Sunday, November 1, 2009

Historical and Design Regulations

These week our group has been researching the significance of historical and design regulations in land planning. These regulations generally are put into place to protect aesthetics, and apply to all sorts of developments. Design regulations can be either public or private; the distinction is important when dealing with the legal issues. Private regulations (a good example being homeowners' associations) deal particularly with contract law. Private groups may mandate that you contract away certain rights without much difficulty; after all, the buyer would have the choice. Public groups can pass design resignations much more difficulty. All aesthetic regulations must be tied into the police powers (i.e. health, safety, or welfare) before the government can establish jurisdiction over them. Since it is highly unlikely that mandating the color of a building will effect any one's health or safety, it is up to the government to prove that the regulation effects the general welfare so drastically that it effects not only property value, but effects it enough that it can effect the tax base. This is a pretty high burden to prove.

In addition to design regulations, governments may also mandate that certain historical things be preserved, regardless of the actual aesthetic value of the building. The theory is that certain buildings have such a historical value, that it effectively would harm the general welfare to get rid of them. These regulations are significant to us because the property is surrounded by a historical district. While the property itself is not part of the actual district, it may be important for public relations purposes to comply with the neighborhood's standards.

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