THE MUNICIPAL POWER TO ZONE IN CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES

Authors

  • LESLIE A STEIN

Abstract

The creation of new municipalities pitches once-isolated areas into a drop-zone of complex land-planning decisions. The rapid mass movement into cities often produces the ill-conceived planning ideas and makeshift legislation that characterise “urban sprawl.” But unlike their American counterparts, Canadian municipalities are, in practice, immune from judicial review of their decisions. Leslie A. Stein examines the case for judicial review through the lens of Canadian and American experiences with zoning bylaws and other land planning instruments. The driving pace and complexity of urban growth raises the Rousseauan spectre of a “state governed by clerks.” However, the impracticability of a “nation-wide town meeting” means that the orderly functioning of municipal government requires centralisation of power and authority. Judicial review, then, is an essential and necessary premise of legal validity that stands in balance to unfettered administrative discretion.

Keywords:

Comparative Law, Municipal Law, United States of America

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Published

1971-12-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary