The Land Use Law Center of Pace University (Land Use Law Center), the Cornell University Community and Rural Development Institute (CaRDI), and Albany Law School's Government Law Center (Government Law Center) have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) pledging cooperation to increase the capacity of local governments and citizens to address critical land use, environmental, climate change, economic development, and other issues of concern to municipalities.
Specifically, the parties have agreed to work together to broaden the reach of the Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program (LULA), developed by the Land Use Law Center. LULA is a four-day course that teaches participants how to use land use law, conflict resolution, and community decision-making techniques to accomplish sustainable community development. It was designed to put needed technical and process tools in the hands of local leaders whose decisions create the land use patterns that will determine, in large measure, the quality of life, the economy, and the environment of their communities.
Presentations and written materials are provided to introduce participants to more than 50 land use techniques that are available to local governments in New York to shape and control land use patterns and create sustainable communities. The training program also introduces participants to the subjects of collaborative decision-making, negotiation, and alternative dispute resolution. Extensive breakout sessions explore the many opportunities that exist in the local land use process to use these innovative techniques to prevent and resolve the types of land use controversies that typically occur as development and conservation projects are proposed and debated. Also covered in the training program are comprehensive planning and citizen participation and how they can be employed to create a positive framework for all land use decision-making at the local level.
Patricia Salkin, director of the Government Law Center of Albany Law School, noted that, "The Government Law Center is pleased to be working in partnership with both Pace and Cornell Universities to customize leadership training for community stakeholders that promotes sound community development practices and that will form the basis of future local regulations to guide appropriate growth and preservation while at the same time engaging community support." She continued, "This program has significant potential to reduce municipal exposure to the high costs of unnecessary litigation resulting from an often contentious land development process."
Rod Howe, Executive Director of CaRDI said, "CaRDI's mission, to offer research-based information in support of identifying solutions to community problems, and providing training for elected and appointed officials and community leaders to foster informed community decision making fits perfectly with the philosophical approach to the Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program developed by Pace. We look forward to shaping future programs designed to specifically meet the needs of our constituencies. We will work closely with Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations as partners in this endeavor."
According to Tiffany Zezula, Esq., Co-Director of the Land Use Law Center, "Program graduates have reported significant success in leading their communities to effective action to preserve historic centers, revitalize their riverfronts, arrest negative development patterns, achieve intermunicipal planning, preserve farm land, and to enhance their economic development prospects." Pace Law School Professor John Nolon, founding director of the Land Use Law Center stated, "The signing of the MOU between programs at Pace, Cornell and Albany Law School - all noted for their excellence in training, research and outreach on land use and community development matters - could not come at a better time as communities across the State struggle with complex and challenging sustainability issues."