940 Property Law & Rural Development - §010, Fall 2010

Categories: Real Estate, Land Use, and Community Law Economic Regulation

Instructor(s) Mitchell, Thomas

L&CP: Property Law, Rural Development and


This course will provide a survey of some of the legal and non-legal issues
impacting property owners who own property in rural


broadly defined.  Specifically, the course will examine the challenges
that these property owners face in seeking to retain their land or in pursuing
asset-based community development strategies.  Challenges to land
retention or asset development include both internal conflicts such as intrafamily
and intra-community disputes and external dynamics such as land speculators and
developers who seek to acquire land  as cheaply as possible in rapidly
appreciating markets.

The course will review a number of legal tools different families or
communities have utilized to stabilize ownership of their land.  These
tools include conservation easements, historic preservation laws, and ownership
structures such as limited liability companies and land trusts.  Beyond
stabilizing ownership, the course will review some of the capital formation
strategies that can be used to obtain the necessary financing to develop
property in manner that cash poor families can better realize the economic
potential of their property ownership.  These financing tools include real
estate investment partnerships and tax credits of one type or another.  In
terms of non-legal issues, the course will review some of the challenges
families and communities face in getting properly organized so that the family
or community can develop a unified vision of the manner in which the family or
community can use, develop or sell their property.

In addition to a packet of reading materials that will be covered in class, a
select number of guest speakers will address the class during the course of the
semester.  Each student will be required to submit a 25-page paper that
must be developed through a process that includes regular consultation with
either an actual community or family seeking to retain or develop their
property; a nonprofit organization that works with families or communities that
own property in rural America; or a governmental agency that works with
property owners in rural America. 

The course will also include two to three field trips so that the class can
observe firsthand how some families and communities are seeking to preserve and
develop their rural property assets.

This course is a 3-credit class and will be subject to a cap of fifteen
students.  Permission of the professor is required.


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