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A Yellow Light for 'Green Zoning': Some Words of Caution About Incorporating Green Building Standards into Local Land Use Law

The Urban Lawyer, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 949-975, 2011

28 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2012  

Michael Allan Wolf

University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law

Date Written: February 7, 2012

Abstract

The focus of this essay is a growing practice to which we can attach the label “Green Zoning” — the incorporation of LEED and competing privately generated standards into local government law, as part of the existing zoning or land use ordinance, or as a free-standing green building ordinance. After reviewing some of the pertinent literature on this topic, this essay will highlight and provide illustrations of six problems with Green Zoning practices: 1. The Delegation Problem — Can and should local laws be based on a moving target (standards set by private parties that continue to change and evolve)? 2. The Compatibility Problem — Are some green building standards inconsistent with good planning practices? 3. The Expertise Problem — Are already overburdened local officials up to the task of incorporating, administering, and overseeing Green Zoning? 4. The Eco-Political Problem — How or should local officials factor in the battles waged over green building standards? 5. The Laboratory Problem — Are variations from locality to locality a good idea, or do state standards make more sense in this area? 6. The Philosophical Problem — What role should builders, architects, and industry experts play in shaping zoning and planning ordinances?

Keywords: green building, environmental law, local government law, land use planning, zoning

JEL Classification: K32, K20, R52

Suggested Citation

Wolf, Michael Allan, A Yellow Light for 'Green Zoning': Some Words of Caution About Incorporating Green Building Standards into Local Land Use Law (February 7, 2012). The Urban Lawyer, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp. 949-975, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2001059

Michael Allan Wolf (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
352-273-0934 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.ufl.edu/faculty/wolf/

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