In This Issue

Real Estate

Neighbor Opposition to Zoning Change

NEIGHBOR OPPOSITION TO LAND USE CHANGE is too often a deciding factor in local decision-making. The concern and input of neighbors affected by a proposed land use is an integral component of the zoning process; 1 however, local legislators agreeing to the demands of vocal opponents to land use change provides an opportunity for irrational decision-making that courts should reject. This article addresses the question of whether, and when, courts can reject denials of land use change because a decision-making body relied improperly on neighborhood opposition as the basis for its decision.


Public Regulation of Non-Commercial Speech in the United States and United Kingdom: A Comparison

THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT’S RECENT DECISION IN REED V. TOWN OF GILBERT,1 added yet another nuance to American constitutional jurisprudence on free speech regulation. For almost a century, courts have construed the federal constitution’s broad provisions of the First Amendment prohibiting regulation of free speech by Congress,2 as limitations against state and local governments.3 The First Amendment has long been viewed as protecting political, religious, social, and artistic expression as core elements of free speech.4

Natural Resources

Has California’s Tri-Partite Statutory Structure Aimed at the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Global Warming, Linking Air Quality, Transportation, and Sustainable Land Use Through Regional and Local Planning, Been Successful?

CALIFORNIA HAS LED THE NATION IN CREATING A UNIQUE TRI-PARTITE STATUTORY STRUTURE aimed at reducing global warming and greenhouse gas emissions by linking air quality, transportation, and sustainable land use1 through regional and local planning. The program implements three innovative and comprehensive statutes: Transit Village Development Planning Act, of 1994,2 as amended 2011 and 2017; Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32”);3 and Transportation Planning and Sustainable Communities Strategy (“SCS”) Act of 2008 (SB 375”).4

Real Estate

Land Use Regulation of Marijuana Cultivation: What Authority Is Left to Local Government

AS OF MARCH 2017, TWENTY-EIGHT STATES HAVE ADOPTED STATUTES—and, in some instances, constitutional provisions—allowing the cultivation of marijuana for medical use,1 while eight states permit at least limited cultivation of marijuana for adult, nonmedical uses (hereinafter referred to as “recreational use”).2 Three additional states, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas, allow in-state cultivation of some form of cannabis for medical use.3

Legislation & Lobbying

Recent Developments in Comprehensive Planning Law

FOR MANY YEARS NOW, THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION SECTION ON STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS REPORTED ON THE RELATIONSHIP OF COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING to land use regulations and actions. It is fair to say that there has been an increasing role of the plan in assessing the validity of those regulations and actions. In making this assessment, this report has divided judicial decisions regarding this relationship into three categories: 1) where the plan is not recognized as an independent criterion, 2) where the plan is a factor of some kind in that evaluation, and 3) where the plan is a constitution-like document, requiring conformity or consistency by those regulations or actions.

Land Use

Recent Developments in RLUIPA and Religious Land Use

FROM THE TIME CONGRESS UNANIMOUSLY PASSED THE RELIGIOUS LAND USE AND INSTITUTIONALIZED PERSONS ACT (“RLUIPA”) IN 2000, in an effort to correct the constitutional infirmities of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RLUIPA has been constantly evolving. In 2016 and early 2017, the courts have further scrutinized RLUIPA addressing issues such as ripeness, standing, supplemental jurisdiction, land use regulations, substantial burden, equal terms, non-discrimination and attorney fees.


A Legal and Practical Overview of How Local Governments Can Help Protect the Safety of Manned Flight in the Vicinity of Airports

IN 2016, THE NUMBER OF UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS (UAS) ECLIPSED THE NUMBER OF AIRPLANES registered in the United States.1 Today, there are more than two registered UAS for each registered manned aircraft.2 UAS have become ubiquitous and could pose a very real threat to manned aircraft if there were a collision. “Unmanned aircraft including model aircraft, many pose a hazard to manned aircraft in flight and to persons and property on the surface if not operated safely.”3 A flock of geese cut the engines on Sully’s plane.4 “[D]rones are more like mechanical geese from hell.”5

Other 2017 Issues

Find all quarterly issues of Urban Lawyer from 2017.