Implementing State Growth Management Programs: Alternatives and Recommendations
11 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 27, 2012
State growth management programs are a major part of the Quiet Revolution in land use control. States now have forty years of experience with these programs, and it is time for an assessment to see what they have accomplished. What do they cover? How are their criteria implemented? How are they enforced? These questions raise a very important problem. Statutes, plans, and policies are not enough. State land use programs must be effectively implemented if they are going to be successful.
Implementation is an important issue because tensions often arise between states and their local governments that affect program success. The reason why tensions arise is clear. Land use regulation traditionally is a local government function, but state growth management programs insert a state interest those local governments must recognize. State mandates overlay existing local government responsibilities and require a substantial change in how local governments carry out their land use planning and land use regulation mandates.
A review of these state programs finds a highly eclectic variety. There is no clear model, there is no clear or accepted structural pattern these programs followed when states adopted them. Each responded to land use problems the legislature and state leadership saw as requiring attention, and solutions to these problems influenced how the programs were constructed. State programs also reflect attitudes about intergovernmental division of power over land use decisions. These programs have not changed substantially in the last forty years, so the time has come to consider how they are organized, and whether change should occur. This article examines two issues: program coverage and program criteria, and how they are applied.
Keywords: land use, local government, growth management programs
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