Events & Announcements

Continue to check this page for information on the latest news about the Planning and Law Division and other planning and law activities.

April 2015


Ethical Rules and Considerations for Planners, Planning Commissioners, and Lawyers

April 8, 2015
1-2:30 p.m.EST

Sponsored by Planning and Law Division

CM | 1.50 Ethics

This webcast explores the ethical rules and considerations governing planners, planning commissioners, and lawyers who work with planners and appear before planning commissions. The webinar will cover the primary sources of ethical rules, common ethical mistakes, and procedures to correct common mistakes. In addition, the webinar will have an interactive component that will enable participants to interact with the presenters and other participants on ethical scenarios.


March 2015


Lessons from the Sage Grouse: Impacts of the Endangered Species Act on Local Land Use Planning

March 31, 2015
3:30–5:00 p.m. EST
CM | 1.50 Law

Sponsored by Planning and Law Division

This webcast explores what an ESA listing may mean for local governments, how local or regional efforts can be incentivized to cooperate with state or federal policy, how to break down the 'sue-settle' model for the betterment of the species, and whether the ESA requires an overhaul and if that is possible.

Speakers include Fred Jarman of the Building & Planning Department for Colorado's Garfield County; John Harja of Utah's Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office; Dr. Rob Roy Ramey of Wildlife Science International; and Damien M. Schiff of Alston & Bird. Sorell E. Negro of Robinson & Cole will moderate the panel.


CBA Event on Administrative Law Practice and Strategy

March 31, 2015
6–8 p.m. ET
CBA Law Center
30 Bank Street
New Britain, Connecticut 06051
CLE 2.0

The Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association is pleased to be an event supporter for the Connecticut Bar Association's upcoming CLE event Administrative Law Practice and Strategy: Tips, Tricks, and Pitfalls that Every Administrative Law and Land Use Practitioner Should Know, March 31 from 6-8 p.m. ET at the CBA Law Center in New Britain, CT.

About the Program: This program will provide a unique opportunity for practitioners to learn valuable lessons in administrative and land use practice and strategy from experienced judges and practitioners. Our panel will address important considerations and nuances in Connecticut practice, recent substantive and procedural developments in the law, and offer tips, tricks, and advice on how to avoid or address pitfalls that practitioner's commonly face, before local agencies at the administrative level all the way to court in related litigation.

Who Should Attend: Administrative Law and Land Use practitioners of all levels, especially new attorneys and those with intermediate experience who practice before Connecticut's agencies, planning and zoning boards, and courts.

What Will Attendees Learn: (1) Nuances about Connecticut administrative and land use law and some insight into the lifecycle of an administrative or land use matter; (2) Recent developments in Connecticut administrative and land use law, including recent cases, new statutes, and regulations; (3) Tips, tricks, and how to avoid or address common issues that arise in administrative and land use proceedings before agencies and courts.

Learn More & Register

February 2015

New Online Training Available

The November 25 webinar Fair Housing, Affordable Housing, and Local Planning and Zoning is now available on PLD's training page for members to view for free. Presented by Donald L. Elliot, FAICP and Brian J. Connolly, this webcast explores the complex relationship between fair housing and zoning and provides guidance how planners can reduce litigation risk. CM credit is not available to viewers after the live webcast date.

View previously recorded webcast

January 2015

Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

The Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association announces its 32nd Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition. The winning entry will be awarded a prize of $2,000 and submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer, the law journal of the American Bar Association's Section of State & Local Government Law. The Second Place paper will receive a prize of $400, and one Honorable Mention prize of $100 will be awarded as well.

The deadline for submission of entries is June 5, 2015, and winners will be announced by August 28, 2015.

More information

November 2014

PLD Newsletter – Summer/Fall 2014

The Planning and Law Division has released its Summer/Fall 2014 newsletter, which features the following articles and columns:

  • A $6.5 Million Lesson in RLUIPA Defense
  • Sharing Law and Intentional Communities:  A Planning Solution for Urban Poverty
  • PACE Financing for Green Economic Development
  • How to Discover a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
  • Opinion Commentary:  Toward Authentic Public Engagement
  • Student Research Memorandum on RLUIPA
  • I Read It in the Blogs
  • Webinar Initiatives Update
  • A CM/MCLE Accreditation Checklist
  • Movie Review:  Dirt! The Movie

Access the full newsletter

New Online Training available

The October 22 webinar Sex, Guns & Drugs: Planning for Controversial Land Uses is now available on PLD's training page for members to view for free. Presented by Daniel J. Bolin and Gregory W. Jones of Ancel Glink, this webcast explores if and where controversial businesses belong in communities. CM credit is not available to viewers after the live webcast date.

View previously recorded webcast

Meet PLD's 2014-15 Curtin Fellow

The Planning & Law Division is pleased to announce Brett Peanasky as this year's recipient of the Daniel J. Curtin Fellowship. Brett is currently pursuing a dual JD + MCP degree program at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to attending Penn, Brett earned a B.A. in Architecture at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After graduation he served as the 2009-2010 Vice President of the American Institute of Architecture Students, worked as a consultant to the American Institute of Architects Center for Emerging Professionals, and was a program intern for the APA Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas.

While studying at Penn, Brett has worked as a green buildings law research assistant to professor Cary Coglianese and a legal intern in the Real Estate & Economic Development Division of the City of Philadelphia Law Department. He also contributes to the Penn Environmental Law Project and the Garden Justice Legal Initiative of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and serves as an associate editor of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change.

Brett aspires to be both a planner and a lawyer. He plans to build a career that allows him to use the tools of planning and law to effect environmental and civic progress, particularly through land preservation, regional planning and governance, and climate change planning. Brett enjoys reading historical fiction, listening to comedy podcasts, and walking along the streets and paths of Philadelphia with his wife and dog. His favorite cities (so far) are Savannah and London.


Fair Housing, Affordable Housing, and Local Planning and Zoning: Understanding the Obligations and Reducing Your Community's Legal Risk

November 25, 2014
Sponsored by Planning and Law Division

CM | 1.5 Law

During this webinar, Don Elliot of Clarion Associates and Brian Connolly of Otten, Johnson, Robinson, Neff & Ragonetti, will discuss the connection between local land use regulation and the federal Fair Housing Act. The webinar will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern; 1-2:30 p.m. Central; 12-1:30 p.m. Mountain; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Pacific.

October 2014


Sex, Guns & Drugs: Planning for Controversial Land Uses

October 22, 2014
Sponsored by Planning and Law Division

CM | 1.5 Law

The U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the right to bear arms. But it's not that simple. Businesses that rely on these constitutional guarantees continue to generate controversy in communities across the country. To compound matters, state legislatures from Arizona to Massachusetts have been busy granting new — and in many cases, previously unheard of — rights to marijuana and firearm retailers.

This has rapidly drawn planners and zoning practitioners into the debate over how these businesses best fit into their communities, and whether their communities are legally obligated to accommodate these uses in the first place. Spend an hour learning about the issues and regulatory strategies from around the country. (Daniel J. Bolin and Gregory W. Jones, panelists)

2014 SBW Writing Competition

After careful consideration, the Planning and Law Division will not award a prize for this year's Smith Babcock Williams Writing Competition. PLD received fewer entries this year after advertising the competition in the same way it has for many years. We are grateful to all of those students who submitted entries, but unfortunately none of these entries rise to the quality of past competition winners, and none merit a financial prize or publication in the Urban Lawyer. To increase submissions in 2015 while maintaining its high standards, PLD will research new ways to advertise its writing competition and will mount a strong advertising campaign for the Smith Babcock Williams Writing Competition in early 2015. We are hopeful that the submissions will return to level of quality that they reached in previous years.

September 2014

Law Talk and Social: Responses to Sea Level Rise

APA Policy and Advocacy Conference
September 28, 2014
3-5 p.m.
Washington Court Hotel, Washington, D.C.

CM | 2.0 Law

PLD is excited to co-host a complimentary panel discussion and social event on Sunday, September 28, at the APA Policy and Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

The event will begin with a panel discussion of local, state, and federal responses to sea level rise that will spotlight private and government attorneys working in the areas of coastal protection and resiliency. The panel will provide an overview and kickoff a lively discussion of strategies to navigate public and private responses to sea level rise and storms.

Panelists include Jessica Grannis with the Georgetown Climate Center, John Nolon of Pace University's Land Use Law Center, and Samantha Medlock from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (invited).

Immediately following the panel discussion, participants are invited to join Washington-based attorneys and students for a reception to continue the conversation. Free for all participants, PLD encourages law and planning students and local lawyers to attend this exciting event to learn more about this hot topic and take advantage of this excellent networking opportunity!

July 2014


WLand Use & Climate Change: 20 Years After Lucas

July 18, 2014
Sponsored by Planning and Law Division and APA Webcast Consortium

In Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, the U.S. Supreme Court established the "total takings" test for evaluating whether a regulatory action constitutes a taking that requires compensation. Review planning-related U.S. Supreme Court decisions, from the landmark Lucas case through the recent Koontz decision. You'll get useful tips for navigating regulations while you protect your community's environment. (David Silverman and John Nolon, panelists)

June 2014

Curtin Fellowship Application Available

The application for PLD's Daniel J. Curtin Fellowship Program is now available. The application deadline is September 12, 2014.

The Fellowship Program is open to third and fourth year undergraduate students, first and second year master's degree students, and first and second year law students. One fellowship is awarded per academic year and includes a $2,000 stipend, a one-year membership in APA and PLD, and a stipend for up to $950 toward attendance at the APA National Planning Conference to be held in Seattle in April 2015. The term of the fellowship is approximately 10 months (the typical length of two semesters or three quarters) and will include approximately 100 to 200 total hours of work. The fellow will conduct his or her fellowship duties remotely, i.e., from where he or she lives or attends school.

May 2014

Takings Conference 2014

September 19, 2014

The 17th Annual Conference on Litigating Takings Challenges to Land Use and Environmental Regulations will be held on September 19, 2014 at UC Davis School of Law in Davis, California. This conference explores the regulatory takings issue as it relates to land use and environmental regulation. In addition to offering a basic education in modern takings law, the conference brings together a diverse group of leading scholars and experienced practitioners to discuss cutting-edge issues raised by recent decisions and pending court cases. Some of the topics to be discussed include the practical implications of the Supreme Court's 5 to 4 decision in Koontz v. St. Johns Water Management District for state and local government land use standards and procedures. The conference will also address the potential effects of the Supreme Court's decision in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States on the Rails to Trails program in the western United States. National experts will also discuss the new, hotly contested idea of using the eminent domain power to take over underwater residential mortgages. Other major topics will include the potential takings issues associated with water management and possible takings claims that may arise from efforts to adapt to climate change. CLE accreditation will be requested for 8.5 CLE credit hours (60-minute hour).

September 2013


Ethical Rules and Considerations for Planners, Plan Commissioners, and Lawyers

September 4, 2013
Sponsored by Planning and Law Division

Over 140 participants from around the U.S. participated in PLD's interactive and lively Ethical Rules and Considerations for Planners, Plan Commissioners, and Lawyers webinar. From a financial standpoint the program raised over $3,000 for the Division and its future programming, making it a great success for PLD. It was equally successful in raising PLD's profile among planning professionals, plan commissioners, and attorneys that work with planners and appear before plan commissions and zoning boards.

The webinar was moderated by PLD's Education and Outreach Committee Chair, David Silverman, AICP, of Ancel Glink Diamond Bush DiCianni & Krafthefer, P.C. in Chicago. The presenters were Sorell Negro and Brian Smith of Robinson & Cole LLP in Hartford, Connecticut and Hiram Peck, AICP, Director of Community Planning & Development in Simsbury, Connecticut.

The 90-minute webinar covered a wide range of ethical topics that commissioners, planners, and attorneys must be aware of to ensure for a fair, impartial, and efficient zoning and development approval process. Among the specific topics covered were:

  • State and local ethical regulations governing commissioners, planners, and attorneys;
  • Specific provisions of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct that govern the actions of planners;
  • Disciplinary procedures for planners who violate the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct;
  • Selected Model Rules of Professional Responsibility for attorneys who work with planners and appear before plan commissions and zoning boards; and
  • Ethical issues that arise with the use of social media by commissioners, planners, and attorneys.

The webinar was more than a static lecture reciting ethical rules and prohibitions. The program was designed to make the webinar engaging on an intellectual level, but also on a participatory level. Based on participant review responses, the webinar was successful on both accounts. The program included lively discussions on the most common ethical lapses committed by commissioners, planners, and attorneys involved in the zoning and development approval process and how these lapses can be avoided. In addition, the presenters provided strategies to guard against ethical lapses and to proactively deal with lapses when they occur to maintain the efficacy of the zoning and development approval process.

Finally, the last portion of the webinar was an interactive series of hypothetical situations that enabled participants to test their own knowledge of various ethical dilemmas. Participants were presented with four separate hypothetical situations that touched on the lessons from the webinar and were asked to vote on the best response. The poll results were shared with everyone participating and the results were complemented with opportunities for participants to ask questions of the presenters and add their own experiences with ethical matters.

The webinar was consistent in keeping with PLD's educational and outreach mission to advance the knowledge base of citizen planners, professional planners, and other professionals that work with them. With the success of this program, the Division plans to sponsor and conduct more programs in the future, using technology to reach the greatest number of participants.

Listen to a recording of this webinar

Search for Amicus Curiae Briefs

The APA occasionally files amicus curiae, or "friend-of-the-court," briefs in state and federal courts in cases of importance to the planning profession and the public interest. The role of the Amicus Curiae Committee (which is populated entirely by PLD members!) is to find and review cases of potential interest and to make a recommendation as to whether APA participation is warranted.

The Committee is always interested in learning about cases that it might consider for participation, and is always searching for attorneys interested in drafting amicus briefs. If you hear of an interesting case or are interested in joining our bank of brief writers, please e-mail Molly Stuart, APA Staff Attorney, at

For additional information on committee members and briefs

Member Activities

Share Your Pictures With Us!

We want to know what PLD members are up to! Did you see another PLD member at a networking event? Hold an exciting conference? Participate in a Habitat build? Join other PLD members in a 5K walk?

Whatever your story, send your pictures and captions to and we will publish them in future newsletters.

Meet Our New Curtin Fellow

The Planning & Law Division is thrilled to have Emily McClendon as this year's recipient of the Daniel J. Curtin Fellowship. Emily is a second year law student at Georgia State University's College of Law and holds an M.S. in City & Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In addition to her coursework, Emily acts as a graduate research assistant to Professor Julian Juergensmeyer, the Ben F. Johnson Chair in Law and Director of Metro Growth Center at Georgia State. She is also a participant in Transactional Law Meet, the premier "moot court" experience for students interested in transactional practice. Further, Emily is an active member of the Urban Fellows Program, an interdisciplinary initiative of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth in the College of Law. While in law school, Emily has been awarded the merit and academic based Land Use Law Award. Fundamentally, Emily's professional credo is that the future of planning law requires a breakdown of the silos between the professionals involved.

Emily's professional experience includes a summer internship at Emory University of Law's Turner Environmental Clinic, where she worked on Atlanta's Urban Agriculture Ordinance. While a student at Georgia Tech, Emily interned with the Cobb County Community Development Agency and created a model for prioritizing redevelopment inventory. Emily's volunteer work includes acting as a research assistant at the Southern Environmental Law Center and work with the Atlanta Mission's My Sister's House.

As the 2014 PLD Fellow, Emily's work will focus on expanding outreach for the Planning Law Division through the development of a mentorship program. Further planning and outreach associated with the National APA Conference will support the goals and mission of the Planning Law Division. Emily will chair PLD's Early Career Program (ECP) Committee, plan young professional networking events, assist in the updating of PLD's website, and will bolster out membership recruitment and retention activities.

Winners of 30th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

PLD would like to congratulate the winners of this year's Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition for their exemplary contributions to the field of planning.

First prize goes to Nicholas R. Williams for his article entitled "Coastal TDRs and Takings in a Changing Climate". Nicholas is a 2013 graduate of NYU School of Law and he will be practicing in the land development group of a firm in New York beginning this fall.

Second prize was awarded to Chris Erchull for his article, "A Hen in the Parlor: Municipal Control and Enforcement of Residential Chicken Coops". Chris is a third-year law student at Western New England University where he is a Note Editor on the Law Review and has served as President of the Environmental Law Coalition.

Third prize went to Douglas Naftz for his article, "Transboundary Deposition of Naturally Occurring Asbestos from the United States into Canada: A Case Study and Analysis of Possible Legal Responses". Douglas is a third year law student at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and he will be working as an associate at Parsons Behle & Latimer in Salt Lake City, where he will practice environmental and natural resources law.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to our judges (and long-time PLD members), Brian Connolly, John Baker, and Chuck Wolfe, for selecting our winning articles. This competition would not have happened without them. Brian J. Connolly is an attorney with the Land Use practice group at Otten Johnson Robinson Neff & Ragonetti, P.C., in Denver, Colorado. John M. Baker has practiced law for the last twenty-five years in Minneapolis, and is a founding partner of the Greene Espel PLLP law firm. Charles R. Wolfe is an attorney in Seattle, where he focuses on land use and environmental law and is also an Affiliate Associate Professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington, where he teaches land use law at the graduate level. Thanks to those of you who gave your support to the competition by passing along the announcement to eligible students and encouraging them to submit entries.

Call for PLD Newsletter Submissions & Announcements

Want to contribute to the PLD Newsletter? Send us your proposals for articles, case studies, case law updates, book reviews, or blog highlights. Be creative; think beyond the ordinary and send us something our membership is not likely to find anywhere else. Submit your proposals to

Also, announce jobs in the PLD newsletter to connect planning and law related job seekers and employers. Please send your job postings to and we'll include them in our next newsletter. Be sure to include the name of the employer, position, contact information, and deadline for applications.

Publish in APA's Planning & Environmental Law

APA's legal publication for planners, Planning & Environmental Law, is seeking new authors! If you are interested in publishing in PEL, please contact Editor Molly Stuart at

December 2012

Introducing PLD Fellow Melissa Conrad

Melissa Conrad is a second year law student at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. While staying in the top 10% of her class, Melissa serves as a member of the UGA Moot Court Team and the Editorial Board of the Georgia Journal for International and Comparative Law, one of the country's oldest student edited law journals. This spring she will travel with the Moot Court team to Vienna to participate in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. And last summer, she served as the sole legal intern for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

Prior to law school, Melissa served as an independent consultant assisting nonprofits and local governments with public policy campaigns and community development projects, including developing and implementing a three month community engagement plan for the Preservation of Pittsburgh engaging more than 1,000 residents in land use planning efforts. Melissa also served as the Associate Director for Georgia Stand-Up, "A Think and Act Tank for Working Communities". In her role at Georgia Stand-Up, she was responsible for leading the BeltLine Community Benefits Campaign, which led to the passage of historic legislation in the City of Atlanta requiring that all projects receiving public subsidies from the $2.8 billion economic development project include community benefits, such as local hiring and workforce development programs. Resulting from those campaign efforts, historic legislation was also passed regarding affordable housing requirements, local hiring and workforce development standards.

In October 2010, Melissa was recognized as one of Georgia Trend Magazine's Top 40 under 40 Georgians. She has also been honored with a STAND-UP and Act Award from Georgia STAND-UP and Policy Leader of the Year from the Younger Women's Taskforce of Atlanta. She participated in multiple training programs, including the International Association of Public Participation's certification for public participation professions and the Atlanta Regional Commission's Community Planning Academy. She also served on a number of committees for the City of Atlanta, including the BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee and the Atlanta Community Land Trust Collaborative Development Committee.

Melissa lives in Clarkston, Georgia along with her fiancé, Asim, and their two dogs Morrissey and Annabelle Lee.

Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition Winners

The entry awarded first prize in this year's competition is "Buoying Environmental Burdens in Bankruptcy Floodwaters," submitted by Sarah Schenck, graduating May 2014 from the University of Minnesota Law School. Ms. Schenck's entry has been submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer.

The entry awarded second prize in this year's competition is "Implementing Form-Based Zoning to Overcome Exclusionary Zoning and Local Opposition to Affordable Housing," submitted by David A. Lewis, who graduated in May 2012 from Georgetown University Law Center.

The entry awarded third prize is "Valid Regulation of Land-Use or an Out-and-Out Plan of Extortion? Commentary on St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist. V. Koontz," submitted by Catherine Hall, who will graduate in 2013 from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law.

Honorable Mention was awarded to "The Public Trust Doctrine And Sea Level Rise In California: Using The Public Trust to Prohibit Coastal Armoring," submitted by Chloe Angelis, who will graduate in 2013 from the University of California Hastings, College of the Law.

Planning and Law FAQs

PLD Fellow Abby Kirkbride compiled a list of frequently asked planning and law questions, with answers to issues relating to comprehensive plans, legislative vs. quasi-judicial zoning decisions, and eminent domain. You can read them on our Resources page.

2012-2013 PLD Fellowship Application Available

The 2012-2013 Daniel J. Curtin Fellowship application is now available on PLD's Fellowship page. The deadline for application submission is September 14, 2012. Visit the Fellowship page to learn more.

June 2012

Introducing PLD Fellow Abby Kirkbride

The Planning and Law Division is proud to announce this year's Curtin Fellow, Abby Kirkbride. Abby is in her third year of the Juris Doctor/ Master of Urban and Regional Planning joint-degree program at the University of Colorado. Her primary professional interest is the exploration of land use issues in the local government context. Abby has completed internships with a Wyoming-based nonprofit, where she studied oil and gas issues, and with Clarion Associates, where she drafted zoning codes. Currently, she is an intern for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, working on an initiative to increase the amount of local foods in K-12schools. Abby serves as a student delegate to APA's Colorado Legislative Committee, is a member of the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, and of APA's Student Representatives Council. Abby is a native of Wyoming, where she grew up on her family's cattle ranch. She attended college at John Brown University in Arkansas, graduating cum laude with degrees in history and journalism. She currently lives in Denver with her husband. Abby will work on several PLD initiatives and she has already begun work on membership recruitment efforts.

May 2012

PLD Newsletter – Spring 2012

The Planning and Law Division has released its Spring 2012 newsletter. The articles include:

  • Urban Farming: Zoning for Growing and Distributing Food in Portland Neighborhoods
  • Cellular Antennas, Shot Clocks, and Zoning: Two Years Later
  • Getting Real About Shrinking Cities
  • Knitting Green Infrastructure into the Urban Fabric: An Overview of Municipal Policies
  • U.S. Supreme Court Bolsters Landowner Rights when Contesting Agency Non-Compliance Letters
  • I Read it in the Blogs

The full newsletter may be downloaded.

Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

The Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association announces its 29th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition. The winning entry in the competition will be awarded a prize of $2,500 and will be submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer, the law journal of the American Bar Association's Section of State & Local Government Law. In addition to the first prize, the Competition will award a second place prize of $500 and a third place price of $250. Other entries judged to be of special merit may be awarded Honorable Mention.

January 2012

PLD Candidate Statements

PLD has received nominations fort he positions of Chair Elect and Secretary / Treasurer. To read the candidate statements, please click on the links below. Ballots will be distributed to PLD members via e-mail on January 10.

  • Chair Elect: Jennie Nolon Blanchard
  • Secretary / Treasurer: Meg Byerly

November 2011

Planning and Law Division Elections

PLD has issued a call for nominations for the positions of Chair Elect and Secretary / Treasurer. Nominations are due December 1, 2011 in advance of the January 2012 elections.


The newest edition of the PLD newsletter is now available on the Newsletter page. Highlights include news and event updates, a call for participation in new PLD committees, and the announcement of Smith-Babcock-Williams writing competition winners.

October 2011

Curtin Fellowship Application Available

The application for PLD's Daniel J. Curtin Fellowship Program is now available. The application deadline is November 18, 2011.

The Fellowship Program is open to third and fourth year undergraduate students, first and second year master's degree students and first and second year law students. One fellowship is awarded per academic year, and includes a $2,000.00 stipend, a one year membership in APA and PLD, and a stipend for up to $950 toward attendance at the APA National Conference to be held in Los Angeles, California, in April 2012. The term of the fellowship is approximately ten months (the typical length of two semesters or three quarters) and will include approximately 100 to 200 total hours of work. The fellow will conduct his or her fellowship duties remotely, i.e., from where he or she lives or attends school.

March 2011

Behind the Scenes With Directors of NYC GIS Websites

We are pleased to announce that APA's Planning and Law Division is co-hosting a talk organized by the Zoning Committee of APA's New York Metro Chapter, featuring a behind the scenes look at the operation of two websites of critical importance to land use attorneys and planners in New York City. The speakers are Colin Reilly from NYCityMap, administered by the City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, and Steve Romalewski from OASIS NYC, administered by the Center for Urban Research at CUNY. They will discuss the information available on their sites, as well as how they obtain and organize that information, and take suggestions for what may be helpful to practitioners in the future.

The talk was in downtown Manhattan on Friday, April 15.

Planning Law at APA National Conference in Boston, April 9-12

The following sessions related to the intersection of planning and law will be offered in a few weeks at APA's national conference. Some of the sessions are part of APA's Bettman Symposium, which pays tribute to Alfred Bettman, the Cincinnati attorney who filed the amicus brief on behalf of the national planning association in the U.S Supreme Court case that declared zoning constitutional, Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.

Spreading the Cost of Development (S518) (hosted by PLD) As development costs rise, some communities have embraced transfer fees to spread these costs over time. Learn how this fee allows municipalities to maintain environmental and regulatory standards by deferring some costs, basically assessing a fee every time a unit is sold during a defined period.

Speakers: Jill C. Kusy, AICP; Terry Watt Karwowski, AICP; Scott Jackson

Regulating First Amendment Land Uses (W406) Land uses protected by the First Amendment and related statutory schemes such as the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) pose unique risks and challenges for the drafting and implementation of local zoning regulations. Getting it wrong can result in costly and politically charged litigation. Attorneys experienced in the areas of sign and news rack regulation, regulation of religious assemblies, and adult use regulation identify the common principles underlying these issues, and provide their best practice tips for how to protect your community from attack and ensure full compliance with the law.

Speakers: Susan L. Trevarthen, AICP; Randal R. Morrison; Marci Hamilton; Scott Bergthold

Climate Change and the Law (S442) (Bettman Symposium session) Are we prepared for future natural catastrophes as a result of our changing climate? Consider new perspective on disaster law that is based on the principles of environmental protection. The prescription is simple: go green, be fair, and keep safe. Examine opportunities to reform federal, state and local disaster laws.

Speakers: Patricia E. Salkin, Robert Verchick

Planners in the Courts (S550) (Bettman Symposium session) Discuss law and the planners' role in the Kasson Township legal case. Dissect the arguments and explore the final decision. Hear how the formula for success in this Michigan case can be transferred to other state chapters. Consider the lessons learned and leave with a clearer understanding of APA's Amicus Curiae Committee's functions.

Speakers: Mark A. Wyckoff, FAICP; Trudy J. Galla, AICP; Richard K. Norton

Is there Value in Unused Land? (S553) (Bettman Symposium session) Resource use is the norm. Laws secure use rights or chip away at those uses that produce social and environmental costs. Hear why an alternative, resource and property nonuse, has value equally worthy of legal acknowledgement. Explore examples of resource nonuse and consider a legal paradigm that reflects this eco-centric interest.

Speaker: Jan G. Laitos

Avoiding RLUIPA's "Substantial" Burden (S505) Understand the legal interpretations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act's "substantial burden" clause. Hear about recent decisions that shed light on how the courts are interpreting the concept of substantial burden. Uncover steps local governments can take to protect local development regulations from RLUIPA claims.

Speakers: Graham S. Billingsley, FAICP; Michael S. Giaimo; David Morley, AICP; Molly Dunham

Land, Covenants, and the Law (S463)  Community associations increasingly control use, variances, appearance etc. and conflict with the law.

Speakers: David L. Callies, FAICP; Hannah Wiseman; Jo Anne P. Stubblefield

Collapsing State Oversight of Affordable Housing (S570) What went wrong in affordable housing implementation. Why wasn't this able to be anticipated? Why is it so pervasive?

Speakers: James C. Nicholas, Jerold S. Kayden, Robert W. Burchell, Jack S. Nyman

2011 Planning Law Review

The APA New York Metro Chapter hosted "2011 Planning Law Review," on June 29 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.

From the chapter: "New judges on the U.S Supreme court and an active docket are reshaping constitutional law. The states continue to take the lead on climate change, but a backlash is mounting against voter referenda in a recessionary economy. Property rights and fairness, first amendment issues,and the proper role of government are examined is this up-to-the-minute review of the courts and legislations during the past year. Keep current and join our legal panel for this important discussion." CLE credit offered.

Investing Like a State: Political Culture, Privatization, and Property Takings

Debbie Becher, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Barnard College at Columbia University, will speak at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University, on March 24. The subject of the talk is "Investing like a State: Political Culture, Privatization, and Property Takings." Dr. Becher's dissertation, published in 2009 and entitled "Valuing Property: Eminent Domain for Urban Redevelopment, Philadelphia 1992-2007," investigated how Philadelphia creates and implements plans to use eminent domain for private redevelopment and how stakeholders (politicians, bureaucrats, residents, activists, and business-owners) distinguish between eminent domain's use and abuse.

September 2010

13th Annual Takings Conference on Litigating Regulatory Challenges to Land Use and Environmental Regulations

November 5, 2010
University of California–Berkeley School of Law

Conference speakers include a wide range of distinguished scholars and practitioners from around the country.

Featured topics will include:

  • The Stop the Beach Renourishment decision
  • Future prospects for the judicial takings concept
  • Takings problems raised by sea level rise and other consequences of climate change
  • Controversial new decisions applying an expansive interpretation of the Penn Central analysis
  • The state of eminent domain law five years after Kelo
  • The intersection of breach of contract and takings claims against the government
  • Takings litigation arising from regulation of water
  • Takings claims based on the federal rails-to-trails program

Conference sponsors include Vermont Law School, University of California–Berkeley School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, Jr., the California League of Cities, and the Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association.

September 2009


International Comparison of Growth Management Legislation

September 17, 2009
Sponsored by the International Division of APA

This online seminar sponsored by APA-ID will offer an overview of the legal frameworks for New Zealand's RMA and Washington State's GMA. The two pieces of legislation have notable similarities, but their application in both planning practice and judicial processes are quite different. As such, the event may be quite interesting to members in both countries, especially those working in the "growth management states."  This webinar will be offered jointly by APA-ID and the New Zealand Planning Institute, so participants from both countries will attend the online webinar, and an application for this event to qualify for the 1.5 hours of CM credit in the legal category is pending.

The presentation will generally include:

  • An overview of the two statutes
  • Planning processes under the legal frameworks enabled under the statutes
  • Involvement of the judiciary in planning decisions
  • A summary of planning, growth, economic, and legislative challenges

This webinar includes presentations from the New Zealand RMA and Washington GMA perspectives.  Ed McGuire, AICP, an attorney, planner, and former Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board member serving the Seattle area from 1996 to 2009, will present the US perspective.  Daniel Clay, a partner with Minter, Ellison, Rudd, and Watts lawyers focusing on resource management law in New Zealand.

This webinar will be conducted at 3:00pm Pacific and 6:00pm Eastern on September 17 in the United States and 10:00am September 18 in New Zealand.

August 2009

Request for PLD Sponsored Proposals

The Session Proposal Committee of the APA Planning and Law Division (PLD) invites division members to propose a session for the 2010 American Planning Association National Planning Conference in New Orleans. Due to policy changes by the APA, the Division has only one by-right session this year, down from the previous two by-rights. We are asking our members to consider proposing a session that will highlight a current land use/planning legal issue, share innovative ideas, and engage your peers at the premier educational and networking event for planners, land use lawyers, and community leaders in the United States. 

June 2009

APA Launches Ethics and Law Online Training, HIA Course Remains Free

With the launch of two new courses from APA, AICP members now have even more affordable, convenient, and interactive options for fulfilling CM requirements.

Ethical Practice for Practicing Planners (2.0| CM, $49.95) explains the tenets of the AICP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, and challenges participants to analyze situations, reflect on dilemmas, and apply the code. Throughout the course, planning ethics experts discuss how they might respond to several proposed scenarios.

Hot Topics in Planning Law (3.0|CM, $99.95) provides practicing planners with an understanding of the latest developments in planning law.  From digital billboards to AB 32; from the Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 to green building codes; from Oregon's Measure 49 to the impact of Kelo v. the City of New London, the course illustrates how changes in the law impact how planners work.

In addition, APA is pleased to announce that its popular course, Planning for Healthy Communities with Health Impact Assessments, will remain free of charge through June 30, 2010.

At the online course page you may view the catalog, register for courses, and access your training. The site is hosted by Captus Press, APA's trusted online course program partner.

May 2009


Community Strategies for Dealing with Distressed Properties

December 10, 2009
1:00-2:30 p.m. EST

PLD has joined with a consortium of APA Chapters and other Divisions to provide webcasts for CM credit at no cost to their respective members.

Foreclosures have become a major problem in communities across the United States. This session focuses on the legal aspects of dealing with distressed properties. This session is available for CM Law credit and is sponsored by the Planning and Law Division.

Call for Jurors

Professor Weinstein is looking for volunteers (3-4) to serve as Judges for this year's Competition. He does a first cut on submissions to make sure volunteers only have to review a reasonable number of entries, usually around 15-20.  Judges have about two months (late June to late August) to get through these, so it's really not a big deal.

August 2008

ABA adopts Model Statute on Local Land Use Planning Procedures

On Monday, August 11, 2008, the American Bar Association, through its House of Delegates, adopted a Model Statute on Local Land Use Planning Procedures, advanced jointly by the Sections of State and Local Government Law and the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, and co-sponsored by the Real Property Law Section and the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division. The Model Act, intended to serve as a guide to state, local and tribal governments which adopt land use regulations, outlines appropriate administrative procedures that may be adopted in whole, in part, or used as reference to address particular situations.

Providing a complete development permit review process for land use decisions, the Model Statute identifies the requirements for timely consideration of applications, sets forth administrative review procedures including notices, conduct of hearings and appeals.  The Model Statute also provides for appellate review at the local level by a hearing examiner or land-use review board.  Although it does not include substantive provisions for variances, conditional uses or other possible remedies, it is designed to allow for substantive review by whatever body so authorized by local ordinance.  Finally, the Model Statute provides a judicial review process for land use decisions including jurisdictional principles such as exhaustion and federal claims, as well as standards for review.

This effort was based upon Chapter 10 of the American Planning Association's Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook, which continues to serve as the resource for lawmakers and planners who are modernizing state and local planning and zoning enabling acts and laws.

We thought Planning and Law Division members would be interested in this news and have attached ABA's Model Statute on Local Land Use Planning Procedures to this e-mail. The Model Statute also appeared in the May and June issues of Planning and Environmental Law.

Model Statute on Local Land Use Planning Procedures (pdf)

May 2007

Planning and Law Division Website

Planning and Law Division Daniel J. Curtin Fellow David Gest (Spring 2007) has volunteered to serve as PLD webmaster.

Summaries of 12 major land use cases in the U.S.