Land in Conflict: Managing and Resolving Land Use Disputes: Chapter 1
Sean F. Nolon
Vermont Law School
Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
June 21, 2013
Land in Conflict: Preventing and Managing Land Use Disputes, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Massachusetts, ISBN 978-1-55844-246-7
Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 29-13
Every day, public officials must make challenging decisions involving land that impact open space, economic development, transportation, and countless other issues. These decisions may affect the built environment, the landscape, the quality of life, and the economy for decades or even centuries. How officials make these decisions influences the way community members interact with one another and whether they work as a cohesive or a divided group. When faced with complex decisions, communities often become embroiled in battles that tear at the civic fabric, pit neighbor against neighbor, demonize the applicant, and wear down local officials. Volunteer board members, neighbors, and applicants are often disheartened by what seems to be an insufficient process for solving these difficult, heated land use disputes.
The authors have used a mutual gains approach to manage the most challenging decisions. This approach is guided by core principles, follows a set of clear action steps, and is useful at different stages of land use decision making. It is different from, though not incompatible with, the required land use procedures. The mutual gains approach to preventing and resolving land use disputes is not a single process or technique. It draws from the fields of negotiation, consensus building, collaborative problem solving, alternative dispute resolution, public participation, and public administration. The result is a more public, collaborative process designed to tease out the range of interests and criteria, compare various alternatives, and determine which alternatives meet the most interests. Chapter 1 introduces the approach and gives an overview of case studies from across the United States and Canada that illustrate the principles and steps in the mutual gains approach.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: Land Use, Mediation, Negotiation, Public Policy, Land Development, Zoning, Planning, Dispute Resolution, Conflict Resolution, Conflict Management, Conflict Prevention
JEL Classification: Q24, Q15, R14, R52Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 29, 2013 ; Last revised: September 4, 2013
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