PLANNING TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES

RP 652

Glenn H. Garber, AICP

Spring, 2006……Thursdays, 9 am to 12 pm, Room 113

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The Tools and Techniques Course has traditionally been a practical look at how things really work out there in the world, what the planner’s so-called tool kit contains and why, and the contrast between different systems of land use regulation. It is a broad survey course designed to quickly convey some sense of what it’s like to practice planning. It is not a history, theory or law course, although there will be just enough of those aspects in the mix to provide context. I plan to bring in some interesting guest lecturers and to assign some intriguing papers and projects, to enliven matters.

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1) February 2, 2006

Zoning:
the Desirable/ the Objectionable/ the Unsightly (Sergio Leone)

History and legal basis; basic concepts: districts, use control, dimensional standards, zoning map, non-conformity; specific powers: special permits amendments and rezonings; general principles of case law; state-granted powers and home rule, other aspects. Zoning as the engine of the modern & “ post-modern” suburb.

2) February 9

Zoning II: In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order (Carl Jung)

Newer tools: overlays; special districts; planned/flexible development; site plan review, rate of development, performance zoning, others. Process: hearings, open meetings, appeals, permitting time limits, fees. Examples and case studies. More significant case law and broad issues, ongoing and emerging. Exclusionary zoning for housing. Social implications.

3) February 16

Subdivision Control: making the world safe for: cars

Purpose; precedents and modern evolution; subdivision regulations; planning boards; permitting process; exactions; exemptions and ANR’s; case law; other aspects. Possible local field trip in second part of class.

4) February 23

Other Approaches to Land Use Control:…if you invent a better mousetrap, the government comes along
with a better
mouse (Ronald Reagan, or his screenwriter)

Different approaches to planning in other states such as California, Oregon, others; county and regional planning; broadly- evolved innovations: cluster and open space residential; planned development and flexible development; development impact fees, TDR, agricultural and resources-based zoning, others. Approaches to planning in other countries. Examples and case studies. Case law that affects these approaches.

5) March 2

Newer Movements in Planning: maybe they were doing things right for the first 300 years or so

New urbanism; smart growth, compact and transit-oriented development; form-based zoning; low impact development, others. Also designated for PRESENTATIONS.

6) March 9

Federal/State Context: it’s not all home rule, even in home rule hog heaven

How various federal and state laws trickle down to impact local planning and regulation, such as Clean Water Act, NPDES, stormwater regulations, national environmental policy act, MEPA, others. State initiatives in smart growth, targeted state aid (Commonwealth Capital).

7) March 16

Comprehensive Planning: make no half-vast plans

How master planning evolved from the old grand city designs; plan and zoning consistency; drawbacks and implementation barriers; public participation. Also designated for PRESENTATIONS.

8) March 23

--No Class—spring break--

9) March 30

The Massachusetts Land Use Reform Movement: I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their strict execution (Ulysses S. Grant)

Case study in laws that tend to undercut planning. Guest lecturer to be announced. Also designated for PRESENTATIONS.

10) April 6

Historic Preservation & Community Character Strategies: where towns get all cranky to save buildings so yankee

Historic districting; historical commissions; demolition delay by-laws; mansionization/teardown regulation; aesthetic controls, other topics.

11) April 13

Municipal Finances: you can’t run the horses without the resources

Property taxation, bonding, overrides, debt exclusion, TIF’s, impact fees, exactions, CDBG, others. Fiscally-driven land use Possible guest lecturer to be announced.

12) April 20

Permitting Case Study :coaxing the elephant through the obstacle course

Possible guest lecturer(s) to be announced. Also designated for PRESENTATIONS.

13) April 27

The All-Too-Real World: I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it (Garrison Keillor).

° Planning Practice Options: you can’t make a dent if you can’t pay the rent

° Looking at Site and Subdivision Plans: Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless (Thomas Alva Edison).

A look at the details of submission plan drawings in the permitting process and the array of required sheets and data. Possible guest lecturer to be announced.

14) May 4

° Major papers due.

° Local field trip to several sites.

15) May 11

Last Class: We are not so much concerned if you are slow as when you come to a halt (Chinese proverb)

Informal presentations on each of the major assignment topics. Powerpoint, boards, other graphic support or handouts not required.

May 31

Grades due.

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READINGS :

Planning Tools and Techniques Reading List

All readings except for J. Levy, Contemporary Urban Planning 7 th ed., are contained in the photocopied reading packets available for purchase at the downtown Amherst Copy Cat shop on E.Pleasant Street. Levy can be purchased at the Jeffery Amherst Bookstore in downtown Amherst.

 

 

 

 

Week/Class

Author

Topic

Page #s

1

Levy

Zoning Popularity/Limits/Effectiveness

120-123, 125

1

Juergensmeyer

Zoning History/Legal Basis

45-48

1

Juergensmeyer

Zoning Purposes

55-64

1

Levy

Chapter 3 (part): Historical Precedent

32-47

1

Juergensmeyer

Special Permits

233-236

1

Juergensmeyer

Controls/Dimensional Stds.

105-113

1

Bobrowski

Home Rule

10-14

1

Juergensmeyer

Enabling

48-55

2

Bobrowski

Open Meeting Law

15-19

2

Bobrowski

The Hearing Process/Time limits

305-310

2

Bobrowski (Supplement)

Non-conforming Uses (case law)

29-30

2

Bobrowski (Supplement)

Rate of Development (case law)

43-44

2

Bobrowski

Non-conformity

179-200

2

Bobrowski

Site Plan Review

281-285

2

Juergensmeyer

Rezoning/Amendments/Fasano

194-203

2

Juergensmeyer

Exclusionary Zoning

286-289

2

Bobrowski

Overlay/Other Districts

367-372

2

Bobrowski

Rate of Development

390-393

3

Levy

Subdivision Reg.'s

117-118

3

Bobrowski

Subdivision Controls/ANRs

469-482

3

Langdon

Streets/Suburbs

27-49

4

Juergensmeyer

Planning in Other States

449-455

4

Juergensmeyer

Clusters/PUDs/TDR/OS

718-725

4

Gillham

Clusters/TDR/Downzoning/Ag Zoning

166-170

5

Porter

Smart Growth Overview

2-9

5

Porter

Compact Development

13-16 / 26-27

5

Gillham

Smart Growth

156-160

5

Langdon

New Urbanism

107-132

6

Levy

Env. Regs./Fed. Role

252-259

7

Levy

Comprehensive Planning

103-106

7

Juergensmeyer

History Comp. Planning/City Beautiful

16-26

10

Bobrowski

Historic Districts

624-629

10

Duerkson

Historic Preservation

<1-4

10

Juergensmeyer

Signage

546-548

10

Juergensmeyer

Historic Preservation

664-665

11

Bobrowski

Exactions/Impact Fees

373-378

11

Levy

Bonds/Finance

114-117

11

Levy

Property Taxes

124

 

PAPERS AND ASSIGNMENTS:

There will be no final examination. There will be a major paper prepared and presented on a team basis. In addition, there will be a smaller paper required, prepared on an individual basis, and one special assignment involving a brief verbal presentation but not a written paper. See the pertinent e-mail attachments or hard copy handouts for full detail on these papers and assignments (Note: as of this writing, the small oral presentation is not yet described in a handout; everything else is now available).

 

GRADING

The final course grade will be based upon the following approximate weighting:

Major Paper = 50%

Smaller Paper = 20%

Class Contribution = 15%

Other Assignment = 15%

 

 CLASS ADVISORY  

For now, the instructor will be available for consultation and advisory on an individual appointment basis. However, due to his other duties and heavy schedule, this is subject to change to one or more designated date/time blocks in which all student appointments must occur. This will be decided after the course has gotten underway.

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Planning Tools and Techniques: RP 652, Spring Semester, 2006

MAJOR PAPER ASSIGNMENT OPTIONS (TEAMS)

General Guidelines: Teams of two to three students will be formed, depending upon the size of the class, and then be assigned one of the five topics below. As of this writing, teams of 3 seem most likely. The papers will be due on or about May 4, the second to last class, so that the final class on May 11 may be devoted to informal presentations by all five teams, focusing on the final conclusions of the paper. These brief reports are expected to be relatively modest (and not like studio presentations, with their strong graphic support and formal structure). Rather, these presentations can, if you choose, be entirely verbal.

Length limits: major papers should fall in the 3500 to 5000 word range, as appropriate to the assignment. This word count for this major paper includes only the principal text and any tables therein, and does not include a cover, table of contents, bibliographic listing, graphics or maps. There is no specific limitation on pages, although for estimating purposes, 12 pt. typeface with 1.5 spacing, average . 9” margins may be used as an approximate set of criteria. Data sources should be cited and textbooks credited with full bibliographic information, as per standard university and departmental practices.

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Option One
Shutesbury: Rural Zoning and Resource Protection

The nearby Town of Shutesbury is proposing a complete restructuring of their zoning by-law, one that seeks to conserve natural and forestry resources in “backlands,” while channeling most future development in a band along existing roadways. The requisite hearing process on these sweeping proposals begins around the beginning of March/06 and the town meeting will be held at the beginning of May. The assignment is to monitor the warrant articles at every key step, to chronicle the progress and outcomes, to express the range of public opinion, and provide analytical context and a critique of the articles. A major paper must be submitted in which an account of the Shutesbury proposals is presented fully and accurately, and in which there is clear understanding of their larger planning significance.

Analogous and contrasting growth management approaches from other places—including some outside of Massachusetts—should be incorporated in brief summary form, in order to provide pertinent background for comparison. Overarching issues inherent in such a far-reaching regulatory intervention should be briefly discussed; these include, but are not limited to: property takings concerns and potential legal challenge; landscape impacts from the fundamental shift in spatial development patterns; and the impact on the town’s ability to meet diverse housing needs. The teams may engage in informed speculation on these issues.

Examples of outside regulatory context might include: agricultural zoning and/or limited development/area allocation zoning from states such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan and other places. Basic information on these systems is readily available on websites and in a few publications. Data and simple graphics from secondary sources (such as Shutesbury maps prepared for this zoning campaign) that enhance the discussion may be included to the extent necessary. Papers will be graded on the depth of their understanding of the large planning issues involved and inclusion of meaningful contextual examples in their analysis.

Students are also encouraged to critique the town’s approach and to contemplate alternative planning strategies (such as a Massachusetts town that might have a strong open space residential development law, the right-of-first refusal on Chapter 61 land, and an agricultural preservation restriction program, or a contrasting example from outside of this state). If the article fails to pass, some analysis of the reasons for this outcome should be included.

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Option Two
Pioneer Valley Cities: The Consistency of Urban Plans and Zoning

This project will evaluate the relationship of city redevelopment plans and zoning and other tools that could be used to help in implementation. Select a city from the Pioneer Valley; the list is below. Obtain an online or hard copy of their existing master plan, community development plan and/or comprehensive revitalization plan. Read the plan or plans lightly, but in enough detail to understand what the long term vision is for the community in terms of its growth and redevelopment, housing stock and population, and economic base. Note as well any particularly bold or innovative action proposals in the plan.

Then go to the city’s zoning ordinance and evaluate that document in regard to how receptive it is to the vision, strategies and actions in the plan(s) This entails looking at the overall zoning district configuration; the specific allowed/prohibited/ controlled land uses; the dimensional, height and parking requirements; required rezoning for particular action recommendations; relevant special overlay districts, and any other pertinent aspects of the ordinance. Cite any other relevant initiatives that the city has established outside of zoning, such as designated 40 R Smart Growth districts, Business Improvement Districts, major Commonwealth Capital-funded projects, or other efforts. Prepare a paper that analyzes the degree to which the city’s existing regulatory and policy framework is friendly to the vision, strategies and action recommendations in the plan(s). The paper should proceed to identify potential changes to the zoning ordinance, and to other non-zoning policy tools where relevant, that are needed to encourage and induce implementation of the plan’s recommendations.

In noting the possible changes needed, the paper should not only demonstrate an understanding of the big issues, but should offer specific proposals (e.g. change central business district height limit from 2 to 3 stories to allow upstairs residential, or, create an adaptive reuse overlay to make conversion of old industrial buildings to residential and mixed use easier in certain districts). However, it is not the expectation that every possible change, relating to every action recommendation in the plan(s), will be addressed; that is too great a prospect for one assignment. The anticipation is that an array of strong examples will be offered in the paper that is sufficient to document the students’ comprehension of the link between plans and implementation tools.

West Springfield // Westfield// Springfield// Northampton//
Holyoke// Greenfield// Chicopee// Easthampton

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Option Three
Regional
Land Use Control: Intertown or Areawide Systems

Massachusetts has the strongest home rule authority in the nation, with the state delegating nearly full autonomy to 351 units of local government whose estimated median population is under 20,000 and whose median land area is around 22 square miles. A majority established their municipal boundaries well before the American Revolution, and all but a handful prior to 1900. County government, once a significant sub-layer of authority in the state, in many cases was eliminated in the late 20 th century or had its powers significantly constrained. There are some virtues to a system granting extensive power within a tightly confined jurisdiction, such as being able to exert strong control over a small management and political unit, but land use might not be one of them.

It is expected that by the time the student teams start working in earnest on this paper, they will have gained a basic understanding of the Massachusetts planning and land use system just by taking this course. The starting point for this paper, then, is to study the exceptions to it, namely the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the Cape Cod Commission and the Devens Enterprise Commission unified permitting system, whereby powers are shared with municipalities in the first two instances, and usurped in the latter, all via special legislation. While the intent is not to study these examples in great detail, it is essential to show an understanding of how they work, why they were established, and the differing policy environments that spawned them at a point in time. Following this task, the student should select and analyze a minimum of two sharply contrasting examples from places and systems outside of Massachusetts. At least one should involve a locality that conducts its land use control by means of the county/city form of government (which means most of the nation). Use annual reports, website information, existing case studies of the chosen jurisdiction, direct contact, the planning legislation in that state and/or other sources to explain how the system works there and how the land use/growth burden is spatially distributed around the county (existing zoning and land use maps would be helpful here).

The second example might involve a scenario where a given state in some ways asserts particularly strong and innovative control over land use, such as in Oregon, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, Vermont, and possibly other states.. International examples can be considered as well. It would be helpful to read at least one update to or critique of the state you’ve selected and its relative success to date (example: the Oregon urban growth boundary system, often cited as the vanguard of planning in the US, is experiencing legislative pressure to weaken the law). If any important associated case law pops up at this stage—or at any of the earlier parts of this assignment--cite it and briefly explain the issues involved, such as a swing to property rights or a narrowing of a takings issue..

Finally, the conclusions of the paper should tie all of the analyses and regional land use control systems together, highlighting differences as well as features that might offer lessons for Massachusetts in the future. The paper overall should demonstrate an in-depth comprehension of the wide array of approaches to land use control and the state-to-local spectrum of authority.

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Option Four
The Corridor as Planning Unit: Figuring Out the Strip

The mixed use and commercial highway “strips” that exist practically everywhere came into being due to the combination of regulatory determinants and local community values and perceived needs. Gaining an understanding of how they became the way they are tells us much about zoning, market forces, and community socio-economics, and presents an intriguing case study. Unquestionably, the zoning allowed the strip to become what it is, but the land uses and character and scale of the resultant development mirrors the priorities and the socio-economics of the underlying town.

The paper should treat the strip—the formal term is corridor --as a single land use unit but one that contains significant contrasts within it. Why is there very limited highway commercial in one community and large scale, high intensity business in the next? Why are the uses in one commercial segment becoming more upscale with chain stores, while in the next town or segment there are still used car lots, auto body shops, diners and dollar stores? How rapidly are these changes occurring? What does this tell us about the power of the market and its ability to respond to opportunity? Why does the frontage along the same road in town A remain rural residential while 200’ away in town B, intense commercial uses start abruptly?

This assignment involves selecting a strip that lies in at least two communities, but in as many as five. If not located in MA, the strip should lie in at least two jurisdictions. It should contain a variety of commercial development, reflecting differing scale and types of business. It may contain residentially-zoned segments or industrial or agricultural frontage or other districts, as long as there is significant commercial usage. The first step is to catalogue and classify the existing land uses on some minimal mapping base; if possible, make use of existing sources such as regional planning agency maps; great detail is not necessary, it’s just an illustrative. Significant changes in development patterns within one town’s strip in recent past years should be noted, such as the advent or completion of a major retail development or an office park. Then, the municipal zoning that applies to the district(s) in question along the entire corridor should be analyzed for their role in establishing the development patterns. You should examine allowed uses, building sizes, building bulk and massing controls and setbacks, parking requirements, and other factors.

Where relevant, a few readily available socio-economic indicators from federal, state and regional sources should be cited for the underlying communities within your study area, to indicate relative socio-economic status.. Correlations between land use, zoning and the relative wealth of the underlying community should be drawn and supported with a small amount of data. The expectation is that the paper will not only chronicle the evolution of the corridor, but will fully explain the regulatory and socio-economic determinants that underlie that history. Papers will be evaluated on the depth of that understanding and how well it is communicated.

Just a few corridor examples; your choice does not have to come from this list, nor does it have to come from Massachusetts:

Route 9, Ware to Amherst

Route 9, Amherst to Northampton

Route 5, Greenfield to South Deerfield

Route 20, Sturbridge to Palmer

Route 68, Gardner to Rutland (central MA)

Route 202, Athol/Orange to Chicopee

Route 44, Plymouth to Middleboro ( SE MA)

Route 2A, Acton/Littleton/Ayer/Shirley (eastern/central MA)

Route 117, Waltham to Concord (eastern MA)

Useful data sources:

Regional planning agencies for land use data and maps
Town assessor records
Municipal planning and community development offices (where available)
Ordinance.com & other websites encompassing local codes
U.S. MA & Municipal Census data
MA Office of Commonwealth Development and Executive Office of
Environmental Affairs websites, community data pages

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Option Five
How Suburbs Grow Residentially: Analysis of a Single Community’s Regulatory Structure

This is a paper about several things: the limitations of modern subdivision control; regulatory connections between subdivision and zoning; physical/visual impacts of subdivision design standards; and the impacts of all of the above on housing diversity.

Select one generally suburban-type community from within Massachusetts or any other state, that is either approaching build-out or is recently experiencing rapid growth. While your selection can be from anywhere, occasional geographic proximity to the town might be helpful in carrying out this assignment. Identify the specific roadway and infrastructure design standards in the subdivision regulations, evaluating for standards that tend to promote what many would see as over-engineered and auto-dependent suburban subdivisions (example: 50’ wide rights of way, 40’ paved travelways, etc.).. Comparisons to engineering/design standards from other places may be used as appropriate. Identify significant exemptions to subdivision control, particularly frontage lots, or approval not required in Massachusetts.

Then try to gather basic residential growth data over time for that community, comparing lots and units in subdivisions, units built on exempt frontage lots and, if possible, houses built on old pre-recorded (grandfathered) lots, as well as units built in cluster or condominium-type developments, and any constructed as true multi-family units. A fairly recent master plan might contain usable data. Annual town reports, to one degree or another, contain subdivision and building permit statistics. Some communities, especially those with a planning staff, maintain strong growth data. The MA Department of Housing and Community Development also tracks housing by building permits issued, and some regional planning agencies monitor and analyze development. Professional real estate organizations also collect new housing unit data by town, and non-governmental entities such as Citizens Housing and Planning Association and the National Association of Home Builders (state branches) conduct similar data gathering. Don’t generate new data; make maximum use of secondary sources.

Next, read the zoning laws in the town, evaluating for two principal issues: 1) what mechanisms in the zoning try, in a sense, to overcome the strictures of subdivision control and design, such as planned or flexible development, open space residential development, mixed use overlays or districts, or special permits for all residential development over a certain number of lots or units? 2) what are the permitted housing densities and minimum lot sizes in the various (predominantly) single-family zones in town and what are the allowed/prohibited residential and multi-family uses and densities in the old town center and other compact villages? More specifically, the paper should address a number of questions:

  1. Have the subdivision and zoning rules in town pretty much codified and dictated the way that the town has grown in recent decades?
  2. Has the infrastructure of much of the residential development been built to or close to subdivision design standards, and if so, what physical and environmental effects has that trend generally had on the traditional character and resources of the community?
  3. Have the mechanisms in zoning to partially “overcome” subdivision design standards produced significant modification to the prevalent growth patterns in the community?
  4. To what extent is the pre-development natural environment of the town or certain parts of it still visually prominent, such as pronounced topography, woodlands, water bodies and water courses, and how have the residential growth patterns compromised or eliminated those resources and amenities?
  5. Have zoning, and to some extent subdivision design standards, worked to impede the production of a diverse housing stock meeting a spectrum of housing needs, by promoting only large lot single family dwellings, or by zoning out multi-family? What populations or needs have seemingly been underserved?

Simple graphic material from existing sources, as well as photographic evidence (images of developments, images of town character; illustrations of roadway design standards, maps, etc.) should be included to highlight your analysis. The paper also must include an outline or bulleted list of recommended modifications to the subdivision regulations and zoning laws that might produce alternative outcomes for future growth management. The paper will be evaluated on the depth of the student’s understanding of these issues and regulatory connections and the thoroughness of the analysis.

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Planning Tools and Techniques: RP 652, Spring Semester, 2006

SMALLER INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT OPTIONS

General Guidelines: Select one topic from the descriptions below. The paper on it will be due around the 1/3 mark of the semester; a specific date will be announced after the start of the course. The exception to this will be the “Track a Subdivision Application” option, which of necessity will have to be due as late as possible in the semester. Length limit range: all papers should fall in the 625 to 1000 word range, at roughly 250 words per page, including only the principal text and any tables therein, and not including a cover, bibliographic listings, graphics or exhibits. Data sources should be cited and textbooks credited with full bibliographic information.

Municipal Planning Office Comparison: Identify and select two municipal planning offices in MA, each if which has a minimum of two full time equivalent professionals. There should be some kind of marked contrast between the two offices, such as one with community development block grant responsibilities as well as planning (the latter defined assubdivision control, comprehensive planning, zoning amendments, some special permits, etc.), or one that embraces planning as well as functions such as zoning appeals, zoning enforcement, building inspection services and/or conservation commission. There is a wealth of easily obtained source material here: annual municipal reports, the Mass Municipal Directory (may be borrowed from Instructor), individual municipal websites, the Mass.gov city and town websites, and other sources will be very helpful in identifying and comparing planning-related offices. Most of the rest of the assignment can be done by having a conversation or two with the planning or community development director or other professional staff. Delineate the full list of responsibilities for both offices, and provide some approximate quantitative measures of staff workload distribution between their various functions, as well as the departmental budget. Correlate with staff size and skills. Find out by talking to planners which functions they feel are underserved, which they would like to get rid of, which powers they do not have that they would like to incorporate or how they might like to reorganize all planning and community development-related operations within their local government. Make general comments/recommendations as you see fit for such reorganization.

Sound Special Permit Decisions--Avoiding Tortoise-Paced Mayhem * : Obtain a signed special permit decision for a predominantly commercial or mixed commercial/residential development in a community of your choosing (primarily non-residential projects are recommended because of the greater likelihood that they must obtain a special permit).The decision may be from a community with or without a professional planning capability; it doesn’t particularly matter because the idea is for you to intuitively judge as best you can what constitutes a sound and legally defensible decision; see criteria a through e below. Briefly describe the key features of the project approved by the SPGA. Critique the decision in terms of: a) the incorporation of specific special permit approval standards; b) their incorporation or citation of other zoning requirements; c) the articulation of additional plan conditions and site modifications imposed by the decision; d) the imposition of special capital improvement obligations or public benefits specified by the SPGA or proffered by the developer; and e) the overall clarity of the document. The instructor might be able to help in obtaining decisions; otherwise, just approach town staff directly. Decisions are supposed to be recorded with the town clerks and retained by the special permit granting authorities. not including any longer excerpts from the actual decision.

Looking at the Law: Select one court case from the last 15 years that made it up to the US Supreme court, or alternatively, a case that made it to the MA or other state high court. The preferred rulings would involve takings and/or exactions. If the litigation is current, then jurisdictional exceptions can be made, allowing use of a decision from a federal appellate court or a state land court or appeals court, or even a lower court where a case is of intense local or special interest. There is excellent material readily available on the Web and in land use law publications Examples in MA & nationally: M. Healy’s Mass Zoning Manual, M. Bobrowski MA Handbook, Boston Bar newsletter, LandLaw; FindLaw, Cornell Legal Information Institute, US Supreme and Appellate Court websites, APA Planning Law, Lexis-Nexis, and many more. Briefly summarize the circumstances of the litigation, describe the court’s ruling, and then explain the overriding planning and legal significance of the decision. Indicate if it marks a departure from long term trends, if it changes the interpretation of a long held case law doctrine, and how it might impact local land use decisions. Cite other cases involved in the decision, as relevant. Your narrative should be as brief and succinct as possible, focusing on the broad issues rather than a lot of detail. Just a few examples: Nollan v. California Coastal Commission; Dolan v. City of Tigard, Oregon; Lucas v. So. Carolina Coastal Council; Durand v. Bellingham, MA; Zuckerman v. Hadley; MA Broken Stone v. Weston, MA; Ball v. Leverett, MA, or others. Do not feel that you have to choose from this list. Use any intriguing case that you like, from anywhere.

International Land Use System: Identify a country other than the US, within which there is a relatively top-down land use control policy, with strong central authority shared with local and regional jurisdictions. Briefly describe the philosophy of land use and resources inherent in the law; the basic workings of the system; the sharing of powers among various levels of government; the methods of appeal and other relevant aspects. Summarize broad differences with systems in the US. Highlight pros and cons of a more centralized sytem.

Track a Subdivision Application: Identify a relatively significant residential subdivision in the current permitting pipeline that is approaching preliminary subdivision review or definitive approval in a MA community of your choice. An in-state community is suggested because you will need access to information and have to attend one or more evening meetings. Briefly describe the proposal. Provide a summary account of its experience to date before the Planning Board. Identify significant issues that the PB is discussing, as well as community opposition. The project should have a reasonable chance of reaching the applicable permitting plateau before the end of the semester. Note any capital improvement exactions (such as for a street widening or sewer main extension to the site, or other improvements) and public benefits being discussed or required. Evaluate the degree to which the decision reflected neighborhood concerns, protected the public interest, and stayed on track (or not) within statutory time limits. Describe the responsiveness of the applicant/developer and any issues that seemed to be paramount to them. Assess how well or inadequately the process worked in achieving the aims of subdivision control, in protecting the public interest, and in providing reasonable due process to the applicant.

* Code for years of dragged out lawsuits.

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NOTE ON THE SECOND SMALLER ASSIGNMENT (BRIEF VERBAL PRESENTATION WITHOUT WRITTEN PAPER)
Details not yet available. This assignment will be given shortly after the start of the course.