Coding to Avoid the Takings Trap

Zoning Practice — May 2019

By Mark White, AICP


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The impact of development regulations on property rights is one of the oldest and most persistent legal issues for planners. This is because land development regulations can have an economic impact on property owners. After nearly a century of regulatory takings jurisprudence, the courts have unanimously determined that mere adverse economic consequences do not create a regulatory taking.

This edition of Zoning Practice summarizes the law of regulatory takings as it relates to development regulations and uses the Supreme Court's 2017 decision in Murr v. Wisconsin to illustrate a set of guidelines to help communities minimize their exposure to financial liability under federal and state takings principles.


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Date Published
May 1, 2019
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Mark White, AICP
Mark White is an attorney and urban planner whose practice emphasizes drafting zoning, subdivision and land development codes. He has completed over 150 development code updates, zoning regulations, and comprehensive plan/smart growth implementation projects for local governments in 36 states. He has published over 22 books and articles on planning issues, including the American Planning Association’s model land development code. He is a member of the North Carolina and Missouri Bars, AICP, and the American Planning Association. Mr. White has a JD and Master of Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.