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Don’t miss tomorrow’s CLE on “How N.Y. Law Allows the Ticking Clock to Run the Zoning Process”

Join land use lawyers, planners, municipal officials and staff, law students and others at Touro Law Center tomorrow for a 1-hour program by Gregory R. Alvarez, Esq. of Amato Law Group, PLLC on “How New York Law Allows the Ticking Clock to Run the Zoning Process.”

How New York Law Allows the Ticking Clock to Run the Zoning Process
Friday, Feb. 24, 2017
8:30 – Breakfast & Registration
9 – 10 a.m. – Program

The land use entitlement process in New York can be a lengthy ordeal, for the applicant, municipality and interested members of the public. Regardless of the degree of difficulty or complexity of an application, the municipal zoning approval process often takes what feels to all involved to be an inordinately long time. Although ingrained processes within municipal building and planning departments can inadvertently delay applications, program faculty Gregory R. Alvarez notes that state law is actually at the core of this problem.

Program faculty Gregory R. Alvarez will begin the presentation by outlining some of the common ways in which time gets in the way of land use applications, and how courts have resolved these issues. The presentation will then review the current statutory framework in place regarding timeframes, and gaps in the statutory framework, which create many of the problems discussed in the case law. The presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of one potential way to close these loopholes, and create a more reliable, consistent review process from which all parties to the land use process can benefit.

This program is certified for 1 CLE credit (Professional Practice) and 1 AICP-CM Law Credit (application pending).

The program is $15 per person, including materials and continental breakfast. Members of the sponsor organizations are eligible for a discounted rate of $10.

Special thanks to our sponsors Farrell Fritz PC, the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association, the Local & State Government Law Section of the New York State Bar Association, the New York Conference of Mayors & Municipal Officials, and the New York Association of Towns.

Registration, agendas, and bios: http://www.tourolaw.edu/landuseinstitute.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities seeks housing policy analyst

This job announcement posted on the Land Use Prof Blog looks like a wonderful opportunity for a mid-level or recent grad (JD or masters) to work on housing policy:

For the first time in 12 years, [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] CBPP has an opening for a new Housing Policy Analyst to join our team in the DC office.  I think you all know our work well enough to appreciate what a good career opportunity this could be for someone with a masters’ (or J.D.) who is interested in making an impact on housing policy.  The person in this position will focus (at least initially) on funding and policy reforms for federal rental assistance, particularly the Housing Choice Voucher program, but the scope of work may expand as opportunities arise.  We’re looking for a really smart, insightful analyst with excellent communications skills and a deep commitment to making poor people’s lives better.  Please share this announcement with people you think would be interested and qualified (check out the job posting at http://www.cbpp.org/careers/policy-analyst-housing).  Salary really is commensurate with experience – we’re open to mid-level people as well as those recently out of grad school.  We hope to have the new analyst begin work in January.

NY Municipalities Eligible for Zero-Emission Vehicle/Infrastructure Rebates

I received an announcement from NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) this morning about a rebate program available to NY municipalities for Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEV) & ZEV Infrastructure. According to the DEC announcement, this $3 million program is available to counties, cities, towns and villages of New York. Under the program, municipalities are eligible for reimbursement of up to $5,000 per vehicle for purchase or leasing of eligible clean vehicles, and up to $250,000 per facility for installation of eligible Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) or hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure. Here are some of the details:

DEC is now accepting applications for rebates, to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis within individual rebate categories until December 31, 2016. After this date, any remaining funds will be pooled and rebates will be made on a first-come, first-served basis regardless of category through March 31, 2017, or until the funds are exhausted.

Full program details are outlined in the Request for Applications found in the Grants Gateway Grant Opportunity Portal.

For specific questions about the clean vehicle/ZEV infrastructure rebates, email ZEVrebate@dec.ny.gov or contact DEC’s Office of Climate Change at 518-402-8448.

Taming the “Super-Wicked” Problem of Waterfront Hazard Mitigation Planning

I recently had the opportunity to publish a chapter in the new book, CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN CLIMATE CHANGE LAW AND POLICY: ESSAYS INSPIRED BY THE IPCC (2016), published by ELI Press. The chapter, entitled “Taming the Super-Wicked Problem of Waterfront Hazard Mitigation Planning: The Role of Municipal Communication Strategies” is available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2792227.

Here’s the abstract:

In the Adaptation Report of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) identifies floods in urban riverine and coastal areas as among the key climate-related risks for North America. Not surprisingly for residents of coastal and riverine communities devastated by recent extreme weather events, the Adaptation Report acknowledges that risks related to sea-level rise, increased frequency and duration of extreme precipitation events, and increasingly intense coastal storms are not only future risks, but are current risks that are already manifesting in property and infrastructure damage, ecosystem and social system disruption, public health impacts, and water quality impairment. The Adaptation Report identifies the current risk level for North American coastal cities as “medium” and projects that, with a 2° Centigrade (C) increase in global average temperatures over pre-industrial levels, coastal urban areas will have to implement “high adaptation” just to maintain the current risk level of medium. With a 4°C increase, even high adaptation is projected to have little efficacy — indeed, the IPCC reports that under a 4°C pathway North American coastal cities will face high risk levels even if they implement high adaptation. Given that staying within a 2°C pathway appears unlikely, policymakers should heed the IPCC’s projections by implementing waterfront development policies consistent with increasingly severe flood risks in both current and expanded flood zones.

Notwithstanding the magnitude of present and future risks to coastal and riverine communities, however, waterfront development policies have shifted only incrementally. The result has been the continued siting of residential communities and critical infrastructure in vulnerable waterfront areas and the expansion and entrenchment of policies, behaviors, and preferences that, at best, fail to mitigate risk and, at worst, heighten risk. Even communities that have otherwise undertaken robust climate change mitigation and adaptation planning continue to base waterfront development policies on irrationally discounted risk projections and embrace communication strategies that obfuscate the risk and ultimately undermine the communities’ ability to adequately respond to the risks. The literature on “wicked” and “super-wicked” policy problems suggests that, in the current context of heightened risk aversion following a major disaster like Hurricanes Sandy or Katrina, municipal governments in the affected areas have an opportunity to transform waterfront development policies consistent with scientific evidence on climate related risks. Shifting waterfront development policies toward resilience likely begins with official communications that accurately portray risk, including waterfront and hazard mitigation plans, flood risk maps, and comprehensive planning processes, which can facilitate changes in zoning and building codes and private market behavior consistent with near- and long-term risks.

Sarah J. Adams-Schoen, Taming the Super-Wicked Problem of Waterfront Hazard Mitigation Planning: The Role of Municipal Communication Strategies, in CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN CLIMATE CHANGE LAW AND POLICY: ESSAYS INSPIRED BY THE IPCC 123, 123-141 (2016).

Land Use Ethics

I’m always on the lookout for great articles on land use law and ethics, and, in that vein, wanted to draw your attention to a recent article by Touro Law Dean Patricia Salkin and Darren Stakey entitled “Further Developments in Land Use Ethics.” 47 Urb. Law. 739 (Fall 2015); available on Lexis and Westlaw, and at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2780534. Here’s the abstract:

“Ethical considerations continue to play a fundamental role in shaping the course of land use and developmental regulatory proceedings throughout the country. From an innocuous donation by one public official to his alma mater, to the outright bribery of a former mayor, the past year has been rife with a range of conduct implicating professional responsibility and land use.”

Save the Date for the 2016 East End Planning Conference

I received the following announcement from APA Long Island about the upcoming East End Planning Conference:

When:  September 29, 2016

Where:  Hotel Indigo East End, 1830 West Main Street, Riverhead, NY  11901

Downtown Riverhead Mobile Workshop:  1:30pm – 3:00pm

Conference:  3:00pm – 7:30pm

Stayed tuned for more information, sponsorship opportunities and online registration! 

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