Land use Research - Hofstra University School of Law

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Law Library Resources
Sources of Power for Land Use
Public land use controls, including zoning, building codes and subdivisions are exercises of the police
power. It is limited by the federal and state constitutions but generally legislatures can delegate their
power to local governments. The delegated police power is distributed to municipalities including
cities, counties, villages and towns.*
oStandard Zoning Enabling Act -released in 1924, this is the source of power for land use control, all
states adopted enabling acts substantially patterned on this Act.
oCharter-a written document by which a local government is created and its rights and privileges are
set forth, usually zoning power is conferred in the charter.
oHome rule-land use regulation is granted either by state Constitution or legislation.
oInherent and implied powers-zoning power not delegated by a Constitution or legislation but many
states have given some form of inherent and implied powers to municipalities.
oInitiative and referendum
*See: Land Use Planning & Development Regulation Law, Julian Conrad Juergensmeyer and Thomas E. Roberts; American Law of Zoning, Patricia E. Salkin.
Land Use Resources by Topic in
LexisNexis and WestlawNext
To browse resources on zoning and land use law on:
oLexis Advance: go to BrowseTopicsEnvironmental Law OR Governments (subtopic Local
Governments) OR Real Property Law.
oWestlawNext: go to Practice AreasEnergy & Environment OR Municipal Law OR Real
For both federal and state cases:
o Westlaw: Search by Practice AreaMunicipal LawMunicipal Law Cases, Ordinance Law Annotations
(digest of cases arranged topically that interpret and apply city and county ordinances); also Real
PropertyReal Property Cases.
o LexisAdvance: Search by TopicGovernmentsLocal Government; also Real Property LawZoning.
o Bloomberg Law
Print Sources:
o Shepard's Ordinance Law Annotations (Law Classified, KF5313 .S5 Cancelled 9/2011)- Citations to cases
that interpret and apply city and county ordinances.
Federal Statutes
Congress may also enact legislation that regulates land use and zoning such as environmental or
discrimination laws.
Search by using the index or use Federal Land Use Law & Litigation (Law Classified, KF5698.Z9 F43;
WestlawNext) which provides annotations to relevant statutes.
o Westlaw: United States Code Annotated
o LexisAdvance: United States Code Service
o Bloomberg Law
o Fdsys: United States Code
Print Sources:
o USCA, USCS, USC: Located in Reading Room.
Legislation Tracking:
o WestlawNext-select from homepage Proposed & Adopted Legislation.
Federal Regulations
Federal regulations may also govern some aspects of land use and zoning.
Code of Federal Regulations is an annual codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal
Register. It can be searched by index. Applicable titles include Title 30 - Mineral Resources, Title 36 - Parks, Forest
and Public Property and Title 43 - Public Lands: Interior.
Federal Register provides presidential documents, regulatory documents with general applicability and legal effect,
proposed and final regulations, notices, and documents required by statute to be published. Also can be searched
by index.
o WestlawNext, LexisAdvance, Bloomberg Law: Code of Federal Regulations; Federal Register.
o (current version only) allows regulations search by agency, by topic, or by keyword.
o Fdsys: Code of Federal Regulations; Federal Register
Print Sources:
o CFR and Federal Register: Located in Reading Room.
Regulations Tracking:
o WestlawNext-select from homepage Proposed & Adopted Regulations.
State Statutes
State laws governing land use planning, zoning, and eminent domain clauses can be found in the state
constitutions as well as legislation.
o Westlaw: search by keyword for all states or index by state; 50 state statutory survey by topics Government and Real
o LexisAdvance: search by keyword or state statutes index; search Zoning and Land Use Controls (enter title in search bar)
provides summaries of each state's laws.
o Bloomberg Law-provides New York Consolidated and Unconsolidated Laws.
o Gaining Ground Information Database (Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development)
Provides selected federal and state laws, local ordinances, and other documents related to land use.
Print Sources:
o State Statutes: Located in downstairs State Room.
o New York materials only: McKinney’s Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated-Reading room, NY section, KFN5030 1939
.A234; Consolidated Law Service (CLS)-Reading room, NY section, KFN5030 .A46.
Legislation Tracking:
o WestlawNext-for individual state under Proposed & Adopted Legislation.
Relevant New York Statutes
oCounty Law (Chapter 11 of the Consolidated Laws)
oGeneral Municipal Law (Chapter 24 of the Consolidated Laws)
oMunicipal Home Rule Law (Chapter 36–A of the Consolidated Laws)
oStatute of Local Governments (Chapter 58–A Of the Consolidated Laws)
State Regulations
State regulations may also govern some aspects of land use and zoning. Most states will have an
equivalent to the Federal Register.
o WestlawNext: Search by individual state for regulations and register materials.
o LexisAdvance, Bloomberg Law: search by individual state under Administrative or Regulatory materials.
o Google
Print Sources:
o New York materials only: Official compilation of codes, rules and regulations, Law Reserve,
KFN5035.A22 N4; New York State Register, Law Reading Room.
Regulations Tracking:
o WestlawNext-for individual state under Proposed & Adopted Regulations.
Legislative History
"Legislative history" generally refers to the documents created by the legislature in the course of
the legislative process. Legislative histories are often needed to investigate the legislative intent
behind a statute.
Refer to the following Research Guide:
o Federal Legislative History
o New York Legislative History
o State Legislative History Guides
o Google-search for legislative guides created by a law school by state.
Local Laws (Municipal Laws and
Local governments can be authorized to regulate land usage through home rule acts and zoning
enabling acts.
o LexisAdvance: click on “Browse”, then enter State Municipal Code in “Search for Source” field (ex. Colorado
Municipal Codes).
Internet Sources:
o Gaining Ground Information Database (Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development)
Provides selected federal and state laws, local ordinances, and other documents related to land use.
o General Code Municipal codes-arranged by state and then select individual municipalities.
o search by state and filter by selected counties, cities, towns etc.
o American Legal Publishing Corporation Library-search by state and filter by selected municipality.
o State and Local Government on the Net includes links to official state and municipal websites.
o Government websites (via Google)-often local laws found on official state, city or municipality site, also under
specific agencies or departments.
Municipal Sources on Bloomberg Law,
Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext
oBloomberg Law-use main search box or browse “All Legal Content” by jurisdiction
oLexis Advance:
◦ Go to “Browse Topics” and select “Governments”, then choose “Local Governments”
◦ Go to “Browse Sources”, can search by name or browse sources alphabetically
oWestlawNext-go to “Practice Areas” tab and select “Municipal Law”
Building codes (also fire, electrical codes,
mechanical and more)
Internet Sources:
o Public.Resource.Org-provides building, fire, mechanical, plumbing etc. code for each state (must check if
listing is current)
o Building Code Reference Library (Reed Construction Data)-provides various codes for each state
including selected municipalities.
o International Code Council-offers selected state and city codes.
o Government websites (via Google)-often found on official state, city or municipality site, also under
specific agencies or departments.
Administrative Decisions, Opinions and
oIndividual federal agency listings at A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.
oIndividual state agency listings at State and Local Government on the Net.
oBloomberg Law-search U.S. Government Departments & Agencies; for state go to All Legal
ContentJurisdictionState LawSelect StateClick on Agencies & Departments.
oLexis Advance-browse federal or state Administrative Materials for various agency decisions.
oWestlawNext-search by federal or individual state for Administrative Decisions & Guidance.
BNA Environmental Land Use Sources
Provides current developments, news, and legislation. Search by keyword or recent topics which
includes indexed terms like Zoning, Fracking, Stormwater etc.
oEnvironment & Safety Resource Center
o EHS Federal Regulatory Alert
o EHS State Regulatory Alert
oEnvironment Reporter
oEnvironmental Due Diligence Guide Report
oInternational Environment Reporter
oToxics Law Reporter
Secondary Sources
Recommended texts and treatises for land use and zoning. Check Lexicat (Library Catalog) and many
more are available on Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance and WestlawNext.
oAmerican Land Planning Law (WestlawNext)
oAmerican Law of Zoning (Law Classified, KF5698 .A76 2008 (last update 5/14); WestlawNext)
oEnvironmental Regulation of Land Use (WestlawNext)
oHandling the land use case : land use law, practice & forms(Law Classified, KF5698 .S37; WestlawNext)
oLand Use in a Nutshell (Law Reserve and Law Classified, KF5698.Z9 W74 2006)
oLand Use Law (LexisAdvance)
oLand Use Planning and Development Regulation Law (WestlawNext)
oRathkopf's The Law of Zoning and Planning (Law Classified, KF5697 .R31; WestlawNext)
oZoning & Planning Deskbook (WestlawNext)
oZoning and Land Use Controls (LexisAdvance)
oZoning Law and Practice (LexisAdvance)
The Law Library has a good collection of zoning books (other than treatises) for federal and states
in hard copies, e-books, online sources and more. To locate books:
o Lexicat (Library Catalog)-use keyword zoning or land use; can also search by Subject from within book
records i.e. Land use -- Environmental aspects, Zoning law -- United States, Land use -- Hudson River
Region (N.Y. and N.J.) -- Planning.
o Worldcat-search by keyword, author, subject etc. Library can interlibrary loan items-place ILL requests
Law Journal and Scholarly Articles
Start from: Lexis and Westlaw; Online Resources by Subject-- Article Finding
oWestlawNext: Law Reviews & Journals
oLexis Advance: select Secondary Materials and enter search terms
oFor all articles you can obtain additional results by using Citing References, Table of Authorities and
oIndex to Legal Periodicals Full Text-if no PDF or full text available, check Journal Finder and Lexicat as
the journal or article may be available from other Hofstra databases. Use Subject option to find
additional terms and articles.
oSSRN (Social Science Research Network)—for scholarly working papers, forthcoming law review
articles, think tank articles (new and very recent research); use the Keywords to find additional terms
for the search.
oAxinn Subject Databases for interdisciplinary scholarly articles-recommended subjects
General/Multi-Subject and Politics/Government.
News and Newspaper Sources
A great resource for finding current or pending legislation, regulations and code. Also, alerts to
conflicts or problems that may arise across the country on zoning/land use before reaching the
court or legislature level.
oNews databases from Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance and WestlawNext.
oSearch Google for local newspapers or county publications.
oCheck municipal websites for any publications they endorse as their official notice service.
oLaw Library Sources for Newspapers and Axinn Guide for Newspapers-includes links to various
databases for accessing newspapers.
Other helpful sites and tips:
oBe SAVVY! Municipal legal research is often hard to locate! You will often have to call or email
various county departments/personnel, local libraries and other sources.
oUSE Google, Scholar and Google Books-but do check if it is a reliable and credible source.
oSearch case records and briefs on Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, WestlawNext, and court
oFeel free to contact me via email or visit the reference desk.

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