Monday, February 17, 2014

A couple of new books . . .

I picked up a couple of new land use planning books recently. The first, is a well-known hornbook, Land Use Planning and Development Regulation Law, by Juergensmeyer and Roberts, West Publishing, 3rd Edition, 2012. In the past I have mainly used Dan Mandelker’s excellent single volume Land Use Law (setting aside the excellent multi-volume treatises often necessary for more in-depth research). But that book seems to be out of print, and I have wanted a replacement for basic issues in zoning and land use. J & R serves that function well. It seems very comprehensive, and I may ultimately prefer it in any event. As an example, J & R discusses an often overlooked detail in the scheme of land use planning regulations; what I call intergovernmental immunity. That is, the immunity of local, state, and federal governments from zoning regulations. J & R at §4:22, page 148.

Chapter 8 of J & R deals with building codes, a topic in which I have a great deal of interest, but which is not often discussed in the context of land use planning law. In addition, the book does not stray beyond land use planning all very often. As a result, much of the information is directly related to not just my practice of law, but when I teach, the topics which I teach to students. I find that to be very helpful. In fact, I always like to have some horn book which I can recommend to students so that they can get a quick and simple explanation of some of the cases we discuss in class and get a general overview of the topic. Sometimes in class discussions the minutiae of the case overwhelms the general outline of the subject matter.

One downside of the book is that the index does not seem to be very detailed. For example, with regard to the intergovernmental immunity that I mentioned above, I could not find that subject matter referenced in the index on a quick search. It is there, but it takes a little effort to find.

A second book that I found recently is Zoning and Land Use Law in Georgia, by Seth Weissman, Douglas Dillard, and Jill Skinner. It was published in 2013, and is available to order online.

This is a typical one state overview of land use regulations. There are many of these across the country, and I have always found these books to be quite good. Usually, they are written by a practitioner in the state as a result the information is filtered through the eyes of an attorney with an excellent understanding of the wall of that particular state and the way it fits together. This book is no exception: the authors have done an excellent job of explaining land use in zoning law in Georgia and for anyone wishing to gain an understanding of outlaw, this book is highly recommended. The development of land use planning and zoning in Georgia seems to been a little bit different from that in the various other states, and so this volume is of particular interest in contrasting the development of land use planning in Georgia from estate such as Tennessee. Ultimately, it appears to me that the regulations come out pretty close in the end, but different paths were taken to reach a similar goal.

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