A sign reads “State Fishery Area Public Easement Open to Fishing.” In the background is a stream surrounded by snow on the ground in a natural setting.

What Is an Easement?

There are limits to the rights and powers associated with land ownership. Easements are a critical example of how property rights can be balanced with the needs of neighbors, the public, and other interests external to the control of property owners.

April 17, 2023 - James Brasuell

Aerial view of Montana state capitol building in Helena, Montana

Montana Passes Sweeping Legislative Package to Rescind ‘California-Style-Zoning’

The Montana State Legislature recently approved a package of zoning reform bills modeled closely on bills approved in West Coast states, including the state of California, in recent years.

April 16, 2023 - Business Insider

Apartment buildings in San Diego, California

San Diego Ponders How to Declare ‘Housing as a Human Right’

Landlords in the city believe housing rights shouldn’t supersede property rights.

November 2, 2022 - The San Diego Union-Tribune

The sloped roof of a googie style building is prominently featured in this image of a restaurant in Denver. Tall apartment buildings are seen in the background.

Denver Makes it Easier for Landowners to Oppose Landmark Designation

The balance of power in the historic preservation process shifted slightly toward the preferences of property owners in Denver.

August 31, 2022 - The Denver Post

Texas Bullet Train

Eminent Domain Questions Still Dog Texas Central High Speed Rail Plans

The Texas Attorney General took a break from its crusade against unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to weigh in on a controversial question of property rights.

December 28, 2021 - Texas Tribune


Denver Looks to Landmark Designation Changes

In the aftermath of a battle around preservation of a Denver diner, local officials are considering changes to the city’s historic landmark law.

September 18, 2019 - The Denver Post

Emoji Neighborhood

A New Kind of Planning Controversy: the Emoji House

A complaint about an illegal Airbnb, a very visual response, and a headache for city officials in the city of Manhattan Beach, California.

August 18, 2019 - Los Angeles Times

Manteo, North Carolina

The 'Decolonial Planning' Project

A potentially radical point of view that must be considered by planners: moving the field forward will require soul searching that confronts an overcomes the disposition and exploitation that defined the past and continues to influence the future.

March 5, 2019 - Progressive City

Border Wall

Property Rights Battle Expected Along Trump's Border Wall

Property acquisition in Texas won't come easy.

January 17, 2019 - The Washington Post

Oil Drill

Oil and Gas Drilling Issues Loom Large in Colorado on Election Day

Unlike prior initiatives that sought drilling bans, Prop. 112 would greatly increase setbacks from buildings to such an extent that it could doom much of the industry. A competing initiative would make the change a "taking" and require compensation.

September 6, 2018 - Colorado Public Radio

Queens, New York

Graffiti Wins Protected Legal Status in New York

A landmark judgement potentially paves the way for graffiti to be protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act.

February 23, 2018 - Modern Cities

Gas Station

The Law Favors Gas Stations Over Redevelopment in Washington, D.C.

A lawsuit challenges a law in Washington, D.C. that prevents the conversion of full-service gas stations into any other kind of commercial or residential land use.

January 9, 2018 - WAMU

Beach Driving

Texan Offers Very Texan Plan for the Coast of Texas

In a new book, lawyer Jim Blackburn suggests that engaging private landowners is the only way to manage the coast of his home state.

January 2, 2018 - Offcite via The Urban Edge

Highway Living

How Overly Restrictive Land Use Regulations Hurt the Nation's Economy

Two economics professors from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley argue that the housing crisis doesn't just affect booming coastal cities. It's a national problem.

September 15, 2017 - The New York Times - Opinion

Texas State Capital

Texas Bill Would Immunize Property Rights From Zoning Code Changes

The Texas Legislature and executive branch is continuing to wage a battle against local control, this time pursuing a land use law that would undermine zoning code changes, such as the current CodeNEXT process in Austin.

July 25, 2017 - Austin American-Statesman

New York Manhattan Chinatown

Supreme Court to Decide on Interpretations of Historic Preservation

A brief by the Cato Institute describes historic preservation laws as arbitrary and ambiguous. A case before the Supreme Court could decide on either side of the issue.

July 13, 2016 - Market Urbanism

Eminent Domain Debated in Denver Suburb

A fight over eminent domain has erupted in the Denver suburb of Glendale. At stake are long-time local businesses and a potential $175 million redevelopment project along the Cherry Creek.

May 14, 2015 - The Denver Post

Property Rights, First Amendment at Issue Over Confederate War Memorial

150 years ago yesterday Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac, ending the Civil War. The ancestors of the Confederacy not live in a country protected by the First Amendment.

April 10, 2015 - The Washington Post

Colorado Legislation would Limit Eminent Domain Powers

Property rights and open space preservation will clash once again in Colorado, if a new bill preventing counties from seizing private property for the creation of open space moves forward.

February 18, 2015 - AP via Denver Post

An Anti-Fracking Initiative...in Texas?

The fracking rebellion has finally spread to The Lone Star State. Citizens of Denton have had enough with environmental woes from fracking close to homes and gathered signatures. Plus: the outcome of litigation against Colorado 's first fracking ban.

July 28, 2014 - The Texas Tribune

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.