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Land Use Law Center Staff
Professor of Law
Founder & Faculty Liaison
John R. Nolon is a Professor of Law at Pace Law School where he teaches property, land use, and sustainable development law courses and is the Founder of and Faculty Liaison to the Law School's Land Use Law Center. He has been an Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies since 2001, where he developed a curriculum concentration of five land use courses. Professor Nolon served as the James D. Hopkins Professor from 2009-2011 and the Charles A. Frueauff Research Professor of Law during the 1991-92, 1997-98, 1999-2000, and 2000-01 academic years. He received the Richard L. Ottinger Faculty Achievement Award in 1999 and won the Goettel Prize for faculty scholarship in 2006. In 2009, he was awarded the National Leadership Award for a Planning Advocate by the American Planning Association. Professor Nolon received his J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School where he was a member of the Barrister's Academic Honor Society. He has served as a consultant to President Carter's Council on Development Choices for the 1980's, President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development, New York Governor George Pataki's Transition Team, and Governor Elliot Spitzer’s Transition Team. He is a member of the Editorial Board of THE LAND USE AND ENVIRONMENTAL LAW REVIEW, published by Thomson-West. He is also on the New York Planning Federation's Advisory Council. Professor Nolon received a Fulbright Scholarship to study sustainable development law in Argentina in 1994-95 and has published over a dozen articles, chapters, and books on that subject.
Executive Director of Research, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor of Law, Pace Law School
Jessica Bacher is the Executive Director of the Land Use Law Center. Established in 1993, the Land Use Law Center is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities and regions through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and dispute resolution techniques. As the Executive Director, Ms. Bacher’s responsibilities include development and implementation of projects relating to local land use practice, distressed property remediation, transit-oriented development, sustainable communities, land use responses to sea level rise, and code enforcement, as well as providing strategic assistance to numerous municipalities. Most recently, she led the City of Newburgh, New York, in the development of a distressed property remediation implementation plan that focuses on the development of a land bank. Additionally, Ms. Bacher serves as a trainer for the Center’s award-winning Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program that has educated over 2,500 local leaders in land use strategies, consensus building, and regional stewardship. Ms. Bacher also chairs the Distressed Properties Sub-Committee of the Land Use Planning & Zoning Committee for the American Bar Association’s Section of State and Local Government Law. At Pace Law School, Ms. Bacher serves as adjunct professor, teaching Land Use Law, Sustainable Development Survey, and the Advanced Land Use and Sustainable Development Seminar. She also administers the Center’s academic programs and guides student research. In addition, she is a guest lecturer and project supervisor at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, where she manages the School’s Land Use Clinic. Ms. Bacher authors regular land use features in New York and national publications and has edited numerous small books in the fields of Land Use and Real Estate Law, including Breaking Ground and Planning and Building in Priority Growth Districts. She also presents at regional and national conferences and served on the New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force Legal Work Group. Ms. Bacher was selected by the American Bar Association to receive the Jefferson B. Fordham Award, an award presented to a young practitioner who has shown great promise through her contributions to the field. Ms. Bacher received her J.D. summa cum laude from Pace Law School in 2003, along with a certificate in Environmental Law.
Deputy Director, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor of Law, Pace Law School
Tiffany B. Zezula, Esq. is the Deputy Director for the Land Use Law Center at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, NY. She is the primary trainer on consensus building techniques for the Center’s land use training programs for local officials, environmentalists, planners, and developers. She also is the national coordinator of the Center’s signature program – The Land Use Leadership Alliance Training Program, which due to its success in New York, has been modeled and transferred to over 5 states and includes over a hundred national, regional, and local sponsors. The program has trained over 2500 leaders in the Hudson Valley Region alone. Her work at the Center also includes coordinating and tailoring training programs and workshops to meet the needs of individual communities, whether that is a ½ day training program or four-day intensive workshop. Ms. Zezula also provides strategic assistance to local governments, including assistance in developing collaborative public engagement approaches on land use project disputes and comprehensive planning of a community. Finally, Ms. Zezula is in charge of running the Center’s annual conference. The Center’s annual conference is a significant educational event in the region, with more than 250 attorneys, business professionals, planners and local leaders in attendance to learn about national, regional, and local innovations, challenges, and best practices. Ms. Zezula is a frequent national speaker on collaborative governance and local decision-making. She is also a frequent guest presenter at the Yale School of Forestry and an adjunct professor at Pace University School of Law on Environmental Dispute Resolution. She received her J.D. cum laude from Pace Law School in 2003 along with a certificate in Environmental Law. She is a certified mediator in the State of New York.
Senior Staff Attorney & Urban Program Specialist, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor of Law, Pace Law School
Jennie Blanchard is a Senior Staff Attorney and Urban Program Specialist for the Land Use Law Center at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY, where she is also an Adjunct Professor. Ms. Blanchard’s work focuses primarily on the growth of urban centers, working closely with cities to address obstacles to redevelopment and sustainability. She also manages the Center’s student research; writes frequently on legal issues pertaining to land use and sustainable development; lectures at CLE programs, bar association events, and conferences; and trains local officials, environmentalists, planners, developers, and attorneys in land use law and consensus-building techniques. Ms. Blanchard graduated cum laude from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2003. In 2008, she received her Master of Environmental Management degree from Yale University with an advanced concentration in Urban Ecology and Environmental Design and her J.D. cum laude from Pace Law School, where she was on the Pace Environmental Law Review. She has also achieved designation by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional, making her one of fewer than 40 LEED APs in New York State registered in the area of legal practice. With a keen interest for volunteerism, Ms. Blanchard serves as the Chair of the American Planning Association’s Planning & Law Division (PLD), is also PLD’s Newsletter Editor-in-Chief, has volunteered as a grader for PLD’s annual Smith-Babcock-Williams Student Writing Competition, is a board member of the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF), and is a Junior Board Member of Music for Autism—an international organization committed to raising public awareness and improving the quality of life of individuals with autism and their families through music.
Director of Administration
Ann Marie McCoy is the Director of Administration for both the Land Use Law Center and the Kheel Center on the Resolution of Environmental Interest Disputes. She has been with the Center since 1999, beginning as administrative assistant for both the Land Use Law Center and Pace's Graduate Program in Comparative Law. Ms. McCoy is responsible for all aspects of the administration of the Center, including its many educational and outreach programs. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Pace University magna cum laude in 2003, her Master of Science degree for Teachers from Pace in 2007 and Paralegal Studies Certificate in 2011.
Attorney Consultant, Land Use Law Center
Meg Byerly Williams is a consultant based in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she works on sustainable development projects promoting renewable energy, distressed property remediation, and sustainable neighborhood development, among other related subjects. Previously, Meg worked as a staff attorney at Pace Law School’s Land Use Law Center in White Plains, New York, where she served as lead author on several Center publications, administered academic seminars, guided student research projects, and wrote for legal publications on various sustainable development topics. She holds a JD from Pace Law School, as well as an MEM from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and an MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University.
Attorney Consultant, Kevin Dwarka LLC
Kevin Dwarka JD, PhD is a land use lawyer and economic consultant specializing in the revitalization of urban neighborhoods. Headquartered on Wall Street, Dr. Dwarka’s firm provides legal guidance and quantitative analysis to real estate developers, municipalities, housing authorities, community development corporations, transit agencies, law firms, architects, and building contractors. He also serves as a Senior Fellow at Pace Land Use Law Center. Prior to forming his consultancy, he held senior positions at the Israel Union for Environmental Defense, New York City Transit, and Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates. Land use services include zoning analysis, site selection, development approvals, environmental review, and right-way acquisition for transit infrastructure projects. Versed in all aspects of the New York City land use approvals process, Dr. Dwarka helps builders navigate the complex web of land use regulations enforced by the New York City Department of City Planning, Board of Standards and Appeals, the Department of Buildings, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Economic consulting services include real estate market analysis, affordable housing finance, infrastructure cost benefit analysis, financial feasibility analysis for redevelopment projects, and economic impact studies. Current projects include the Newburgh Broadway Corridor Access Plan; the Newburgh Land Use and Market Analysis; the Newburgh Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan, the Newburgh Waterfront Mobility and Access Strategy; the Poughkeepsie City Center Revitalization Plan, and the Ridgefield Economic Development Strategic Plan. His consultancy also provides a full suite of litigation support services including expert testimony, real property valuation, and technical analysis of land use, traffic, and environmental impact documents. Since 2010, he has served as an Adjunct Professor at Baruch College, where he has taught land use, urban economic development, and environmental policy. He also teaches Israeli Politics at Yeshiva University. His dissertation at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, examined the use of global capital and public private partnerships for financing light rail projects in Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He received his BA from Columbia University, JD from Pace Law School, MCP from UC Berkeley, and PhD from Hebrew University. Dr. Dwarka is admitted to practice before the New York State Bar and serves on the New York City Bar Association’s Housing and Urban Development Committee. He also on the board of the New York chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism.
Ollia Pappas graduated from Boston University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Environmental Analysis and Policy. During her first semester at Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Ollia volunteered with Land Use Law Center. It was there that her interest in Land Use Law began and flourished. Ollia is entering her second year at Elisabeth Haub School of Law, where she is expected to graduate in 2018 with her J.D. as well as with her Environmental Certificate. She is currently the Vice President of the Environmental Law Society and the Public Relations Coordinator for the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Society. While interning for the Land Use Law Center this summer, Ollia will also be working as Professor Nolon’s Research Assistant. She is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of Land Use and Sustainable Development Law during her time at the Center this summer.
Land Use & Sustainable Development Scholars
J. Justin Woods, J.D., M.P.A.
Land Use & Sustainable Development Scholar, Land Use Law Center
Adjunct Professor of Public Administration, Pace University
J. Justin Woods is a Scholar at the Land Use Law Center, where he conducts research and publishes on a variety of land use law and public policy topics, including urban revitalization, land banks, and brownfields. His primary interests are in land use and public administration related to environmental, economic, and social justice. Mr. Woods is also a Fellow at National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals in Washington, DC, and was recently appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Pace University. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the International City/County Manager’s Association, American Planning Association, American Constitution Society and the Planners Network: The Organization of Progressive Planning. Mr. Woods graduated cum laude from Green Mountain College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Science and Policy in 2000. He also received his Master of Public Administration with a 4.0 GPA and Juris Doctor, cum laude from Pace University in January 2016. He is currently pursuing a Master of Laws in Environmental Law on the Land Use and Sustainable Development track at Pace Law School.
Danielle Meyer graduated from Boston University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in The History of Art and Architecture. Prior to attending law school, Danielle worked at Klae Construction where she worked as the marketing director. Additionally, she worked closely with project managers and the sales office to create a manual for company efficiency. Working with LEED certified architects and engineers on sustainable jobs developed Danielle’s interest in Land Use Law. Danielle is entering her second year at Pace Law School and is expected to graduate in 2018 with an Environmental Law Certificate and a concentration in Real Estate and Land Use. Danielle is looking forward to her internship at the Land Use Law Center to further her interest in sustainable development.
Michael Castore graduated from Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and Behaviors as well as a minor in Environmental and Business Economics. Before attending law school, Michael worked for Philosophy IB, a boutique management consulting firm, as an associate project coordinator. He will be entering his second year at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and expects to graduate in 2018 with a Certificate in Environmental Law as well as a Concentration in Real Estate and Land Use. He looks forward to becoming more involved with the community and expanding his interest in the field.
James Ward graduated from Pace University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Political Science. While at Pace, James was an inaugural student of the Undergraduate Environmental Policy Clinic, where students had the opportunity to work with local governments and nonprofit organizations to pursue environmental initiatives. James is now a rising 2L at The Elizabeth Haub School of Law and is expected to graduate in 2018 with a J.D., Certificate in Environmental Law, and Concentration in Land Use Law and Real-Estate. James has participated as a board member for the National Environmental Moot Court Competition and is a founding member of the schools Personal Injury Law Association.
Paul Recupero graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. Paul’s work with the conservation department in Fairfield Ct, as well as his coursework within environmental science and geography initially has sparked his interest in land use sustainability. Along with environmental sustainability an essential facet of land use that Paul is drawn to is the effect it plays on wildlife and ecosystem preservation. Paul is a rising 2L and is expected to graduate in 2018 with a J.D., Certificate in Environmental Law. Paul is an active member of Pace’s Environmental Law and Animal Law Societies. Paul is looking forward to further developing his understanding of land use law during his internship at the Land Use Center.
Spencer Emanuel just finished up his Freshman year at the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. Currently pursuing a major in political science, Spencer hopes to continue his education after he graduates from Michigan by attending law school. This year, he was a member of the Freshman Business Club at school. Prior to attending college, Spencer interned at the Justice Court in the Town of New Castle where he shadowed one of the town justices for a semester. His ultimate goal is to become a lawyer, potentially in the field of real estate.