Introducing PLD Fellow Melissa Conrad

Melissa Conrad is a second year law student at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  While staying in the top 10% of her class, Melissa serves as a member of the UGA Moot Court Team and the Editorial Board of the Georgia Journal for International and Comparative Law, one of the country’s oldest student edited law journals.  This spring she will travel with the Moot Court team to Vienna to participate in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.  And last summer, she served as the sole legal intern for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta.

Prior to law school, Melissa served as an independent consultant assisting nonprofits and local governments with public policy campaigns and community development projects, including developing and implementing a three month community engagement plan for the Preservation of Pittsburgh engaging more than 1,000 residents in land use planning efforts. Melissa also served as the Associate Director for Georgia Stand-Up, “A Think and Act Tank for Working Communities”. In her role at Georgia Stand-Up, she was responsible for leading the BeltLine Community Benefits Campaign, which led to the passage of historic legislation in the City of Atlanta requiring that all projects receiving public subsidies from the $2.8 billion economic development project include community benefits, such as local hiring and workforce development programs. Resulting from those campaign efforts, historic legislation was also passed regarding affordable housing requirements, local hiring and workforce development standards.

In October 2010, Melissa was recognized as one of Georgia Trend Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 Georgians. She has also been honored with a STAND-UP and Act Award from Georgia STAND-UP and Policy Leader of the Year from the Younger Women’s Taskforce of Atlanta. She participated in multiple training programs, including the International Association of Public Participation’s certification for public participation professions and the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Community Planning Academy. She also served on a number of committees for the City of Atlanta, including the BeltLine Tax Allocation District Advisory Committee and the Atlanta Community Land Trust Collaborative Development Committee.

Melissa lives in Clarkston, Georgia along with her fiancé, Asim, and their two dogs Morrissey and Annabelle Lee.

Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition Winners

The entry awarded first prize in this year’s competition is “Buoying Environmental Burdens in Bankruptcy Floodwaters,” submitted by Sarah Schenck, graduating May 2014 from the University of Minnesota Law School. Ms. Schenck’s entry has been submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer.

The entry awarded second prize in this year’s competition is “Implementing Form-Based Zoning to  Overcome Exclusionary Zoning and Local Opposition to Affordable Housing,” submitted by David A. Lewis, who graduated in May 2012 from Georgetown University Law Center.

The entry awarded third prize is “Valid Regulation of Land-Use or an Out-and-Out Plan of Extortion? Commentary on St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist. V. Koontz,” submitted by Catherine Hall, who will graduate in 2013 from the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law.

Honorable Mention was awarded to “The Public Trust Doctrine And Sea Level Rise In California: Using The Public Trust to Prohibit Coastal Armoring,” submitted by Chloe Angelis, who will graduate in 2013 from the University of California Hastings, College of the Law.

Planning and Law FAQs

PLD Fellow Abby Kirkbride compiled a list of frequently asked planning and law questions, with answers to issues relating to comprehensive plans, legislative vs. quasi-judicial zoning decisions, and eminent domain.  You can read them on our Resources page.

2012-2012 PLD Fellowship Application Available

The 2012-2013 Daniel J. Curtin Fellowship application is now available on PLD’s  Fellowship page.  The deadline for application submission is September 14, 2012.  Visit the Fellowship page to learn more.

Introducing PLD Fellow Abby Kirkbride

The Planning and Law Division is proud to announce this year’s Curtin Fellow, Abby Kirkbride.  Abby is in her third year of the Juris Doctor/ Master of Urban and Regional Planning joint-degree program at the University of Colorado. Her primary professional interest is the exploration of land use issues in the local government context. Abby has completed internships with a Wyoming-based nonprofit, where she studied oil and gas issues, and with Clarion Associates, where she drafted zoning codes. Currently, she is an intern for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, working on an initiative to increase the amount of local foods in K-12 schools. Abby serves as a student delegate to APA’s Colorado Legislative Committee, is a member of the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, and of APA’s Student Representatives Council. Abby is a native of Wyoming, where she grew up on her family’s cattle ranch.  She attended college at John Brown University in Arkansas, graduating cum laude with degrees in history and journalism. She currently lives in Denver with her husband. Abby will work on several PLD initiatives and she has already begun work on membership recruitment efforts.

PLD Newsletter – Spring 2012

The Planning and Law Division has released its Spring 2012 newsletter.  The articles include:

  • Urban Farming: Zoning for Growing and Distributing Food in Portland Neighborhoods
  • Cellular Antennas, Shot Clocks, and Zoning: Two Years Later
  • Getting Real About Shrinking Cities
  • Knitting Green Infrastructure into the Urban Fabric: An Overview of Municipal Policies
  • U.S. Supreme Court Bolsters Landowner Rights when Contesting Agency Non-Compliance Letters
  • I Read it in the Blogs . . . (featured separately on our site)

The full newsletter may be downloaded from this site (PDF).  Reprinted here is an introductory letter from the Editor, Jennie Nolon:

An interesting discussion occurred recently on the Land Use Prof Blog that questioned whether the recession and lull in the development market will result in a “lost generation” of land use lawyers, as hiring rates rapidly fall. It was a response from blog editor and Associate Professor of Law, Matt Festa, that I found the most heartening: “One of the great things about land use is that it is so fundamentally interdisciplinary, and this in turn means there are many areas of practice that involve (and often require) a good understanding of land use issues.” This positive outlook and interdisciplinary nature of land use is reflected in this edition of the Planning & Law newsletter, which – since, as they say, recessions are the best time for planning – ushers in a number of changes and new initiatives for our division.

The first of these changes is in the newsletter itself. We’ve adopted a new publication model: a Student Editorial Board, which will comprise students from the Land Use Law Center (LULC) at Pace Law School. We kept the group rather small for this first edition, but it will grow as we move toward our next newsletter. Take a moment to meet our brave and capable new Student Editorial Board members on page 8 of this edition. As part of our new affiliation with the students of the LULC, we also have a new column: Student Research Memoranda. Each issue, a student memo (otherwise written for the LULC) will be selected for its quality of authorship and national appeal. This edition’s memo, Knitting Green Infrastructure into the Urban Fabric: An Overview ofMunicipal Policies (page 6), uncovers the keys to success in three of the nation’s best municipal green infrastructure programs. Also among our new columns is I Read it in the Blogs (page 8), created by Newsletter Committee member Jenny Logan, which features a roundup of land use law issues on a particular topic, as reported in recent blogs. This edition’s topic is affordable housing.

With mid‐April fast approaching, we all have one thing on our minds. No, not taxes; the APA National Planning Conference, of course. In the spirit of change and growth, we have some new additions to PLD’s initiatives for the Conference: a Social Event to meet, reconnect, and share, with new and existing PLD members, which will be held at a terrifically cool former speakeasy in Hollywood (details on page 4); and a new Planning & Law Session Track developed by our Curtin Fellow, Abby Kirkbride (page 14). (Speaking of our Curtin Fellow, turn to page 6 to learn more about Abby and her work.) Most importantly, PLD will be hosting our Annual Business Meeting (details page 4), where all members – and potential members – are welcome to come eat, drink, mingle, and learn about some of PLD’s terrific new initiatives, such as the webinar programs spearheaded by our Education & Outreach Committee (page 7). Also at the Annual Meeting, our newly‐elected leadership will take office (details page 2).

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of our field, PLD recently answered the call from APA’s Divisions Council, which challenged that each Division, in advance of the National Conference, provide a short article relating to one of the APA Divisions’ “Emerging Issues” of interest to both planners and the public: Shrinking Cities, the Changing Face of America, Aging and Livable Communities, Food Systems, and more. In response, PLD submitted two case studies, both of which are also in this newsletter. The first, Urban Farming: Zoning for Growing and Distributing Food in Portland Neighborhoods (page 3), is written by Chair‐Elect Carrie Richter and discusses urban farming and enhanced food systems planning under a series of Portland’s urban food zoning code amendments scheduled for adoption in May 2012. The second, written by long‐time PLD member Don Elliot, Senior Consultant for Clarion Associates, discusses innovative responses to the problems posed by shrinking cities (Getting Real About Shrinking Cities, page 5).

On the topic of answering the call, I return finally to the “lost generation” blog post described earlier. The original post was authored by Associate Professor of Law, Stephen Miller, who thoughtfully concluded by challenging his readers to think of what can be done “to foster the next generation of land use practitioners” and suggested that, whatever the approach, it is incumbent upon all of us to prevent this lost generation of land use lawyers, to ensure that the practitioner field remains robust, and to create opportunities for growth in the formative years of practice (and, I would suggest, beyond). This challenge is of the utmost importance and it is at the heart of the Planning and Law Division. From our Curtin Fellowship and Smith‐Babcock‐Williams Student Writing Competition, which just announced its 29th annual round (details page 5), to our numerous educational and career‐building initiatives, as well as you, our network of experts, PLD is rising to meet this challenge.

Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition

The Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association announces its 29th Annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition. The winning entry in the competition will be awarded a prize of $2,500 and will be submitted for publication in The Urban Lawyer, the law journal of the American Bar Association’s Section of State & Local Government Law. In addition to the first prize, the Competition will award a second place prize of $500 and a third place price of $250.  Other entries judged to be of special merit may be awarded Honorable Mention.

Entries are due June 8, 2012.

Please refer to the official rules or visit the Writing Competition page for further details.