Conflicts of Interest in Land Use Decision-Making – eXtension

Conflicts of Interest in Land Use Decision-Making

Elected and appointed officials involved in land-use decision making must not be tainted with prejudice regarding on matters that come before them. Such prejudice exists when the individual finds herself with a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest arises when a public servant is in the position of deciding between public duty and private interests. The three most common conflict of interest situations are (1) when the member is in a position to gain financially from the decision being rendered, (2) when the member is a relative of an interested party, or (3) the member is near, or next to, the property at issue.

The most obvious example of a financial conflict is when a land-use decision-maker has an ownership interest in the property that is the subject of the requested action. A review of court cases from around the country reveals numerous other possible conflict situations:

  • The decision-maker is in a business relationship with the applicant.
  • The decision-maker is employed by a company that stands to gain from approval of the development proposal.
  • The decision-maker owns property near the property in question.
  • The member owns a business that would directly compete with the applicant’s business.

The tangle of familial relationships that can potentially give rise to conflict of interest questions is equally broad:

  • The decision-maker’s spouse is the Realtor working with the landowner.
  • The decision-maker’s close relative lives near the property in question.
  • The member’s nephew is an attorney with the firm representing the applicant.

 

A decision-maker who questions whether he has a conflict of interest should ask for advice from the attorney representing his city or county. If a conflict of interest does in fact exist, the decision-maker must disqualify himself from the case. If a conflict of interest does not exist, it is the decision-maker’s duty to participate and vote, even if the situation may be uncomfortable because it involves a friend or associate.

Many communities, boards or commissions have adopted bylaws or policies that govern conflict, and some state codes require specific action to be taken where conflict of interest may exist. Care should be taken to follow any applicable standards in effect locally. While the advice to confer with legal counsel is always sound, some communities require that potential conflict of interest issues be declared and discussed at an open meeting and a vote taken to determine if an actionable conflict is present. Again, local practice should be followed when applicable. In addition, many local and national planning organizations provide models and standards for resolving conflict of interest issues.

Gary D. Taylor, Iowa State University

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song boat

According to my Dr. I am a pioneer in the physical effects glyphosate has in direct contact with human skin. According to my hero at University hospital in Ia City. I believe if it were not for this Dr the ongoing exposure to the chemicals unlawfully applied to my property would have soon caused my death. I was suffering to such a severe degree that I did not want to suffer another day. I consider it worse than cancer. I was completely unable to function. It was unbearable to wear clothes. With cancer the patient generally is given a timeline to expect to live. In this an unprecedented case, no local Dr. had a clue as to how to treat my condition. There is no other case I can find in which a neighbor has bren allowed and assisted by local law enforcement to continue applying chemicals to the property owned by a neighbor at all. Moral law would keep a reasonable individual from doing anything to property that did not belong to them. In this case this neighbor was allowed and assisted by local government officials to trespass on my property. Commit an assault with intent to cause serious injury. This is a violation of Federal law. Significant because my city police chief advised me that he would not file a trespass on my behalf because he did not want to make my assailant mad and the County Attorney advised me that he would decide who gets prosecuted in his County. Trespassing is a criminal offense I could not file a complaint as a civil issue. This is the way local government officials violated my State and Federal rights for the following five years. When it was obvious that no law enforcement was going to make this neighbor comply with any law regarding his new illegal property redevelopment. When his illegal redevelopment was rejected from being recorded on the County plat map, he with full support of the local government officials determined the remedy to his situation was to acquire my property which would then give him enough property to support the oversized non compliant structures he had built with fraudulent building permits issued by the city building administrator. The damages I have suffered are tremendous. I continue to have skin eruptions due to the extended exposure of chemicals unlawfully applied to my property. A civil court order citing my right to use my property as I wished was never a factor to detour this neighbors goal. He was determined to acquire my property no matter the cost. He offered me two out of court settlements that were ridiculous, this in itself is an admission of his guilt. I had never needed an attorney prior to this. I had a huge reality check, I beleive the evidence supports the attorney who represented me took this case on behalf of this neighbor. There is no attorney that could be this incompetent and pass the bar exam. I do not care who you are, nobody has the right to do anything to the property of another person. There is not statute of limitation, the law says "never" to be taken without just compensation. These are serious criminal offenses that fall within the guidelines of a Federal prosecutor to bring charges for public corruption.

Categories conflict of interest, Conspiracy, Corrupt local government officials, Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law, equal protection of the law, Fraud, legally nonconforming property, Montrose and Lee County, Iowa, Poisoned By My Neighbor From Hell, Private Property Rights, Public CorruptionTags , , , , , , , 1 Comment

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