Date of Award

1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

John Kupa

Abstract

This project is the culmination of several months of research and data analysis on the Wise Use movement and takings legislation in six states (Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, and Rhode Island). The aim of the research was to determine the relationship, if any, between the strength of environmental and land use regulation in the states and the prevalence of takings legislation. With a better understanding of the relationship of these factors, legislators, regulators, and planners will be better able address the concerns of constituents. My hypothesis was that the prevalence and strength of takings or property rights legislation is related to the strength of land-use and environmental regulation in the states.

The Wise Use movement bills itself as a grass-roots organization of property owners that wishes to regain the property rights that have been "taken" by federal, state and local governments through various environmental and land use regulations, and to influence federal policy relating to the use of public lands. The various adherents to the Wise Use movement are attempting to eliminate these regulations and are working to implement "takings" legislation in many states. Private property rights and takings legislation are just part of the agenda of Wise Use. The roots of the Wise Use movement are in the attempt to influence federal policy regarding the use of public lands by the extractive industries, including grazing rights and timber harvesting. The focus of this research is on takings legislation. Takings legislation can be categorized by levels of strength. The strength ranges from measures that would require compensation by the government for regulation that is found to cause diminution of private property values, to others that simply require that new regulations be examined to determine the potential for conflict with Constitutional takings provisions.

Having an understanding of the current status of takings law is of extreme importance to planners. Over the past several decades there has been a narrowing of the limits to which regulation will be allowed to go. And with the current push of the Wise Use movement and takings bills in almost every state, planners should expect that there will be further change. This change will define what planners role's will be, and may require adaptation in planning practice.

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