Graduate Program in Public Policy and Administration

PPA 250 - California Land Use Policy
Fall 1999

Peter M. Detwiler, Instructor
Lassen Hall, Room 2101
Monday evenings, 6:00 - 8:50 p.m.

This interdisciplinary graduate course examines how public policies influence land uses. We will learn about the basic tools of land use planning and development. Later we will confront the issues that will dominate California's land use agenda as the new century begins: urban design, the fiscalization of land use, "Smart Growth," and the challenges of social equity. By the end of the semester, you will be prepared to cope with these issues in professional settings.

METHODS. This course offers you several ways to learn and then apply your lessons. Early in the semester, I�ll rely on lectures to explore the weekly topics. As the semester progresses, we�ll engage in seminar discussions to explore the reading assignments, reinforced by three short quizzes. Two book reviews allow you to reflect on what you've read. Three group projects give you the experience of researching and presenting professional proposals.

OFFICE HOURS. When you need answers to questions or want some advice, you can arrange to meet me in Tahoe Hall, Room 3029 on Monday afternoons, before class begins. You can call me at my Capitol office (445-9748) or at home (455-4574). You can also fax material to my office (322-0298) or send e-mail messages to

ASSIGNMENTS. The reading assignments offer you a variety of formats: journal articles that explore theories, magazine articles that offer opinions, reference works that present frameworks, and books that offer narrative interpretations. Some of these formats will be familiar from other graduate courses; other formats may be entirely new. Quite frankly, the readings are extensive. Based on students� experiences in previous semesters, you should plan to spend three hours preparing for every class hour, or about eight to ten hours a week getting ready for the next week�s class. The readings are always due on the dates listed in this syllabus. Three short quizzes will help reinforce the content you�ve acquired.

You must keep up with the reading assignments to take advantage of my presentations and to participate in the class discussions. You will contribute to your colleagues by drawing on your own professional experiences, your collateral reading, and your other courses. Please come to class prepared with questions or arguments to share.

Making and implementing land use policy is rarely a solitary experience. Professionals must collaborate with one another to achieve success. That's why this course relies on group projects and class participation.

There are five writing assignments: two book reviews and three group projects. Besides re-viewing the papers' substance, I reward clarity, brevity, and organization. Because I place a premium on clear and lively writing, I strongly encourage you to frequently consult A Pocket Style Manual, one of the required books. You must turn in your papers on the dates listed in this syllabus. I will penalize a late paper a full letter grade for each day that it is late.

EXTRA CREDIT. Sometimes an assignment just doesn't turn out the way you wanted: your working group flaked out, you hated the reading assignments, or the plan evaluation was a real struggle. You may write another book review to earn up to 5% extra credit. See Memo G.

COURSE READER. Besides reprinting articles, the Course Reader contains seven memos from me to you, explaining your assignments:

GRADES. Your semester grade will reflect this schedule:

  Book Review A
Book Review B
Quiz 1
Quiz 2
Quiz 3
Group Project I
Group Project II
Group Project III
Class participation
[Extra credit]
Wye Island
Crabgrass Frontier comparison
Plans and planning
Environmental review
Developing land
Plan evaluation
Community observation
Community reinvestment


READING LIST. The semester's readings consist of two texts, a writing resource book, and three books by very different authors. The Course Reader contains other articles and memos.

Curtin, Daniel J., Jr. (1999.) California Land Use & Planning Law (19th Edition). Point Arena: Solano Press Books.

Fulton, William. (1999.) Guide to California Planning (2nd Edition). Point Arena: Solano Press Books.

Gibbons, Boyd. (1997.) Wye Island. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.

Hacker, Diana. (1997.) A Pocket Style Manual (2nd Edition). Boston: Bedford Books.

Jackson, Kenneth T. (1985.) Crabgrass Frontier. New York: Oxford University Press.

You will also pick one more book to read. Memo C explains the details and suggests titles.

The Hornet Bookstore stocks these books, with a good supply of used books in decent condition. They�re also available from local bookstores and even At our first class meeting on August 30, I will explain how you can obtain the Course Reader.

SCHEDULE AND ASSIGNMENTS. Here is our weekly schedule and the specific assignments for the Fall 1999 semester.

August 30: Introductions. Who are these other people? And what does he really expect from us this semester? What are we going to do and what are we going to learn between now and December 13? The first evening of our course begins with self-introductions, an overview of the readings, and thorough descriptions of the assignments. Be sure to ask lots of questions tonight.

September 6: No Class. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday but use this opportunity to read ahead!

September 13: Making Policies, Making Plans. How do policy advisors and decision-makers think about land use policy? We compare the rational model that planners traditionally favor and the policy makers' garbage can model, with the free-market model. We apply these models when we examine the basic features of local general plans. To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapter 1.
  Fulton, Chapters 1, 2, and 3.
  Course Reader: "Memo A: Coping With Your Reading Assignments."
Richardson & Gordon, "Market Planning."
Banerjee, "Market Planning�"
Campbell, "Green Cities, Growing Cities, Just Cities?"

September 20: The General Plan. Why do the courts call a general plan the "constitution" for local development? What goes into a general plan? What about the other requirements besides the mandated elements? How can we tell if a general plan is any good? To prepare for the class, you read:

Curtin, Chapters 2 and 3.
Fulton, Chapters 4, 5, and 6.
Hacker, "Clarity" (�1-�9) and "APA" (�31).
Jackson, Introduction.

September 27: Urban Design. How do people use their communities? What makes some cities exciting? What condemns some suburbs to mind-numbing mediocrity? In class we'll watch The Ahwahnee Principles slide show, then we'll discuss the concepts. To prepare for class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapter 9
  Fulton, Chapter 16
  Jackson, Chapters 1-7.
  Course Reader: Southworth, "Walkable Suburbs?"
Corbett & Velasquez, "The Ahwahnee Principles."
Center for Livable Communities, "Slide Catalogue."

This evening, you�ll take Quiz #1, testing your knowledge of planning and plans.

October 4: Environmental Review. Why is the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) one of the most potent land use laws? Where did CEQA come from? Why is it so controversial? What do its defenders say? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapters 6 and 8.
  Fulton, Chapters 9, 20, and 21.
  Course Reader: Olshansky, "CEQA and Local Planning."
Best, "A Commonsense Policy."
Thomas, "In Defense of CEQA."

October 11: Regulating Land Uses. Where do governments get their power to regulate the use of private property? Among the most traditional methods of regulating land use are zoning and use permits. Why is there so much litigation? To prepare for the class, you read:

Curtin, Chapters 4 and 11.
Fulton, Chapter 7.
Jackson, Chapters 8-10.

This evening, you�ll take Quiz #2, testing your knowledge of environmental review documents and processes.

October 18: Developing Land. For many, land is not a resource to be conserved but a com-modity that�s bought and sold. How do large landholdings become smaller, marketable lots? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapters 5 and 10.
  Fulton, Chapters 8 and 12.
  Course Reader:

Arimes, "Doing the Job in Double Time."
Merritt, "The Permit Streamlining Act: The Dream and The Reality."
Bickel v. City of Piedmont.
"Memo B: Recommendations For Successful Writing."
"Memo D: Plan Evaluation."

Also DUE ON THIS DATE is Group Project I, "Plan Evaluation."

October 25: Wye Island. An intense study of James Rouse's plan to develop a Chesapeake Bay island, Wye Island is a modern classic of land use literature. Set in Maryland in the early 1970s, this true story can teach us a lot about California at the end of the 20th Century. In tonight�s seminar, we'll explore the differences between Maryland and California; between 1972 and 1999. To prepare for our seminar discussion, you read:

  Gibbons, Wye Island (the entire book).
  Course Reader:

Fulton, "The Robin Hood of Real Estate."
"Memo B: Recommendations For Successful Writing."
"Memo E: Observe and Record."

November 1: Exactions and Dedications. When landowners propose development, what can public officials ask of them? What does the Constitution allow and what do the statutes permit? How do public officials and landowners put these rules into practice? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapter 13.
  Fulton, Chapters 10 and 19.
  Course Reader:

Sohagi, "Developer Fees."
Callies, "Rough Proportionality."
"Memo B: Recommendations For Successful Writing."
"Memo C: Writing A Book Review."

Also DUE ON THIS DATE is your first book review, looking at Wye Island.

November 8: Takings. The Constitution protects property rights but governments have constitutional powers to regulate private property. What happens when these constitutional principles clash? What if government regulators go too far? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapter 12 and 16.
  Fulton, Chapters 13.
  Jackson, Chapters 9-13.
  Course Reader: Strong, et al., "Property Rights and Takings."

Also DUE ON THIS DATE is Group Project II, "Observe and Record."

November 15: The Fiscalization of Land Use. What are the fiscal consequences of land use decisions? What are the land use consequences of fiscal decisions? How have redevelopment agencies changed the way that California looks? And what�s a LAFCO anyway? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Fulton, Chapters 14, 15, and 17.
  Course Reader:

Detwiler, "Public Finance in Perspective."
Beatty, "Redevelopment."

This evening, you�ll take Quiz #3, testing your knowledge of development decisions.

November 22: Smart Growth. Because demography drives policy, what can policy-makers do about population growth? It�s ironic but the only thing that we hate more than urban sprawl is higher densities! How can state and local leaders manage growth? Is ballot box planning ef-fective? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapter 14 and 15..
  Fulton, Chapter 11.

Jackson, Chapters 14-16.

  Course Reader:

Glickfeld, "Coming to Terms with an Imperfect Voice..."
Emerson, "A Citizen's Perspective."
Solem, "A Developer's Perspective."
Costello, "A Planner's Perspective."
"Memo B: Recommendations For Successful Writing."
"Memo C: Writing A Book Review."

Also DUE ON THIS DATE is the second book review, comparing Crabgrass Frontier with another book of your choosing.

November 29: Planning For Whom? Planning involves choices and choices invoke values. What will California look like in the new century? How will private firms and public agencies shape land use patterns in the early part of the 21st Century? Who benefits? Who bears the costs? To prepare for the class, you read:

  Curtin, Chapters 17, 18, and 20.
  Fulton, Chapters 23.
  Course Reader:

Buntz & Sherry, "A Continuum of Dispute Resolution Approaches."
Ball, "Facilitating Consensus Building."
Innes, "Planning Through Consensus Building."
Bullard, "Examining the Evidence of Environmental Racism."

December 6: Community Reinvestment. The working groups present the results of their Group Project III, "Community Reinvestment" which is DUE ON THIS DATE. Each Working Group recommends a proposal for community reinvestment in a specific Sacramento neighbor-hood. A panel of local experts responds with constructive criticism on both the proposal's content and your presentation skills. We'll videotape the working groups' presentations. To prepare for this as-signment, you read:
  "Memo B: Recommendations For Successful Writing."
"Memo F: Community Reinvestment."

December 13: Concluding Thoughts. In our final class meeting, we�ll review last week�s "Community Reinvestment" projects by focusing on what worked well and what needed im-provement. Everyone completes the University's formal "Teaching Performance Survey." You also have a chance to provide more detailed reactions by filling out my own less formal question-naire. It's optional but still confidential. At your option, the extra credit book review is DUE ON THIS DATE (see Memo G).