Minnesota State University Fall, 2014 URBS 604: Zoning and Legal Issues

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Minnesota State University Fall, 2014 URBS 604: Zoning and Legal Issues
Minnesota State University
Fall, 2014
URBS 604: Zoning and Legal Issues
Class meets on Wednesdays from: 200pm – 4:45pm in MH 112
Instructor: Raymond Asomani-Boateng (Ph.D.)
Office: 106B Morris Hall
Office Hours: Mondays: 10 am – 4pm
Phone: 389: 5030
Email: [email protected]
Web Page: http://krypton.mnsu.edu/~asomar/index.html
Course Description and Objectives
The Founders of the United States had a particular interest in the preservation and
protection of private property. So important was land, that early in the history of the
United States, landowners occupied a special place of privilege and the influence in
matters of public affairs. The authority of government to impact the uses and utility of
land is of critical importance because government is broadly charged with balancing the
individual’s rights and interests in land with that of the “public interest and need.”
Municipal government performs this function within the context of local values and
preferences. The power of local government to perform the above stated function is
premised on its legal establishment under state law and the states delegation of the
police power
This course explores the legal standards by which land use is regulated, and controlled
in the United States. The course is designed for students who wish to become actively
involved or exposed to land management and the planning profession as it is practiced
today in the United States, and as it may need to be practiced in the future
This course aims to offer an array of ideas from various viewpoints. Class will proceed
largely through lectures, seminars based on cases and class discussion. Students should
be prepared to discuss assigned readings in class. Class participation will be critical to
the success of each student.
Course Outcomes
At the conclusion of this course the student should:
1. Be able to read critically and analyze legal decisions and basic statutory materials
related to zoning
2. Be familiar with and able, in a critical fashion, to deal with legal and planning
issues raised by the assigned materials read for and discussed in class
3. Gain working knowledge of the foundations, techniques, administration, and
politics of planning and land-use regulatory powers exercised by local
Donald L. Elliot. A Better Way to Zone: Ten Principles to Create More Livable
Land Use in a nutshell Nolon & Salkin
WEBSITES: FindLaw.com; Oyez.org
Week 1: August 27: Course Overview
Course requirements and highlights
 Individual introductions
 Course overview and requirements
Assignment1 (10%)
Week 2: September 3: Land use Law
Constitutional principles
o First Amendment
o Fifth Amendment
o Fourteenth Amendment
Application of constitutional principles to land use issues
Constitutional principles and Landmark cases
 Property Rights and the Constitution-- Cato Institute
 Chapters 1, 5 and 6 of Land Use in a Nutshell
Week 3: September 10: Zoning Basics
 Evolution of Zoning
 Definition and purpose of Zoning
 Statutory authority to adopt zoning and land use regulation
 Zoning classification & Zoning controls
Case laws
1. Village of Euclid v Ambler Realty Co. (1926)
2. Nectow v City of Cambridge
3. Boove v. Donner-Hanna Coke Corporation (1932 )
 Preface and Chapter 1 of A Better Way to Zone
 Zoning Comes to Town
 Garret Power (1989). The Advent of Zoning, Planning Perspectives Vol. 4, 1-13
 Chapter 3 of Land Use in a Nutshell
 A brief history of zoning
Quiz (10%) Constitutional principles and land use cases
Week 4: September 17: Zoning Administration
Who is who in zoning?
 Legislative
 Advisory
 Administrative
 Quasi-judicial
Quiz: Zoning Basics (10%)
Week 5: September 24: Zoning and the Comprehensive Plan
 What is a comprehensive plan?
 How is it used?
 Why should a community have a comprehensive plan?
 How is it developed?
 How often should it be updated?
Zoning and the comprehensive plan
 The Consistency Doctrine
Case laws
1. Udell v Haas (NY 1968)
2. Board of County Commissioners of Brevard County v. Snyder (FL 1993)
 Zoning and the Comprehensive Plan. James Coon Local Government Series
 American Planning Association Minnesota Chapter: Citizen Planner Handbook
Week 6: October 1: Land use disputes and legal challenges
Nature of Land Use Disputes
Challenging land-use decisions/regulations
 Public purpose rational
 Comprehensive plan
 Taking
 Procedural due process clause
o Concept of procedural due process
o When does it apply?
o What is required to satisfy the procedural due process
 Tom Grundhoefer (2003). Land Use and Development Decisions: Avoiding Land
Use Disputes
 The Story of Sturges V. Bridgman: The Resolution of Land Use Disputes Between
Neighbors, Journal of Legal Studies
 APA Policy Guide on Takings: Land Use Regulations and the “Takings” Challenge
 Chapter 5 of A Better Way to Zone
Legal challenges assignment (10%)
Week 7: October 8: Innovative Zoning Techniques
Variance and Conditional Use Permit
Purpose and authority
Use variance & area variance
Variance procedure and conditions
Practical difficulties
Undue hardship
State Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets Variance Authority
Week 8: October 15: Regulating 1st Amendment Land Uses
Religious Land Uses
 Best Practices in First Amendment Land Use Regulations
Quiz: Innovative Zoning techniques (10%)
Week 9: October 22: Regulating 1st Amendment Land Uses
Signs and Billboards
 APA audio/web conference. 2010. Planning for Signs and Billboards in a Digital
Age. Available at: APAPlanningBooks.com
 Weinstein, Alan. 2001. "Legal Issues in the Regulation of On-Premise Signs."
 Alan C. Weinstein--Zoning Ordinances and “Free Speech”
APA Policy Guides:
 Policy Guide on Billboard Controls. 1997.
 http://www.planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/billboards.htm
 http://www.planning.org/policy/guides/adopted/takings.htm
 Sign Law: http://www.signlaw.com/
Week 10: October 29: Regulating 1st Amendment Land Uses
Sex Business
 APA Amicus Brief. City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books, Inc. 2001
 Cooper, Connie and Eric Kelly. 2007. “Regulating Sex Businesses.” The
Commissioner. Spring. p. 3.
 Strip Clubs: The Bare essentials: Regulation of Adult Uses by Minnesota Cities
Quiz: Regulating 1st Amendment Land Uses (10%)
Week 11: November 5: Deed Restriction
Guest Speaker: TBA
Week 12: November 12: Drafting an Ordinance
Week 13: November 19: Private Sector Roles in Zoning & Environmental
issues affecting zoning
Guest speaker
Week 14: November 26: Revision & Course Evaluation
Week 15: December 3: Final Examination
Students will be evaluated according to the following areas:
Research on Forms of Municipal Government 10
Case presentation
Legal challenge
Final examination
Except in case of emergency or some other legitimate reason, attendance in the class is
Make-ups and incomplete grade
At the discretion of the instructor students may be able to do a make-up assignment or
receive and incomplete grade. Every request for either a make-up assignment or an
incomplete grade will be evaluated as the circumstance arises and will be based on the
merit of the request.
Presentation of cases
For the assigned cases, students should prepare a detailed report which identifies and
answers the following: who are the parties involved (plaintiff v. defendant); what are
the facts? What is the constitutional issue? What is the land use issue? And what is the
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