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Residential land development provides many economic and social benefits to society. Most economic costs are factored into and paid by residential land developers (as the producer of the economic good) during the residential land development process. However, residential land development also comes with costs to the ecosystems on which it is built that are not

The first conservation land development term a legal professional should grasp is an economic one: market failure.

The Importance of Conservation Land Development Terminology

Fully grasping conservation land development terminology, such as market failure, starts with the context in which conservation land development principles are applied: the economy. The economic marketplace and government are society’s

As an interdisciplinary specialty, conservation land development requires integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines and then harmonizing links between the disciplines into a coordinated and coherent whole.  Among those disciplines, ecology and economic principles unconsciously can be minimized during the crafting and implementation of conservation land development projects, in favor of an overemphasis on-site

This post advocates greater consideration of conservation development techniques at the wildland-housing interface in California’s fire-prone areas to reduce housing destruction risk.  For land use planning to become more effective in mitigating fire destruction risk, it needs to be based on a comprehensive understanding of where and how to locate and arrange new homes within

The recent catastrophic fires in southern California have, again, raised concern about growth in the wildland-urban fringe.

The astute words above are not from September 2020, as wildfires currently ravage across the western United States, but from 2008.  Such remarks reflect the crucial role land use lawyers should have been playing to address what is

Legal advisors to both environmental organizations and land developers must never lose sight of the principle that when dealing with administrative agencies, their client’s run the risk of the regulatory agency’s decision not being the final say.  The risk often arises from the differing ways the application of statutory construction can occur.  Statutory construction is

On July 30, 2020, I attended the State Bar of Montana’s one-day Montana Law Seminar.  One of the Montana-specific presentations covered water rights – and the opening slide below aptly captured the topic:

One of Montana’s most prominent water challenges arises from many of its basins being “over-appropriated,” whereby claims filed exceed the available water. 

Unlike a Rose By Any Other Name, Conservation Development Does Not Always Smell Sweet.

One of conservation development advocates’ core claims is that utilization of the land development technique results in a more environmentally-friendly finished product when compared to conventional land development techniques.  Such a claim is typically true.  It is true because conventional development

Since this blog’s focus is on land development principles and practices labeled “conservation development,” it is important for readers to know what conservation development is not.  Generally speaking, true conservation development connects land development to land conservation — in a manner that assures meaningful natural resource protection.

The Label “Conservation Development” Is Often Misused

The recent case of Williamson County, Tennessee, provides useful insight into how even well-meaning conservation development laws run the risk of unintended consequences if the land use planning focus is too myopic.  Focusing on the size of the pieces and creating artificial development boundaries in contrast to planning across the entire landscape– increases the likelihood