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The Constitutionality of Design Standards in Planned Community Regulations

18 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012  

Daniel R. Mandelker

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: May 23, 2012

Abstract

This is the fifth chapter in a book, Designing Planned Communities (2010), that reviews the concepts and ideas that go into the design of planned communities, and explores how local governments can encourage and provide for their good design through land-use regulation. Design standards in planned community regulations can raise constitutional problems because a court can hold them unconstitutionally vague or an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. This problem occurs especially with planned community regulations that contain indeterminate design standards, such as equirements that a planned community’s design be “creative” or “harmonious.” The judicial record on the constitutional issues is mixed. Some courts have struck down stand-alone design standards that are not part of a comprehensive program for regulating planned communities, but some have not. Courts have upheld design standards when they are one element in a program of planned community regulation. Even when the courts have struck down design standards, they have provided drafting guidelines that can avoid constitutional problems. The entire book can be downloaded by going to the author's profile on Washington University Law School's website.

Keywords: planned communities, design, land use, zoning, local government, constitutional vagueness, delagation of legislative power

Suggested Citation

Mandelker, Daniel R., The Constitutionality of Design Standards in Planned Community Regulations (May 23, 2012). Designing Planned Communities (2010); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-05-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2065329

Daniel R. Mandelker (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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