fb pixel fb conversion Resolving Local Government and Land Use Disputes | Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution | School of Law | Pepperdine University

Resolving Local Government and Land Use Disputes

Faculty: Alana Knaster and Sean Nolon

Land use decision-making is currently in gridlock with all sides engaged in the battle. The development community is seeking less onerous requirements to mitigate the impact of proposed development; nongovernmental organizations are concerned that in a down economy, the gains they have made in reducing the scale of projects and preserving natural resources will be eroded; government agencies at all levels are stymied in crafting solutions that address all of their overlapping responsibilities and mandates.

This course explores the spectrum of dispute resolution techniques and strategies that have been successful in addressing these conflicts ranging from pre-conflict consensus building to negotiation mediation of the litigated case. Tools for participating in resolving land use litigation, both at the early stage when the conflict is framed and subsequently if issues are litigated will be the main focus of the discussion and class exercises.

Who should attend: public- and private-sector attorneys, elected officials, senior agency managers, and scientists.

What you will learn:

  • Consensus process design (who should participate; process elements; negotiated products)
  • Negotiations with stakeholders
  • Addressing technical issues in dispute
  • Mediating the litigated environmental dispute
  • Representing your client in a land use mediation process
  • Examples of successful efforts in California and the western states

Alana Knaster is the deputy director of the Monterey County Resource Management Agency which oversees the activities of the planning, building, public works, and redevelopment agencies of the county. The deputy director coordinates major interagency land-use initiatives including the General Plan and other large-scale development projects. From 1980-2008, Ms. Knaster was the president of the Mediation Institute, a national nonprofit firm specializing in the resolution of complex land use planning and environmental disputes. Many of the disputes that she successfully mediated involved dozens of stakeholder groups including government agencies, major corporations, and public interest groups. Her cases included national policy negotiations, multi-state resource protection plans and settlement of CEQA litigation.

Sean Nolon is an associate professor at Vermont Law School and serves as the director of dispute resolution. He has designed and implemented training programs for the public and private sector for over a decade. He also has extensive experience facilitating, mediating and consulting and has trained hundreds of local officials, environmentalists, and developers nationally. As a trial attorney, Nolon coordinated litigation in environmental, land use, and class action cases for public, private, and not-for-profit clients..