Article Title

New Directions in Federal Land Use Legislation

Publication Title

Urban Law Annual


The 1960's, a decade that began with enthusiasm and ended in dashed hopes for many social planners, encompassed rising environmental expectations that did not fade with the decade, but grew stronger and contributed to several notable legislative breakthroughs. The new laws which the environmental awareness brought about were not only pollution control measures but extended to such issues as coastal zone protection, power plant siting, scenic area preservation and highway planning. The concern with protecting environmental values in land underlay the enactment of several state laws which have been referred to as a "quiet revolution in land use control," a revolution that has returned land use regulatory power to the several states. Now this revolution has reached Washington where the Senate has passed legislation which would fundamentally alter governmental relationships regarding land use planning and regulation in the United States. Objectives which writers on urban and social problems have long advocated, but which the constituency for planning and housing has never been able to effectuate, stand a fair chance of achievement under the environmental aegis, as O'Harrow apparently anticipated.