Categories: Administrative and Regulatory Law Real Estate, Land Use, and Community Law


Ohm, Brian

Course Data

Room Music Hall 212
TR 9:30am-10:45am

Pass/Fail: Yes

Past Grade Distributions (Fall '22 and onward)
Spring 2023 Regular

Course Description

Limitations imposed upon the use of privately owned land by the court-made law of nuisance, by private covenant, and by public action; master plan, official map, subdivision regulation, zoning, and urban redevelopment.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Planning Knowledge: This course will provide students with an appreciation of the legal and institutional contexts within which planning occurs. For most people working on planning-related issues, the legal system influences what they do in some way. For example, planners and lawyers may find themselves working for a local unit of government drafting and interpreting local regulations, a private consulting firm drafting a contract for services, a state or federal agency drafting administrative rules, a nonprofit land trust acquiring conservation easements, a local redevelopment authority doing real estate “deals,” etc. Legal mandates are often the reason why communities undertake planning.

This course will attempt to "demystify" the legal system by providing an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the operation and functioning of the legal system and its impact on planning. The course will provide a brief historical overview of the operation of law within a federalist form of government and provide students with an appreciation of the behaviors and structures of the different units of government available to bring about sound planning outcomes. The course will introduce students to the basic legal principles governing the areas of local government, real estate, contract, planning, zoning, environmental, administrative, and constitutional law. The course will explore the role of planners and lawyers within this system. While the course is primarily focused on the legal system in the United States, students will be exposed to foreign legal systems for comparative purposes.

Planning Skills: Students will develop basic legal research skills that they will use to perform specific tasks required in the practice of planning. They will know how to find and analyze information from primary and secondary legal resources. Students will also be able to draft documents related to plan creation, implementation, and enforcement.

Planning Values and Ethics: As a result of this class, students will have an appreciation of key issues of the ethics of public decision-making including the AICP Code of Ethics and state rules related to the unauthorized practice of law. They will have an appreciation of the role of officials, stakeholders, and community members in planning in a democratic society. They will also have an appreciation of sustainability, environmental quality, social justice, economic, and cultural factors in planning.

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