Land Use Planning Law

Over 30 students enrolled for the 2020 Environmental Law Masters Programme convened by the Institute of Marine and Environmental Law. One of the course options is Land Use Planning Law, a complex and interwoven subject spanning a myriad of framework environmental laws, strict planning laws, coastal planning laws, environmental impact assessment and protected areas legislation. This range of laws plays out across all three spheres of government making it an intriguing area to study.

Professor Sandy Paterson, Director of the Institute for Marine and Environmental Law, recently took his LLM students out of the classroom to have a day of Land Use Planning Law in action. To enable students to grapple with the complexity of laws involved in land use planning, one form of assessment is for students to prepare a legal memorandum opposing a fictitious development on an undeveloped property situated in Scarborough, Cape Town.

The site has been chosen as it is situated adjacent to a river, borders on the Table Mountain National Park, comprises a wetland, falls outside the urban edge and lies within the coastal zone. The proposed fictitious development is out of keeping with many of the development parameters set out in the applicable zoning scheme and sentiments reflected in the spatial planning frameworks. Cumulatively, the above scenario provides students with an opportunity to test and apply their knowledge obtained through the seminars.

Students spent one of the mornings during the first teaching block for the course visiting and being introduced to the site forming the focus of their assignment. Thereafter, they spent the rest of the day at the Soetwater Conference Centre near Kommetjie, where they engaged with and were guided through an array of scenarios aimed at deepening their theoretical and practical understanding of Land Use Planning Law. After a day of mental exertion, they replenished their energy with a well-deserved refreshment overlooking the sea. Some students even braved the icy waters of the Atlantic to refocus their tired minds!









Environmental Law LLM students getting to grips, in context, with Land Use Planning Law - February 2020