Land Use Regulation

Land ownership and its use are conditionally protected by the United States Constitution. Over the course of almost a millennium of English and American jurisprudence, the law has recognized that certain land uses cause unreasonable harm to neighboring landowners or the public at large.

The law has long recognized trespass, nuisance, both public and private, as well as other legal concepts, as both limiting and protecting the rights of landowners. More recently, both Federal and State statutes have protected the value that natural resources provide, measured as ecosystem services that include clean water and air quality wildlife and fish, and tourism.

The Land Use Regulation resource page covers the intersection where the legal rights of property ownership and use meet the rights of the public and other landowners- by government regulation or private action – to limit certain rights and uses.


Land Use Resources

Commentary on 2018 Changes to NC Voluntary Agricultural District Law The NC General Assembly made an important change to NC’s voluntary agricultural district law, which has resulted in ordinances covering 90 NC counties.

An Overview of Titling of Real Property This short piece reviews the various forms of real property ownership.

A Comment on Tree Fall Liability This short piece, written in response to questions that arise after hurricanes and other epic storms, provides an overview of the law concerning liability for trees that fall and cause damage to another’s property.

Timberlands Transfer and Liability Protection Presentation on property transfer and premises liability.

Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) DRAFT Template The template may be used for extending the application of a Voluntary Agricultural District (VAD) county ordinance to an incorporated municipal area of the county.

Public Land Resources

Conflict on Public Lands: New-Off Road Vehicle Restrictions on the Outer Banks


Tax Incentives and Land Use

The Agriculture and Resource Economics department has investigated the interface between tax incentives and land use into land trust preserving land into so-called conservation easement. Tax incentives vary by state and are overlaid on top of federal taxes and influence charitable donation of land. This project is led by Wally Thurman.

Land use for recreational activities is another topic being explored. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the Outer Banks restricts access to recreational vehicles to protects some habitats. The restrictions create some cost for shoreline fishing and has induced strong opposition from local interests because of lost economic activities. The program looks at the cost and benefits of these restrictions and sheds light on the debate on off-road vehicle rules in national parks. Roger von Haefen leads this project