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Thread: Well I'm not an attorney....

  1. #1
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Well I'm not an attorney....

    How many times a day to you have to say that? I would say I average at least twice a day. Between landlord-tenant issues plus zoning enforcement, I have to say this more and more, maybe I should get a sign and play a disclaimer on the phone before I answer. "I am a planner, not an attorney, any advice I give should not be taken as legal advice...."

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Hay-Soos X-mas

    We even went so far as to put disclaimers on our mapping products!

  3. #3
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Re: Hay-Soos X-mas

    bturk wrote:
    We even went so far as to put disclaimers on our mapping products!
    Here is the one from our web site:

    Due to the possibility of unauthorized modification of electronic data, errors in transmission, HTML browser incompatibilities, and other aspects of the electronic communication that are beyond our control, information contained in the City of Fairfield website should not be considered suitable for legal purposes. Contact the City of Fairfield at (641) 472-6193 to verify accuracy.

  4. #4
          Downtown's avatar
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    I can almost remember our GIS mapping disclaimer from my GIS Days.

    This very morning we had two poor guys come in to get the scoop on a bldg. they wanted to lease and convert a portion to a restaurant, and had gotten suspicious when they were vigorously advised by the property owner that they didn't need Planning Board/Departmental approval to come in. Of couse he owes us $12K in mitigation $$$, is in trouble with the State DOT for access issues, and owes our building department so much work, they shut down his business. Thank god these guys hadn't signed anything yet. It reinstated my belief that so much heartache could be averted with a simple trip to the local planning department. It gave us yet another opportunity to bust out the... "Well, if I would you, I'd talk to my lawyer...."

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    speaking of legal advice

    Float a question out there;

    What is the usual arrangement for having legal questions and documents reveiwed by your counsel, is there a municipal legal department or is it the local consultive planning attorney practice that is called in, on contract (at a very expensive rate?)

    Is there a role for paralegals within planning departments?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I am pretty much on my own. The attorney is on a consultant fee basis, and takes weeks to respond. I only utilize the service when drafting new regulations. I submitted a draft property maintenance code in November with no response yet. A para in the department would tend to question everything IMO. My best situation was a full time city attorney--but he always warned me not to ask a question if I would not like the answer.

  7. #7

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    I worked for a large city, and the corporation council (City attorneys) loaned a few attorneys to every department. Very helpful to have an attorney just down the hall who you didn't have to pay by the hour.

  8. #8
          Downtown's avatar
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    We also have our own attorneys, with each department getting a liason.

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