By Terry S. Welch Municipal Law Theories by


In day-to-day municipal land use practice, attorneys and planning staff often are required to address and evaluate whether a city’s land use regulations apply to other governmental entities. While we generally assume municipal zoning powers do not apply to the United States, state or county governments, and there is limited authority relative to public schools, is that actually correct? Are there exceptions in the law that perhaps allow some limited municipal control? And even if municipal control is constitutionally or statutorily preempted, in practice do cities nevertheless have input in the land use decision? The purpose of this paper, and the accompanying presentation, is to provide an overview of the legal aspects of municipal regulation of governmental uses— which term is defined as “uses involving public functions conducted by a governmental entity” 1—as well as address practical issues when cities must deal with land use issues involving other governmental entities. Last, we will address whether a city is exempted from either following or enforcing its own zoning and land use ordinances

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