The conventional wisdom is that New York's failure to adopt a comprehensive state-wide land use system is due to reluctance of the state legislature to diminish local control of land use. The purpose of this article is to explore that assumption as part of a larger examination of the proper course of land law reform in New York. The case and statutory law that have developed since the experiences of the early 1970s indicate that local “home rule” authority is neither a legal nor a political barrier to effective land use legislation in the broader state interest. Part II briefly reviews the progress of other states in considering and adopting comprehensive land use strategies and reflects on why New York has failed to follow their lead. Part III documents the courts' clear determination that home rule is subordinate to state-wide interests as determined by the legislature. Part IV illustrates that there are numerous objectives that have motivated the state government to preempt, affect, guide and shape local control of the use of the land. The statutes examined indicate a clear trend of eroding local authority through narrowly focused, rather than comprehensive, land use legislation. The conclusion argues that if and when it is perceived that unguided local control of regional growth and development is detrimental to the state's environmental quality, economic competitiveness, or other interests, the legislature can and will act to reform the land use system that determines how and where growth and development should occur.
John R. Nolon, The Erosion of Home Rule Through the Emergence of State-Interests in Land Use Control, 10 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 497 (1993), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/187/.