Last time, we began discussing the topic of zoning and the impending update of Atlanta’s zoning codes. Zoning regulations can have a significant impact on both private residents and businesses in any industry, as they impact how land is developed, what uses land have, and the height, size, and placement of buildings on lots, as well as building density and number of parking spaces per building.
Zoning is an important area of law dealing with land-use and development, and which impacts how local governments plan their layout and organization. Zoning law is primarily a function of local governments, but Georgia state law does have minimum procedures to assure the general public has due process when local governments exercise their zoning power.
Atlanta readers are familiar with Proctor Creek, which runs through downtown Atlanta and up to the Chattahoochee. Proctor Creek has a watershed which encompasses 10,600 acres, which impacts a great many people. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Proctor Creek has serious environmental challenges, including high levels of bacteria from regular storm water flooding and sewage overflows.
Michigan grabbed headlines earlier this year for the high levels of lead found in many of its drinking water systems. While the Environmental Protection Agency is constantly updating, developing and reviewing its regulations, this alarming incident has led to renewed interest in updating national regulations on drinking water.
In our last post, we noted that ordinary citizens can help enforce the Toxic Substances Control Act, at least with respect to certain aspects of the law. One major limitation on citizen suits, though, is that the law does not allow citizens to file a civil action if the EPA has already filed and is diligently prosecuting a violation of the law.