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What are the basic tools of CL land use system?

Nuisance law and the law of servitudes


Why do nuisance law and the law of servitudes have limits?

1. Nuisance law=can only prevent substantial and unreasonable interference-->what if someone builds a 2 story house in a 1 story house neighborhood? Doesn't really meet nuisance requirements

2. Servitudes=can almost never be used to enforce a common plan in an existing neighborhood (usually only at time the UBP is created)


TRUE of FALSE: Most land use regulation is local

TRUE: Municipal zoning ordinances form the core of land use regulation systems


What are zoning enabling acts?

State gov. have general police powers which it can delegate to municipalities so
EVERY STATE has zoning enabling acts that delegate power to municipalities to pass land use regulations


What is a comprehensive plan?

The zoning enabling acts require zoning laws to be made in accordance with a comprehensive plan

1. Municipalities engage in a planning process that results in a comprehensive plan that is a separate document from the zoning ordinance itself

2. The comprehensive plan guides the drafting and amendment of the zoning ordinance


What is usually included in the comprehensive plan?

Maps showing the general divisions of the municipality into residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural districts and text describing the objectives of the plan and the policies and standards that are to guide real estate development within jurisdictions


Who generally prepares the comprehensive plan and the zoning ordinance?

They are usually prepared by a planning commission before adoption by the city council or other legislative body


Who makes up the planning commission?

It is usually made up of community members appointed by the local legislative body AND professional city planners


What does the planning commission do?

Holds public hearings, investigates and obtains relevant information, develops the comprehensive plan and often the drafts proposed zoning law as well

1. they make recommend changes over time in the local zoning law or in standards for applying or administering it
2. receives rezoning petitions
3. Holds hearing on subdivision approval


What is a rezoning petition and who receives it?

1. the planning commission receives it

2. petitions from particular land owners who are seeking amendments to the zoning law as it applies to their particular parcels

3. The planning commission has no power to pass zoning law itself, it just hold public hearings on such petitions and makes recommendations to the city counsel


What is a zoning ordinance?

Once the planning commission creates the comprehensive plan and drafts a proposed zoning law, the local legislative body (city counsel) hold public hearings and enacts the zoning ordinance


What usually accompanies the zoning ordinance and what is included in it?

1. Usually accompanied by maps showing:

2. Area restrictions=lot size and shape requirements, set backs, frontage requirements

3. Bulk restrictions=limits on building height, shape, mass, often in form of floor area ratios

4. Use restrictions= limiting zones to industrial, commercial, agricultural and/or residential uses


What is the board of zoning appeals and what are its main functions?

Zoning law is administered by a local agency often called the zoning board of appeals

1. unlike the planning committee which serves as a legislative body to help prepare and write zoning law, the board of appeals performs quasi-judicial functions

2. It will receive and act on applications for special exceptions and variances


What is a special exception?

A special exception is a use permitted by the zoning law once certain criteria are met
(Burden on Applicant)
1. Objective standard
2. Discretionary impact standards-they have a lot of discretion in what they will and won't allow
3. Site-specific conditions-what can be used on what site (is this a use that ok on this site or not)


What is a variance?

A variance is permission to engage in otherwise prohibited conduct either bc the zoning law would result in undue hardship to the owner or deprive the owner of any economically viable use for the property

1. Use Variance-
a. Unnecessary hardship (no EVU)
b. Unique to your tract of land
c. Can't be self created no EVU
d. What is the neg. impact on the area
e. What is the spirit/intent of ordinance
f. Site-specific Conditions?

2. Dimensional Variance- (technical)
a. Technical shit


What is the city counsel's role with regards to zoning?

The city counsel is the body that will ultimately pass the
1. Comprehensive plan
2. Zoning Map
3. Zoning Codes
4. They also hold hearings