Real Estate Law for Planners

NPC17 attendee
APA member
List Price
Group viewing

Certification Maintenance

CM | 2.50
L | 2.50

This session provides planners with an understanding of real estate law, and describes how a planner’s day-to-day work relates to real estate transactions. 

The program will:  provide an overview of estates/interests in land (i.e. fee interests, easements, licenses, dedications, restrictive covenants); review the role of zoning and subdivision law in real estate transactions; discuss how property interests get conveyed, such as by deed, grant of easement, conveyance by plat, declaration of covenants, eminent domain;  review government interests in land, including fee ownership, right-of-ways, easements; discuss where planners fit in during a real estate transaction, such as in contract contingencies; and provide a basic understanding of the players in a real estate transactions, such as brokers, title companies, and attorneys.

The session will also answer questions such as, “what gets recorded?”, “what does a seller of land have to tell a buyer of land?”, and “what are covenants and how are they different from zoning?” The presenters will use a variety of real-life case situations to give attendees a hands-on understanding of the concepts being discussed.

About the Speakers

Brian Connolly
Brian Connolly represents public- and private-sector clients in matters relating to zoning, planning, development entitlements and other complex regulatory issues. Brian’s practice encompasses a broad range of land use matters including zoning compliance, rezonings and other regulatory amendments, planned-unit developments, development agreements, private covenants and restrictions, land use and zoning litigation, initiatives and referenda associated with land use approvals, and real estate transactions. Brian additionally specializes in the First Amendment and land use issues associated with outdoor sign and advertising regulation, and fair housing matters in local planning and zoning. Prior to practicing law, Brian was an urban planner in the planning department of Westchester County, New York. Brian has served as lead co-author or editor of three books. Brian serves on the advisory board of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, and is the Secretary-Treasurer of APA's Planning and Law Division. He frequently writes on planning and land use law topics, including fair housing, sign regulation, aesthetics, and other matters, and Brian is a regular speaker at conferences on these topics, including at national and state conferences of the American Planning Association, American Bar Association, International Municipal Lawyers Association and Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute.

Evan Seeman
Evan Seeman is a member of Robinson+Cole's Real Estate + Development Group, where he practices land use, environmental, and municipal law. Evan advises clients on meeting requirements for land development, real property disputes, and other administrative and real estate issues that arise in the context of land use and environmental matters. He represents developers, landowners, municipalities, corporations, and advocacy groups in administrative proceedings before municipal and state agencies, as well as in litigation in the state and federal courts. Evan has experience in eminent domain and inverse condemnation, First Amendment issues, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), fair housing, equal protection, zoning appeals, wetlands regulation, littoral and riparian water rights, coastal management, easements, restrictive covenants, property rights, landlord/tenant disputes, and tax appeals. He also counsels clients on all aspects of permitting and development, municipal development agreements, purchase and sale agreements, and commercial lease agreements. Evan is a contributing editor to the blog RLUIPA Defense ( and frequently writes and speaks on the topic. He advises municipalities on ways to revise zoning codes to comply with the requirements of RLUIPA and represents both municipalities and religious groups in federal litigation. Evan has been named to the Connecticut Super Lawyers® list as a Rising Star in the area of Land Use/Zoning for 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2014, Evan received Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service Award for his commitment to pro bono work. He earned his B.A. from Trinity College and his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Prior to joining Robinson & Cole, he clerked for the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel of the Connecticut Appellate Court.

Brian Smith
Brian R. Smith, chair of the firm's Land Law Section, concentrates his practice in land use and real estate as well as in litigation concerning these topics. He represents municipalities, developers, and neighbors in land use, planning, wetland, and coastal resources issues. He has been lead counsel in numerous trials and appeals relating to these issues. Mr. Smith has lectured extensively on the topic of affordable housing, land use, and roads and highways. He has also worked as lead counsel in obtaining land use approvals for hospitals, higher educational facilities, retail centers, and performing arts venues. Mr. Smith, prior to law school, worked in planning for Saratoga County, New York, and the City of Eugene, Oregon. Degrees: Cornell Law School, J.D. and Colgate University, B.A., honors in history, cum laude Admissions: State of Connecticut, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, and U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut

David Silverman
David S. Silverman is a partner with Ancel Glink in Chicago, specializing in local government, land use, and economic development matters. Prior to his career as an attorney, David was an urban planning and economic development consultant David is a frequent writer and speaker on a wide variety of land use and economic development issues David is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the honorary society for advancement of land economics, Lambda Alpha International (Ely Chapter) and is a member of the Urban Land Institute. David is co-chair of Ancel Glink’s Zoning and Land Use Group and co-editor of the group’s e-newsletter, In the Zone. David also serves as moderator for the Zoning and Land Use Group’s Twitter site, @AncelGlinkLand (!/AncelGlinkLand).