Healthy Zoning

25 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2017

See all articles by Matthew J. Parlow

Matthew J. Parlow

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: July 19, 2017


This Article explores local governments’ foray into the area of health regulation through their general regulatory and land use powers. Local governments are limited in their powers: they enjoy only those powers that the state permits them and, in some cases, only those that they choose to embrace themselves. Health care and health law have traditionally been the domain of federal and state governments. However, many local governments have begun to use what powers they have to attempt to address obesity and other health problems that plague many communities. In fact, land use law may be the most important and powerful tool at local governments’ disposal to create meaningful and positive impacts on our collective health. This Article analyzes the different ways in which local governments are using their general regulatory and land use powers to promote greater health among their citizenry. Many of these health initiatives are controversial.

Critics view local government action in this sphere as infringing on a policy area reserved for the federal and state governments or, at the very least, exceeding local government powers. Accordingly, this Article will also identify and address some of the challenges that such local government efforts face.

Keywords: zoning, health, obesity

JEL Classification: H10, H14, H15, H18, H30, R14, R32, R52, R58

Suggested Citation

Parlow, Matthew J., Healthy Zoning (July 19, 2017). Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 44, 2017, Available at SSRN:

Matthew J. Parlow (Contact Author)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States
714.628.2649 (Phone)

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