Billy Joel and Land Use


The Piano Man himself relates to land use, sprawl, suburbanization and the environment.  In the spring of 2015 the Touro Law Review sponsored a symposium on Billy Joel and the Law.  As dean and a passionate land use lawyer, I couldn’t pass up the chance to comment on Billy Joel as the Chronicler of Suburbanization.  I hope you enjoy the piece (and even hum a lyric or two) – the article can be downloaded here:

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Free Registration for Baltimore Apr. 4-6 Climate Preparedness Conference

Free registration for local government employees and small- and medium-sized businesses for conference on Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness in Baltimore, MD on April 4-6, 2016.
I received the following information in a DEC email this morning:
Thanks to an anonymous donor, local government employees and representatives of small- and medium-sized businesses are eligible for special funding to cover the full registration cost of attending Local Solutions: Eastern Regional Climate Preparedness Conference April 4–6 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This capacity-building conference, hosted by Antioch University New England’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience in partnership with EPA, aims to help communities build resilience for climate-related challenges and severe weather events. It includes dedicated business continuity and education summits, tours of hallmark projects in the Baltimore area, and numerous resources for local government decision-makers, businesses, and others.

This is a great opportunity for: city and town administrators, managers, and elected or appointed officials and decision makers; regional planning councils; emergency preparedness personnel; public works, planning and parks and recreation staff; county government employees; conservation commissions; and code and zoning personnel, and representatives of small- and medium-sized businesses.

Featured speakers include: Stan Meiburg, acting deputy administrator, US EPA; Avis Ransom, Commission on Sustainability, City of Baltimore; Bob Perciasepe, president, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions; Bill McKibben, founder of 350. org; and Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University, who will discuss how communities can convert to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050.

To learn more about the conference and apply, click here. Connect with the Center and conference on Twitter at @ClimatePrepCenter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Funding will be awarded on a first-come basis with preference given to municipal employees.

Webinar on Public Health and Climate Change in NYS

I received the following announcement about a webinar on “the New York State Climate and Health Profile” from DEC this morning:
The New York State Climate and Health Profile
Webinar Wed., Mar. 31, 2016, 1:00 -1:30 PM
A “Climate and Health Profile” is a critically important first step for states and cities in projecting their climate and health disease burden. This webinar will describe the process  undertaken by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to develop its initial Climate and Health Profile.
The webinar will describe the changing NYS climate, climate-related health impacts, vulnerable populations, methods for assessing vulnerability, challenges and opportunities, existing NYS initiatives and collaborations, and implementation of the NYSDOH Climate and Health Strategic Map.
Following the webinar, participants will be able to:
  • Describe how the climate is changing in NYS.
  • Discuss the potential health impacts associated with climate change.
  • Identify steps in the process of assessing vulnerability and understand who the vulnerable populations are in NYS.
The speaker is Asante Shipp Hilts, MPH, Coordinator, Office of Public Health Practice at NYSDOH. The webinar is part of the Public Health and Climate Change webinar series from the Great Lakes Public Health Training Collaborative and the Region 2 Public Health Training Center.

Touro Institute for Land Use and Sustainable Development Law

2016 Programs Announced

The APA New York Metro Chapter, Long Island Section is happy to be a sponsor of the Touro Institute for Land Use and Sustainable Development Law’s 2016 Bagels with the Boards Lecture Series and the Second Annual Long Island Coastal Resiliency Summit.  AICP CM Credits have been requested for all events.  Visit for more information and to register for each event!

Touro 2016 events

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John Nolon’s series on the 100th anniversary of zoning continues with Part 3, which examines the split in state courts regarding zoning’s constitutionality, culminating in 1926 with the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co.  The case established durable principles of judicial review for land use regulations alleged to be in violation of landowner due process rights. The post can be found here:

Post by John R. Nolon
Distinguished Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law Counsel, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor for Land Use Law and Policy, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies



See below for Part 2 of John Nolon’s series discussing the evolution of zoning and land use law during its first century. Part 2 explains the devolution of legal authority to local governments to adopt and enforce land use laws. According to Professor Nolon, the federal government, which has limited power to control land use, played a critical role in zoning’s rapid spread during the 1920s using an effective strategy for influencing local land use that should guide its actions today. The second post in the series can be found here:
Post by John R. Nolon
Distinguished Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law Counsel, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor for Land Use Law and Policy, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Zoning’s Centennial: A Series by John R. Nolon

In the U.S., the use of the land is governed primarily by 40,000 local governments, whose legal authority comes from enabling acts adopted by the 50 state legislatures. Zoning, broadly defined, is the primary tool we use to determine the quality and quantity of what is developed and what is conserved on the American landscape. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the creation of zoning. It was the topic of the Land Use Law Center’s annual land use conference in December; what we learned from that conference and our 23 years of experience with zoning will be explored in a number of posts in the Land Use Prof Blog as the year progresses.  The first post can be found here:

Post by John R. Nolon
Distinguished Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law Counsel, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor for Land Use Law and Policy, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

RLUIPA and a Nomadic Church in New Jersey


My Father’s House, a small nomadic church in Burlington County, New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit on October 19, 2015 against the Delanco Township of New Jersey alleging the township prevented it from setting up a permanent place of worship due to the zoning ordinance in place. The Plaintiff seeks injunctive and declaratory relief arising from the township’s alleged “discriminatory ordinance” and “unconstitutional treatment.” In its complaint, My Father’s House claims the township’s ordinance violates several provisions of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”) and the United States Constitution.

According to the complaint, since the Church’s founding in 2012, it has never had a permanent place to worship despite its constant efforts to locate such, and has remained nomadic while continuing to serve the people of New Jersey through its practices. Further, the Church alleges it was finally able to locate a promising meeting place at a vacant property that met its budget concerns, only to be denied same.

Upon being informed it would need a use zoning variance because the property was located in an industrial zone, Plaintiff submitted an application. A public hearing was held to hear the Plaintiff’s application and the application was denied on the same day by the Township’s Joint Land Use Board. The complaint cites the reason for the Board’s denial was that “a variance could not be granted without substantially impairing the intent of the master plan and zoning ordinance… churches are permitted in every zone except industrial.” Additionally, the Board was also concerned that “granting the application would hurt economic viability and make it difficult to attract industrial and commercial uses.” Plaintiff’s attorney John W. Mauck of Mauck & Baker commented on the basis for the Board’s denial stating, “Such an argument misunderstands the purpose of the variance process which is to adjust and make accommodations when the zoning code treats the people and property owners harshly and unreasonably.”

As reported on the RLUIPA Defense Blog, the court recently issued a Consent Order in this case preliminarily enjoining Defendant from preventing the Church from using the property it rents as a religious assembly. I would submit that in the interest of fairness to the Church, which has remained nomadic, the court was correct in at least preliminarily enjoining the Township from denying the Church’s use of the property. Although this does not resolve the case, it is a promising first step that will allow the Church to start shedding its status as a nomadic church with hopes to find a home.



Post by Ariela Cohen, Touro Law Center May 2017

APA NY Metro Chapter – 2016 Mentorship Program

Applications being accepted through December 24th!

Join the Young Planners Group (YPG) Mentorship Program as it celebrates its 7th year in the APA NY Metro Chapter. This unique professional development opportunity is made available to planning practitioners of all experience levels and second-year graduate students. The program is free for mentors and there is a $30 fee for mentees to support group activities. There is no fee to apply to the program. Only those mentee applicants who are selected to participate in the Mentorship Program will be required to pay the $30 non-refundable fee. If you have any questions, email the YPG Mentorship Subcommittee at

Apply now to be a mentor or mentee using the following links (case sensitive):
Prospective Mentors:
Prospective Mentees:

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