Planning and Environmental Law

This course examines the key substantive legal issues that affect the use, preservation, and development of land in the United States, and the principles and thinking process by which the legal system reaches decisions intended to resolve these issues. The course will explore how land use and environmental laws reflect the fundamental tension in our society between government regulation and constitutionally protected rights of individuals, and discuss the role that planning can play in helping to define the balance between the means used to achieve public goals and the protection of private property rights. The course will also address certain federal laws that impact land use and local land use regulation. The course concludes by examining programs that seek to integrate land use and environmental concerns, notably, growth management or \’\’smart growth\’\’ programs designed to influence the rate, amount, type, location and quality of development. Course readings include court decisions, statutes, and ordinances, and secondary critical materials.