tenement) in a situation where the dominant tenement is geographically cut off from any access to a public road or where the available access is not sufficient for optimal use and exploitation of the dominant land. More particularly, the right of way of necessity is characterised by the circumstance that the servitude is imposed by judicial order (ex lege), based on compliance with certain common law requirements, without the permission of the servient owner and even against his will.

January 7, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Happens to Dead Malls?

The New York Times takes a look at the growing number of malls across America that have failed:

The Owings Mills Mall is poised to join a growing number of what real estate professionals, architects, urban planners and Internet enthusiasts term “dead malls.” Since 2010, more than two dozen enclosed shopping malls have been closed, and an additional 60 are on the brink, according to Green Street Advisors, which tracks the mall industry.

Premature obituaries for the shopping mall have been appearing since the late 1990s, but the reality today is more nuanced, reflecting broader trends remaking the American economy. With income inequality continuing to widen, high-end malls are thriving, even as stolid retail chains like Sears, Kmart and J. C. Penney falter, taking the middle- and working-class malls they anchored with them.

One factor many shoppers blame for the decline of malls — online shopping — is having only a small effect, experts say. Less than 10 percent of retail sales take place online, and those sales tend to hit big-box stores harder, rather than the fashion chains and other specialty retailers in enclosed malls. Instead, the fundamental problem for malls is a glut of stores in many parts of the country, the result of a long boom in building retail space of all kinds.

January 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Tough to Find Buyers for Middle-Finger Building


Developers are struggling to sell some of the most infamous condo units in Washington, D.C:

One of Washington’s most notorious pieces of real estate — a rowhouse-turned-sky-high condo on V Street NW that soars three stories over its immediate neighbors — is struggling to sell its most premium units.

The three-unit condo building, dubbed The Ava, has gone nearly 12 months without selling its middle unit and penthouse. Dropping the prices to just under $700,000 and $800,000, respectively, has yet to yield buyers. (The less-expensive bottom unit sold in August for $375,000.) The average number of days on the market for a condo in the building’s immediate vicinity, along the coveted U Street corridor, is about 19 days, according to a report generated by Adam Turek, a Coldwell Banker Realtor who had clients tour the building in the spring and pass on it.

[...]  People who live next to The Ava have little sympathy. They understand that developers have the legal right to expand two-story rowhouses by stretching them upward and carving them into multiple condo units. But they think The Ava took the concept too far.

January 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Takacs on Internatonal Environmental Injustice

TakacsDavid Takacs (Hastings) has posted Protecting Your Environment, Exacerbating Injustice: Avoiding 'Mandate Havens' (Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum) on SSRN. Here's the abstract:

To compensate for a grave environmental injustice -- climate change caused by industrial pollution -- Northern legal solutions should not exacerbate the problem. In this article, I describe how environmental goals are undermined when domestic nations of the North implement greenhouse gas reducing laws, and I offer some solutions towards ensuring that laws aimed to improve domestic environments and to mitigate the externalities of Northern consumption actually contribute to a more just world. Drawing on the concept of "pollution havens," I introduce the concept of "mandate havens," i.e. Northern laws mandating environmental protection that have detrimental impacts in the South. I focus on how mandate havens result from laws requiring biofuels production and from laws that implement REDD , and I present models for how governments, businesses, and private citizens can work across national boundaries to mitigate environmental injustice both through reducing pollution back home while alleviating poverty and protecting local ecosystems abroad.

January 5, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Top SSRN Downloads

In honor of the beginning of the month, here are the most downloaded property articles on SSRN over the last 60 days:

1.  [129 downloads]  The Justice of Private Law
      Hanoch Dagan (Tel Aviv) & Avihay Dorfman (Tel Aviv)

2.  [124 downloads]  Regulating Mortgage Leverage: Fire Sales, Foreclosure Spirals and Pecuniary Externalities
      Albert A. Zevelev (Penn)

3.  [123 downloads]  Probate Law Meets the Digital Age
      Naomi Cahn (George Washington)

4.  [104 downloads]  Doctrinal Categories, Legal Realism, and the Rule of Law
      Hanoch Dagan (Tel Aviv)

5.  [104 downloads]  Libertarianism and Originalism in The Classical Liberal Constitution
      Ilya Somin (George Mason)

6.  [101 downloads]  Using the New Equal Protection to Challenge Federal Control Over Tribal Lands
      Alexander Tallchief Skibine (Utah)

7.  [83 downloads]  The Federal Public Trust Doctrine: A Law Professors' Amicus Brief
      Michael C. Blumm (Lewis & Clark) & Lynn Schaffer (Lewis & Clark)

8.  [81 downloads]  Law and Culture: A Theory of Comparative Variation in Bona Fide Purchase Rules
      Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci (Amsterdam) & Carmine Guerriero (Amsterdam)

9.  [77 downloads]  Contractual Indescendibility
      David Horton (Davis)

10.  [74 downloads]  Reforming Property Law to Address Devastating Land Loss
       Thomas W. Mitchell (Wisconsin)

January 2, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)