These steps are justified by the need to account for the public interest in preserving endangered species, protecting the environment, coordinating land use in crowded urban centers, preventing urban sprawl, and curbing countless other alleged environmentally destructive ills. Only by imposing planning, so the argument goes, can the land use be rationalized to prevent destructive, self-interested behavior from creating a sterile series of concrete suburbs populated only by strip malls and sidewalk-less neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the increased scope and complexity of planning has reduced the clarity and certainty of property rights in land without necessarily accomplishing its goals. As the traditional rights of landowners become more dependent upon planners’ approval, property rights increasingly resemble feudal tenures rather than the traditional common law notions of property rights.
Tulane Environmental Law Journal