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This article describes the authors’ efforts to develop a model evidence-based sign code and a model example of performance zoning with the intent of balancing the municipality’s desire to regulate signage with the right of business owners to identify prospective customers and communicate with them. Section I describes the evolution of performance zoning. Section II focuses on current and future applications for performance-based codes. Section III describes the strengths and weaknesses of performance codes as well as the possible legal challenges to which they are susceptible. Section IV addresses challenges to performance zoning. Section V outlines the contents of and justification for the Model Sign Code developed by research affiliates with Urban Design Associates based in Austin, Texas.
In order for smart growth programs to succeed, proactive state involvement in land use planning is needed. Smart growth policies and enforcement mechanisms can have measureable effects on sustainable growth management. State oversight and enforcement in certain aspects of land use are critical to the success of any smart growth program. While some states have articulated smart growth goals in their land use regulations, few have successfully implemented those policies. Factors such as strong implementation methods, public participation, and coordinated legislation also contribute to the success of smart growth programs. This article addresses the need for reducing urban sprawl examines the varying levels of state involvement in land use planning and impacts on smart growth, and provides a detailed look at the Oregon system as an example of a successful “smart growth” state. Finally, the article summarizes several crucial features of an effective smart growth program.
Land development addresses economic and social conflicts project by project; but the purpose of sensible land use policies and processes ultimately is to hold a community’s competing needs in tension. Minimizing chaos, while establishing development standards for predictability and consistency in land utilization, advances community development that is beneficial to its citizens. Conversely, a municipality’s land use function fails its stakeholders when tension maintenance is neglected. This article suggests some means by which curbside collateral damage during the Work can be reduced dramatically when a city uses a government’s police power through approaches befitting the circumstances. Part II of this paper outlines a typical situation involving implementing transit Work, while Part III discusses why nothing of value (literally and figuratively) arises from litigation by private property owners seeking compensation for their losses, defended at needless expense to the taxpayers by local governments. Part IV addresses the virtues of applying land use policies and conventions to accommodate transit Work for the survival of neighboring property users.
In order to prevent dozens of valueless, contaminated properties from burdening future land use and economic development across the country, cities and states need to develop local ordinances and state superlien statutes that endow them with negotiating power when facing the threat of abandonment of contaminated sites. This article begins by giving a brief overview of bankruptcy law, Chapter 11 reorganization, and the intersection between bankruptcy and environmental law. It then gives an overview of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and examines important case law involving Chapter 11 debtor environmental obligations and notes when environmental claims may be discharged during Chapter 11 reorganization. Finally, it addresses the environmental problems arising from the recent auto industry bankruptcy, analyzes the proceedings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and argues that cities can use local ordinances and state superlien statutes to leverage power in cleanup negotiations.
The Occupy movement, using nonviolent civil disobedience, is a near throwback to the protests of the 1960s. With a unique form of protest, it has been front and center in the news and public debate for the last couple years. The round-the-clock occupation and transformation of physical spaces has both frustrated local governments and invigorated a dialogue around civil disobedience and the use of public spaces. This article provides an overview of what the Occupy movement is, including its core organization model and decision-making process. It examines the First Amendment arguments proponents use to justify the Occupy movement. One argument is that sleeping is a form of expression protected by the occupiers’ First Amendment free speech rights. Further, the occupiers extoll that the public forum doctrine protects the movement participants’ right to occupy public and private land. Incorporating experiences of multiple Occupy locations, this article explores the legal issues that arise when Occupy movements camp on public and private properties. This article concludes by highlighting three methods for local and state governments to utilize when dealing with Occupy protests. These takeaway lessons include: (1) negotiating with Occupy demonstrators when possible; (2) enacting ordinances and policies before an Occupy protest ensues; and (3) ensuring that ordinances currently in place forbidding occupation and overnight stays cover private parks used by the public.