VLS Creates Land Use Institute, With a Focus on Policy Issues

Front Page / Sep. 15, 2005 12:00am EDT

VLS Creates Land Use Institute, With a Focus on Policy Issues

Vermont Law School this week said it has established a Land Use Institute to address issues of growth which are central to planning debates in Vermont and across the nation.

The institute will examine such topics as sprawl, "smart growth," and big box stores. Its approach will include scholarship and courses, public presentations, and the provision of land use expertise to appropriate agencies.

Professor L. Kinvin Wroth, a noted legal scholar and former VLS dean, will serve as director.

The Land Use Institute joins the Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment as new constituents of VLS's nationally-recognized Environmental Law Center.

"The new Land Use Institute builds on the work of our pioneers, including Profs. Norman Williams and Richard Brooks," said Dean Geoffrey Shields. "Land use pressures are intensifying in every state, making the focus of this institute more important than ever."

Institute Director Wroth explained that "The Land Use Institute will address the legal and planning aspects of current land use issues such as sustainable development, ecology planning, siting of energy installations, permitting processes, and the scope of eminent domain. These issues are critical if we are to maintain a sustainable culture and society."

The institute's major areas of focus are:

• Development and implementation of an integrated land use curriculum for VLS.

• Provision of a laboratory for the development of ideas and approaches that, through the scholarship and direct involvement of faculty and students, will provide models to assist other states with similar goals, especially for smaller communities and rural regions.

• Service to the state of Vermont, its regions, municipalities, and citizens by developing, evaluating, and implementing legal and administrative systems for balancing preservation and growth.

U.S. News & World Report already rates VLS's environmental law program as one of the best in the nation. The Environmental Law Center is the largest graduate environmental law program in the country.

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