Professor Kenneth Stahl’s article “
Reliance in Land Use Law
” was published in the
Brigham Young University Law Review
(Volume 2013, Issue 4, Rev. 949, 2014).

Excerpt from the abstract:

stahl-byu-law-review-cover“For generations, Americans have tapped their life savings and assumed huge amounts of debt in order to achieve the American dream of owning their own home. Though investing so heavily in a single asset is a rather risky move on its face, buyers have been induced to purchase homes by a slew of public policies, most notably zoning ordinances that protect home values by buffering single-family neighborhoods against an invasion of undesirable uses. As a result, homeowners have a fairly convincing argument that they possess some sort of vested reliance interest in the existing zoning of their neighborhoods that should prevent municipal authorities from enacting zoning changes to allow unwanted uses…As I argue, however, the primacy of reliance has come at a substantial price. For the sake of protecting reliance interests in existing zoning schemes, courts have essentially reified a longstanding pattern of de facto income and racial segregation in most metropolitan regions by licensing suburban communities to maintain zoning barriers that enforce such segregation. Moreover, I conclude that the judicial enterprise to protect reliance interests by empowering local governments is entirely self-defeating because, as the recent real estate downturn vividly illustrates, property values are determined by a complex web of forces well beyond the control of local governments.”

View the full publication


Professor Kenneth Stahl

Professor Kenneth Stahl
 is the director of the Environmental, Land Use, and Real Estate Law certificate program at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. Before joining Chapman in 2008, Professor Stahl spent four years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. Prior to that, he worked as a Trial Attorney for the United States Department of Justice, Office of Constitutional Torts, and as an Associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter. Professor Stahl was named the 2008-2009 Professor of the Year at Fowler School of Law.

See more of Professor Stahl’s writings