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Georgetown Law Library

Land Use Law Research Guide

This guide is for students conducting introductory research in the area of land use law, including zoning.


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Primary Law

Cases, Statutes, and Regulations

The Georgetown Law Library's research guides and tutorials provide information on researching cases, statutes, and regulations generally:

Additional sources for finding land use and zoning laws include the following:

  • Ordinance Law Annotations (ORDLAWANNO)
    A large digest of cases interpreting and applying city and county ordinances. Arranged topically.

  • Shepard's Ordinance Law Annotations (KF5313 .S5, subscription cancelled in 2007)
    Citations to cases that interpret and apply city and county ordinances.

  • Gaining Ground Information Database (Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development)
    Contains examples of federal and state laws, local ordinances, research papers, and other documents related to land use.

Municipal Codes

There is no single source for municipal codes. Municipal codes may be available on a municipality's website, and the Georgetown Law Library's state research guides include where to find some municipal codes in a particular state. The following are key sources of municipal codes:

Building Codes

States and municipalities generally adopt commercially published building codes (e.g., building, fire, electrical codes, et cetera). The complete text of these codes is not always incorporated into the state or municipal code, which may only contain information on the adoption of the code and/or any changes made by the state or municipality. To find the full text of the code, you may need to obtain a copy from a library. The Georgetown Law Library has copies of the building codes adopted by the District of Columbia. Additional resources for researching building codes include the following: