The Use of Covenants as a Pro-Active Device to Protect Environmental and Property Interests: A Case Study

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In the view of the neighbors, may adversely affect property values and the environment. What normally happens is that proposals for such projects go before a planning and zoning commission among other public officials. These presentations are made at public hearings where, by law, residents may give their views on the impact of such projects. When the project is approved, disgruntled neighbors can continue their opposition by bringing a lawsuit to overturn the decision of the Board or Commission. If the proposed project is disapproved, the developer may bring a lawsuit against the Board or Commission or withdraw the proposal and revamp it to obtain eventual approval. Regardless of the outcome at the local level, once the issue goes to court, either the city/town or the developer or neighbor will incur considerable expense in the form of legal fees as well as lengthy delays before the issue is resolved. This paper proposes a proactive alternative in the form of the negotiation of covenants between the developer of the project and the neighboring landowners which addresses the need to expedite the project on the one hand and the legitimate concerns of neighbors with respect to the environment and quality of life. I will present a case study of an agreement that I worked on in 2006 to resolve environmental concerns of neighbors with respect to a hospital expansion project in Connecticut that addressed issues of concern to both sides and allowed the project to move forward but also preserved the environment and residential property values. I will discuss the elements of the agreement, how it was negotiated to a successful conclusion and how specific environmental and property problems were dealt with by the contract. This project provides a template for other project developers to follow so that development can occur in an environmentally-friendly and non-invasive way. It is a model for negotiation and compromise as opposed to litigation. I further believe that state law should make negotiations between developers and neighboring land owners a mandatory element of the land use process

Keywords: Environmental, Property Interests, Negotiation of Covenants
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: The Use of Covenants as a Proactive Device to Protect Environmental and Property Interests

Dr. Sharlene A. McEvoy

Professor, Charles F. Dolan School of Business, Fairfield University
Fairfield, CT, USA

Sharlene A. McEvoy is a Professor of Business Law at the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. She holds a BA from Albertus Magnus College a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law, an MA from Trinity College, Hartford, CT, a Ph.D. from the University of CA, Los Angeles. Her research interests are environmental and property law as well as tort law. She is listed in Who's Who in American Law and Who's Who of American Women. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Northeast Journal of Legal Studies.

Ref: I08P0192