Spring 2000

Fall 1999

A Message from the Dean

Cities at the Horizon
Communities at the Horizon
Eastward from Our Horizon: U.S., China & Russia
Beyond the Horizon: Innovation and Technology

ILE Lecture: Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. L'60
Profile: Richard E. Rosin L'68
Profile: Pamela Daley L'79
Profile: Professor Jason Johnston
Profile: Howard Chang
Profile: Robert A. Gorman
Oral Legal History Project

Snippets of History
Faculty Notes
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam

Penn Law

The type of civic engagement that Professor Rubin notes was unimaginable forty years ago is at the core of the increasingly more successful merger between environmentalists, communities, regulators, and developers.& The environmental movement emerged on the public stage informally in 1970 with the first celebration of Earth Day. Since that time the field of environmental law and community activism has come into full bloom.

Steven Fischman is part of teaoverseeing the development of a three thousand-acre tract in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts that will include housing, two golf courses a hotel/conference center and a village center. The project is unique because it has evolved through agreements with the state and town to maintain open spaces and to make sure the water serving the golf courses is environmentally acceptable. New England Development has gone so far as to drill a well and install a water treatment plant on the grounds of the golf course to minimize the use of fertilizers to keep the grass healthy.

“This is the first all encompassing performance-based environmental permit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The State has developed a way to measure the success of the permit against environmentally-based standards,” Fischman says. In return, New England Development was rewarded with a streamlined permit process that expedited their development plans. “This is an opportunity we sought.”

“Massachusetts is a difficult jurisdiction to secure the right to build because it is one of the most environmentally concerned jurisdictions. The only way we were ever going to get permits was to sincerely behave in a way that shows concern for the environment,” explains Fischman. “Seventy percent of the Plymouth development will remain open space. We will also set aside areas for hiking trails and nature preserves.”

The majority of the company’s developments are focused on retail districts and mixed-use developments.  New England Development has been the largest owner and developer of retail real estate in New England.  In addition to Plymouth, New England Development is currently working on mixed-use projects in Boston, New Haven, and Chevy Chase, Maryland. Fischman differentiates between tactics communities might use to employ environmental laws to their favor, and those who use the law as subterfuge. “In Plymouth, those who might oppose you are truly concerned about the environment. With mall development, those who oppose you usually are those who will be your economic competitors. They tend to use environmental statutes to attack competitive development.”

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