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Land Use
University of Connecticut School of Law
Bronin, Sara C.

Land Use

Class #3: September 2, 2008 p.50-71

I. Planning
A. The planning process: begins with a course of action, which is a sequence of prospective acts; then there is a plan, which is a course of action which can be carried into effect and which can be expected to lead to the attainment of the ends sought; a course of action which cant be carried out is a “utopian scheme”; utopian schemes are also those where planners envision how the community might appear at a certain time in the far future
1. The larger the territory, the longer the time period, and the greater number of activities regulated the more “comprehensive” the plan
2. A workable program includes progress towards the adoption of a comprehensive plan
3. A specific plans are applicable to particular subcity areas
4. Flexible, middle-range planning has come to replace long-range, end-state planning
B. The role of planning: planning is comprehensive, coordinate and continuing process, purpose to help pub and private decision makers arrive at decisions which promote the common good of society
1. process includes—identifying probs, recommendation of appropriate courses of actions, etc
2. scope of planning can include growth mgmt, econ development, transportation, aesthetics
3. growing interdependence of local communities has caused need for area wide coordinative planning
4. Ultimate goal/purpose of planning: planning concerned with achieving highest possible quality of life for all in the most cost effective way; therefore, useful to set goals
i. setting goals, can be diff because not everyone agrees
C. The Planning profession—Anthony Catanese & Paul Farmer: most planners now recognize that planning theory is unrealistic or esoteric
1. have to take into account increased influence of politicization
2. need to compromise, form coalitions, predicting political feasibility of plans
3. planner’s values: most planners tend to be commited to enviro protection and mass trans, mildly negative about development
D. The Comprehensive plan
1. some states have statutes that require a local gov to adopt a plan
2. planning prof. Susskind contends that state gov should not insist on local comprehensive planning because compliance will be grudging at best, especially if the state declines to fund planning costs
3. but, study shows that local plans tend to be of higher quality in states that mandate planning
4. remedies for violations of compulsory planning reqs—
i. ceding planning power to a regional planning agency
ii. order local gov to bring plan into compliance and suspend locality’s power to grant building permits
iii. have courts decide that non-compliance work in favor of developers
E. Sample Plans
1. the planning process is said to proceed from the general to the particular
2. the land use design plan is the most traditional plan; proposes long-range future urban form as a pattern of retail, office, industrial, residential, open space and public land uses and a circulation system
3. specific plans tend to be much more concrete; may consult with nearby residents
4. some politicians don’t favor too-detailed, constraining plans; some may favor vagueness to give them flexibility
F. John Rahenkamp—argues that any fixed plan is inevitably wrong, have no logical or legal basis and no sensitivity over time to fundamental changes; best we can work with is something approximating 3-5 yrs
1. further agues that its best to lay down infrastructure and let it happen; “managed sprawl”
G. Lindblom: The Science of muddling through
1. the rational comprehensive approach—corresponds to comprehensive planning
2. the successive limited comparisons approach—corresponds to muddling through, i.e., the practice of confronting probs piecemeal as they arise
3. Lindblom argues that muddling through approach is one that agencies actually practice because other is impossible in that it assumes intellectual capacities which men don’t posses
H. the more complicated the whole the more dependent we become on division of knowledge btwn individuals
1. one of the arguments for planning is that a gov official is more likely than a developer to take into acct the external costs that a townhouse would impose on neighboring landowners
I. reconciling planning with democracy: the 5 biases of planners—
1. scattered dev is inherently evil
2. open space preservation
3. city should have strong, high density core
4. journey to work should be reduced
5. central urban residential locations are preferable to suburbs of single family homes
J. planning schemes:
1.

flexible because such strict view subverts the underlying goal of municipal planning which is promoting the general welfare
B. Subdivision Regulation: the review of proposed subdivision maps is one of a municipality’s most important powers; helps enable the municipality to enforce lot dimension reqs, obtain lands designated for pub use on its official map/comprehensive plan, etc;
1. subdivision regulation can benefits lots of ppl such as prospective lot owners, by preventing lot disputes, helps describe land in a legal document
2. may benefit the immediate neighbors, to ensure streets connect togethers, etc,
3. and has community at large benefits such as coordination of major transportation arteries and other pub infrastructure
4. prof. melli suggests that there is a 4th category of beneficiaries, the subdividers themselves
5. Miles v. Planning Board of Millbury
a. Plaintiff developer appeals planning board decision which subjected the P’s plan of subdivision to three conditions; P said board exceeded its authority because it didn’t require other ppl to do that
b. Ct says that a board cant exceed the standards and criteria commonly applied; however, the law doesn’t req a town to be forever fixed regarding its standards; boards can be guided by diff policy considerations; notes diff btwn a reconstructed road v. newly constructed one; says examples cited by P are irrelevant
6. note: street widths—heirarchy of streets = arterial, collector, subcollector (local) and access (cul-de-sac or loop)
a. street layouts: small cul de sac can contribute to social bonding but may impair social bridging btwn those residents and residents of other streets
b. new urbanists favor return to rectilinear grid
c. survey shows respondents prefer lower density cul neighborhoods v. higher density rectilinear new urbanist desigsn