Land Use Decision-making and Ethics Issues
Newly elected officials are wise to be aware of restrictions on their ability to participate in land use decisions if the decision may affect the officials’ economic interest.
Here are resources to help local officials understand some of the laws in this area:
- Rules relating to personal financial gain or loss as a result of one’s decision (a good starting place is page 9);
- Issues to be alert to if one owns property within the agency’s jurisdiction; and
- Rules relating to fair process and bias in decision-making including those that apply when an official is particularly passionate about an issue.
Note that the definition of “participating in a decision” goes beyond voting and includes conversations with colleagues and staff in advance of the vote.
Even if one may legally participate in a decision, the official is well advised to consider whether the public may question whether the official can put personal interests aside.
For additional resources related to public trust and ethics, please visit the ethics section of the Institute’s website.