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Garvey Schubert Barer’s Hospitality Group hosted events in Seattle and Portland March 11 and 12, to discuss the comeback of hotel and hospitality-related development. More than 140 attendees ranging from construction industry representatives to flag representatives and investment bankers participated in the discussions. One panel about Construction and Transactional Development highlighted the return of bricks and mortar to the hospitality conversation. The bullet point lessons are applicable to the land law blog followers – developers of all types and those who work with the construction industry, and I invite you to read on.

In both Portland and Seattle, there are grounds for optimism in the hospitality industry in 2013 given the plans for new rooms - 3,000 in Seattle and 1,000 in Portland. Also, speakers noted that there is unfulfilled demand for hotels like midsize hotel products in downtown Portland. In addition, creative construction ideas are afoot in the hospitality sector. While new builds may occur in Portland, areas like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are making headway with adaptive re-use. For example, in Los Angeles, vacant office buildings are available and developers are finding these buildings can be converted into hotels in a cost effective manner. This kind of redevelopment in neighborhoods close to tourist amenities represents an exciting economic development opportunity in areas that no longer successfully serve office uses.

Garvey Schubert’s Julia Holden-Davis warned about some of the contract risks associated with hospitality related construction and present market conditions:

Garvey Schubert Barer was a principal sponsor of the 7th International Planning, Law, and Property Rights 2013 conference, held February 13 - 15 in Portland, Oregon. Over 120 national and international planning professionals, academics, and land use attorneys descended upon the Rose City to discuss current planning issues, strategies and successes throughout the globe.

The conference finished with a full day dedicated to Oregon Land Use and the celebration of the 40 year anniversary of Senate Bill 100, the state bill that established Oregon’s unique land use system. Garvey Schubert’s Ed Sullivan, co-chair of the event, shared the history of the state’s land use system – highlighting successes and identifying where more work must be done. Many others deeply involved in the creation of Oregon’s system spoke about the current and future challenges that face Oregon and the region.

We are pleased to share the links to two of the key note speeches delivered at the conference:

The conference commenced with a stirring keynote address by Dwight Merriam, entitled “Getting Past ’Yes or No‘ – Linking Police Power Decision-Making with Just Compensation” watch his speech here.

Professor Lee Fennell, University of Chicago Law School gave the closing keynote speech entitled, “Optional Planning”, watch her speech here.

For more information about the PLPR, please visit this year’s event website as well as the organization’s website. The 2014 PLPR Conference will take place in Haifa, Israel.

Free speech law is critically important for on premise sign regulation. Signs are an expressive form of free speech protected by the free speech clause of the Federal Constitution. Courts decide how local governments can regulate signs, including on premise signs, in order to ensure the principles of freedom of expression are observed. If free speech requirements are not met, courts will hold an on premise sign law unconstitutional.

The above quotation comes from Free Speech Law for On Premises Signs, by Daniel Mandelker (August 10, 2012). This quote reminds us of the importance of understanding the protections afforded to on premises signs by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Professor Mandelker, a friend of this blog, just completed and released his sign handbook comprehensively analyzing the interplay between the First Amendment’s free speech law and on premises signage. His sign handbook is a must-have resource for all land use and municipal lawyers and practitioners.

Professor Mandelker’s handbook begins by discussing U.S. Supreme Court cases that have decided the basic principles of free speech law, including the tests developed by the Court for regulating commercial speech. The book also explains the prior restraint doctrine that applies to the process in which decisions about the display of signs are made, including the standards that must be used to make these decisions. The handbook discusses basic issues concerning on premise sign ordinances, such as how a municipality can demonstrate that an ordinance advances its aesthetic and traffic safety objectives, the importance of a statement of purpose, how on premise signs should be defined, sign exemptions, and the treatment of on premise signs under the Federal Highway Beautification Act. The handbook reviews the law that applies to the different types of signs that can be displayed on premise, such as time and temperature signs, portable signs, and digital signs. Finally, the handbook discusses the regulations that apply to on premise signs, such as size, height, and spacing regulations.

You can download the book for free on the United States Sign Council site here, or at Professor Mandelker’s blog at


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We regularly update clients about changes in real estate law and on industry trends. This includes briefing clients on legislative proposals in the federal tax, housing and other legal areas affecting their businesses. Staying current enables you to anticipate and prevent legal problems as well as capitalize on new developments.
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