Document Type


Publication Date



Conflicts of interest, bias, and appearance of impropriety continue to plague players in the land use game whose conduct, as public sector officials, must be beyond reproach. This article provides an annual review of reported cases and opinions involving allegations of unethical conduct in land use decision making. Conflicts of interest cases focus on attorneys, and address issues including of counsel relationships, disqualification and fees. Conflicts based upon financial interests for board members are explored, as well as unique relationships that may arise when colleges and universities seek approvals. Criminal aspects of decision maker conduct are also reported. Appearance of impropriety issues, including whether absent board members can or should vote on applications, and the filling of vacancies by a "lame duck" board are discussed. Bias and prejudgment issues are discussed in the context of statements made by board members prior to application review, as well as board member conduct and participation in petition efforts, and the use of ethnic slurs at public meetings. The article concludes with an update on opinions related to dual office holding.

Source Publication

40 Urb. Law. 561