F&ES 820b

Land Use Law and Environmental Planning

2013-2014
Credits: 3
Spring 2014: M,W, 4:00-5:20, Kroon 319
 
Spring OCI Listing    

 

This course explores the regulation by local governments of land uses in urban, rural, and suburban areas and the effect of development on the natural environment. The course helps students understand, in a practical way, how the environment can be protected through effective regulation at the local level. It introduces students to federal, state, and regional laws and programs that affect watershed protection and to the laws that delegate to local governments primary responsibility for decision making in the land use field. Theories of federalism, regionalism, states’ rights, and localism are studied. The history of the delegation of planning and land use authority to local governments is traced, leading to an examination of local land use practices particularly as they relate to controlling development in and around watershed areas as well as regulatory response to sea level rise and climate change. Course participants engage in empirical research working to identify, catalogue, and evaluate innovative local laws that successfully protect environmental functions and natural resources, and the manner in which towns, particularly on the coast, incorporate climate change into their planning and regulations. Nearby watersheds are used as a context for the students’ understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of local planning and regulation. Attention is paid, in detail, to how the development of the land adversely affects natural resources and how these impacts can be mitigated through local planning and subsequent adoption of environmental regulations and regulations designed to promote sustainable development in a climate-changing world. The course includes examination of the state and local response to climate change, sea-level rise, growth management, alternatives to Euclidean zoning, low-impact development, brownfields redevelopment, energy conservation, and innovative land use strategies