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Lewyn Addresses America
Friday, 27 May 2011
blogging from PLPR conference

Have heard some interesting presentations- for example: 

*Doug Harris of UBC (University of British Columbia) spoke on takings law in Canada.  In one case, the city of Vancouver tried to prevent a railroad from breaking up a rail line by selling to users who might tear up the tracks.  The city zoned the land for transportation only, thus ensuring that the land would be useless if it was sold to nonrail users.   Is this a taking requiring compensation?  I suspect that in the USA it would be because it would make the land unsellable.   

But the Canadian Supreme Court held that a compensable taking occurred only if government regulation eliminated "all reasonable uses."  Since transportation was a reasonable use, the law stood.   Bottom line: in Canada government land use regulation is subject to much less constitutional scrutiny than in the USA.

*Judd Schechtman of Rutgers spoke about transit-oriented development in Westchester County.  After an empirical study of land near all 44 commuter rail stations in that county, he found that most land was zoned for low-density, single-use zoning, and that there was almost no land left near most stations that would be developable without a rezoning.   Only 12% of land near stations was zoned for multifamily use, 12% for commercial and only 3% for mixed use.   Bottom line: zoning encourages low-density, auto-oriented use even near NYC and even near transit stations.  

Posted by lewyn at 12:50 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 5 June 2011 12:07 AM EDT

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