Brian Connolly represents public- and private-sector clients in matters relating to zoning, planning, development entitlements and other complex regulatory issues. Brian’s practice encompasses a broad range of land use matters including zoning compliance, rezonings and other regulatory amendments, planned-unit developments, development agreements, private covenants and restrictions, land use and zoning litigation, initiatives and referenda associated with land use approvals, and real estate transactions. Brian additionally specializes in the First Amendment and land use issues associated with outdoor sign and advertising regulation, and fair housing matters in local planning and zoning.
Prior to practicing law, Brian was an urban planner in the planning department of Westchester County, New York. There, Brian reviewed numerous large-scale development proposals for consistency with municipal codes and countywide planning policies. Additionally, Brian managed the county’s economic and population research functions, analyzing government data and authoring a variety of reports for use by government officials, and the non-profit and private sectors. Brian has also worked in planning capacities at the federal and municipal government levels.
Brian has served as lead co-author of two books, including Group Homes: Strategies for Effective and Defensible Planning and Regulation (ABA Publishing 2014), addressing the planning and local zoning issues associated with group homes for people with disabilities; and The Michigan Sign Guidebook: The Local Planning and Regulation of Signs (Scenic Michigan 2011), which discusses the legal aspects—particularly the First Amendment issues—relating to outdoor sign and advertising regulation. In 2014, Brian was selected by the American Bar Association to serve as the editor of the forthcoming book, Local Government, Land Use, and the First Amendment: Protecting Free Speech and Expression, covering the First Amendment limitations on local governments. Brian serves on the advisory board of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, and he was one of 26 experts in land use law serving as reporters for the national land use law publication Planning & Environmental Law. He frequently writes on planning and land use law topics, including fair housing, sign regulation, aesthetics, and other matters, and Brian is a regular speaker at conferences on these topics, including at national and state conferences of the American Planning Association, American Bar Association, International Municipal Lawyers Association and Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute.