Legal Issues

Legal considerations often drive the practice of planning. Staying up-to-date about legal issues is also a key factor to maintaining an American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) certification. This track contains a range of courses about planning and the law relevant for those involved in planning and urban design.

Legal Issues for Form-Based Codes

Form-based codes (FBCs) have made a big splash in re-zoning, general plan updates and among land use professionals and stakeholders. Learn what form-based codes are from a legal definition, and the authority for form-based codes. Instructor Mark White evaluates the nuances of due process issues, takings, suburban uses of FBCs and exclusionary zoning.

Code Drafting and the Law

In our complex legal society, understanding the basis of planning law and governing legislation is a must. The course begins with the building blocks of understanding codes, and goes on to explore how statutory authority and constitutional issues impact your everyday decisions. It concludes with a discussion of contemporary legal, quasi-legal and administrative practices. 

Planning and the Law: The Takings Clause

This course will help students understand and explore three legal concepts borne of the United States Constitution's Takings Clause: eminent domain, regulatory takings, and exactions. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify whether a particular government action is at risk of violating the Takings Clause.

Planning and the Law: Procedural Due Process

The United States Constitution protects rights to "due process." In a land use law context, due process is why local governments must treat legislative and quasi-judicial decision making differently. At the end of this course, students will be able to differentiate between legislative and quasi-judicial decisions and to understand the due process implications of the distinction.

Regulating Sex Businesses, Part 1: Principles and Foundations

This course shows how to lay the foundation for ordinances that mitigate the negative effects of sex businesses while conforming with constitutional requirements under the First Amendment.

Regulating Sex Businesses, Part 2: Practical Tips

This course will provide practical tips for developing local zoning and licensing regulations for sexually oriented businesses. This course builds on material from Part 1 of this two-part series. 

Defensible Sign Regulations

Communities regulate the characteristics of signs to achieve multiple goals, such as limiting driver distraction, maintaining the aesthetic character of the community, and implementing aspects of related plans. This course will show participants how to draft—and adopt—sign ordinances that accomplish those purposes while conforming with the First Amendment.

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