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Calming Troubled Waters: Local Solutions, Part I, John R. Nolon Jan 2019

Calming Troubled Waters: Local Solutions, Part I, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

In 1861, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted the Absolute Use Rule to govern groundwater, essentially allowing landowners its unencumbered use. The opinion noted that the behavior of subterranean water was “occult and mysterious” and that it was beyond the competence of judges to determine its appropriate use. The Ohio court reversed course in 1984 and adopted the Reasonable Use Rule. By then, scientific knowledge had advanced to the point that the interconnected movement of water was more readily discoverable. The court noted that a primary goal of water law should be to conform to hydrologic fact. This Article explores the ...


Low Carbon Land Use: Paris, Pittsburgh, And The Ipcc, John R. Nolon Jan 2018

Low Carbon Land Use: Paris, Pittsburgh, And The Ipcc, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This article describes strategies that local governments are employing to both mitigate and adapt to climate change, using their state-given powers to plan community development and to regulate private building. Local governments have significant legal authority to shape human settlements and, in so doing, lower CO2 emissions from buildings and vehicles, increase the sequestration of carbon by the natural environment, and promote distributed energy systems and renewable energy facilities that lower fossil fuel consumption. Local elected leaders are highly motivated to avoid the on-the-ground consequences of our changing climate. The effects of climate change manifest themselves at the local level ...


Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part Iv), John R. Nolon Jan 2017

Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part Iv), John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Fracking is happening and local governments are subjected to many of its associated risks. They either need to act, or know—clearly and convincingly—why they should not. The federal government has stopped far short of comprehensive regulation of fracking; the states’ regulations range from fair to poor, sometimes preempting local regulation but most often sharing regulatory authority over land use impacts.


Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part Iii), John R. Nolon Dec 2016

Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part Iii), John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

In land use, there are two things that Americans dislike: one is sprawl, the other is density. This catch-22 can be resolved by mitigating those aspects of urban living associated with density: congestion, bulky buildings, sameness, design incongruities, unsafe streets, inefficiency, and the sense that neighborhoods are not livable and pleasant. These characteristics of density cut against sustainability. They define places that people want to leave as soon as they can. To reduce vehicle miles travelled and carbon emissions, as well as to prevent sprawl, we must create places of enduring value, located next to transit in walkable and sustainable ...


Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part Ii), John R. Nolon Nov 2016

Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part Ii), John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The idea that local land use law can intelligently shape settlement patterns was not a familiar concept in the late 1960s when the Town of Ramapo, New York adopted an ordinance that delayed development permits until the Town could provide needed infrastructure. Ramapo was experiencing unprecedented growth as one of the closest northern suburbs of New York City. Developers, who in some cases had to wait years for services to their land, sued; they argued that these phased development controls were intended to prohibit subdivisions and restrict population growth, which is not authorized under the state’s zoning enabling legislation ...


Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part I), John R. Nolon Oct 2016

Zoning’S Centennial: A Complete Account Of The Evolution Of Zoning Into A Robust System Of Land Use Law—1916-2016 (Part I), John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

2016 is the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the first citywide comprehensive zoning law. Its original purpose was to create districts that separated incompatible land uses and building types in order to protect property values and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the community. 100 years later, zoning is used to achieve an impressive number of public objectives such as permitting transit oriented development, creating green infrastructure, preserving habitat, species, and wetlands, promoting renewable energy facilities, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and preserving the sequestering landscape.


Enhancing The Urban Environment Through Green Infrastructure, John R. Nolon Jan 2016

Enhancing The Urban Environment Through Green Infrastructure, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This Article is adapted from Chapter Seven of John R. Nolon, Protecting the Environment Through Land Use Law: Standing Ground, published by ELI Press. The book describes how localities are responding to new challenges, including the imperative that they adapt to and help mitigate climate change and create sustainable neighborhoods. This Article follows the steady advance in the use of green infrastructure in recent years, and details its value as a strategy for adapting to climate change, bettering air quality, lowering heat stress, creating greater biodiversity, conserving energy, providing ecological services, sequestering carbon, preserving and expanding habitats, enhancing aesthetics, increasing ...


Zoning Neighborhoods For Resilience: Drivers, Tools And Impacts, Shelby D. Green Jan 2016

Zoning Neighborhoods For Resilience: Drivers, Tools And Impacts, Shelby D. Green

Pace Law Faculty Publications

A new urban design is needed, one that if not climate-determinist, is climate-cognizant. The built environment should be structured and the natural environment must be managed and protected in a way that regards climate forces that if left unchecked will sap the energy, the very existence of the city.7 A new urban design must begin with a statement of clear ends to be achieved, be based upon authoritative scientific, legal and social principles and must be implemented with an understanding of the costs--monetary and socio-political, that are demonstrably justified in the light of the alternatives. The extravagant and pretentious ...


Mitigating Climate Change By Zoning For Solar Energy Systems: Embracing Clean Energy Technology In Zoning’S Centennial Year, John R. Nolon Dec 2015

Mitigating Climate Change By Zoning For Solar Energy Systems: Embracing Clean Energy Technology In Zoning’S Centennial Year, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Adopting land use regulations that encourage solar and other clean energy systems is an essential strategy for promoting clean power and one that focuses on the essential role that local governments play in mitigating climate change. This article explores efforts at the state and local level to reform zoning and land use regulations to permit, encourage, require, and incentivize rapidly-evolving clean energy systems, particularly solar, that, in the aggregate, have the ability to significantly increase power generation and decrease carbon emissions. The article illustrates how zoning, as it approaches its 100th anniversary, is encrusted with provisions that prohibit or discourage ...


An Environmental Understanding Of The Local Land Use System, John R. Nolon Jan 2015

An Environmental Understanding Of The Local Land Use System, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This Article is adapted from Chapter Three of John R. Nolon, Protecting the Environment Through Land Use Law: Standing Ground, published in 2014 by ELI Press. The book updates and expands on the author’s previous work, describing in detail how localities are responding to new challenges, including the imperative that they adapt to and help mitigate climate change and create sustainable neighborhoods. This Article outlines a comprehensive framework for understanding how traditional local land use authority can be used to preserve natural resources and environmental functions at the community level.


Land Use And Climate Change Bubbles: Resilience, Retreat, And Due Diligence, John R. Nolon Jan 2015

Land Use And Climate Change Bubbles: Resilience, Retreat, And Due Diligence, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This Article examines events on the ground in several localities where climate change is lowering property values and analyzes how those changes in value can be reckoned with by regulators. It merges practices and principles of real estate transactions and finance with those of land use and environmental regulation.

Climate change is a planetary phenomenon whose environmental implications are far-reaching. Reports on climate change consequences increasingly focus on what is happening locally and presently, while speculation continues about long-term global consequences. In numerous communities, property values are declining because of repeated flooding, continued threats of storm surges, sustained high temperatures ...


Highest Court In New York Affirms Local Power To Regulate Hydrofracking, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher Sep 2014

Highest Court In New York Affirms Local Power To Regulate Hydrofracking, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher

Pace Law Faculty Publications

In one of the most anxiously awaited New York land use decisions in recent memory, the State’s highest court held that local governments have the power to regulate hydrofracking under their authority to enact zoning ordinances. Both the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield enacted zoning laws that entirely banned gas drilling and associated activities within their borders. The plaintiffs, a private gas company in one case and a private property owner in the other, claimed that a supersession clause in the State Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSML) preempted local authority. After reviewing the plain language of the ...


Mitigating The Adverse Impacts Of Hydraulic Fracturing: A Role For Local Zoning?, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher Jan 2014

Mitigating The Adverse Impacts Of Hydraulic Fracturing: A Role For Local Zoning?, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This article focuses on the action localities have taken toward mitigating some of the adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking. The Article will explore impacts at the local level and will show the governance gap that has resulted from federal and state regulations that leave many local impacts unmitigated. Zoning laws and other practices that local governments are adopting are also discussed, explaining why state preemption over the traditional role of local governments in regulating this particular heavy industrial activity is not the ideal situation.


Preface To Protecting The Environment Through Land Use Law: Standing Ground, John R. Nolon Jan 2014

Preface To Protecting The Environment Through Land Use Law: Standing Ground, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Protecting the Environment Through Land Use Law: Standing Ground takes a close look at the historical struggle of local governments to balance land development with natural resource conservation. This book updates and expands on his four previous books, which established a comprehensive framework for understanding the many ways that local land use authority can be used to preserve natural resources and environmental functions at the community level. Standing Ground describes in detail how localities are responding to new challenges, including the imperative that they adapt to and help mitigate climate change and create sustainable neighborhoods. This body of work emphasizes ...


Setting The Table For Urban Agriculture, Margot J. Pollans Jan 2014

Setting The Table For Urban Agriculture, Margot J. Pollans

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This article provides context for the various roles that law plays in the cultivation of urban agriculture. This article first reflects on how popular support for the development of a legal framework that promotes urban agriculture is rooted deeply in American agrarian traditions. The article then notes the palatable tension between the rhetoric in support of urban agriculture and the modes of urban law and planning that dominated the twentieth century. It considers how various approaches to urban planning have facilitated or thwarted urban agriculture and surveys recent legal developments designed to accommodate and encourage urban agriculture projects as alternatives ...


The Global Land Rush: Markets, Rights, And The Politics Of Food, Smita Narula Jan 2013

The Global Land Rush: Markets, Rights, And The Politics Of Food, Smita Narula

Pace Law Faculty Publications

In the past five years, interest in purchasing and leasing agricultural land in developing countries has skyrocketed. This trend, which was facilitated by the 2008 food crisis, is led by state and private investors, both domestic and foreign. Investors are responding to a variety of global forces: Some are securing their own food supply, while others are capitalizing on land as an increasingly promising source of financial returns. Proponents argue that these investments can support economic development in host states while boosting global food production. But critics charge that these “land grabs” disregard land users' rights and further marginalize already ...


Changes Spark Interest In Sustainable Urban Places: But How Do We Identify And Support Them?, John R. Nolon Jan 2013

Changes Spark Interest In Sustainable Urban Places: But How Do We Identify And Support Them?, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Changes in climatic and demographic trends are sparking renewed interest in cities generally and sustainable communities particularly. On the one hand, residents and workers in denser, mixed-use neighborhoods served by transit have half the carbon footprint of those in spread-out suburban areas. On the other hand, many of the smaller households that characterize the nation’s growing population prefer to live in precisely those compact, mixed-use neighborhoods. In New York, these changes align with several new state policies that encourage cities and towns to reduce carbon emissions, reduce vehicle travel, create sustainable buildings and neighborhoods, and preserve the landscapes that ...


Land Use And Climate Change: Lawyers Negotiating Above Regulation, John R. Nolon Jan 2013

Land Use And Climate Change: Lawyers Negotiating Above Regulation, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Sea level rise requires a new paradigm for controlling the development of coastal lands that are in harm’s way, calling for adjustments in the law, legal practice, and legal education. This article discusses the historical tendency of the law to adjust to changes in society and the recent emergence of new legal institutions and strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change, particularly sea level rise. It illustrates how the lack of certainty about the extent and pace of sea level rise collides with the total takings doctrine of the Lucas case to frustrate the application of traditional land ...


Shifting Paradigms Transform Environmental And Land Use Law: The Emergence Of The Law Of Sustainable Development, John R. Nolon Jan 2013

Shifting Paradigms Transform Environmental And Land Use Law: The Emergence Of The Law Of Sustainable Development, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

We began these two decades reacting to the market’s interest in developing greenfields and coastal property and end it wondering how to prepare more urbanized places for a growing population of smaller households who seek the amenities of urban living and some protection from the storms ahead. This essay discusses this and nine other fundamental paradigm shifts in environmental and economic conditions that are reshaping the law and changing the way state and local governments control land use and order human settlements.


Managing Climate Change Through Biological Sequestration: Open Space Law Redux, John R. Nolon Jan 2012

Managing Climate Change Through Biological Sequestration: Open Space Law Redux, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Climate change management involves strategies that mitigate its causes and adapt human communities to its consequences. This article describes a legal strategy that does both: a national biological sequestration policy. This policy will increase the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that biological sequestration currently removes from the atmosphere and will enable human settlements to adapt to the harsh effects of a changing climate, while realizing a number of other objectives that preserved open space preservation achieves. The article sketches the influences of international and national climate change law, which largely ignore the benefits of biological sequestration on privately owned land ...


Land Use For Energy Conservation And Sustainable Development: A New Path Toward Climate Change Mitigation, John R. Nolon Jan 2012

Land Use For Energy Conservation And Sustainable Development: A New Path Toward Climate Change Mitigation, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Land use tools and techniques have impressive potential to reduce energy consumption, improve the economy, and mitigate climate change. This article explores the little understood influence of local land use decision-making on energy conservation and sustainable development and how it can mitigate climate change if properly assisted by the federal and state governments. The construction and use of buildings combined with extensive vehicular travel throughout the nation’s human settlements consume large amounts of energy, and much of that consumption is highly inefficient. By enforcing and enhancing energy codes, encouraging the use of combined heat and power and district energy ...


Land Use For Economic Development In Tough Financial Times, John R. Nolon Oct 2011

Land Use For Economic Development In Tough Financial Times, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The recession hit cities hard. Basic municipal staffs and services are being cut, debt is being restructured, capital projects delayed, and other cost cutting measures reported. The Congressional Budget Office reports that by November of last year there were 241,000 fewer municipal employees than there were three years earlier when the recession began. In its most recent report from city finance officers, the National League of Cities states that city spending cutbacks since 2009 are the largest since the survey was first taken, over twenty-five years ago. Despite this serious trend, municipalities have not defaulted in debt payment and ...


Integrating Sustainable Development Planning And Climate Change Management: A Challenge To Planners And Land Use Attorneys, John R. Nolon Mar 2011

Integrating Sustainable Development Planning And Climate Change Management: A Challenge To Planners And Land Use Attorneys, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This essay is based on our new book, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Law in a Nutshell (West 2011) which describes the close relationship between sustainable development and climate change management. It begins with a discussion of recent discussions and agreements at the international level and it provides a brief history of sustainable development and climate change policy. The article then explores national and local strategies to address sustainable development goals. Local planning and zoning, transit oriented development, energy efficiency and green infrastructure issues are also addressed.


Practically Grounded: Convergence Of Land Use Law Pedagogy And Best Practices, John R. Nolon Jan 2010

Practically Grounded: Convergence Of Land Use Law Pedagogy And Best Practices, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The changing dynamics in the field of land use and sustainable community development law demand that land use law professors rethink the way in which we prepare law students to practice law in this area. This needed paradigm shift converges with the growing momentum of the best practices movement which urges law schools to dramatically revise the curricular approach to legal education, arguing that traditional models are no longer effectively serving the goal of producing competent and fully prepared new lawyers. A perfect storm is present and a unique opportunity exists through the application of many “best practices” concepts for ...


Climate Change And Sustainable Development: The Quest For Green Communities, Part Ii, John R. Nolon Nov 2009

Climate Change And Sustainable Development: The Quest For Green Communities, Part Ii, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This is the second part of Professor John R. Nolon’s two-part series on climate change mitigation through sustainable development law. Part I ran in October 2009 http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/646/. In Part I, I argued that local governments should be partners with federal and state governments in managing climate change. This may sound incongruous to the ears of those listening to the debates over cap-and-trade legislation. In that context, state and local programs that cap, auction, tax, regulate, track, or otherwise attempt to manage greenhouse gas emissions are criticized on a number of grounds. The same can ...


Settlement Raises Questions About Housing Obligations, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher Oct 2009

Settlement Raises Questions About Housing Obligations, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher

Pace Law Faculty Publications

It is well established that zoning regulations which operate in an exclusionary capacity are unconstitutional. However, a bright line has yet to be drawn by either the New York legislature or the New York courts as to what constitutes an exclusionary zoning provision. This article examines several restricted holdings of the New York courts and compares the limited New York legislation, such as the 2008 Long Island Workforce Housing Act, to more powerful state legislation from surrounding states, which have had more success abolishing exclusionary zoning.


Climate Change And Sustainable Development: The Quest For Green Communities, Part I, John R. Nolon Oct 2009

Climate Change And Sustainable Development: The Quest For Green Communities, Part I, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This is the first of two commentaries that explore the role of local governments in mitigating and adapting to climate change through sustainable development strategies. They focus on the significant authority to regulate land use and building construction that is delegated to local governments by their states, and how that authority can be coordinated with the roles and responsibilities of state and federal governments to manage climate change and achieve sustainable development.


Rising Tides--Changing Title: Court To Mull Takings Issue, John R. Nolon Aug 2009

Rising Tides--Changing Title: Court To Mull Takings Issue, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The United States Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Walton County v. Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., where novel questions arose concerning sea level rise and constitutional property rights of beachfront landowners. In Florida, the state government owns in trust, all beach property below the mean high tide water line, while beachfront landowners own the rights to any land above the mean high tide water line. The line shifts along with beachfront as the beach expands and contracts. In this Florida case, landowners challenge a state statute, which precludes the ocean property line from shifting in favor of the private ...


Local Governments Weigh Green Building Standards, John R. Nolon, Jennie C. Nolon Apr 2009

Local Governments Weigh Green Building Standards, John R. Nolon, Jennie C. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Through New York state legislation, localities are afforded broad authority adopt green building standards that reach beyond those imposed by state law. As localities begin to undertake the challenge of implementing green building initiatives, many legal questions arise. This article examines several instances of green local action and provides examples of successful local projects, as well as local mistakes. The municipalities mentioned include a broad spectrum of communities, from small municipalities such as Mount Kisko, to some of the larger cities in the state such as New York City and Syracuse.


Changing Times--Changing Practice: New Roles For Lawyers In Resolving Complex Land Use And Environmental Disputes, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher Jan 2009

Changing Times--Changing Practice: New Roles For Lawyers In Resolving Complex Land Use And Environmental Disputes, John R. Nolon, Jessica A. Bacher

Pace Law Faculty Publications

Following this introduction is a discussion of the many excellent papers by academics, practitioners, and students contained in this themed Kheel edition of the Pace Environmental Law Review. The article continues with an analysis of the practice of law and how it is affected by the advent of environmental interest dispute resolution.