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Thread: Writing by-laws part of your job?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Writing by-laws part of your job?

    Is writing the adopting by-law / implementing legal agreements part of your job? Or do you send your documents off to your legal/clerks department and let them deal with it?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  2. #2

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    It is a major part of my job as Town Planner. And I only let carefully selected attorneys review thje work. Most lawyers cannot see the forest for the trees - it takes a really good one to help you deal with the legal details while preserving intent.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    To add to the question, how did you learn to write by-laws?
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    It is a major part of my job as Town Planner. And I only let carefully selected attorneys review thje work. Most lawyers cannot see the forest for the trees - it takes a really good one to help you deal with the legal details while preserving intent.
    Ditto. In my 6 years here I've authored a complete re-write of our site plan regulations, and about a dozen or so zoning ordinance amendments. Currently working on (with my summer intern) a comprehensive examination of the zoning ordinance, overhauling 2 sections entirely.

    To answer the "how did I learn".....I guess I never had any formal lessons or anything....just kind of comes naturally to me. Started in college when I wrote my thesis containing a model ordinance.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5

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    Our staff are generally responsible for writing Zoning Ordinance code, although the City Attorney reviews the text. One of my tasks is annual/periodic "Zoning Ordinance Cleanups" that address minor policy changes, typos (after 7 years, we still find some), and clarifications of language and policy. I've also written new code chapters dealing with tree preservation, density bonuses for afforable housing, condominium conversions, alcholic beverage sales (convenience markets). etc. It's just a matter of plunging in-while State law does provide certain mandates, there is enough flexibility to enable cities to adapt to their own needs.

    The new issue: medical marijuana clinics.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Yes, this is one of the main parts of my job -

    I hate it when citizen committees write bylaws, it really gets things messed up so I do anything I can to avoid their involvement except to review it for layperson clarity and that I hit the mark on the policy intent.

    I don't want to use my legal funds to have the town attorney paide for writing them, though I always have my town attorney review the language once it's done (he has to argue it and defend it if it's challenged, so that makes sense).

    I actually like this part of the job - I learned it from taking land use law classes when I was in college (it's part of the jack of all trades this profession requires) as well as having some good technical writing skills- plus, I was really lucky to have an awesome town attorney at the first town I worked for, he was truly a mentor!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Is writing the adopting by-law / implementing legal agreements part of your job? Or do you send your documents off to your legal/clerks department and let them deal with it?
    Writing is part of my job. I wrote the whole Land Use Bylaw (about 250 pages) a year back (of course while processing development proposals, trying to hire employees, etc.). I love writing bylaws (and the fact that I do means more money for me, since I save the City tons in legal fees).

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