Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Top Ten Things Learned at Land-Use Seminar

10. The Tahitian Noni headquarters in Provo is an excellent place to host an event. It's a superb facility, offering "a place for a variety of community events, including recitals, free Friday night concerts and talent shows, Monday night movies in the 300-seat auditorium (also free) and one of only eight competitively priced Tahitian Noni restaurants. " Read more here.

9. Laws have an order of precedence. In land-use issues, we work from the bottom up. Local laws have precedence over federal laws -- except for certain carve-outs where large quantities of money or votes are at stake (disabilities, cell towers, billboards). Then the feds take over.

8. Signs may be regulated for time, place, and manner, but not for content. Regulating content would violate the First Amendment.

7. Signs may not be regulated for grammar.

6. Utah was the first state in the nation to ban the use of eminent domain to cure blight.

5. Neither does Utah allow the use of eminent domain to acquire right-of-ways for trails.

4. Where roads, parks, trails, and other public dedications are required of a developer, the rule for remuneration boils down to this: If the public benefits, the public pays. If the private owner benefits, the owner pays. But because there is usually public and private benefit to infrastructure improvements, there is usually a proportionate sharing of cost. This is where things get dicey.

3. Courts give local governments broad discretion to set land-use goals and regulations, but narrow discretion to interpret and execute those laws.

2. The companion book to the seminar, "A Utah Citizen's Guide to Land Use Regulation," is invaluable, and should be available to every citizen. Note to self: Must place a copy of this in our library.

1. In the twelve years Kevin Bennett has served as our city attorney, he has attended this seminar every time it was offered. Today was the first time he was joined by others from American Fork. Kudos to Mayor Thompson for encouraging attendance. Now that we have been properly trained, Kevin's looking forward to a day when no more lawsuits are brought against the city. Well, Kevin, I hope you have at least one good night's sleep over this.


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