Survey of Recent State Policies to Manage Growth and Protect Open Space
Report for Congress
Survey of Recent State Policies to
Manage Growth and Protect Open Space
September 23, 2002
Jeffrey A. Zinn
Prepared by The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
The University of Texas at Austin
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Survey of Recent State Policies to Manage Growth and
Protect Open Space
Many states have been actively addressing the closely-related issues of sprawl
and loss of open space in recent years by working to manage growth and protect
remaining open spaces. The mix of issues and levels of activity vary widely from
state to state. Many Members of Congress are interested in these state efforts
because federal polices and programs have impacts on these issues, both direct and
indirect, and both positive and negative. Federal policies and programs with an
impact include transportation, housing, the environment, and agriculture, among
others, and others have important but less direct effects, such as the federal tax code.
Some federal programs provide positive assistance to states that are trying to address
these issues, while others may support incompatible activities. Congressional
deliberations generally have given limited consideration to how decisions on federal
policies might affect sprawl and loss of open space although both have become
prominent topics in more states and communities in recent years. Some Members of
Congress also may be interested in states as incubators of innovative approaches to
public policy that might serve as models for future national policies.
CRS contracted with the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Policy at the
University of Texas at Austin (LBJ School) to survey every state and compile a
catalogue of state efforts that have been initiated or amended since 1990. The LBJ
School returned this compilation to a contact in each state for a final review for
completeness and accuracy before it was submitted to CRS. This report identifies
and compares the recent state efforts and presents some of the reasons for a resurgent
interest in addressing this suite of topics in many states. It also discusses the
effectiveness of these efforts where evaluations or analyses could be found. It draws
not only from the LBJ School survey, but also reviews of literature and other sources.
Appendix III is a narrative summary of each state, introducing major programs and
activities, drawn from the same sources. The LBJ School also prepared a table
summary for each of the 354 programs that it identified.
Through the survey and related information-gathering activities, the LBJ School
students determined that the overall level of interest and activity on managing growth
and protecting open space is high, that issues vary widely, and that approaches and
resources committed to address these issues vary greatly. The state efforts are
responses to problems. They are concentrated in states where sprawl and loss of
open space have been most pronounced. How states have responded also reflects
how responsibilities are spread among state agencies, how they are divided between
state and lower units of government, and resource management and land use planning
traditions. Places where there has been less economic or population growth in recent
years have found little reason to act, according to this survey. Congressional interest
reflects the same geographic pattern, as most of the interested Members represent the
East Coast, Great Lakes, and West Coast states. This interest is bipartisan and
generally reflects what is occurring in the district or state than broader ideologies.
This report will not be updated.
In troduction ..................................................1
Causes of Unmanaged Growth and Open Space Loss..............2
Costs of Unmanaged Growth and Open Space Loss...............4
Roles and Relationships Among Levels of Government............5
Federal Programs and Land Use Patterns..........................10
State Policies and Priorities: Overview and Comparison..............15
The Focus of State Policies.................................16
Issues Addressed by State Programs..........................18
Approaches Employed to Address Policy Issues.................20
Policy Recommendations from Participants....................24
Appendix I: Research Methods and Process........................29
Appendix II: Explanation of Terms...............................32
Policy Issues in Managing and Protecting Open Space............32
Land Use Management Approaches..........................32
Appendix III: State Summaries..................................34
In troduction .............................................34
List of Tables
Table 1: State Policy Focus (in %)....................................17
Table 2: Seriousness of Growth Management Issues (in %) ...............17
Table 3: Effectiveness of State Policies (in %)..........................18
Table 4: Policy Issues, by State......................................19
Table 5: Policy Approaches, by State.................................21
Table 6: Number of Issues Addressed per State Program..................23
Table 7: Frequency of One-Issue Templates, by Issue.....................23
Table 8: Recommendations to Further Minimize Sprawl (in %).............24
Table 9: Recommendations to Better Preserve Open Space................26
Table 10. Responses to LBJ School Survey, by State.....................30
For questions or further information, please contact Jeffrey Zinn, Congressional
Research Service, 7-7257.
Survey of Recent State Policies to Manage
Growth and Protect Open Space
This report describes the policy approaches each U.S. state has adopted since
1990 to address the closely-related issues of managing growth in order to minimize
sprawl2 and protecting remaining open space from being converted to other uses. 3
Both issues are addressed by trying to manage the use and allocation of land and
resources in socially-beneficial ways. Under the U.S. federal system, land use
management is principally an issue addressed by state and local governments. Given
that state governments define powers and authority of local governments, this study
concentrates on state government legislation, including policies that empower local
governments, enhance the power of existing state agencies, strengthen or create new
regulations, encourage regional cooperation, and initiate land management studies.
Sprawl and open space loss are of concern to a growing number of both
governmental and nongovernmental organizations. While land use planning
resonates with most states, this power and responsibility has traditionally been
delegated to localities through state laws such as zoning enabling laws and Home
Rule authority. Local governments’ proximity to the issues of land use, growth
management, and open space protection make them the most affected level of
government. They are responsible for local infrastructure and service delivery, as
well as preserving open space and dealing with blighted inner cities. While some
communities have begun to tackle these important land use issues, there is a broad
lack of knowledge concerning the issues and costs of unmanaged growth, and many
1 The LBJ School compiled an inventory of state laws and activities to manage growth and
protect open space, based on a survey of every state. This work was conducted under
contract with Congressional Research Service as a Policy Research Project (PRP). PRPs
are designed to give students a realistic policy research experience and to culminate in a
final research product for a client. This PRP involved 18 students from the Master of Public
Affairs Program; two professors served as project directors.
2 Sprawl is typically characterized by low-density development distant from a city’s urban
core, and often consists of noncontiguous development or isolated, single-family homes.
Typically uncoordinated, this type of development leads to single-usage of land, rather than
a more concentrated mix of residential, commercial, and other uses. Many academics,
planning professionals and interest groups have presented similar definitions of sprawl.
3 Open space includes three subsets: productive land, environmentally significant areas, and
green space. Productive land includes farm and agricultural lands and resource lands such
as forests. Environmentally significant areas include wildlife habitats, wetlands, and coastal
lands. Green spaces include public open space inside urban areas, such as parks, and large
tracts of undeveloped lands outside urban areas.
communities have avoided making the politically and technically challenging
commitments required to alter growth patterns.
Historically, the federal government’s role in land use was focused primarily on
federally owned lands, largely acquired when the western regions were annexed to
the United States in the nineteenth century. However, with increasing urbanization
and the new societal needs of the twentieth century, the federal government initiated
numerous programs that today affect land use patterns in a multitude of ways.
Policies in transportation, housing, agriculture, and the environment, among others,
play a significant role in how land is developed and used. Some within the federal
government have been taking an active interest in how federal policy and programs
affect land use and how they can better enable localities and states to manage growth
and preserve open space, generally under the moniker “Smart Growth.” This interest
was raised to the presidential level during the Clinton Administration.
The next two subsections introduce some of the causes of unmanaged growth
and open space loss and some of the costs that result. Generalizing about these two
topics is a challenge because no two places are identical. In addition, these topics are
viewed differently by people based on their perspective and interest. Following these
subsections are sections that provide an overview of four topics where federal
policies and programs can affect patterns of change, and that compare state
perspectives on managing growth and protecting open space using materials collected
through the survey, including comparisons of responses from governmental and
nongovernmental representatives.4 Appendix I describes the research method and
process; appendix II describes key terms used in the survey; and appendix III
summarizes the laws and activities in each state.5
Causes of Unmanaged Growth and Open Space Loss. Urban sprawl
and loss of open space result from a variety of factors as well as unintended
consequences of public policies. Among the central social and economic factors in
the United States are a preference for owning detached single-family homes with
yards, almost universal car ownership, and a rising standard of living.
Homeownership is an objective desired by most Americans. When financially
feasible, most people will purchase a home. While homeownership itself does not
cause sprawl or the loss of open space, the location and concentration of new and
existing residential developments largely determine the land use patterns in an area.
Developers try to measure the market and build homes that will sell and provide the
desired rate of return. When homes and large developments are built distant from
urban cores and their denser surrounding areas, sprawl can result.
4 The survey contacted only people who administer programs or work in support of them.
It did not contact opponents, and therefore did not gather views that could be used to
characterize the opposition.
5 A separate CRS congressional distribution memo will contain descriptions of each of the
354 identified programs. Each description follows a template that includes entries on: basic
information on the administrative code; date of adoption and/or amendment; description of
the program and its approach; the source of funding; and evaluations or assessments of the
Virtually universal car ownership has fundamentally changed the patterns of
land development in American communities. Car ownership has facilitated
residential expansion into once isolated, undeveloped areas. With land prices in
these outlying areas lower than in areas closer to the urban core, consumers will
consider purchasing land and building homes in these less-dense areas.
The overall rising standard of living, particularly since the end of World War
II, has enabled more Americans to attain homeownership. The purchase of a home
involves the consideration of factors that typically includes some mix of price,
convenience, and safety. With land prices in outlying areas comparatively
inexpensive, and factoring in ease of travel and perceived safety, cities have
experienced a dispersal of their population to less developed areas. Although the
provision of infrastructure is more expensive in outlying and undeveloped areas than
in already-developed areas, these costs are likely to be averaged among all residents
who are served by the same provider. When costs are averaged, those further from
the center city do not incur the true cost of services and infrastructure, thus lowering
the cost of living further from the urban core.
Federal, state, and local public policies in areas such as transportation, housing,
and land use also can encourage or cause urban sprawl and open space loss. As
discussed below, unintended impacts of federal policy affect patterns of urban
development. Federal transportation policy is often cited as leading to the expansion
of roads and the highway system, opening rural lands and other lower-density areas
to development by improving access to center cities. With less-expensive land in
lower-density areas, homebuyers are able to buy larger plots of land than they would
be able to in higher-density areas. Federal housing policy can influence land use
patterns in multiple ways, such as encouraging and rewarding single-family
homeownership over denser multifamily housing. These single-family homes are
often built away from the city’s central core, further proliferating sprawl and the
destruction of open space.
Zoning and land use policy have also contributed to sprawl. Zoning rules
initially emerged in the early part of the twentieth century as a tool to separate
incompatible land uses, protecting urban centers from heavy industry and
manufacturing plants. Ultimately, these rules reinforced lower densities throughout
communities. Today, some of these rules seem inadequate to address prevalent
development issues. In many localities, the original concept of zoning may still
apply, although the sharp separation of commercial, industrial, and residential uses
may no longer be desired or needed. These rules may prevent practices such as
mixed-use development and urban infill, and suppress urban revitalization.
Comprehensive planning, a tool that could be used to manage growth and
protect open space, remains nonexistent in many areas, and is inconsistently applied
in some places where it is used. Typically, land use policies have supported or
allowed growth that results in a reduction in public facility service levels.6 At times,
they have allowed new public infrastructure to be built in areas where the city does
6 Arthur C. Nelson and James B. Duncan. Growth Management Principles and Practices
(Chicago: American Planning Association, 1995), p. 96.
not desire development. Where land use policies have failed to prevent expansion
of sprawl, they have also led to the loss of open space, including agricultural land and
important habitat. These policies, while not the only ones that affect the expansion
of sprawl, have been large contributors.
Costs of Unmanaged Growth and Open Space Loss. While the
benefits of economic growth are obvious, the costs imposed by sprawl are often less
so. Loss of open space, agricultural lands, cultural/historical sites, and loss of natural
resources including coastal lands are all part of the price of sprawl. Additional costs
might include providing expensive infrastructure, trying to improve blighted center
cities, and responding to a decrease in some aspects of the quality of life. These costs
could be considered when land use and other policies are being formulated. While
communities can benefit from growth, many experts believe that it is important that
they effectively manage the way they grow if they desire to minimize the costs of
sprawl and open space loss.
Green spaces are lost as cities become less compact and expand to undeveloped
lands. If this growth takes place in an unconstrained and uncoordinated way,
development may be scattered. Agricultural lands may be lost as developers build
homes in rural farming areas, subdividing agricultural land. While the impact may
not be felt immediately on the entire farming community, as more farmland is
purchased, farming may become less viable in the area. Farming practices, especially
ones that result in noise and odors, are often perceived as nuisances to the new
homeowners, creating conflicts, and if farming is not protected, the resolution of
these conflicts can accelerate the rate of at which farmland is converted to other
Cultural/historical sites also may be lost as residents leave center cities. In the
same way that general open space is lost, these sites can become slowly consumed
by low-density development. Areas deemed important by the community and by
society as a whole are often unprotected from the destruction caused by low-density
developments. Another cost of sprawl is the loss of natural resources as larger open
spaces are either subdivided or converted to other uses. Wildlife habitats may be
damaged; wetlands can be degraded or destroyed; forests and other resource lands
may be lost, and beach, bay and estuary systems along coasts may become damaged
without necessary protection. One review, summarizing numerous other studies ,
estimated that responding by applying growth management systems can increase
environmentally sensitive land savings by 20% or more in some communities.8
Sprawl is expensive to support with public investments. The cost of financing
roads, schools, water and sewage systems, additional infrastructure, and services per-
person in these less dense areas is more than in higher-density areas, where
economies of scale can be realized. It has been estimated that capital costs are 25%
less, on average, when density is ten units per acre compared to density at five units
per acre. While developers provide some of this infrastructure, service, upkeep, and
7 Rutgers, Brookings, Parsons Brinckerhoff, ECONorthwest, The Costs of Sprawl-Revisited
(Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998), pp. 75-76.
8 Ibid., pp. 78-79.
replacement of these less-efficient infrastructure systems may add to each taxpayer’s
Other costs of urban sprawl can include blighted and decaying downtowns.10
As more affluent residents and businesses leave for cheaper land and larger plots,
center cities must contend with empty storefronts, vacant office space, and inactive
streets. Healthy downtown areas are considered by many to be essential to the long-
term success of an overall region, but many city governments have been unable to
successfully protect their vitality in the face of urban flight.
Degradation of quality of life in rural areas can result from unmanaged growth
and open space loss. With many residents living in outlying areas and commuting
into town for work, roads and highways have become congested. The inability of the
transportation system to meet the needed carrying capacity, especially during
morning and evening hours of peak demand, frustrates and delays commuters and
costs individuals and society valuable time. The increase in car usage and distance
traveled also increases auto-oriented emissions and may lead to decreased air and
water quality in a community.11
Loss of a sense of community is another potential cost of sprawl. In lower-
density areas, many residents live on larger plots of land that are substantial distances
from the nearest neighbor. Combined with a reliance on cars for transportation, this
greater distance often leads to less interaction with neighbors. Many also live in new
communities that lack tradition and events that bring residents together. Some
experts view this combination of sprawl externalities as contributing to a loss of
Roles and Relationships Among Levels of Government.
Traditionally, land use planning and land use policy have been the responsibility of
state and local governments. Before World War II, the federal role in land use
planning and management included little beyond managing federally-owned lands,
disposing of federal lands, and dealing with land issues on a piecemeal basis in policy
areas such as housing and highways. The magnitude and intensity of effects of
federal actions on private lands were more limited in an era of smaller and less far-
reaching government programs and policies. Following World War II, however,
federal laws have increasingly affected policy decisions made by state and local
governments. For this reason, this study and survey examined the intergovernmental
context of land use planning and management. While it is impossible to identify
roles unique to each government level, it is important to understand why different
levels of government are involved in land use issues and what types of policy
decisions they each make.
9 Nelson and Duncan, Growth Management Principles & Practices, p. 5.
10 Ibid., p. 7.
11 Rutgers, Brookings, Parsons Brinckerhoff, ECONorthwest, The Costs of Sprawl-Revisited,
12 Ibid., p. 87.
Federal programs and policies that affect land use include environmental
regulations, federal spending on infrastructure (highways, for example), and tax
incentives for home ownership, among others. State programs and policies can also
play many roles in land use by implementing statewide comprehensive plans intended
to manage growth and/or protect open space, preserving historic sites, protecting land
from future development, and promoting certain forms of development. States
authorize the creation of substate political jurisdictions (cities, counties, and special
districts) and assign them powers and responsibilities. Local government powers and
duties, such as land use planning and regulation, are usually assigned by the state.
Relationships between state and local levels are based on either a Dillon’s Rule or
Home Rule approach, and the approach determines how much independence local
governments have to act without state approval.13
Local governments generally deal with land development efforts that require
land use regulation and the infrastructure issues that accompany new growth. The
federal government’s role in these matters traditionally has been limited for many
reasons. The U.S. Constitution does not mention land use; its only reference to what
may be expressly deemed a planning subject occurs in the Bill of Rights, through the
Fifth Amendment’s injunction against taking land for public purposes without just
compensation.14 Other constraints include the sheer size of the United States and the
variation in topography, culture, and economies. Further limiting the role of the
national government is the political value placed on both states rights and local
government control. Most land use authority resides at the local level through
zoning, subdivision, and building code powers, which were assigned by most states
to local government in the 1920s.15
One level generally not extant is regional government. In theory, a regional
approach would seem like a good scale for addressing many land use topics. Local
governments could use this structure to collaborate on concerns of mutual interest.
However, a regional framework is difficult to accomplish with the multitude of
localities that comprise the typical metropolitan area in the United States, who would
each have to cede authority to a regional entity. Moreover, efforts to coordinate
among localities in a region can be complicated because the powers assigned to local
governments can vary considerably, as between counties, cities, and special use
districts (water authorities, for example), and because many metropolitan areas lie in
more than a single state.
Even though land use is controlled largely by local government, several federal
policies and programs have had a tremendous impact on sprawl and loss of open
13 In Dillon’s rule states, the state gives municipalities only those powers and duties
expressly detailed in their enabling legislation (a limited authority approach). In Home Rule
states, the prevailing form in most states, the municipality has authority over all decisions
not otherwise explicitly reserved by the state.
14 Jerold S. Kayden, National Land-Use Planning in America: Something Whose Time Has
Never Come. Washington University in St. Louis. Online. Available from the university’s
web site: http://law.wustl.edu/Journal/3/pg445to472.pdf. Accessed: March 20, 2002.
15 Rutherford Platt. Land Use and Society: Geography, Law, and Public Policy. Island
Press, Washington, D.C. p. 233-238.
space. In a 1999 survey conducted by the Fannie Mae Foundation,16 urban experts
were asked to rank the top ten influences on the American city over the past 50 years.
The 1956 National Defense Highway Act and the Federal Housing Administration’s
(FHA) mortgage financing program were cited as the two top-ranking influences.
These programs offer federal incentives that substantially influenced
development patterns in U.S. cities for decades. For example, under the Interstate
Highway Act, federal gas tax revenue funds a very large portion of the total
investment in new highway construction. By contrast, local governments are
expected to assume a much higher percentage of investments in mass transit, which
allows cities to grow in a more condensed area.17 Another example of the indirect
effects of federal programs on growth are the FHA-insured mortgages which date
from the 1930s. These mortgages have encouraged new housing on the suburban
fringe as some lenders refused to insure mortgages on older houses in most urban
neighborhoods, thereby reinforcing residential development outside urban
boundaries, especially after World War II.18
On the other hand, some federal policies were purposefully created to assist in
growth management and open space preservation. The U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development has contributed roughly $12 billion to urban planning, water
and sewer facilities, open space acquisition, and public transit since it was created in
1965.19 Its creation elevated housing and planning considerations to the cabinet level
for the first time.20 The 1968 Douglas Commission appointed by President Johnson
considered sprawl and possible solutions, including urban growth boundaries. In the
late 1960s and early 1970s, Congress considered, but did not enact national land use
legislation which would have provided federal aid to states devising statewide land
use plans and creating procedures to protect environmentally sensitive lands.21 It did
pass coastal zone management legislation in 1972, which was characterized as
federal land use legislation applied to areas which were especially threatened by
environmental degradation and rapid development at that time. Some congressional
supporters of coastal zone management legislation stated that they would return to
consider national land use legislation at a later date, but the early 1970s turned out
16 Fannie Mae Foundation, American Metropolis at Century’s End: Past and Future
Influences. Online. Available: http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org
/programs/metropolis1/index.html. Accessed: March 31, 2002.
18 Rutgers, Brookings, Parsons Brinckerhoof, ECONorthwest, The Costs of Sprawl-
Revisited, p. 52-53.
19 NGA Center for Best Practices, Growth Tool Kit: Recognize the Historical Roots of
Growth Management. Online. Available: http://www.nga.org/center/divisions/
20 Robert W. Burchell, David Listokin, and Catherine C. Galley, “Smart Growth: More
Than a Ghost of Urban Policy Past, Less Than a Bold New Horizon,” Housing Policy
Debate, vol. 11, issue 4 (2000), p. 832. Online. Available from the Fannie Mae web site at:
http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org /programs/hpd/pdf/hpd_1104_burchell.pdf. Accessed:
March 5, 2002.
to be the “high water mark” for national land use legislation. Numerous other laws
focusing on the environmental sensitivity of lands and resources were enacted,
especially in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, these laws were not
principally concerned with national growth management policy, and most focused
on a single environmental issue, such as water quality or endangered species.22 These
laws do not mandate land use planning at the state or local level, nor do they balance
land preservation with any goals of growth management such as economic
development, social equity, infrastructure capacity, or quality of life. Still, these laws
establish a national concern for the effects of land use and have been paralleled by
enactments at the local and state levels.
The Clinton Administration supported major initiatives to promote “smart
growth” at the federal level. The Livability Agenda, initiated in January 1999, aimed
to provide local governments with more tools and financial resources to pursue open
space and regional smart growth strategies. The Lands Legacy Initiative, first
proposed in FY2000, sought to expand funding to programs associated with land
acquisition and natural resource protection, but would not have amended the
The Bush Administration has not aggressively pursued either initiative, but has
begun a growth management campaign concentrated in brownfield redevelopment.24
In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief
and Brownfields Revitalization Act (P.L. 107-118), which provides liability
protection for prospective purchasers, contiguous property owners, and innocent
landowners for the cleanup of brownfields. This protection is intended to attract
private developers who can develop these sites, often as infill projects within urban
areas. The bill also authorizes increased funding for state and local programs that
assess and clean up brownfields.25
Numerous bills were introduced in the 107th Congress to promote growth
management and open space protection. The most widely-discussed proposal, the
Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA, H.R. 701) would dedicate over $3
billion annually for natural resource protection through the Land and Water
Conservation Fund (LWCF) and other specified resource protection programs.26
States may view these federal and congressional efforts differently. As part of
the LBJ School Survey, participants were asked to gauge the effectiveness of federal
22 Kayden, National Land-Use Planning in America (online).
23 Burchell et al., “Smart Growth” (online).
24 Brownfields are abandoned or underused properties that are known or suspected to be
25 Environmental Protection Agency, President Signs Legislation to Clean Environment and
Create Jobs. Online. Available: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/headline_011102.htm.
Accessed: March 28, 2002.
26 For more information on Administration activities and current and recent legislative
proposals, see CRS Issue Brief IB10015, Protecting Natural Resources and Managingth
Growth: Issues in the 107 Congress.
policy in assisting states with growth management efforts. (See Appendix I for a
review of the survey methods and participation numbers, by state.) These answers,
which are opinions of the respondents, provide insights into the satisfaction of states
with federal policies affecting growth management.
Respondents were asked if they agreed that “Federal policies of the past decade
have been effective in preventing or minimizing urban sprawl.” An overwhelming
majority of total respondents either disagreed (59%) or strongly disagreed (27%).
Responses from two major subgroups into which survey participants can be divided,
state government and non-state government representatives, were almost identical,
although 30% of the non state government participants strongly disagreed compared
to 26% of state government respondents.27 By contrast, only 14% of all respondents
agreed that the federal government has been effective in its growth management
efforts, but most of these, 12% of the total, strongly agreed. State government
respondents were slightly more positive than non-state government respondents in
their view of the effectiveness of federal policies, with 14% strongly agreeing that
federal policy has proven effective compared to 9% of non-state government
This pattern of responses shows that many more state officials and others
believe these policies have been ineffective. However, the survey did not seek
further explanations for why they reached their conclusion about the effectiveness of
federal policies. A further examination of the effectiveness topic might begin with
a dialogue between those few states where respondents believe that federal policies
have been effective and the federal government. This dialogue could provide insight
into how different implementation methods might affect the performance of federally
initiated policies that influence growth management.
The next question asked respondents to broadly evaluate how changes in federal
growth management policy would affect urban growth in their state. Respondents
were asked: “If there were no changes in federal policy, would sprawl in their state
get better, worse or stay the same?” About two thirds of the respondents, or 65%, felt
that urban sprawl would get worse; however 76% of non-state government
respondents felt sprawl would get worse with no changes, while only 60% of state
government respondents answered this way. These respondents may have felt that
the federal government has a beneficial role to play in the implementation of federal
policies, and without innovation, conditions in their states would deteriorate.
Possible explanations for a higher percentage of negative responses from non-state
government respondents are that: (1) many of them are more likely to monitor the
activities of the federal government and national policy debates that affect their
concerns; and (2) because they are outside state government, some of them are likely
to forcefully promote and seek publicity for their views.
27 Non-government respondents included experts affiliated with professional organizations,
academics, and non-profit organizations. In each state, the LBJ School Survey contacted
the state director of the American Planning Association to initially identify the appropriate
experts. To the degree that these respondents belong to groups that advocate planning, they
may not represent the full range of views. Some additional individuals who were suggested
during initial contacts with state government and non-state government representatives were
contacted as well.
Roughly one-third of total respondents felt that sprawl would stay the same
without changes in federal policy, although this includes only 24% of the non-state
government respondents. This response could indicate a perceived lack of
involvement and influence that the current federal policy has on sprawl and growth
management. Some state government respondents might view sprawl as a state issue
and therefore federal policies are either unwanted or of limited importance, while
more non-state government respondents may identify strong associations between
federal policies and state actions.
Only 3% of respondents felt that no change in federal policy would make growth
management more effective in their state. From this response, one might conclude
that these few individuals are not pleased with the federal government’s role and
would rather have growth management policies left to the state or localities. This
response may reflect a view that federal policy has detrimental effects on a state’s
urban growth, and attempts to curb that growth. Interestingly, not a single non-state
government respondent chose this answer; however, there was insufficient time to
seek out an explanation.
Federal Programs and Land Use Patterns
The majority of federal policies that were believed to impact state growth
management efforts in the LBJ School survey were in the areas of transportation,
housing, environment, and agriculture; each is briefly introduced below. The impact
of federal policies in each of these four areas on land use is substantial. Survey
respondents both complimented and criticized federal efforts of the past and present
in land use management. They expressed mixed feelings toward the federal role in
the future of growth management.
Transportation. Federal transportation policies assert a powerful force on
state and local planning efforts. Transportation systems are also sometimes viewed
as contributing to unmanaged growth patterns. For example, the sprawling
development patterns found in many metropolitan areas would have been virtually
impossible without the automobile and modern highway systems. Thus,
transportation infrastructure is considered a decisive factor in growth management
and open space preservation issues. State and local policymakers recognize this key
role, and increasingly look to transportation policy as part of the solution. Recent
increases in funding for mass transit systems demonstrate congressional recognition
of the evolving relationship between federal transportation policies and local and
metropolitan development patterns.
Congress authorized the interstate highway system in 1956, in recognition of the
value of the German autobahn system to the enemy during World War II and the need
for mobility to the post-war economy and if another war erupted. This authorization28
led to the construction of 41,000 miles of highways. Recent iterations of national
transportation policy, starting with the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency
Act (ISTEA) in 1991 (P.L. 102-240), initiated a new phase of transportation policy
28 Percivel, Miller, Schroeder, and Leape, Environmental Regulation: Law, Science and
Policy (New York: Aspen Law and Business, 2000), p. 761.
making. ISTEA marked momentous changes in federal policy by its incorporation
of additional environmental considerations into transportation policy. The following
funding provisions illustrate this point:
!States spent $1 billion of an annual $20 billion grant of federal
highway funds on air pollution control projects;
!Spending on mass transit almost doubled, from just over $3 billion
in 1990 to close to $6 billion in 1999; and
!Spending on bicycle and pedestrian projects grew from just over $7
million in 1990 to more than $222 million by 1999.29
Another change gave much greater authority to Metropolitan Planning
Organizations (MPOs) in determining how and when federal transportation dollars
would be expended. Prior to ISTEA, MPOs were said to generate so-called “wish
lists” and state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) made the final decisions in the
allocation of federal funding. ISTEA required that the federal government certify
transportation planning in metropolitan areas with populations of greater than
200,000. The certification process provided an assessment of how effectively each
MPO worked with other transportation organizations, local governments, citizens,
and state DOTs to reach certain planning requirements.30
The most recent iteration of these policies, enacted in 1998 in the Transportation
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), sought even greater authority and
flexibility for regional planning bodies in transportation planning. TEA-21 includes
a new $120 million program known as the Transportation and Community and
System Preservation Pilot Program. “Designed to explore innovative ways to
integrate transportation and land use decisions to fight urban sprawl,” this program
is one specific instance where the federal government offers assistance to manage
growth. Furthermore, the MPO certification process was amended to require public
involvement. It also requires the federal government to renew the certification of
MPOs every two years in order to maintain full eligibility for federal funding, thereby
increasing the number of opportunities for public involvement.
A number of the survey respondents indicated that ISTEA and TEA-21
increased support for efficient land use planning. Yet, despite these changes and the
resulting optimism among many of those officials, a majority of respondents stated
that federal government transportation policies are incompatible with growth
management efforts. A majority also identified any highway funding that displaces
spending for mass transit systems as a major cause of urban sprawl. A majority of
the survey respondents identified federal funding for the development of new roads,
which often improves access to more land for development, as a major impediment
to effective planning. State and local policymakers participating in the survey
advocated a combination of maintaining existing roads and more funding for mass
29 Barbara McCann and Stephanie Vance, Ten Years of Progress. Surface Transportation
Policy Project (2001) Online. Available: www.transact.org. Accessed: March 5, 2002.
30 Bruce D. McDowell, Improving Regional Transportation Decisions: MPOs and
Certification. The Brookings Institute (September 1999). Online. Available:
http://www.brook.edu/urban/mcdowellexsum.htm. Accessed: March 10, 2002.
transit or multimodal transportation systems. Many argue that the actual costs of
building and maintaining highways are greater than the amounts paid by motorists
through various taxes and fees. Respondents who felt this way expressed support for
an increased gas tax as a mechanism for paying the actual costs of commutes.
The recent shift in transportation policy by the federal government may be the
reason for increased optimism on the part of state and local officials. While a number
of state and local officials surveyed continue to view federal transportation policy as
a hindrance to effective growth management efforts, a notable number acknowledge
the progress originating with ISTEA and TEA-21. This conflicting sentiment is one
measure of how relationships between state and local planning officials and the
federal government concerning transportation policies continue to evolve.
Housing. Housing policies are important to development patterns because
residents take multiple trips daily between their homes and jobs, shopping, schools
and other destinations. If their residence is a long distance from their destinations,
they are more likely to be adding to problems associated with growth. If the
residence is in a new development, it may also be contributing to loss of open space.
Homeownership is a very important goal for most Americans. In a 1992
survey, Americans surveyed favored owning a home by a margin of three to one,
choosing homeownership over retiring from their job 10 years earlier or taking a31
better job in a place where they would only be able to rent. Federal policies to
support homeownership emerged in the 1930s. Today, the policy to deduct interest
payments on home mortgage loans is one of the country’s largest tax subsidies. In
this setting, it should be no surprise that the homeownership rate in the U.S. is32
Many positive aspects of federal housing policies contribute to making new
homes easier to purchase. While this helps first time home buyers and veterans, the
preference for new housing over the restoration of existing housing has the potential
to encourage development further away from downtowns, where the land is less
expensive and infrastructure must be installed to meet the needs of the incoming
residents, while existing homes are allowed to deteriorate. When adequate public
transit is not available, which is more likely with new development, longer and more
frequent trips by auto can cause traffic congestion, air pollution, and other problems.
Survey respondents consistently indicated that federal housing policy greatly
influences land use patterns and growth management. Most responses that listed the
federal government as a hindrance to growth management policy indicated that FHA
and VA loans for single-family housing, and the federal income tax mortgage
deduction favor homeownership over multifamily and rental housing, and encourage
housing patterns that convert more land per housing unit. Federal policy that
31 Michael A. Stegman, Johanna Brownstein, and Kenneth Temkin, “Home Ownership and
Family Wealth in the United States,” in Housing and Family Wealth: Comparative
International Perspectives, ed. Ray Forrest and Alan Murie (London: Routledge, 1995).
32 U.S. Census Bureau, People Quick Facts. Online. Available:
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html. Accessed: March 25, 2002.
encourages new homes over rental units or the rehabilitation of existing housing was
also listed as a problem. One recommendation from many respondents is to enact the
proposed Historic Homeownership Assistance Act (H.R. 1172). This act would
create a 20% federal income tax credit to homeowners who rehabilitate or buy a
qualified historic house, up to a maximum credit of $40,000. More generally, survey
respondents identified legislation that would connect home ownership programs with
growth management issues as one solution to some of these problems.
Environment. Federal environmental policies and programs have affected
growth management activities in states, especially since the late 1960s, when the
federal government became more actively involved in protecting the environment.
An example of the thinking at that time is a comment by Russell Train, the chairman
of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Nixon Administration. Commenting
on that Administration’s proposal for federal land use policies, he stated that “land
use is the single most important element affecting the quality of our environment
which remains substantially un-addressed as a matter of national policy.” 33
Subsequently, while Congress enacted laws to regulate aspects of environmental
quality, it has generally left land use or land quality regulation to the states.
Examples of environmental legislation enacted or amended in the late 1960s and
1970s included the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Coastal Zone Management
Act (CZMA), the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA), and the Federal Land Policy Management Act. The CZMA is the closest
to national land use legislation affecting private land, as envisioned by many national
leaders in the early 1970s. It provides modest grants to coastal states, including the
Great Lakes states, to encourage them to develop and implement coastal management
plans and programs that improve the protection of sensitive shoreline resources, to
identify coastal areas appropriate for development, to designate areas hazardous to34
development, and to improve public access to the coastline. Another incentive for
state participation is a requirement that all federal actions in or affecting coastal
zones managed under a federally-approved plan must be consistent with that plan.
In contrast with all the other environmental laws that protect specific places or
resources, including those listed above, the National Environmental Policy Act of
1970 establishes a process to consider the environmental ramifications of proposed
federal actions by requiring all federal agencies to prepare environmental impact
analyses before they initiate actions that will have significant environmental effects.
In the 1990s, the federal government became interested in addressing growth
management issues, in part as they relate to resource protection and other
environmentally sensitive issues. Congress amended the Clean Air Act to strengthen
the link between transportation policy and air quality, requiring the integration of
Clean Air Act standards into transportation planning. The Clinton Administration
first proposed the Lands Legacy Initiative with the FY2000 budget submission to
substantially increase funding to about two dozen resource protection programs.
Congress has generally supported funding increases, especially in the brief time
33 Percivel et al., Environmental Regulation, p. 767.
34 Funding totals less than $100 million each year, which is divided among the 34 states and
territories who administer federally-approved plans.
period when the projected budget surplus was projected to grow. Proposals for
higher funding have continued under the Bush Administration, and are now known
as the Conservation Spending Category. However, as the projected surplus has been
replaced by a projected deficit, these increases may lose some support.35 These
efforts, while only indirectly connected with managing growth, have provided some
additional incentives to states who choose to pursue growth management principles.
Following the lead of federal initiatives, states have also employed brownfield
redevelopment policies to manage growth and preserve open space.
The active federal role in regulating certain activities to protect the environment
and providing more funding for some of these activities in recent years has increased
sensitivity to federal interests that can affect growth management initiatives at the
state and local levels. This study inquired about the effectiveness and impacts of
federal environmental legislation at the state level. Only 14% of the respondents
claimed that federal environmental policies, or lack thereof, were impeding state
efforts to manage sprawl. Among the identified impediments were federal regulation
of wetlands, coastal areas, and waterways.
Agriculture. Farmland in or near suburbs is affected by urban growth and by
federal policies. Farmland lost to urban sprawl has been measured at one million36
acres a year. In economic terms, the highest price for farmland will be paid to
convert it to non-agricultural uses in or near urban areas. This economic value can
be at odds with the amenity and food production values attributed to farmland by
protection advocates, especially in some suburban areas.
Urban sprawl encroaches upon farmland by inflating property values, thereby
making it extremely attractive for farmers to sell their land when developers make
large offers. Urban sprawl also encroaches on farmland when developments expand
near farms. Homeowners near farms may object to normal farming practices,
including the use of noisy machinery outside “normal” working hours and spreading
manure. These incompatibilities can lead to nuisance lawsuits; many states protect
farmers from these actions with right-to-farm laws.
Federal policies affect agricultural land use and conversions. Many policies
indirectly encourage these lands to be converted to other uses, while few directly
protect them. In one of these, the Farmland Protection Program (FPP), the
Department of Agriculture works with state or local governments to purchase
conservation easements. Participation by farmers, as with all conservation programs
created in recent farm bills, is voluntary. The 2002 Farm Bill authorizes $50 million
in FY2002, rising to a maximum of $125 million in FY2004 for this purpose. It
continues to require pending offers (so that funds will be used only where an interest
in buying an easement has been expressed), and expands the eligible land to also
include rangeland, grassland, pastureland, incidental forest land, and historic and
35 Jeff Zinn, “Managing Growth and Related Issues in the 107th Congress,” CRS Issue Brief
[out of print; available only through author], Congressional Research Service (Washington,
D.C.: The Library of Congress, 2001), pp. 6-8.
36 USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Summary Report: 1997 National
Resources Inventory. (Washington, December, 2000), 89p.
archeological sites. It also expands eligible participants to include Indian tribes and
non-profit organizations that meet certain qualifications.
Agriculture traditionally has been exempted from most environmental
legislation, such as many provisions of the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
However, non-point water pollution and confined animal feeding operations as
concentrated sources of pollutants are receiving more attention, largely as a result of
litigation. Agricultural sources are considered by many states to be the leading
causes of water pollution. Pending regulatory decisions by the Environmental
Protection Agency may encourage USDA to refocus many agriculture conservation
programs to addressing water pollution.37 Due to the difficult nature of tracking non-
point pollution back to its source, the federal government has struggled for years to
find a workable solution, using provisions of the Clean Water Act to regulate places
where the most severe problems are found.38
State Policies and Priorities: Overview and Comparison
State governments have become more central in addressing open space topics.
Many of them have expanded planning efforts since the late 1960s in response to
issues related to growth management and open space preservation. Some perceptions
of state officials regarding these policies were discussed above. While the effects of
federal policies can be far-reaching, the primary policy tools for land use planning
are found at the state and local level.
State government-led efforts in this field were quite limited until the 1960s,
when some states started to find unacceptable the consequences of uncoordinated
local land use policies. Some states began to implement policies to encourage
localities to consider the effects of their land use decisions on the surrounding region
and the state as a whole. A common perception of this early state level planning was
that only densely populated states were active in creating land management polices.
For example, California began adopting new land use policy in the late sixties and
early seventies,39 long before the issue was even considered in many of the less
populated states. The survey responses indicate that most states have become active,
if not aggressive, in the 1990s in pursuing growth management policies.
State involvement in growth management has been described as occurring in
waves.40 The first wave is characterized by a concern for environmental protection
and agricultural land preservation. The second wave builds upon environmental
concerns and expands the focus to broader land use management policies. During
37 For a general background on these issues, see CRS Report RL30437, Water Quality
Initiatives and Agriculture.
38 The location of water quality problems are identified in a state-by-state survey compiled
by EPA biennially in the National Water Quality Inventory, most recently released for 2000.
39 Stephanie Pincetl, Transforming California: A Political History of Land Use and
Development (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1999), p. XV.
40 Richard Haeuber, “Sprawl Tales: Maryland’s Smart Growth Initiative and the Evolution
of Growth Management,” Urban Ecosystems, vol. 3 (1999), pp. 132-3.
the late 1980s, states continued to develop policies to facilitate coordinated land use
planning. Growth management and open space preservation issues gained national
prominence due largely to widespread publicity of both the negative effects of
unplanned urban growth on the environment and how sprawl can reduce the standard
of living in many urban areas. Increased awareness about these negative trends and
consensus-building on ways to promote more sustainable development patterns leads
to another round of changes in state planning policies. This third wave places greater
emphasis on comprehensive planning, either voluntary or mandated, at the local
level. Topics identified as essential considerations for a well-developed plan include
affordable housing, infrastructure, natural resource protection, urban revitalization,
and interagency and intergovernmental coordination.41 The state’s role in growth
management programs becomes primarily one of providing effective incentives and
disincentives to support local and regional entities with plan development and
implementation. The incentives and disincentives may include judicial review and
regulatory sanctions as well as technical and financial assistance.42
The most recent policy trend in many states, comprehensive planning at the state
level, has emerged more strongly since the late 1980s. Integrated statewide planning
encourages localities to consider issues beyond their boundaries and to coordinate
their plans with other government units. States can be distinguished by specific
features of their comprehensive planning policies, such as whether the plans are
mandated or voluntary, whether incentives and disincentives are included, and the
degree of regulatory authority granted to local planning entities.43 Many state-level
policies originate in the Governor’s office. In a review of state Governors’ state-of-
the-state addresses in 2000, reference to the importance of Smart Growth initiatives,
open space preservation or urban revitalization was made by 32 Governors.44
The Focus of State Policies. The broad increase in concern for growth
management and loss of open space issues has not resulted in uniform policy
responses across the states. The survey identified two distinct, but closely-related
dimensions of land use: one connected to cities and urban sprawl, and the second to
nonurban or urban-fringe issues such as the loss of open space. The survey asked
about the relative importance of these dimensions. Results, in table 1, show that 47%
of the respondents believe that their state places equal weight on both issues.
However, many responded that their states focus principally on open space (36%) and
a smaller number indicated a focus on urban sprawl (15%). These results reflect a
range of priorities among states, likely to be explained by individual circumstances,
including geography, urbanization patterns, and economic and political structure.
41 Scott A. Bollens, “State Growth Management: Intergovernmental Frameworks and Policy
Objectives,” Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 58, no. 4 (Autumn 1992),
42 Dennis E. Gale, “Eight State-sponsored Growth Management Programs: A Comparative
Analysis,” Journal of the American Planning Association, vol. 58, no. 4 (Autumn 1992),
43 Bollens, “State Growth Management,” p. 4.
44 Miller, Schroeder, and Leape. Environmental Regulation: Law, Science and Policy, 3rd
ed. (New York: Aspen Law and Business, 2000), p. 770.
State officials saw the focus of state efforts differently than did non-state
government officials. A majority of the state officials, 53%, perceived policy in their
states as focusing equally on the two areas, while only 33% of the non-state
respondents had the same view. A higher portion of both subgroups perceived states’
efforts to be focused on preserving open space than on managing growth. The ratio
between these two options was similar for both subgroups.
Table 1: State Policy Focus (in %)
TotalState GovernmentNon-State Government
Managing Growth of Cities151219
Preserving Open Spaces363244
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
A large portion of all respondents thought all the issues except loss of resource
lands, defined as lands that contain resources of economic value, to be “very serious,”
as shown in table 2. A larger portion of state officials deemed loss of sensitive and
of agricultural lands to be very serious than did non-state officials, while the reverse
was true for the categories of urban sprawl, zoning practices, and inadequate
infrastructure. The issues of highest concern to state representatives were urban
sprawl followed closely by zoning practices. These responses suggest the view that
traditional or available growth management tools may not be effective in handling
the challenges of development and loss of open space. Overall, the results clearly
indicate that growth management and open space preservation are high concerns for
those surveyed both within and outside state government. The loss of resource land
issue is apparently of less concern, perhaps because these lands may be more fully
valued in the market and thus less threatened by urban development.
Table 2: Seriousness of Growth Management Issues (in %)
Very SeriousModerately SeriousNot Serious
St a t e No n- St a t e St a t e No n- St a t e St a t e No n- St a t e
Govern. Govern. Govern. Govern. Govern. Govern.
(n=86) (n=36) (n=86) (n=36) (n=86) (n=36)
Loss of Resource201747583425
Loss of Sensitive4533486176
Ina dequa t e 41 72 49 28 10 0
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
The survey asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of state policies. Despite
the seriousness of growth management issues in states, most state officials and an
even higher share of non-state government respondents considered growth
management policies to be ineffective, as shown in table 3. Perceptions about the
effectiveness of open space preservation policies were somewhat more positive.
Although growth management is increasingly seen as an important statewide issue,
in many states policies reportedly have not been developed or are not being enforced
to meet the challenges that these respondents perceive.
Table 3: Effectiveness of State Policies (in %)
Growth ManagementOpen Space Preservation
St a t e No n- St a t e St a t e No n- St a t e
Governme nt Governme nt Governme nt Governme nt
(n=85) (n=36) (n=85) (n=36)
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
Issues Addressed by State Programs. Since no common set of
categories for describing growth management and open space preservation initiatives
exists, the research team developed categories and definitions to provide an analytical
structure for classifying specific policy issues (see Appendix II). Each of the 354
state policies that were identified was categorized based on the issues addressed.
Many of these policies address more than one issue. For example, a smart growth
policy may well include the potentially-related topics of infrastructure management,
land use management, and agricultural land preservation. The frequency with which
states address each issue in the identified policies are provided in table 4. For
example, Alabama has 3 policies; 2 of those address natural resource protection, 1
addresses land use management, and 1 addresses hazardous places.
The frequency with which an issue is addressed could be interpreted, with
caution, as a proxy measure of its importance in policy making since 1990. States
with similar physical and cultural characteristics, and land use history, may well
share similar priorities on specific issues. For instance, states with a lengthy
coastline would be expected to place a high priority on addressing coastal
conservation issues, or states where larger portions of the remaining agricultural
lands are threatened with conversion are more likely to address this topic.
The two issues most frequently addressed by state government are natural
resource protection (19.7%) and land use management (18.5%); there is a large drop
to the next most important issue, agricultural land (13.5%). The high number of state
policies addressing natural resource protection issues may reflect a strong connection
between growth management and open space preservation initiatives and
environmental concerns. Some of the issues that are considered a part of natural
resource protection, such as wetlands protection or wildlife restoration, have been
addressed by many states for decades, where there is a long history of interest and
Table 4: Policy Issues, by State
NaturalLand UseAgricul-UrbanCultural/Infrastruc-tureCoastalHazardousNumber of
Resource Manage- tural R e de ve l o p- Hi st ori c al Manage- Cons er- P l aces State
P rotecti on me n t Land me n t P reservati on me n t vat i on Policies
Al abama 210 0 0 0 0 1 3
Alaska 11 1 0 1
Arizona 423 2 3 2 0 2 4
Arkans as 000 1 0 0 1 1
Californi a 11 2 6 8 4 2 6 1 19
Colorado 574 5 5 4 0 3 3
C o nne c t i c ut 540 3 1 2 2 7
Delaw are 8108 3 3 6 3 2 17
Florida 544 5 6 1 5 5
Georg i a 641 1 1 2 3 0 8
Haw ai i 243 0 0 2 9
Idaho 440 1 1 0 0 4
Illinoi s 102 0 0 0 10
I ndi ana 475 4 1 2 1 1
Iow a 101 0 0 0 0 0 1
Kansas 2 1 4
K e nt uc ky 515 2 1 0 1 7
Loui siana 000 0 0 0 0 0
Maine 05 2 1 3 0 1 1
Maryland 8561311542 8
M assachu- 671 3 2 3 0 0
Michigan 373 6 4 2 2 7 15
M i nne s o t a 342 2 3 1 0 0 6
M i ssissippi 220 0 0 4 4
M i ssouri 101 2 1 0 0 1 5
Montana 01 0 0 3
Nebraska 300 0 0 0 3
Nevada 33 0 2 1 2 2
New 552 4 0 2 0 3
Hampshi r e
North 3 2 4 3
North 000 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ohi o 104 1 1 0 0 1 5
Okl ahoma 000 0 0 0 0
Oreg on 764 6 3 8 3 2 12
P e nns y l vani a 537 4 4 2 2 0
NaturalLand UseAgricul-UrbanCultural/Infrastruc-tureCoastalHazardousNumber of
Resource Manage- tural R e de ve l o p- Hi st ori c al Manage- Cons er- P l aces State
P rotecti on me n t Land me n t P reservati on me n t vat i on Policies
South 221 0 1 0 2 1 6
T e nne s s e e 211
Tex as 040 0 0 0 0 0 4
Utah 343 2 1 2 3 6
Vermont 111 1 0 0 7
Virg inia 22 0 0 0 1 6
Wa s h i n g t o n 333 2 3 3 1 3
We s t 110 0 0 0 0 0 2
Wi sconsin 11 7 3 2 3 5 0 1 20
Wy o mi n g 0 0 0 0 1
TOTALS 160 150 110 93 91 78 69 59 354
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
Land use management, the second most frequently addressed issue, captures the
overall concern of state policymakers over the effectiveness of existing land use
patterns. State policymakers appear most interested in initiatives that promote
efficient growth and minimize negative externalities. A review of the policies shows
that they have addressed this need in diverse ways.
There are a number of possible explanations for the relatively low frequency of
certain policy issues, including hazardous places (7.2%), coastal conservation (8.5%),
and infrastructure management (9.6%). Hazardous places is a category in which the
federal government, through EPA, takes an active role through the Superfund
Program and brownfield redevelopment. Issues receiving less attention in the state
level may not necessarily be viewed as less important, but other levels of
government, in this case, the federal level, may have a stronger role in addressing
them. Coastal conservation initiatives are found only in those states that contain an
eligible shoreline.45 Furthermore, many coastal conservation programs were
excluded because they were created before the 1990s and have not been significantly
changed. Infrastructure management is an example of an issue that exemplifies the
intergovernmental nature of land use. Many infrastructure programs receive
substantial federal and local government funding or are funded through dedicated
sources rather than general revenues, and are therefore not a priority for state
initiatives. For instance, water and sewer lines are usually funded by local
Approaches Employed to Address Policy Issues. This study created
a set of categories and definitions for the various approaches used in state programs
to manage growth and protect open space (see Appendix II for definitions). Table
45 30 states are eligible to participate in the federal Coastal Zone Management Program.
The categories for planning techniques recognize the three distinct approaches.
A distinction between mandated local planning and authorized local planning is
based on whether local planning is voluntary or not in the state program.
Coordinated state agency planning indicates participation across state agencies.
The three approaches most commonly used are information provision/technical
support, market incentives/disincentives, and grants/funds. The more frequent use
of these three appoaches, in contrast with the less frequent use of mandated local
planning, may suggest that states prefer to use inducements rather than mandating
action or compliance. It is possible that more aggressive approaches to many of these
issues would have political consequences, especially from adversely affected
constituencies. The popularity of these primarily “hands off” approaches may also
be explained by the relative autonomy they bestow on local governments in the realm
of land use planning. Furthermore, these kinds of approaches may become even
more attractive as fiscal constraints faced by many state governments start to limit
funding for growth management and open space preservation initiatives.
Table 5: Policy Approaches, by State
InformationMarketGrants/LandCoordinatedLand UseAuthorizedMandatedInfrastructureNumber of
Techni cal Di sincen- ti o n Ag ency ti o n Pl a nni ng Pl a nni ng Provision Policies
Suppo r t ti ve s Pl a nni ng
F RE Q UE NCY 16.7 1 5 15.0 1 1 1 1 1 0 8 6 6 .0 N/A
Alabama 10010000 0 3
Al a s ka 00001000 0 1
Ar i z o n a 22340211 2 4
Ar ka nsa s 11000000 0 1
Ca lifornia 510183303 1 19
Co l o r a do 54110012 113
Co nne c ti c ut 22311210 1 7
De l a w a r e 66034304 017
Flo r ida 73530102 215
Georgia 11111410 2 8
Ha w a i i 01005000 0 9
Ida ho 02210000 0 4
Illinois 00011110 010
Indi a na 42110230 01
Io w a 10000000 0 1
Ka nsa s 01110200 0 4
Ke ntuc ky 10220120 0 7
Louisiana 00000000 0 0
Ma i ne 10702000 110
Ma r y l a nd 711355131 2 18
Ma ssa chusetts 21001104 0 8
InformationProvision/MarketIncentives/Grants/FundsLandAcquisi-CoordinatedStateLand UseRegula-AuthorizedLocalMandatedLocalInfrastructureand FacilitiesNumber ofState
Techni cal Di sincen- ti o n Ag ency ti o n Pl a nni ng Pl a nni ng Provision Policies
Suppo r t ti ve s Pl a nni ng
F RE Q UE NCY 16.7 1 5 15.0 1 1 1 1 1 0 8 6 6 .0 N/A
Michigan 79622840 115
Mi nne so ta 11001111 1 6
Mi ssi ssi ppi 10120000 0 4
Mi sso uri 13010000 0 5
Mo nta n a 00010102 1 5
Ne br a s ka 00120000 0 3
Ne va da 11110220 1 2
Ohi o 11211000 0 5
Okl a ho ma 00000000 0 0
Oregon 81418626 712
Pe nnsy l va ni a 50412320 010
T e nne sse e 22010011 0 5
Texa s 01000120 0 4
Uta h 20121420 1 6
Vermont 02211010 0 7
Virginia 10212111 0 6
Wa shington 13013101 2 3
Wi sco nsi n 11 2 9 6 1 5 1 0 0 20
Wyoming 10001000 0 1
TOTALS 103 93 92 70 67 64 50 39 37 354
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
The categorization of programs by issue and approach can be used to examine
the extent to which state initiatives are either targeted or broader. A broader effort
to managing growth or protecting open space can be a single program that addresses
multiple issues and uses various approaches or it can be a collage of numerous, more
targeted, programs, each addressing narrower issues. Combining many targeted
programs for more comprehensive purposes may be very challenging to administer,
and is not inevitably more successful than narrower programs.
Relative comprehensiveness of programs can be approximated by the number
of issues they address. The number of issues addressed by the 354 programs varies
from 1 to all 8, as shown in table 6. Programs that address a single issue are the most
common. The issue(s) that each program addresses are shown in table 7. It indicates
that most states have addressed growth management issue by issue. This strategy
may be most politically viable. Legislation focused to one issue of high concern may
have a greater chance of being enacted and might be less controversial than one that
affects many interests. It is also possible that more limited programs are less
expensive than comprehensive ones, and budgetary constraints are likely to be
important in any states considering legislation addressing these issues in the future.
Table 6: Number of Issues Addressed per State Program
Number of IssuesFrequency
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
Table 7: Frequency of One-Issue Templates, by Issue
Policy IssueNumber of programsNumber of programsPercentage
addressing issueaddressing only this issue
Land Use Management1503322
Infrastructure 78 8 10.3
M a nagement
Cult ura l/H ist o rica l 91 6 6 .6
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
Policy Recommendations from Participants. In an open-ended question,
the survey solicated recommendations for state governments related to minimizing
sprawl and preserving open space. The recommendations for minimizing sprawl are
categorized in table 8. Of these respondents, 70 were state government officials and
30 were representatives of other organizations active in states. A higher percentage
of non-state government respondents offered recommendations. These respondents
all focused on three principal recommendations with roughly equal frequency. States
!Develop comprehensive plans and Smart Growth policies;
!Reform the tax system and fund disbursement practices; and
!Create and/or enhance market incentive/disincentive programs.
Table 8: Recommendations to Further Minimize Sprawl (in %)
To tal State No n- St a t e
Governme nt Governme nt
n=7 0 n=3 0
Establish Mandatory State Comprehensive Plan and Smart12%9%17%
Reform State and Local Tax System and Fund Disbursement11915
P r actices
Create/Enhance Market and Financial Incentives/Disincentives9910
Increase and Coordinate State Funding and Investment889
Structure for Growth Management
Establish, Empower, and Coordinate Local Land Use,887
Planning, and Zoning Legislation
Fund and Support Agricultural and Open Space Land684
Acquisition and Preservation
Encourage Redevelopment of Existing Infrastructure and674
B r o wnfield s
Educate Policymakers, Planners, Investors, and Public on666
Enforce and Strengthen Regulatory Legislation and Programs556
Create and Empower Regional Planning Organizations and554
Establish and Enforce Urban Boundaries/Growth Zones452
Reform Local Land Use Policies444
Provide Affordable Housing442
Fund and Establish Water Conservation Efforts222
Establish and Strengthen Purchase and Transfer of240
Development Rights Laws
Show Gubernatorial/State Leadership222
Develop Statewide Transportation Planning222
Institute or Enforce Impact Fees221
Encourage Economic Diversification220
Reform State Trusts for Land102
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
These three areas of recommendation reflect the diversity of state approaches
and generally support the perceived benefit of multipronged strategies for addressing
these topics. In establishing a comprehensive plan, governments would be required
to integrate issues, and probably to address them at a multi-jurisdictional scale. The
reform of the tax system and adoption of market incentives may be seen as expanding
opportunities to involve the private sector, and in this process, creating new or
strengthened partnerships between government and nongovernment sectors.
One difference between the governmental and nongovernmental respondents
occurred in the strength of preference for the two most frequent recommendations
(preferred by a higher portion of nongovernmental respondents). A second difference
was that 3 government respondents recommended establishing or strengthening
transfer of development rights laws, while no non-state government respondents
made this recommendation.
Respondents were asked what recommendations they would make to state
governments on means to better preserve open space. Recommendations were
offered by 57 respondents from state government agencies and 22 respondents from
other entities. The three principal recommendations, of roughly equal importance as
shown in table 9, were to:
!Fund and support agricultural and open space acquisition and
!Increase and reform tax incentive structure to preserve
open/green/agricultural spaces; and
!Establish and strengthen purchase and transfer of development rights
In funding and supporting agricultural and open space acquisition and
preservation efforts, states act directly. States can also put in place policies that less
directly influence actions by altering incentives and disincentives, such as changing
a state’s tax incentive structure to preserve open/green/agricultural spaces. For
example, transfer of development rights laws permit developers to reach their
development goals while allowing agricultural landowners to benefit from open
space land ownership. Differences between governmental and nongovernmental
responses occurred among infrequently mentioned recommendations, with
government respondents recommending more gubernatorial/state leadership and
improved urban services while nongovernmental respondents favored reforming
zoning practices and instituting and/or enforcing impact fees.
Table 9: Recommendations to Better Preserve Open Space
To tal State No n- St a t e
Governme nt Governme nt
Fund and Support Agricultural and Open Space Acquisition17%16%18%
and Preservation Efforts
Increase and Reform Tax Incentive Structure to Preserve131315
Establish and Strengthen Purchase and Transfer of9813
Development Rights Laws
Adopt Smart Growth Legislation for Farmland Protection668
Educate Policymakers, Planners, Investors, and Public on683
Establish and Enforce Urban Boundaries668
Mandate/Strengthen Coordination between State and Local65
Establish a Statewide Greenway System555
Reform State Funding570
Establish Funding for Conservation Land Trusts555
Enforce and Strengthen Regulatory Legislation and Programs453
Give Local Governments Additional Planning and Zoning34
Autho r ity
Establish Legislation for Land Easements343
Show Gubernatorial/State Leadership350
Reform/Limit Local Zoning Practices325
Improve Urban Services (i.e., Urban Schools)230
Institute or Enforce Impact Fees215
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
The survey elicited views on state-level policies from knowledgable respondents
who either work within state government or work on these issues in those states.
These views were aggregated to identify the approaches used and the most critical
considerations. The mix of key issues and approaches that emerge as priorities as
states engage in managing growth and protecting open space varies widely. With
varied amounts of experience in growth management and open space preservation,
and differing degrees of urgency in addressing these issues, states are positioning
themselves along a spectrum of state planning, from emerging leaders to not active.
For some states where these issues began to be addressed 30 years ago and more,
recent policies are grafted onto many years of interest and well-developed programs
and approaches, whereas others started taking their first ambitious steps in the 1990s.
Useful lessons can be gleaned from comparing state activities. Examples of
these lessons include the effectiveness of different approaches, the ability to
coordinate efforts that recognize the interconnected nature of growth management
issues, and the capacity to calculate fiscal impacts of unplanned growth. The amount
of expertise states will be able to draw on can be expected to grow as new approaches
are tested and implemented in more places. Experience from each state offers some
indication of the policy development challenges and the feasibility of particular
approaches, but the context, including different political, geographic, social, and
economic characteristics, may make direct transfers to other states difficult. In these
experiences, the federal government often plays important roles. However, the
federal role is seldom an isolated factor; the research findings show that success
requires that multiple governments, linked both vertically and horizontally, work
together to resolve pressing problems that transcend political boundaries.
A state-level analysis has yielded insights not only into the statewide policies
and their outcomes, but also to the limitations of trying to evaluate planning policies
without also examining local and regional approaches to planning. In addition, the
setting each state finds itself in is important. The project research shows that the
level of involvement in growth management and open space preservation issues is
largely determined by these variables:
!Geography: states with a high proportion of natural resource land
or rich agricultural land threatened with conversion to other uses are
more likely to preserve remaining land and place a high value on
!Dramatic population growth: states that experienced significant
population growth and development in their urban centers sought to
work cooperatively managing growth to minimize the impact on the
peripheral regions and hinterlands.
!Political leadership: states with gubernatorial support for
comprehensive planning approaches or other growth management
policies were the most likely to see these policies implemented.
Local politics also influenced the extent to which the state would
attempt to impose and regulate its planning activities.
!Economic development goals: many states have recognized the
value of both strategic economic growth, and minimizing the
negative externalities of development. Encouraging local
governments to engage actively in the full spectrum of issues related
to the development of their community, to consider the effects of
this development on surrounding regions and to coordinate with
other units of government has become a goal for many state
programs that can have long-term economic benefits.
!Environmental concerns: states with valuable natural resources are
responsible for preserving these assets in coordination with federal
and local governments. Many states are also aware of the tourism
benefits to their economy in preserving natural resource land.
!Managing fiscal impact: states implementing growth management
and open space preservation programs recognize that trying to
accommodate unplanned growth has fiscal costs that may grow.
Funding new infrastructure and increasing tax burdens to
accommodate development often stresses the tax base and existing
State-level planning occurs primarily because localities and agencies find
coordinating efforts or facilitating that process difficult without a framework in place
or a regulated process. State policies frequently encourage localities and agencies to
examine the statewide or regionwide impacts of their policies. The state level is
positioned to determine the overall planning and preservation goals within its
boundaries, and to recommend methods for implementing coordinated solutions to
growth issues. It also has the authority to develop and implement approaches that are
too large for political subdivisions to address. States use multiple approaches to
address planning issues. Some approaches are more effective than others.
Ineffective policies reflect several limitations, including:
!policies and regulations that are put into place and not followed or
diluted to the point of ineffectiveness;
!policies and regulations that are not clearly understood; or
!policies without penalties.
Policy focus varies across states. Within each state, public officials, agencies,
NGOs, and various coalitions may disagree on priorities. Nonetheless, smart growth
initiatives, task forces, and commissions on state planning issues frequently stimulate
a productive dialogue and encourage units of government at every level to examine
the impacts of existing planning policy frameworks. No one agency or layer of
government acts in a vacuum to address growth management and open space
preservation because they are interrelated with many other public policy issues,
including affordable housing, private property rights, public transportation, and
historical preservation, for example. State-level planning has emerged in response
to the need to coordinate these and to do so in a way that is sustainable and
Appendix I: Research Methods and Process
The purpose of this study was to create an inventory of state activities directly related
to growth management and open space preservation that were enacted, adopted, or
undertaken in some other way since 1990, and to be able to make observations about the
effectiveness of these policies. State activities were defined to include laws passed by state
legislatures (including significant amendments to existing laws), voter initiatives, programs
initiated without explicit enabling legislation, and executive orders. The research team
settled on broad definitions of growth management and types of state responses when
compiling this inventory. The issues and approaches that were identified illustrate the
breadth of growth management and open space preservation techniques being used by states.
The research team decided to use a survey to identify the relevant activities in every
state. Staff at appropriate state agencies and experts affiliated with nonprofit organizations,
academics, and professional organizations were identified as the target population to be
invited to participate in the survey. Responses to this survey provided current information
and some original material, since survey recipients were asked to offer their personal
assessment of state policies. Respondents completing the survey could choose to remain
anonymous. This option was offered to encourage the highest level of candor in the
responses, and their candor helped separate issues of substantive policies from political
ones. Most respondents chose anonymity and this report respects all such requests.
Respondents were asked to rate the seriousness of urban sprawl and the loss of
environmentally sensitive land issues in their state. Particular attention was paid to federal
policies that help or hinder states’ efforts. Detailed information on specific policies adopted
or amended by states since 1990 was requested. To facilitate this process, a list of
previously identified policies was included in the survey. An initial mailing was made in
early November 2001 to 325 individuals employed by states and nonprofits. A second
mailing was sent out in early January 2002 to individuals who had not responded as well as
to an additional 75 individuals. A total of 128 surveys were returned. The table on the next
page summarizes the mailings and response rates, by state.
Following the written survey, a telephone interview was conducted to solicit additional
information. During this interview, questions were asked regarding implementation
approaches, outside assessments, and individuals’ own opinions on the effectiveness of the
policies. The interviews often identified additional individuals, who were sent the written
survey and often interviewed by phone.
Alternative sources of information complemented the survey and telephone interviews.
Many state websites provided up-to-date information on state policies and allowed for
review of key agency reports and legislation. Internet searches provided additional
information, including inventories of state initiatives and studies of similar subjects.
Nonprofit organization websites provided alternative perspectives and legislative reviews.
Library materials often were helpful in identifying laws that were not found elsewhere.
Searches of other published materials, including law review articles and newspaper archives,
were also used.
The study team encountered a number of difficulties while administering the survey.
The return rate for many states was lower than anticipated. Often the return rate was higher
from program directors, whether governmental or nongovernmental, in smaller states. In
larger states, program directors typically requested subordinates to complete the survey, and
this often resulted in the survey becoming misplaced in large departments. Forwarding the
survey to an identified individual became necessary. Responses to the events of September
Table 10. Responses to LBJ School Survey, by State
StateSurvey Responses(received/sent)Telephone Interviews
Go vernment No ngovernmental Go vernment No ngovernmental
Officials (93/244)Organizations (36/86)OfficialsOrganizations
Alabama 0/3 0 /0 1 0
Al a s ka 1/5 0 /0 2 1
Ar i z o n a 2/4 1 /2 2 1
Ar ka nsa s 2/4 0 /0 1 0
Ca lifornia 3/14 4/11 4 2
Co l o r a do 1/4 0 /1 1 0
Co nne c ti c ut 2/6 0 /2 1 0
De l a w a r e 3/5 1 /2 2 0
Flo r ida 0/6 2 /3 1 1
Georgia 3/5 0 /1 1 0
Ha w a i i 2/6 0 /1 4 0
Ida ho 1/4 0 /1 1 1
Illinois 0/2 1 /1 0 2
Indi a na 1/2 0 /3 0 0
Io w a 0/2 1 /3 1 1
Ka nsa s 1/1 0 /0 0 0
Ke ntuc ky 3/5 1 /1 0 0
Louisiana 1/3 0 /1 1 0
Ma i ne 0/3 0 /3 4 0
Ma r y l a nd 5/9 0 /2 0 0
Ma ssa chusetts 2/5 3 /5 2 3
Michigan 4/12 1/2 0 0
Mi nne so ta 1/3 0 /2 0 1
Mi ssi ssi ppi 2/4 0 /0 3 1
Mi sso uri 3/3 1 /2 1 0
Mo nta n a 1/2 1 /2 0 1
Ne br a s ka 3/8 0 /0 1 1
Ne va da 1/2 1 /1 1 1
Ohi o 0/4 3 /4 2 0
Okl a ho ma 0/1 2 /2 0 0
Oregon 8/12 1/2 5 1
Pe nnsy l va ni a 3/5 2 /3 1 0
T e nne sse e 0/2 1 /1 1 0
Texa s 3/6 0 /0 0 0
Uta h 3/7 1 /1 1 0
Vermont 1/4 1 /1 0 1
Virginia 2/8 0 /1 1 0
Wa shington 1/5 0 /2 1 0
Wi sco nsi n 1/4 1 /2 1 1
Wyoming 3/5 1 /2 2 1
Source: Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
Survey responses varied in comprehensiveness. Some respondents completed the
opinion-based sections and left the more substantive sections on specific policies blank.
Also, many recipients stated that the survey would take too long to complete. The telephone
survey also presented challenges because many potential participants were unavailable or
difficult to contact. Frequently the telephone interviews required multiple calls. Yet
information derived from the phone interviews was especially valuable as topics regarding
triggering events, policy effectiveness, and assessments of state-level commitments were
discussed. During the information-gathering process, the research team consulted with
Henry Richmond and John DeGrove, two eminent scholars in the growth management field
and advisors to this project. A final quality control step was to mail the draft chapter that
described the state’s experiences to the governor’s office, with a request for a review for
factual accuracy. Nearly half of these offices responded, and all oversights and factual
errors were corrected.
The search strategy utilized by individual team members was varied in relation to the
survey responses and telephone interviews in specific states. For some, the majority of
information was derived from a few comprehensive survey responses requiring nominal
supplementary research. For others, especially larger states, consulting alternative sources
of information was necessary. Despite the limitations mentioned above, the written and
telephone surveys, when combined with the supplementary information sources, provided
original information on current policies in the 50 states.
Appendix II: Explanation of Terms
State governments pursue growth management and open space protection policies in
a multitude of ways. The priority given to these issues and the policy instruments chosen
vary substantially across states. In order to provide a consistent structure to these issues for
this project, a number of categories and definitions had to be agreed to. Through the use of
categories, the relative importance of various issues and policy instruments can be
established. Given that state governments recognize no common categories or definitions,
the definitions used here reflect those used in academic and policy literature.
Policy Issues in Managing and Protecting Open Space. One set of categories
was created to disaggregate the general policy issues of managing growth and protecting
open space. Each state law or program was classified with respect to the specific type of
land management concern addressed:
!Agricultural Land concerns the preservation and viability of farmland
and related farm operations, understood as the practices that contribute to
the production and preparation of crops, livestock, and livestock products.
!Coastal Conservation concerns the preservation and development of any
coastal area natural resource such as wetlands, beaches, and wildlife
!Cultural/Historical Preservation concerns the continued existence and
use of areas or entities of cultural or historical value, ranging from single
buildings and parks to farms and entire downtown areas.
!Hazardous Places concerns land where use is limited by actual or
potential natural hazards and environmental contamination, or the
perception of such contamination. Examples include floodplains, seismic
hazard zones, abandoned mines, factories, and solid waste sites.
!Infrastructure Management concerns the maintenance, feasibility,
and/or rehabilitation of existing infrastructure or the need for
provision/planning of new infrastructure.
!Land Use Management concerns the determination of how land is used
as addressed through planning, zoning, and the like.
!Natural Resource Protection concerns the use of resource land,
environmentally sensitive areas, and other critical open space that is not
encompassed within other designations, such as coastal or agricultural
lands. This designation includes, but is not limited to, the issues of
general open space preservation, wildlife habitat, and wetlands and forest
!Urban Redevelopment concerns the development needs of existing urban
environments, especially deteriorating areas, and may relate to increasing
urban densities, downtown revitalization, and/or neighborhood
Land Use Management Approaches. In addition, each state law or program is
classified by the land use management approach(es) adopted. Frequently, a single state
effort adopts multiple approaches. The presentation of information on individual laws and
programs allows for identification of multiple approaches. The approaches are:
!Coordinated State Agency Planning: collaborating among state agencies
to manage growth. Examples of this approach include task forces and
regional planning programs in which several state agencies are
!Mandated Local Planning: requiring planning actions by local
governments, as in a state government legally requiring all localities to
undertake and submit a comprehensive plan.
!Authorized Local Planning: enabling, but not requiring, local
governments to take planning actions.
!Land Use Regulation: imposing regulations that govern land use by the
state, including planning laws, zoning, and the like.
!Market Incentives/Disincentives: provision of economic benefits to
encourage certain actions and/or discourage others, including tax
incentives, farmland special assessments, easements, and transfer of
!Land Acquisition: acquiring and securing land by the state to preserve it
as open space.
!Infrastructure & Facilities Provision: guiding or meeting the
infrastructure needs of an area and using infrastructure investments as a
land use policy tool.
!Grants/Funds: creating funding mechanisms or allocating special funds
for growth management activities.
!Information Provision/Technical Support: providing detailed
information or analysis and/or technical support to facilitate improved
growth management policy or action. Examples of this approach include
land surveys, creation of a committee to study an issue, and technical
assistance to local governments.
Appendix III: State Summaries
Introduction. Students at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of
Public Policy prepared summaries of state-level activity to address sprawl and manage
growth in every state based on information they accumulated during surveys, interviews, and
related information-gathering activities. The summaries vary widely, reflecting both
diversity in the levels of interest and types of activities among states. Each summary should
be viewed as a very brief introduction to an often complex set of laws, programs, policies,
and activities; the many footnotes identify additional resources. The summaries emphasize
actions and initiatives that have occurred since 1990. In most states, they focus on some
combination of legislation and gubernatorial initiatives, and on perspectives during the
winter and spring of 2002, when the survey was conducted. Since the survey, many states
are adjusting their approaches because of diminishing state tax revenues and less economic
growth and activity, especially in locations dominated by tech industries. The effect of the
economic downturn reportedly has placed significant constraints on some states, especially46
in 2002. Specific information about each identified program will be published in a CRS
congressional distribution memo. Officials in each state received a draft of information
about their state and were asked to review it for accuracy and completeness.
Alabama. Alabama’s planning system is largely based on local control, and
consequently very few state laws address growth management. The state has not pursued
this avenue as vigorously as some of its neighbors, including Tennessee, Georgia, and
Florida, in reforming state comprehensive planning laws that date back to the 1920s. Three
programs and activities were identified during the survey:
!Forever Wild Program;
!Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives; and
!Alabama Geographical Information Council.
The Forever Wild Program, enacted in 1992, is the only program with an explicit
concern for growth management or open space preservation. This program sets aside land
for permanent state ownership using a portion of the interest earned on profits from the sale
of offshore natural gas. Land is conserved for hunting, fishing, camping, outdoor recreation,47
natural resource protection and research, and preservation of unique sites. In 1999, the
program initiated the purchase of more than 47,000 acres of land in the Mobile-Tensaw
Delta, the largest single land purchase for conservation in the state’s history. The Delta is
home to 32 plant and 26 animal species listed as endangered, threatened, or rare by the state
of Alabama and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is also designated by the World
Wildlife Fund as an area of worldwide ecological importance.
In recent years, the Alabama legislature has considered, but not enacted, planning and
land-use related legislation. In 1999, a bill to provide for county-level planning and zoning
authority and an amendment to the state constitution to grant municipalities home rule
powers over land use and development were proposed, but not passed.
In 2000, the Governor established the Alabama Commission on Environmental
Initiatives. Its top priorities included the development and implementation of a
46 Are State Budget Shortfalls Shortchanging Smart Growth Initiatives? A Natural
Resources Defense Council-Sprawl Watch-Smart Growth America Report. Washington,
D.C., March, 2002. 10p.
47 Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Forever Wild. Online.
Available: http://www.dcnr.state.al.us/agfd/forever.html. Accessed: December 10, 2001.
comprehensive environmental education plan, an increased focus on advancing water policy,
and a Smart Growth collaboration with Alabama’s Commerce Commission.48 The
commission recommended a Smart Growth Commission be established to address sprawl.
This recommendation had not been placed on the legislative agenda as of April 2002, due
to budget shortfalls and the 2002 elections.49
In 2002, the Governor increased his involvement in growth management efforts by
sponsoring a two-day Conference on Smart Growth and Brownfields Redevelopment. It was
attended by 200 officials, experts, and business leaders who discussed ways to better combat50
the effects of sprawl through improved land use planning. The conference is an important
step in creating an awareness of growth issues affecting the state. Concerns with urban
sprawl were recently raised by a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, which stated that51
Alabama had the highest percentage of people who drive to work by themselves.
The principal agency in charge of planning is the Alabama Department of Economic
and Community Affairs (ADECA). ADECA operates as an extension of the Governor’s
Office, and administers federal grants in the areas of job creation, infrastructure, public
safety, and energy efficiency and conservation.
Alaska. The role the State of Alaska has taken since 1990 to protect its vast amounts
of open space has principally been to enforce existing state environmental protection
regulations, to coordinate state efforts with federal programs, and to enable local planning.
The federal government has a strong role in determining the use of land in Alaska since
it owns over 66% of the state. About one-third of this area is designated conservation units
by federal laws such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (1971) and the Alaska
National Interest Lands Conservation Act (1980). Alaska now contains 60% of the land in
the National Parks System (administered by the National Park Service) and 86% of the land
in the National Wildlife Refuge System (administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service).
The Alaska Department of Environmental Resources coordinates federal, state, and
local environmental procedures, while planning efforts are based at the local level and
supported by the Department of Community and Regional Affairs.52 With an average
population density of 1 person per square mile (in contrast to the average population density
of the entire United States of 75 persons per square mile), urban sprawl is not an issue for
most local authorities. Alaska’s largest cities (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau) can adopt
local growth management regulations as they deem necessary and have implemented
comprehensive land use regulations.53
48 Jacksonville State University, Alabama Commission on Environmental Initiatives. Online.
Available: http://www.jsu.edu/depart/epic/ACEI.html .Accessed: January 15, 2002.
49 American Planning Association, Growing Smart: Alabama (online).
50 Smart Growth Online, Smart Growth News. Online. Available: http://www.
smartgrowth.org/news/bystate.asp?state=AL&res=1024. Accessed: April 12, 2002.
51 American Planning Association, Growing Smart: Alabama (online).
52 Alaska Stat. Secs. 44.47.010, 44.46.010, and 46.03.010.
53 Denali Commission Alaska, Spotlight on Alaska. Online. Available:
http://www.denali.gov. Accessed: December 6, 2001.
The only state legislation to address growth management created the coastal zone
management program in 1978. It was amended in 1990. In recent years, the state, working
with a very senior delegation in Congress, has focused its efforts on infrastructure expansion
and economic development across Alaska. The Denali Commission, for example, was
established by Congress in 1998 as a federal-state partnership to provide critical utilities,
infrastructure, and economic support throughout the state. Examples of the commission’s
efforts include the promotion of rural development through job training and energy
infrastructure improvements, and an educational initiative to increase the capacity of rural
communities to create and implement local plans. The Governor at the time of the survey
was advocating the enactment of measures to meet the infrastructure needs of rural Alaskans
and was a strong supporter of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to54
“environmentally responsible” drilling for oil and natural gas. If successful, these federal
and gubernatorial efforts are likely to have important implications for managing growth and
preserving open space.
Arizona. Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Despite
demographic trends, Arizona took a rather conservative approach to growth management
and open space preservation policies until the late 1990s. With the leadership of the
Governor, Arizona’s legislature passed major growth management acts in 1998 and 2000.
Arizona’s approach to growth management continues to evolve in response to demographic
trends. Four laws and programs were identified in the survey:
!Growing Smarter Act of 1998;
!Growing Smarter Plus Act of 2000
!Arizona Preservation Initiative; and
!Arizona Heritage Fund.
Local governments in Arizona have historically been responsible for land use planning.
The Arizona Department of Commerce, through its Community Planning Office, monitors
local activities, although current statutes provide little authority to enforce legislative
Approximately 13% of Arizona’s land base is in state trust lands, which were granted
by the federal government when Arizona became territory in 1863.55 The federal
government retained extensive holdings, and currently administers approximately 33.1
million acres. Arizona experiences difficulty in trying to consolidate parcels under three
distinct types of land ownership (state trusts, federal lands, and privately owned lands) for
either managed growth or conservation purposes. In the northern half of the state,
fragmented ownership divided among private parties, federal and state lands, and Indian
reservations, has resulted in checkerboard development patterns. State officials believe that
exchanging or purchasing federal lands would allow it to plan more effectively and manage
growth, but the federal government is often reluctant to trade or dispose of these lands.
The late 1990s marked a new era in land use policy, as the state enacted the Growing
Smarter Act in 1998 and the Growing Smarter Plus Act in 2000. Critics described the 1998
54 Smart Growth News, “Alaska Governor Urges Opening of Arctic Wildlife Refuge for
Energy Development.” Online. Available: http://www.smartgrowth.org. Accessed: February
55 Arizona State Land Department, Historical Overview of State Land Trust. Online.
Available: http://www.land.state.az.us. Accessed: February 28, 2002.
Act as meaningless and ineffective because while communities could choose how they
would like to pursue Growing Smarter initiatives, it did not include enforcement or
evaluation procedures to ensure that local governments complied with state policy. In
response to citizen initiatives and public demand, Growing Smarter Plus was passed in a
special legislative session. The Governor described the Plus Act as making “Arizona a
national leader in land use and growth management,” and praised the strong tools for56
managing growth it gave to localities. Its primary tools are in-fill incentive districts,
purchase of development rights and a required updating of zoning laws in order to be in
compliance with the legislation. It also uses urban service limits, impact fees for
development, and active citizen participation in the approval of land use development plans.
Yet critics of Growing Smarter Plus claim that it provides no incentive to participate, no
consistency between neighboring cities or counties, and no means of evaluation.
The political controversy surrounding Growing Smarter Plus has been fierce.
Environmental groups have attempted to strengthen it by placing initiatives on the ballot.
In November 2001, for example, citizens rejected Proposition 202, which would have
created local growth management plans including mandated growth boundaries, after
expressing significant support when it was first made public. This defeat is an illuminating
example of the political tug-of-war currently taking place as antisprawl sentiments vie with
concerns about loss of local control.
On February 22, 2001, the Governor announced the creation of the Growth
Management Oversight Council to “monitor the effectiveness of Arizona’s growth
management statutes and offer suggestions for their improvement.”57 Arizona appears to be
entering a new stage in its growth management and open space preservation agenda as it
increases emphasis on improved enforcement and monitoring of policies by increasing the
authority of state and local officials. The future of growth management as an important
issue seems likely so long as the Governor in Arizona continues to devote attention to the
issue and interest groups continue to make the topic a priority.
Arkansas. Planning and zoning authority in Arkansas exists primarily at the county
and city levels rather than the state level. No single state agency is directly responsible for
growth management and open space preservation, although a few of them indirectly address
these issues. For example, the Department of Environmental Quality addresses preservation
through watershed management plans and the Department of Economic Development
facilitates strategic planning in communities to assist them in prioritizing their goals and
objectives. County planning boards and plans, where these issues could be addressed, are
optional. The state encourages multicounty planning primarily to enhance economic
development and coordinate government services.58 Planning and development districts
provide technical assistance to local governments. City governments also have the option
to work together to facilitate coordinated areawide planning.
56 “Governor Signs Growing Smarter Plus Legislation,” Governor Jane Dee Hull News
Releases, Phoenix, AZ, February 21, 2000.
57 “Governor Appoints Growing Smarter Oversight Council,” Governor Jane Dee Hull News
Releases, Phoenix, AZ, February 22, 2002.
58 Arkansas Code Annotated, Title 14, Chapter 56, Section 401 et seq.
One law related to growth management is the Conservation Easement Act of 1983.59
It allows for the acquisition of easements, thus preserving open space. A brownfield
redevelopment law provides incentives to people who acquire abandoned industrial,
commercial, or agricultural sites that may require environmental and/or hazardous material
California. California has enacted numerous state growth management laws despite
having a decentralized planning structure.61 Legislation, which ranges from amendments
strengthening previous growth management policies to innovative laws intended to limit
growth and protect open space, includes:
!California Farmland Conservancy Program Act;
!Williamson Act Amendments;
!California Forest Legacy Program Act;
!Legislation Linking Water Supply to Development;
!Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air, and Coastal Protection
!Oak Woodlands Conservation Act;
!Urban Park Act;
!Legislation Protecting Headwaters Forest, Owl Creek, and Grizzly Creek;
!A.B. 2663 (to protect agricultural land);
!Downtown Rebound Program;
!Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Act;
!Wildlife Protection Act;
!California Rural Development Council;
!California Oceans Resources Management Act;
!Natural Community Conservation Planning Act;
!Cleanup Loans and Environmental Assistance to Neighborhoods Account;
!Environmental justice (guidelines).
The rapid population growth and extensive suburbanization of open space and
agricultural land in California following WWII forced the state to become involved in
growth management before most other states. The Williamson Act of 1965, the best-known
policy from this early growth management era, protects open space through conservation
easements. It has enrolled over 16 million acres since the early 1980s.62
The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 was a watershed event by engendering widespread
environmental concern among California residents and creating support for the passage of
several environmental and land use-related laws. The California Environmental Quality Act
(CEQA), passed in 1970 and modeled after the National Environmental Policy Act, requires
state and local agencies to consider the environmental effects of their policies and activities,
59 Arkansas Code Annotated, Title 15, Chapter 20, Section 401 et seq.
60 Arkansas Code Annotated, Title 8, Chapter 7, Section 1101 et seq.
61 Arthur Nelson and James Duncan, Growth Management Principles and Practices
(Chicago: Planners Press, 1995), p. 26.
62 Department of Conservation, The Williamson Act of 1965. Online. Available:
http://www.consrv.ca.gov/dllrp/LCA/info. Accessed: February 23, 2002.
to mitigate those impacts, and to report to the public.63 In 1971, AB 1301, a landmark
general plan law, required local governments to engage in planning, yet it did not enhance
the state’s planning authority. It imposed procedural and organizational requirements but
no policy requirements. A year later California voters approved Proposition 20, the Coastal
Protection Initiative. At the time, it was considered the boldest effort in state land use
regulation. It created six regional coastal commissions under a state commission charged64
with issuing development permits and carrying out long-term planning and management.
In 1978, Californian voters passed Proposition 13, which restricted the property tax
rate and allowed local governments to reassess property for tax purposes only when it is
sold. This legislation had a profound impact on local government and school districts.
Policymakers claim that cities have begun to favor retail development, which generates65
higher tax revenues, over residential development.
Since the early 1990s, continuous growth has placed more pressure on metropolitan
areas. In the Los Angeles region, for example, the remaining open areas are undevelopable
because the land is already protected, federally owned, too valuable as agricultural land, or
would be too difficult to develop because of terrain.66 With population projections of an
additional 24 million residents in the next 40 years, the state faces ongoing challenges.
Increased development has affected other quality-of-life issues. For example, between 1970
and 1990, while the state’s population grew by 50%, the total number of miles traveled by
cars and trucks grew by 100%.67 This increase in vehicle miles traveled is an indicator of
urban sprawl as people take longer trips on average, because more of them have moved
farther away from the urban core or have longer commutes.
Since 1990, growth management legislation has included both enacting new policies
and strengthening existing policies to address contemporary issues. The Williamson Act
was revised in 1999 to restrict recreational use and disallow lot line adjustments to land
enrolled in the program. SB 497 amended the government code in 2001 to allow lot line
adjustments for only one to four parcels. New legislation created new certification
procedures to limit development on the periphery of cities while providing low-interest
loans to facilitate urban redevelopment. Protection of California agricultural and
environmental land involved the use of conservancy programs, tax credits to landowners,
direct purchases by the state, and providing matching funds to local governments, and
Two bond measures have passed since 2000 to fund the preservation of open space and
increase investment in parkland. The Safe Neighborhood Parks, Clean Water, Clean Air and
63 UCLA Capital Programs, California Environmental Quality Act. Online. Available:
http://www.capital.ucla.edu/ep-ceqa.html. Accessed: March 20, 2002.
64 Frank S. So, Irving Hand, and Bruce D. McDowell, The Practice of State and Regional
Planning (Chicago: American Planning Association, 1986), p. 230.
65 The Southern California Studies Center, Sprawl Hits the Wall: Confronting the
Realities of Metropolitan Los Angeles (Los Angeles, 2001), p. 37.
66 The Southern California Studies Center, Sprawl Hits the Wall, p. 30.
67Greenbelt Alliance, Beyond Sprawl: New Patterns of Growth to Fit the New California
(1995). Online. Available: http://www.greenbelt.org/pubs_merchandise/beyond_sprawl
_txt.html. Accessed: March 20, 2002.
Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2000 earmarked $2.1 billion in general obligation bonds to
protect and expand parkland. In March 2002 voters approved the California Clean Water,
Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, providing an
additional $2.6 billion for investment in protecting open space and parkland.
The last decade has seen increased activism and interest in land development and68
sprawl issues. More coalitions, made up of residents, nonprofit organizations, academic
institutions, private sector companies, and governmental bodies, are forming in reaction to
the impacts of development and population growth. Reports such as See Beyond Sprawl
from the Greenbelt Alliance and Bank of America and Sprawl Hits the Wall from the
Southern California Studies Center with the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and
Metropolitan Policy are two examples of coalitions providing policy recommendations.
The state government is studying sprawl and open space loss. Resolutions adopted by
the legislature in 1999 encourage the use of Smart Growth principles, such as planning for
the future, promoting livable communities, providing better housing and transportation, and
conserving open space and natural resources, when making policy.69 The Smart Growth
Caucus was formed by Representative Wiggins in January 2000 and has 31 state legislators.
It released a report, Growth Challenges in the Golden State, in 2001.70 The Commission on
Regionalism, created in November 2000 by Speaker Hertzberg, published The California
Dream: Regional Solutions for 21st Century Challenges in February 2002. It identified the
need for regional efforts to address statewide problems, especially development and open
Population projections, widespread development, shrinking open space, and
diminishing environmental quality fueled the increased priority placed on Smart Growth
management since the mid 1990s. State legislators and local government officials, as well
as the private sector, nonprofit community, academic institutions, and private citizens,
continue to study ways to address these growing concerns.
Colorado. Colorado has a very strong tradition of local control over land use and
growth management. Land use planning regulations, such as zoning, sign codes, and
building codes are, for the most part, locally determined. Past attempts to establish “top
down” control over aspects of development run counter to this tradition, and have been
defeated either in the legislature or at the ballot box. Nonetheless, Colorado has been at the
forefront in enacting planning reform and smart growth measures to address its explosive
growth. In recent years, Colorado has attempted to control urban sprawl and protect open
space through land use management, natural resource protection, and agricultural land
preservation. Among the laws and programs are:
!Creating an Office of Smart Growth;
!Local Government Master Plan Criteria;
!Brownfield Redevelopment Tax Credit;
68Ib i d .
69 University of Hastings School of Law, “Smart Growth: State by State, 2000” database.
Online. Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: March 20,
70 California Smart Growth Caucus, Growth Challenges Facing the Golden State (online).
71 So, Hand, and McDowell, The Practice of State and Regional Planning, p. 230.
!Governor’s Commission on Saving Open Spaces, Farms, and Ranches;
!Tax Credit for Historic Preservation;
!Conservation Easements Tax Credit;
!Master Plan Dispute Resolution;
!Property Owners Adjacent to Annexation;
!Concerning the Mandatory Adoption of Local Government Master Plans;
!Smart Growth: Colorado’s Future;
!Great Outdoors Colorado Fund;
!Development Impact Fees; and
!Voluntary Cleanup and Redevelopment Act.
The Governor promoted the Smart Growth agenda adopted in 1999 in a comprehensive
initiative, “Smart Growth: Colorado’s Future.” The initiative intends to protect open lands72
and give local communities the tools needed to plan for responsible growth. He also
signed six Smart Growth bills in 2000 and established the Governor’s Commission on
Saving Open Spaces, Farms and Ranches. This 2000 legislative package created the Office
of Smart Growth and the Intergovernmental Land Use Dispute Resolution Program. This
program was specifically designed to aid local governments in negotiating land use conflicts
to more efficiently implement growth management legislation.
The Governor called a special session of the legislature to address growth in
September 2001. During this session, the legislature passed a package of bills that the
Denver Post called “the most significant land use reform in Colorado since the 1970’s.”73
!Requires fast-growing and large cities and counties to develop
comprehensive land use plans;
!Creates a dispute resolution mechanism for local governments to settle
!Authorizes every city and county to collect impact fees; and
!Amends laws to limit the ability of cities to annex territory far outside
In addition, in November 2001, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved the
governor’s proposal to give Great Outdoors Colorado, the state conservation agency, the
ability to bond against its revenue so that it can move quickly to protect natural landscapes
that come on the market.
The Department of Local Affairs is the statewide agency responsible for implementing
planning programs and statutes. The Department’s Office of Smart Growth acts as a
clearinghouse for information and assistance to local governments for their smart growth
Connecticut. Connecticut’s growth management programs are created and
implemented both at the state and local level but focus on statewide planning. The stimulus
for this activity has been that the state’s population increased by 3.6% annually between
72 State of Colorado, Smart Growth: Colorado’s Future. Online. Available:
http://www.state.co.us/smartgrowth/. Accessed: January 5, 2002.
73 Colorado House Bill 01S2 (2001).
1990 and 2000. Connecticut’s goal is to have at least 7% of the land in the state dedicated
as open space. Of that land dedicated to open space, at least 10% will be held by the state
and the remainder will be held by local governments and conservation organizations.74
Relevant laws and programs include:
!Coastal Zone Management Act revisions;
!Conservation and Development Policies Plan;
!Inland Waterways and Watercourse Act;
!Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Act;
!Open Space for Recreation;
!Special Contaminated Property Remediation and Insurance Fund; and
!Urban Sites Remedial Action Program
Connecticut first initiated statewide planning in 1976 when policymakers developed
the Conservation and Development Policies Plan for Connecticut.75 It remains the basis for
current initiatives. In the 1970s, the legislature passed laws protecting environmentally
sensitive areas such as coasts and wetlands. In the 1990s, it revised some of these laws, and
strengthened the regulatory authority of the state. For example, Connecticut’s Coastal
Management Act was amended in 1995 to promote collaborative planning efforts among
state agencies, and to extend protection to wildlife and fish habitats.
The state’s renewed activism also addressed urban redevelopment. In the 1990s, the
legislature enacted the Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Act, the Urban Sites Remedial
Action Program, and provided for brownfield redevelopment through the Special
Contaminated Property Remediation and Insurance Fund. In addition, the Open Spaces for
Recreation Act was passed in 1997 as an avenue to meet the state’s goal of preserving open
The State Office of Policy and Management is the lead agency implementing the
Conservation and Development Policies Plan, which must be renewed every five years. This
program is used primarily as a regulatory tool for promoting coordinated planning. Regional
and local governments work with the State Office of Policy and Management to ensure that
their plans are consistent with the statewide plan. This Office also collaborates with the
Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture to promote joint
efforts with local governments and municipalities. Through the plan and other initiatives,
local and regional governments are active participants in statewide efforts to manage growth
and give special attention to open space acquisition and preservation opportunities. Some
municipalities are also active in preserving agricultural lands.
Delaware. Delaware places a high priority on land management, as evidenced by the
abundance of legislation passed and revised since the early 1990s to preserve open space
generally and agricultural land. The creation of new committees and the expansion of
existing ones dealing with land management issues as well as changes in the state-level
approach to comprehensive planning are measures of Delaware’s leadership in growth
management. Laws and programs include:
74 Connecticut State Legislature. Public Acts: Public Act No. 99-235, Sec. 2b. Online.
Available: http://www.cga.state.ct.us Accessed: December 20, 2001.
75 Connecticut General Statutes Secs. 16a-24-16a-33. Online. Available:
http://www.cga.state.ct.us Accessed: December 20, 2001.
!Livable Delaware 2001 Agenda;
!Livable Delaware 2001 – Act to Define Brownfields;
!Livable Delaware 2001 Advisory Council;
!Livable Delaware 2001 – Open Space Formula;
!Livable Delaware 2001 – Graduated Impact Fees;
!Livable Delaware 2001 – Comprehensive Plans;
!Historic Preservation Tax Credit;
!Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Act;
!Task Force for Farmland Preservation;
!Shaping Delaware’s Future Act of 1995; and
!Land Use Planning Act of 1996.
Delaware’s recent involvement in land management began in 1989 when the Governor
introduced his first land management policy proposal. The Delaware Land Protection Act
established land preservation as a priority and created a trust that has preserved over 30,000
acres. In 1994, the Governor reestablished a Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues
and charged it with ensuring effective and coordinated planning. This Committee quickly
became active in promoting various studies and legislation. In 1994 and early 1995 it
gathered citizen opinions characterizing development, economic, infrastructure, and quality
of life issues anticipated in 2020 and presented them in a report titled Shaping Delaware’s
Future.76 The Shaping Delaware’s Future Act of 1995 requires counties to submit
comprehensive land use plans to the Office of State Planning and Coordination based on the
report. The cabinet committee reexamined its role in state policy in a 1999 report titled:
Managing Growth in the 21st Century: Strategies for State Planning and Spending.77 This
report provided a framework to help manage growth while promoting revitalization, with
the understanding that land management is mainly the responsibility of local government.
Delaware’s 1978 Land Use Planning Act, known as LUPA, was revised in 1996.
LUPA originally sought to facilitate coordination between local governments in their
planning activities and development patterns. The revision requires local governments to
submit all planning proposals affecting adjacent jurisdictions, such as proposed annexations
and certain local ordinances, to the Office of State Planning and Coordination (OSPC) for
review and comment. These proposals are also forwarded for review to eleven other state
Coalitions between government and nonprofit organizations have been an important
initiator of state policies. In 1997, Delaware hosted a Land Use Planning Summit sponsored
by the Delaware Public Policy Institute to study the issue of land management. The forum
made eleven policy recommendations in the following legislative sessions. Three of these
recommendations were enacted. The three enacted bills all focus on regional planning
coordination, but vary in their approaches to improve land management: one bill expanded
the membership on the Advisory Panel on Intergovernmental Planning and Coordination,
which provides a forum for regional planning; the second made all planning data available
to planning agencies at the state, regional, and local levels and to the public to facilitate
76 Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues, Shaping Delaware’s Future (April 1995).
Online. Available: http://www.state.de.us/planning/shape/sdf.pdf. Accessed: March 21,
77 Office of State Planning Coordination. Managing Growth in 21st Century Delaware:
Strategies for State Policies and Spending. (December, 1999). Online. Available:
http//www.state.de.us/planning/shape/strategy/index.htm. Accessed: March 28, 2002.
responsible development; and the third encouraged regional planning and required
municipal governments to plan for housing and population growth.
The Governor continued the priority of land management established by her
predecessor when she assumed the position in 2001. One of her first acts was to issue an
executive order calling for the state to provide leadership on land use issues by setting an
example. It required state agencies to develop implementation plans by August 2001 based
upon the goals expressed in Shaping Delaware’s Future. Following the executive order,
the Governor presented an ambitious initiative in March, 2001, called Livable Delaware,78
which proposed legislation and established a Livable Delaware Advisory Council. The
council’s main responsibilities are to: promote the Livable Delaware policy; develop
planning standards; monitor the progress of land management efforts and handle disputes
among levels of government. Legislation would support Livable Delaware by imposing
graduated impact fees, establishing comprehensive plan implementation and annexation
standards, changing the open space formula legislation, and amending brownfield matching
Numerous other policies were also passed in the 1990s and early 2000s. Conservation
easements and transfer of development rights were encouraged for open space, agricultural
land, and historic preservation. The cigarette tax was earmarked in 2001 to exclusively fund
environmental protection including the purchase of additional land through the Farmland
Preservation Fund and the Water Conservation Trust Fund.
Florida. Florida encourages the efficient delivery of public goods and protects open
space using comprehensive growth management strategies. These strategies enable and
require regional planning councils, cities, and counties to develop their own comprehensive
growth management strategies in compliance with state policy. Florida’s key laws and
!Beach and Shore Preservation Act;
!Growth Policy Act;
!Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development
!Educational Facilities Act;
!Florida Preservation 2000 Act;
!Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refunds;
!Florida Communities Trust Act;
!Florida Forever Act;
!Florida Coastal Zone Management Act;
!Affordable Housing Study Commission;
!Eastward Ho!; and
!Florida Growth Management Study Commission.
The issue of growth management first seriously arose in the early 1970s, and the state
responded by enacting the Florida Comprehensive Planning Act of 1972. This Act
promoted intergovernmental coordination to address growth management, provided
strategies for implementing the state plan, and included guidelines for determining
appropriate growth and transportation plans. It was not fully implemented until 1985. Other
78 Livable Delaware, Livable Delaware. Online. Available from the Delaware state web site
at: http://www.state.de.us/planning/livedel/. Accessed: February 15, 2002.
legislation enacted included the Florida Environmental Land and Water Management Act
of 1972 and the Area of Critical State Concern Program, which enabled the state to preserve
open space by actively regulating growth that threatens coastal conservation and natural
resources of statewide significance, respectively.
In spite of Florida’s early interest in growth management and open space issues, the
first enforceable legislation was passed in 1985, when both the State Comprehensive Plan
(SCPA) and the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development
Regulation (LGCPA) Acts were enacted. Together, these two laws provided a broad
framework for addressing growth management. The SCPA provides long-range policy
guidance for orderly growth and development, and the LGCPA requires all 67 counties and
407 municipalities to adopt comprehensive growth management plans consistent with state
and regional plan goals. Comprehensive plans contain chapters that address: future land use,
infrastructure, coastal management, conservation, recreation and open space,
intergovernmental coordination, and capital improvements. A key component of the LGCPA
is its concurrency policy that permits local governments to issue a development order only
when it will not degrade mandated service levels for six kinds of public facilities.79 This
requirement helps prevent growth in areas where available infrastructure levels cannot
sustain additional development and helps encourage orderly and efficient growth patterns.
Rule 9J-5 of the Florida Administrative Code contains the minimum criteria local
governments must address in their comprehensive plans and provides guidance concerning
the efficient use of land, the provision of public facilities and services, the separation of
urban and rural uses, and the protection of agriculture and natural resources.
The policies passed in the 1970s and 1980s remain important, although many of them
have been significantly revised since 1990 to meet new growth management challenges. In
addition, two new major land acquisition programs, Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever,
are providing $6 billion over a span of 20 years to acquire environmentally sensitive lands
and other significant open space. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection
coordinates the largest land acquisition programs. The Department of Community Affairs
(DCA) coordinates growth management activities. Divisions of the DCA include
Community Planning, Coastal Management, Communities Trust (whose mission is to
preserve ecologically fragile land and wetlands and set aside green space), and Housing and
Community Development. The DCA uses planning and regulatory approaches and open
space acquisition to guide growth and development. It reviews local comprehensive plans
and plan amendments for compliance with Florida’s growth management laws and
coordinates with local authorities and Florida’s eleven regional planning councils. Many
other agencies submit comments to the DCA on comprehensive plans and amendments.
The DCA issues a public notice of finding for each plan and/or plan amendment. If the
DCA finds it to be out of compliance, the local government must respond or participate in
an administrative hearing. The DCA provides technical assistance and some planning grants
to help local communities formulate acceptable comprehensive plans, but this funding has
been chronically insufficient.
At the local level, comprehensive plans are produced by planning staffs, approved by
city councils, and then by the state. Approved plans can be amended by city governments
a maximum of two times per year, sometimes reducing the ability of local government to
fully address their growth issues. The effectiveness of these efforts relies, in large part,
79 John M. DeGrove, Planning & Growth Management in the States (Cambridge: Lincoln
Institute of Land Policy, 1992), p. 7.
upon solid local planning and enforcement. The DCA has no regulatory authority to enforce
adopted plans, but state law does allow any party adversely affected by development
approved by a local government to appeal if to the DCA it is not consistent with the
Florida’s growth management system has been criticized by the current Governor. In
February 2000, his Growth Management Study Commission recommended relying more on
city and county growth management plans (with less state and regional oversight) and
streamlining the review of comprehensive plan amendments. While no substantial changes
had been enacted, pending legislative proposals could alter Florida’s growth management
system in the future.
Georgia. Comprehensive planning occurs primarily at the regional and local level.
At the state level, the cornerstone of the planning program is the requirement of a long-range
comprehensive plan by each local government. These plans identify community goals and
objectives, and the means by which governments propose to achieve them. The Georgia
Planning Act of 1989 initiated this program by specifying that Georgia’s 159 counties and
529 cities must maintain their plans to remain eligible for certain state and federal assistance
programs. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) administers the program,
maintaining a schedule for required plan updates and reviewing submitted plans. In
addition to this act, Georgia has the following laws and programs:
!Georgia Development Impact Fee Act;
!Environmental Planning Criteria;
!Mountain and River Corridor Protection Act;
!Growth Strategies Reassessment Task Force;
!Transfer of Development Rights (enabling legislation);
!Georgia Regional Transportation Authority; and
!Georgia Greenspace Program.
The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) has played a major role in
land use planning since 1999. It has the authority to approve a region’s transportation plan,
to overrule local land use decisions, to require municipal contributions to regional
transportation projects, to acquire existing transportation systems, and to implement new
transportation systems. GRTA works with the 13 counties in Georgia that have been
designated nonattainment under the Clean Air Act. In these counties, GRTA also works
closely with state, regional, and local agencies.
Other laws and policies focus on managing growth and controlling sprawl. The
Georgia Development Impact Fee Act provides guidelines for local governments to impose
exactions on developers to help finance the expansion of affected infrastructure. New
development projects are required to pay these fees to fund a proportionate share of the cost
of public facilities needed to serve them. The Georgia Greenspace Program provides
formula grants to eligible counties if they develop and implement plans to permanently
protect at least 20% of the jurisdiction as natural, undeveloped green space. Other
legislation attempts to protect Georgia’s natural resources and open spaces by encouraging
coordinated planning and by requiring state agencies to collaborate on meeting standards.
Examples include:the Environmental Planning Criteria, which passed in 1991 and
established minimum standards for land use; and the Mountain and River Corridor
Protection Act of 1991, which encourages local governments to control pollution in
Georgia’s current high interest in managing growth and protecting open space is
supported by the Governor, who includes transportation, greenspace, and air and water
quality among his most important issues and has played a major role in establishing the
GRTA and the Georgia Greenspace Program.
Hawaii. Hawaii has a reactive approach to curbing urban sprawl and protecting its
natural and cultural resources. The state’s growth and land conservation objectives, shaped
by its natural surroundings, serve as a framework for county-level development projects.
Although Hawaii was the first state to codify a statewide planning program in 1978, little
change to the state’s initial planning policies has occurred in the last ten years. Among the
current laws and programs are:
!Land Use Commission;
!Coastal Zone Management;
!State Planning Act
!Transfer of Development Rights;
!Habitat Conservation Plans and Safe Harbor Agreements; and
!State Water Code.
The state level shares significant responsibility for public education, health, welfare,
zoning, transportation, and planning with its four counties on eight islands, making it
different from many states. Another difference is that the largest city, Honolulu, houses
81% of the state’s population. As a result, Hawaii relies on a strong state government
system to maintain consistency in implementing state policies and objectives.
In 1963, prior to developing its statewide planning process, Hawaii’s State Land Use
Commission classified contiguous land areas into one of four land use districts: urban, rural,
agricultural, and conservation. Because Hawaii, unlike other states, is entirely surrounded
by water, preservation of environmental quality hinges on protecting the state’s watersheds.
With very short distances between the upper reaches and mouths of watersheds, land use
within them can have a major impact on coastal water quality and environmental health.80
Hawaii revised its coastal zone management legislation in 1995 to include economic
considerations. Such considerations include ensuring that new developments are compatible
with their visual settings, minimizing disruption or degradation of coastal water ecosystems
by regulation of stream diversions and directing the location and expansion of coastal-
dependent developments to designated areas. The state’s original coastal zone management
legislation, enacted in 1977, established several priorities, which were reiterated in
Hawaii’s 1978 State Planning Act.
The State Planning Act, revised in 2000, identifies state standards for protecting
agricultural and coastal lands and serves as a foundation for county zoning requirements and
development objectives. This Act establishes a statewide planning system that is intended
to promote implementation consistency and performance by linking state programs to stated
policy goals and objectives. It provides natural resource related agencies with the tools to
implement the state’s planning objectives. While it establishes the policy linkages, the
authority and responsibility for implementing any particular tool are established under
80 Much of the information in this summary comes from a letter from Ruby Edwards, Office
of Planning, Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT),
State of Hawaii, to Professor Robert Wilson, May 8, 2002.
separate statutes that assign them to specific agencies. During the 1990s, Hawaii has added
new tools, including conservation easements, transfer of development rights, tax increment
financing, and the Real Property Tax Law for Dedicated Lands.
The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) leads
the State Planning Act implementation. It houses the Office of Planning (for statewide
planning initiatives), the Land Use Commission, and the Coastal Zone Management
Program. The Land Use Commission classifies land for specific agricultural, commercial,
environmental, and cultural uses. It is under constant criticism from developers. The Land
Use Law determines permissible uses within each land use district. However, counties
administer the zoning and permitting processes that determine the specific land uses allowed
within each district. Based on these designations, if a county requests state review of a
permit application under review by the Land Use Commission, other state agencies and key
offices in the DBEDT provide input as to whether the development proposal complies with
the state’s policy planning objectives. It appears, however, that these departments rarely
coordinate their reviews of development proposals.81
Idaho. Growth management and open space protection have not been high public
policy priorities in Idaho. Idaho has a comprehensive plan that considers property rights,
population analysis, land use, natural resources, and hazardous areas but delegates
implementation to city and county governments. The Planning and Zoning Commission
updates this plan. Additional state long-range plans are maintained by the Department of
Parks and Recreation, for protection and development of areas of scenic beauty, and by the
governor’s office, for protection of the state’s natural resources.
The state’s Land Use Planning Act has been in effect for 23 years and was last updated
in 1999. It allows city and county governments to establish their own planning and zoning
policies based on local criteria. Each locality must adopt a map identifying an area
surrounding urban areas that are impacted by urban growth. Geographic factors and areas
in the process of annexation by the city must be incorporated into the area of impact map.82
Illinois. Illinois adopted statewide smart growth measures in April 2000 that include
state laws and direct federal-state funding through the governor’s Illinois Tomorrow
program. The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs is the statewide planning
body. Counties and municipalities can engage in local planning, and the state offers grant83
programs to encourage planning. Many of the current laws addressing growth
management have been enacted since 1998, and many of them deal with agricultural land
protection, since most of the state is farmland. These laws and programs include:
!Balanced Growth Capacity Building Program;
!Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Act;
81 Telephone interview by Jessica King with Office of Planning representative, Hawaii
Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Honolulu, Hawaii, April
82 American Planning Association, Growing Smart: Statutory Summary for the State of
Idaho. Online. Available: http://www.cpa.state.tx.us/. Accessed: February 15, 2002.
83 Illinois Governor’s Office, Illinois Tomorrow Program Overview. Online. Available:
http://www2.state.il.us/state/balanced/programs.htm. Accessed: February 20, 2002.
!Farmland Preservation Act (revisions);
!Agricultural Areas Conservation and Protection Act (revisions);
!Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program;
!Illinois Rivers 2020 Program;
!Open Land Trust Act;
!Real Property Conservation Rights;
!Main Street Program;
!Brownfields Redevelopment Programs;
!Illinois Tomorrow Corridor Planning Grant Program; and
!Green Illinois Communities Demonstration Grant Program.
In 1999, the Governor spearheaded the Illinois FIRST (Fund for Infrastructure, Roads,
School and Transit) Program, which will provide $12 billion over five years to build and
repair the state’s infrastructure, including roads, highways, transit, as well as redevelop
brownfields, and preserve resources.84
In 2000, a Balanced Growth Cabinet was established by executive order. Members
represent state agencies with programs that affect growth. This cabinet submits
recommendations to the Governor for additional programs and policies that will promote
coordinated planning strategies.
In April 2000, the Governor launched Illinois Tomorrow,85 which draws on the Open
Space Land Acquisition and Development Act, the Agricultural Areas Conservation and
Protection Act, and the Farmland Preservation Act. The main implementing agencies of
these laws and programs are the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and
Commerce and Community Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The
Governor has actively pursued federal funding to implement the Illinois Conservation
Reserve Enhancement Program, Conservation 2000, and Illinois Rivers 2020 programs.
Many of the Illinois Tomorrow programs provide grants to communities for local land use
planning initiatives that can improve growth patterns. These include; the Open Lands Trust
Grant Program, Balanced Growth Capacity Building Program, Corridor Planning Grant
Program, Community Development Assistance Program, and Brownfields Redevelopment
Loan Program. The governor’s office implements the growth management initiatives to
address five “balanced growth” principles:
!reduction of traffic congestion;
!preservation of open space;
!urban reinvestment and redevelopment;
!quality of life and traffic congestion; and
!building partnerships between state and local governments.
Indiana. Most growth management and open space preservation initiatives take place
at the local level. The state considers land use decisions a local matter, but provides
84 Ed Bolen, Kara Brown, David Kiernan, and Kate Konschnik, Smart Growth State by State
(Hastings, CA: University of California College of the Law, Spring 2001). Online.
Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 10, 2002.
85 Illinois Governor’s Office, Illinois Tomorrow Program Overview (online).
information, technical assistance, and advice to local governments concerning their growth
patterns. Among the laws and programs are:
!Assessment of Certain Forest Lands;
!Indiana Heritage Trust Fund;
!Indiana Land Resources Council;
!Right to Farm (nuisance);
!Hossier Farmland Preservation Task Force; and
!Indiana Land Use Forum.
Localities can make use of enabling legislation—designed to encourage better land use8687
management—that consists of tax assessments and authorized planning. Although the88
state emphasizes preservation of agricultural lands, it also addresses open space
preservation and environmental concerns, voiced mostly through task force
recommendations and studies rather than legislation.
The Indiana Heritage Trust Fund protects sensitive natural areas for recreation and
habitat purposes. The Department of Natural Resources oversees the Fund.89 Other state
groups that deal with land use issues are housed in the Office of the Commissioner of
Agriculture (Indiana Land Resources Council) and in the Governor’s Office (Indiana Land
Use Forum), reflecting the state’s awareness of the effects of unmanaged growth on
agricultural land as well as the Governor’s interest in land use.90
In 1997, the Governor commissioned the Hoosier Farmland Preservation Task Force
to study land use trends, causes of farmland conversion to nonagricultural uses, and the
consequences of farmland conversion. Among the Task Force recommendations made to the
Governor and the legislature were to adopt local ordinances that would encourage greater
housing density and to formulate incentives to encourage development where infrastructure
is already in place. It also recommended the creation of the Indiana Land Resources
Council, which presently serves as Indiana’s primary source of information on land use and
growth management issues. The council also helps to forge and maintain partnerships
among local, county, and state governments in addressing land use issues.
Iowa. Antisprawl advocates in Iowa waged an educational and legislative campaign
for state-level attention to planning and growth management in 2001 and 2002. The state
has lost 99% of its native prairie and wetlands and two-thirds of its forest land, and is losing
26,000 acres of farmland annually, according to data compiled by the federal Natural
Resources Conservation Service for its periodic National Resources Inventory.91 Statewide
86 Indiana Code, Sec. 6-1.1-4-13 and Sec. 6-1.1-6. Online. Available:
http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/. Accessed: April 15, 2002.
87 Indiana Code, Sec. 36-7-4-205.
88 Indiana Code, Sec. 14-34-4-9.
89 Indiana Code, Sec. 14-12-2-1.
90 The Indiana Land Resources Council is housed within the Office of the Commissioner of
Agriculture and the Indiana Land Use Forum is housed within the Governor’s Office.
91 Iowa Environmental Council, Sprawl and Our Environment. Online. Available:
http://www.earthweshare.org/n/pp_sprawl.pdf. Accessed: February 24, 2002; Jay Howe,
nonprofit groups cite these figures in their advocacy for more carefully planned land use.
These groups are encouraging state-level involvement in growth management, an area that
historically has not been a priority for Iowa’s state government. Conservation easements
are allowed by state statute.92 Some private conservation programs exist, but the Iowa
Natural Heritage Foundation suggests that these programs are not widely used.93
Conservation issues in Iowa gained popularity in the late 1980s. The Iowa Open
Spaces Protection Plan of 1988 recommended a 10% increase in the amount of “protected”
lands by 2000. The actual increase in publicly owned spaces was roughly 12% from 1989
to 2000. This plan made other recommendations, but a state official indicated that these94
have not been carried out and the plan needs to be updated.
In 1989 the Iowa Legislature approved the Resource Enhancement and Protection
Program (REAP). REAP funds programs for soil and water enhancement, conservation
education, and historic preservation, among other purposes. Currently, 43% of the
program’s $9 million budget goes toward open space conservation.
Specific consideration of sprawl at the state level has recently resurfaced. A 1997
Iowa Legislature resolution created the Commission on Urban Planning, Growth
Management of Cities, and Protection of Farmland.95 This working group, composed of 21
members with backgrounds in planning, development, design, agriculture, transportation and
conservation, spent two years collecting information on Iowa’s land use policies and
patterns. Among its 1999 recommendations were: developing a statewide land use
inventory; creating a council composed of state agency representatives to establish,
maintain, and revise a state strategic development plan; and requiring cities and counties to
Some Iowa legislators attempted to address these goals in 2002 when they introduced
the Land Management Planning Act (known as the “Planning Bill”), which proposed
statewide land use planning. This legislation recommended identifying statewide goals for
“Urban Sprawl: We Ignore Smart Growth at Our Own Peril,” Des Moines Register
(February 8, 2001). Reprinted in 1000 Friends of Iowa website. Online. Available:
http://www.kfoi.org. Accessed: February 24, 2002.
92 Iowa Code Annotated, Sec. 457A.
93 Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Protecting Your Land with a Conservation Easement.
Online. Available: http://www.inhf.org/easement.htm. Accessed: February 24, 2002.
94 Letter from Arnie Sohn, Chief of Program Administration Bureau, Iowa Division of Parks,
Recreation and Preserves, to Dr. Robert Wilson, Mike Hogg Professor of Urban Policy,
Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin, February
95 House Concurrent Resolution 21, Iowa House of Representatives, Iowa General Assembly
96 Commission on Urban Planning, Growth Management of Cities, and Protection of
Farmland, Final Report (January 1999). Online. Available:
http://www.legis.state.ia.us/GA/77GA/ Interim/ 1998/commi nfo/ urbplan/final.htm.
Accessed: February 24, 2002.
development of land so that cities and counties would be encouraged to pursue antisprawl
objectives in their planning. The bill was defeated in committee in late March 2002.
Kansas. Kansas has many agricultural land preservation policies as about 88% of
the state was devoted to farmland in 1997. The policies include regulations dealing with
conservation easements, right-to-farm laws, property tax relief, and limitations on local
government authority to regulate agricultural land. Outside of agriculture, laws and
!Community Development Grant Programs; and
!Surface Mining Land Conservation and Land Reclamation Act.
Kansas has few state policies dealing with planning and urban sprawl. Planning is
concentrated at the county and city levels. The Kansas Department of Commerce and
Housing has some planning functions, but most relate to economic development. The
Department of Commerce and Housing administers grant programs to municipalities for
community development, a Main Street program for neighborhood revitalization, and
community capacity-building programs.
In 1998, Kansas began the process of developing its Transportation 2000 program in
response to federal requirements. This program focuses on economic development. While
it does not explicitly regulate local land use; it does provide additional money for public
transportation and rail improvements.
Kentucky. In the 1990s Kentucky undertook its most visible and ambitious planning
efforts at the state level.97 Development, particularly unplanned growth into rural and
agricultural areas, has occurred as a result of Kentucky’s high growth rate over the last 20
years. Between 1982 and 1997 Kentucky’s growth in developed areas outpaced the national
average by 27%. Data from the 1990s indicate population growth varies, with some
nonurban counties experiencing robust growth as well. The rural-urban balance shifted
during the 1990s, with slightly more residents living in nonmetropolitan counties.98 The
natural areas of Kentucky are a valued resource for tourism, recreation, and agriculture.
However, farmland loss occurred at the second-fastest rate in the country during the late
1990s,99 and state officials have recognized the economic and environmental impact of
unplanned growth on surrounding agricultural and rural areas. Laws and programs include:
!Purchase of Development Rights and Purchase of Agricultural
!Transferable Development Rights;
97 Ed Bolen, Kara Brown, David Kiernan, and Kate Konschnik, Smart Growth State by State
(Hastings, CA: University of California College of the Law, Spring 2001). Online.
Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 10, 2002.
98 Ibid., p. 3.
99 Smart Growth Online, Budget Constraints Delay Some Kentucky Growth Control
Measures, but Others Remain. Online. Available: http://www.smartgrowth.org/news/article.
Accessed: February 12, 2002. Kentucky Smart Growth Task Force, A Report of the
Governor’s Smart Growth Task Force, p. 16. Administrative Code, 418 KAR 1:010-1:070.
Administrative Code, 302 KAR 100:020.
!Heritage Land Conservation Act;
!Identification of Lands of Statewide Agricultural Importance;
!Smart Growth Task Force; and
!Renaissance Kentucky Program.
The Governor established his Smart Growth Task Force in May 2001, and charged it
with developing a comprehensive approach and framework for managing Kentucky’s land
use issues. The task force is a collaborative effort that utilizes research to inform developers100
of statewide land use strategies. The Governor’s Office is leading this campaign with
committees on agriculture; wildlife and the environment; planning; transportation and
corridor management; community development and design; and economic development.
After a series of studies and public forums on growth management and its impacts on the
environment, infrastructure, economy, and natural resources, the Task Force continues to
develop approaches to manage urban growth. One approach considered is to recommend
reestablishing the State Planning Office to coordinate state agency programs. Kentucky had
established a State Planning Office in 1976 to provide staff for the state planning committee
and to develop policies and procedures for the use of research and planning consultants. In
1984 the statute creating this office was repealed. Kentucky’s recent planning statutes are
working toward creating a statewide and regional planning framework. They authorize
planning units with the expectation that a planning commission will be formed to oversee
the planning process.
The Renaissance Kentucky Program, adopted in 1996, is helping to revitalize
downtowns through a collaborative network of state and local entities and financial
incentives and technical assistance. Kentucky also administers several land acquisition
programs focused on preserving agricultural land and natural resources. The land evaluation
and site assessment program is an innovative approach to valuing agricultural land in order
to protect it from encroaching development from urban and suburban areas.
The support of the Governor’s Office in the land use management campaign has been
instrumental to its success thus far, but many of the Task Force’s recommendations as of
this writing had not become law. The task force has already accomplished one prime goal
by effectively articulating to state agencies the importance of well-managed growth planning
to reduce costs and preserve the state’s assets.
Louisiana. Growth management and open space preservation are not policy
priorities at the state level. Land-related statutes in the 1990s reflect the state’s growing
concern with revitalizing natural areas, preserving water sources, and restoring the coastline,
but these policy priorities are unrelated to concerns about managing growth. Population
growth and development are not increasing at a rate sufficient to raise concerns at the state
level. In some of the larger urban parishes, regional planning commissions and local
planning units are addressing land use planning issues. Louisiana’s approach to planning
and zoning reflects both the demographic trends and the constitutional emphasis on local
Louisiana does not have a state planning agency. Planning authority is distributed
among state agencies, and the Department of Administration oversees research that
evaluates the development of state resources and local planning efforts. Municipalities and
100 Kentucky Smart Growth Task Force, A Report of the Governor’s Smart Growth Task
Force (Lexington, KY, November 2001).
parishes are allowed, but not mandated, to create planning commissions. Commissions are
expected to prepare a master plan for their jurisdiction; internal coordination and
consistency are not required in the development of these plans.101 The highest level of
coordinated planning occurs through regional planning commissions, which have the
authority to develop planning policies for parishes. Their success is predicated upon local102
government cooperation and participation.
Louisiana’s coastline, with extensive wetlands, is considered a national asset. The rate
of coastal wetland loss in Louisiana averages 25 to 35 square miles per year. This amount
is 80% of all coastal wetland losses in the all of the continental United States, according to
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using its National Wetlands Inventory data base. In 1978
the Louisiana State and Local Coastal Resources Management Act established a state
program overseeing the regulation of developmental activities that affect coastal wetland
loss. This program became part of the state’s federally approved coastal zone management
program in 1980. In 1989 the legislature established the Wetlands Trust Fund and the first
Wetland Restoration Plan, and an amendment creating the Coastal Restoration Division
within the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. In 1990, Congress passed the
Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-646) that
provides federal funding for state restoration activities.
State and federal agencies completed the Coast 2050 plan in 1998. Under this plan,
federal, state, and local levels collaborate to sustain the coastal ecosystem in ways that
support and protect the environment, economy, and culture of southern Louisiana.103 The
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Coastal Restoration and Management
administers the plan. Programs that address preserving the Louisiana coastline and
maintaining the quality of the state’s water resources are widely supported, although some
industry and development stakeholders do not always agree.
These intergovernmental legislative and political efforts to preserve natural resources
do not directly relate to growth management. At this time, the regional and local approach
to growth management is viewed as sufficient to address emerging issues due to unplanned
growth. The court system handles most disputes, which demonstrates the localized and
case-specific nature of these issues in Louisiana. The state is not concerned with land use
management at the state level presently.
101 Ed Bolen, Kara Brown, David Kiernan, and Kate Konschnik, Smart Growth State by
State (Hastings, CA: University of California College of the Law, Spring 2001). Online.
Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 10, 2002.
102 Urban Futures.org, Louisiana. Online. Available: http://www.urbanfutures.
org/state.cfm?state=Louisiana#4. Accessed: February 5, 2002.
103 Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force and the Wetlands
Conservation Restoration Authority, Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana
(Baton Rouge, LA, 1998). Online: http://www.savelawetlands.org/site/Reports/
Coast%202050/report1.pdf. Accessed: February 12, 2002.
Maine. Maine’s Governor is a strong supporter of Smart Growth efforts.104 Within
his administration, the State Planning Office (SPO) takes a leading role in addressing urban
sprawl. The SPO issued two reports in the late 1990s that drew attention to state policies
that encourage sprawl.105 This advocacy has proved timely, as popular concern over sprawl
appears to be increasing.106 The state government has extensive powers over land use and
planning, and zoning in all unincorporated areas.107 Laws and programs currently include:
!Revolving Renovation Fund:
!Municipal Investment Trust Fund;
!Comprehensive Planning, Plan Update, and Implementation Grants;
!Smart Growth Challenge Grants; and
!Great American Neighborhood Partnership Grants.
Since the late 1980s, state government has focused on coordinating the actions of
relevant state and local groups within an extensive set of growth management policies and
programs. Such efforts are guided by statewide goals for planning and regulatory activities108
at all levels of government as set forth in the Growth Management Act of 1988. This act
codifies the Growth Management Program, which funds the SPO’s technical and financial
assistance programs for municipalities that submit plans consistent with state growth
The SPO administers the Maine Coastal Program, which encompasses all cities and
towns that have land along the coast or a tidal waterway. Since 1978, it has functioned as
a partnership among local, regional, and state agencies. The program also collaborates with
local land trusts and economic development groups, and is administered to achieve a
balanced, comprehensive approach to coastal management.
In addition to various state programs to keep land in productive forestry, farming, and
fishing use, Maine administers the Land for Maine’s Future Program that purchases land for
recreation and conservation. Since it was established by voter initiative in 1987,
approximately 65,000 acres have been acquired from willing sellers. Various components
of this program have enjoyed the support of Maine’s past three Governors. Maine also
104 State of the State Address by Angus King, Governor of Maine, Augusta, Maine, January
01sos.html. Accessed: February 24, 2002; “Nation’s Governors See Smart Growth as Major
Issue,” National Trust for Historic preservation, February 24, 2000 (press release). Online.
Accessed: February 24, 2002.
105 Evan Richert, Director, Maine State Planning Office, Confronting the Issue of Sprawl in
Maine. Online. Available: http://mrdc.umext.maine.edu/archive/sprawl/confronting.htm.
Accessed: February 24, 2002; Maine State Planning Office, The Cost of Sprawl (May 1997).
Online. Available: http://www.state.me.us/spo/pdf/sprawl.pdf. Accessed: February 24,
106 “Report: Portland Northeast Sprawl Capital,” Lewiston Sun-Journal, Oxford Hills
edition (July 30, 2001), p. 2; Smart Growth Online, Maine Gov. Stresses Need to Manage
Growth in State. Online. Available from the Smart Growth Online web site at:
http://www.smartgrowth.org/news/bystate.asp?state=ME. Accessed: February 24, 2002.
107 Title 12, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Secs. 683-685.
108 Title 30A, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Sec. 4314.
administers an innovative approach to address the issue of “school sprawl.” Many New
England towns have found that residential and commercial sprawl soon follow the siting of
a school in a previously rural location. Maine has addressed this trend since 1997 by
providing funds for the Revolving Renovation Fund to rehabilitate older public school
facilities in areas where development has already occurred.109
Other legislation established financial incentives to curb sprawl. Examples include
Growth-Related Capital Investments to coordinate state capital spending with growth110
management goals and the Municipal Investment Trust Fund to improve municipal111
infrastructure. Both programs were established by Maine’s Smart Growth Initiative,112
which passed the legislature in 2000 and enhanced numerous aspects of Maine’s Smart
Growth Program. This initiative also funded grant programs administered by the SPO to
assist municipalities and regions in addressing sprawl-related issues and devising Smart
Growth solutions. A state budget shortfall in 2002 reduced the number of these programs
from five to two.113
Maryland. Maryland has a very active growth management program and is widely
recognized as an early adopter of statewide, incentive-based efforts to address sprawl. It is
one of only a few states to provide a statutory-based statewide growth management policy.
Local governments collaborate with the state in formulating growth policies. Laws and
programs are numerous, and include:
!Live Near Your Work Program;
!Community Legacy Program;
!Rural Legacy Program;
!Green Print Program;
!Office of Smart Growth;
!Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation Policy;
!Smart Growth Areas Act;
!Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act;
!Smart Codes (Models and Guidelines, Infill Development, and Smart
!Forest Conservation Act;
!Job Creation Tax Credit;
!Maryland Main Street Program;
!Neighborhood and Community Assistance Program;
!Maryland Heritage Preservation and Tourism Areas Program;
!Tax Credit for Preservation and Conservation Easements; and
!Community Parks and Playgrounds Program.
109 Title 30A, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Sec. 6006F.
110 Title 30A, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Sec. 4349A.
111 Title 30A, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Sec. 6006D.
112 Maine Public Law 776 (2000).
113 Email from Will Johnston, Grant Coordinator, Maine State Planning Office, to Drew
Murray, February 19, 2002.
A few important programs established prior to 1990 created guidelines for growth
management. In 1967, the Maryland Environmental Trust was established to conserve and
improve the natural and scenic aspects of the Maryland environment. Program Open Space
was established in 1969 to acquire outdoor recreation and open space land for public use.
The Shore Erosion Control Program was the first of several state programs to protect various
resources in the coastal zone. The highly acclaimed Agricultural Land Preservation
Program, established in 1974, protected farmland through the purchase of conservation
easements. The multistate Chesapeake Bay Agreement, initiated in 1983 and subsequently
updated, establishes a regional commitment to restoring the bay involving businesses, local
governments, citizens, and organizations.
Numerous growth management laws were passed after 1990. The Maryland Economic
Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act of 1992, the state’s primary planning law,
created a framework for citizens, developers, state agencies, counties, and towns to approach
planning for growth and resource protection. Premises of this act are that counties and
towns are best suited for establishing priorities for growth and resource conservation in
comprehensive plans, and that priorities should be endorsed by acts of the state. Local
governments are required to adopt comprehensive plans that contain visions, goals, or policy
statements that serve as a guide to growth. Local governments may plan and zone in their
jurisdictions and can create a planning commission.
This act also features several consistency requirements. For example, the state may
not fund a public works, transportation, or major capital improvements project if it is not
consistent with the state policy. In addition, a local jurisdiction may not approve or
construct a local project involving the use of state funds unless the project is consistent with
the comprehensive plan. The act does not require state approval or certification of the local
comprehensive plans, but localities must hold public hearings and distribute copies of the
plan to all planning commissions and all state and local jurisdictions responsible for
financing or constructing the public projects necessary to implement the plan.114
The governor during most of the 1990s was instrumental in the development of
Maryland’s Smart Growth initiatives and neighborhood conservation strategies. In 1997,
he encouraged the passage of Maryland’s Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation
program. The legislation allows the state to direct programs and funding to support locally
designated growth areas and protect rural areas. Since the initiative is not a no-growth policy
and does not create mandates, it has been largely accepted by local governments. He also
made smart growth his top priority as chairman of the National Governors’ Association.
In 2001, during his final year in office, the Governor promoted a package of Smart
Growth bills that garnered national attention. One of these is the Maryland Green Print
Program, which allows for the purchase of easements on agricultural lands and creates an
integrated system that links preserved areas in order to increase their overall environmental
quality. In May 2001, the Governor announced that the Department of Planning would
actively intervene, possibly with judicial action, in major local development decisions that
114 Ed Bolen, Kara Brown, David Kiernan, and Kate Konschnik, Smart Growth State by
State (Hastings, CA: University of California College of the Law, Spring 2001). Online.
Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 10, 2002.
Maryland’s Smart Growth program relies on the cooperation of all state departments
and agencies whose actions affect the location of growth, coordinated through the
Governor’s Office of Smart Growth and guided by a 1998 Executive Order.115 This Office
ensures that all departments and agencies are acting in accordance with smart growth
principles by serving as an information clearinghouse for all parties involved in the planning
process. The Maryland Department of Planning plays the central role in implementing state
planning laws. Other key departments include Natural Resources, Transportation,
Environment, Housing and Community Development, Agriculture, Business and Economic
Development, and General Services.
Massachusetts. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a variety of growth
management policies, most of which either mandate some form of local planning or provide
information and technical assistance to enable better planning. For example, Executive
Order 418 provides technical assistance and resources to help communities create
community development plans. The state seems to be equally concerned about preserving
and maintaining community character, historic preservation, and protection of natural
resources. Current laws and programs include:
!Community Preservation Act;
!Wetlands Protection Act;
!Planning for Growth;
!Community Development Planning and Executive Order 418 to address
the housing shortage;
!Land Disposition Policy (Article 97);
!Community Buildout and Analysis; and
!Community Preservation Initiative.
Prior to the 1990s, Massachusetts had passed few measures actively addressing growth
management and open space preservation. Beginning in 1955, the state established authority116
to create regional planning commissions. An abundance of advisory land use legislation
was passed between the late 1960s and late 1970s, including the Zoning Act,117 the
designation of regional planning districts,118 and the Subdivision Control Law.119 In 1973,
a significant forest preservation program was initiated that gives favorable treatment to
landowners willing to keep forested land undeveloped and manage that land under a long-
The Governor and some legislators were proponents of growth management legislation
in the 1990s, including the 1996 Open Space Bond Bill, the Rivers Protection Act, and
115 Executive Order 01.01.1998.04.
116 Massachusetts General Laws, ch. 40B, Secs. 1-8. The General Laws of Massachusetts.
Online. Available: http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/index.htm. Accessed: January 12,
117 Massachusetts General Laws, ch. 40A, Secs.1-17.
118 Massachusetts General Laws, ch. 40B, Secs. 9-18.
119 Massachusetts General Laws, ch. 41, Secs. 81K-81G.
120 Massachusetts General Laws, ch. 61, and Massachusetts Bureau of Forestry, CH 61 - The
Forest Tax Law. Online. Available: http://www.state.ma.us/dem/programs
/forestry/service/fortax.htm. Accessed: April 10, 2002.
Executive Order 385. Executive Order 385, “Planning for Growth,” encourages state
agencies to incorporate sustainable development and protection of resources into their
everyday operations. When a legislator who supported addressing growth problems became
the secretary of the Executive Office for Environmental Affairs (EOEA), he helped initiate
the Community Preservation Act, which had been debated by legislators for at least 18 years
before it passed. The act, described as a “municipally-driven, smart growth initiative,”
allows communities to increase their property tax rate by up to 3% to create a Community121
Preservation Fund, which is backed by state matching funds. The fund can be applied
toward cultural and historic preservation, open space preservation, and developing and
maintaining affordable housing.
Most recently, the current Governor has successfully protected more than 100,000122
acres of land under “Article 97”. This effort has been greatly assisted by increasingly
cooperative relationships between EOEA and other agencies, as well as cities and towns,
private landowners, and the nonprofit community. While the state has been very active in
the direct protection of land, growth management and land use initiatives at the state level
are advisory (primarily undertaken by the EOEA and the Department of Housing and
Community Development), with the ability to make the vast majority of land use decisions
vested at the local level.
Michigan. Michigan is becoming more active in addressing growth management
issues. It has enacted few laws promoting statewide planning (and no statewide land use
goals), but numerous ones enabling local and regional governments with growth
management authority, where those issues are usually addressed. At the state level,
Michigan’s initiatives concentrate on protecting environmentally sensitive areas such as
wetlands, and preserving agricultural lands. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and
the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), both of which collaborate with the federal
government, and the Department of Natural Resources, are most closely associated with
preservation of open space and planning. The DEQ is usually the lead agency for the
implementation of regulatory and environmental incentive programs aimed at environmental
protection. Laws and programs include:
!Brownfields Redevelopment Financing Act;
!City and Village Zoning Act;
!Clean Michigan Initiative;
!County Planning Act;
!Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program;
!Historic Preservation Program;
!Municipal Planning Act;
!Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act;
!Neighborhood Enterprise Zones Act;
!Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act; and
!Township Planning and Zoning Acts.
121 Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Community Preservation Initiative. Online.
Available: http://188.8.131.52/#. Accessed: April 15, 2002.
122 Massachusetts Constitution, amendment XCVII. Online. Available:
http://www.state.ma.us/legis/const.htm#cart095.htm. Accessed: January 22, 2002.
Initiatives to protect wetlands and coastal areas in Michigan began in 1974 and
culminated in the passage of the Goemare-Anderson Wetland Protection Act in 1979.123
This act assigned land preservation and planning responsibility to local and county
In 1994 the Michigan Relative Risk report identified “lack of land use planning” as a
major risk for the future of Michigan. Coalitions and foundations appeared to promote
initiatives for planning, but their activism subsequently faded. In 1995 growth management
consortiums at the county level emerged. These consortiums convinced the state legislature
to consider land use legislation in 1994 and 1996. Their effectiveness was a major factor in
the passage of local enabling acts such as the City and Village Zoning Act, the County
Planning Act, the Municipal Planning Act, and the Township Planning Act.
Michigan’s approach to growth management is unique because it has two distinct areas
with very different development concerns. In the Detroit metropolitan area, the state faces
urban growth management crises such as sprawl. In the north, or Upper Peninsula, the state
is faced with controversy over how to preserve open spaces and environmentally sensitive
areas. These controversies often involve the consideration of the local wetland ordinances.
In recent years, state and nonstate entities have worked together to promote land
conservation and redevelopment through programs like the Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program and the Farmland & Open Space Preservation Program. Since 1996,
enactments like the Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act, the Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection Act, and the Neighborhood Enterprise Zones Act have addressed
growth management issues like land conservation and redevelopment. In 1998, voters
approved the Clean Michigan Initiative that raises funds from a tax increase to preserve
open space and acquire parks and wildlife habitats.124
Minnesota. Minnesota adopted a framework to guide county and municipality
community-based plans in 1997.125 The Community-Based Planning Act encourages
counties and municipalities to collaborate in preparing comprehensive community-based
plans. This Act provides financial and technical assistance for local planning and articulated
an initial set of eleven statewide goals that all community plans had to consider.126 It
directed Minnesota Planning, the state’s planning agency, to administer the financial and
technical assistance parts of the program and provide review and comment on all the plans.
These reviews were intended to ensure that plans promoted cooperation among neighboring
communities and local public involvement in creating them. Local governments are strongly
encouraged to include an implementation section that identifies activities necessary to carry
out the plan. Since it has been in effect for less than 5 years, it is too soon to assess results.
Other laws and programs include:
!Metropolitan Livable Communities Act;
123 Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated, Secs. 281.701-722. Online. Available:
http://www.michiganlegislature.org/documents. Accessed: December 20, 2001.
124 “State Growth Management: The Intergovernmental Experiment.” Pace Law Review
(Fall 1993), p. 483. Online. Available: Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-
nexis.universe/. Accessed: December 20, 2001.
125 Minnesota State Statutes Annotated, 4A.01-10.
126 These goals were repealed in 2001.
!State Development Strategy Proposal;
!Urban Rivers Act; and
!Urban Development (including generic environmental impact statement).
Prior to 1997, many Minnesota communities did not have current local plans to guide
decisions on development, land use, transportation, and environmental quality. State law
provided little guidance to municipalities on establishing local and/or regional plans, and127
funding was very limited. Planning organizations had existed for some time, including
the Metropolitan Council of Minneapolis/St. Paul established in 1967 and the regional
development commission established in 1969.
In 2000, the Governor started to institute policies collectively called Smart Growth.
These polices are based on three principles. First, economic growth is good and Minnesota
wants it to occur where people live and not to pursue policies that restrict or impede growth.
Second, environmental quality should be preserved. Most residents want open space close
to where they live. They believe that public amenities are worth preserving and the state has
a role in that preservation. Third, use fiscal restraint for spending on infrastructure to
determine “the best use of Minnesota’s dollars.”128
Mississippi. Efforts to protect open space and manage growth in Mississippi focus
on the state’s coastal resources and are therefore directed by the Mississippi Department of
Marine Resources (DMR). Economic growth has traditionally taken priority over129
environmental concerns, according to survey participants. Yet, rapid growth in the coastal
area has recently generated some interest in balancing natural resource protection with
economic development by protecting coastal wetlands, and coastal resources more generally.
The Mississippi Legislature recognized the importance of the coastal wetlands in 1973
with the passage of the Coastal Wetlands Protection Law. It stipulates that all coastal
wetlands loss must be mitigated in accordance with a “no net loss” policy. An analysis must
be conducted to determine if other, less environmentally sensitive sites can be used for a
project. If coastal wetlands will be degraded, compensation is required. The DMR reports
wetlands loss has slowed tremendously since this law was enacted.130
However, even under this legal protection, the sensitive environment along
Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is increasingly threatened. State legislation was passed in 1990
to allow operating casino cruise vessels to remain docked on the Mississippi River or on the
Gulf Coast. The first of many casinos opened in 1994, surrounding itself with hotels,
parking structures, and other infrastructure within a quarter mile of the coastline. The Gulf
Coast population has grown with the industry, and the three coastal counties are the fastest
127 Minnesota Planning, Community-based Planning in Minnesota. Online. Available:
http://www.mnplan.state.mn.us/commplan/cbpinmn.html. Accessed: January 28, 2002.
128 Metropolitan Council, Metropolitan Council. Online. Available: http://
www.metrocouncil.org/mnsmartgrowth/sg_whatis.htm. Accessed: March 28, 2002.
129 Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, Growth Management and Open Space
Preservation—A National Survey, Fall 2001-Spring 2002.
130 Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Coastal Preserves Program, Mississippi’s
Coastal Wetlands (Biloxi, MS, 1999) p. 3.
growing in the state.131 In response the state has mandated the DMR to develop guidelines
for coastal planning and to evaluate the future impacts of casino construction and related
economic expansion on coastal resources. The DMR formulated the comprehensive
Coastal Resource Management Plan (CRMP). It seeks to direct, but not deter, economic
growth in a manner that protects and enhances coastal resources. Mississippi municipalities
and counties may adopt comprehensive plans and may form planning commissions (but are
not required to), and the CRMP offers assistance to those on the coast that opt to pursue
Actions taken since 1990 created an acquisition program for coastal wetlands and
provided funding for conservation and enhancement of public access to the coastal
tidelands. Under the Mississippi Coastal Preserves Program, enacted in 1992, the DMR has132
acquired 23,300 acres of a designated 83,000 acres of crucial coastal wetland habitat. The
Tidal Trust Fund Program, started in 1994, meanwhile, uses income from the lease or rental
of tidelands (by casino operators, for example) to make grants to acquire and preserve these
sensitive lands, as well as operate public education programs.
Missouri. Missouri has few statewide initiatives for growth management and
protection; few laws even indirectly address these subjects. The laws and programs that
address growth management are not comprehensive, and include:
!Voluntary Cleanup Program;
!Downtown Development Executive Order;
!Neighborhood Preservation Act;
!Farmland Preservation Act; and
!Historic Preservation Tax Credits.
The State and Regional Planning and Community Development Act designates the
Office of Administration as the official state planning agency. The Office provides planning
assistance and technical information to counties, municipalities, metropolitan planning
areas, and regional planning commissions.133 The state has vested the planning power in the
counties and provided them substantial discretion. All municipalities are authorized to plan
and zone, but the state does not require a comprehensive plan nor does it set up consistency
requirements for plans across the state.134 The state’s Commission on Intergovernmental
Cooperation, Community Growth, and Revitalization Committee facilitates communication
between various levels of government and addresses shared problems, including growth-
related issues. It was created by executive order in 1985, and members include five private
citizens, four legislators, six cabinet members, and representatives from local government
131 Jay Charland, “Mississippi Responds to Coastal Growth and EPA Stormwater Rule:
DMR NOAA Develop Coastal Resource Management Plan.” Mississippi-Alabama SEA
Grant Legal Program. Online. Available: http://www.olemiss.edu/orgs/masglp/storm.htm.
Accessed: January 12, 2002.
132 Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Mississippi Coastal Preserves Program,
Biloxi, MS, 1998 (pamphlet).
133 Missouri Revised Statutes Annotated, ch. 251, sec. 170.
134 Missouri Revised Statutes Annotated, ch. 89, sec. 030.
In the 1990s, Missouri demonstrated some interest in growth management. The state
passed legislation that focused on hazardous waste clean-up and infill development in the
late 1990s. The Voluntary Clean-up Program, passed in 1995, allows, the Department of
Economic Development and Department of Natural Resources to provide technical
assistance to brownfield owners as they clean up their sites. The Neighborhood Preservation
Act of 1999 and Historic Preservation Tax Credit, passed in 1998, established tax incentives
for development in specific city districts.
The Governor offered various initiatives in 2001 concerning growth management, but
met with limited success. During his first legislative session, he proposed a task force to
study growth management and offer recommendations, but that proposal was rescinded in
response to significant opposition. He issued an executive order calling for the state to
focus on downtowns in urban areas when procuring office space. Beyond these efforts,
however, Missouri’s position on managing growth has changed little for decades.
Montana. In Montana, county governments are assigned principal responsibility for
growth management and open space protection. State involvement, however, may increase
in the near future as it implements laws and policies, including:
!Montana Agricultural Heritage Act; and
!Two unnamed laws addressing infrastructure management.
Montana’s state government addresses open space preservation by purchasing
conservation easements that protect environmentally sensitive and popular recreation areas.
The Montana Agricultural Heritage Act, adopted in 1999, contributes funding to purchase
agricultural conservation easements, including family farms, ranches, and forestlands with
significant public value. This Act is also administered to protect watersheds and wildlife
habitat, and provide aesthetic benefits. The Office of State Planning uses the Comprehensive
Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act to require liable parties to participate in
hazardous substances cleanup. The Department of Transportation has implemented
TransPlan 21, which will establish a set of policy goals and priorities for addressing
statewide transportation needs, based on acceptable funding levels.
While these programs address issues related to growth management and open space
preservation, counties are the key jurisdictions. After adopting a comprehensive plan for
growth policy that meets state requirements, counties may plan and zone.135 Cities are not
required to adopt a comprehensive plan before planning and zoning. If a city chooses to
adopt a comprehensive plan, all future actions, including zoning ordinances, must be
consistent with it. However, there is no internal consistency requirement. Both counties and
municipalities are authorized to establish planning boards. If a local jurisdiction appoints
a planning board, that board must prepare a growth policy.136
Montana has no statewide growth management or open space preservation system and
no central agency focusing entirely on sprawl-related issues. Only recently has progrowth
135 Montana Code Annotated, Section 76-1-601
136 Ed Bolen, Kara Brown, David Kiernan, and Kate Konschnik, Smart Growth State by
State (Hastings, CA: University of California College of the Law, Spring 2001). Online.
Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 10, 2002.
management legislation been proposed, based on an American Planning Association (APA)
report analyzing Montana’s land use laws. The Montana Smart Growth Coalition,
composed of 27 nonprofit public interest organizations, requested this report to assess the
need for statutory reform.137
Nebraska. Urban growth management and open space protection is the
responsibility of local government in Nebraska. Recent state initiatives provide financial
support for cities and counties to develop comprehensive plans and preserve natural
resources. Planning duties for cities and counties are based on their population. A second-
class (800 to 5,000 people) and first-class city (5,000 to 100,000) must have a planning
commission and comprehensive plan, while a primary-class city (100,000 to 300,000) must
have a planning department. A metropolitan-class city (300,000+) must have a planning
board and city plan. Counties with only second and first-class cities may form a planning
commission and adopt a comprehensive plan, while counties with primary or metropolitan-
class cities must form a planning commission.
The state Department of Economic Development awards federal Community
Development Block Grants (CDBG) for planning to local governments where a minimum
of 51% of the residents have low to moderate income. These grants can be used for studies,
data gathering, and preparation of strategic or comprehensive plans. Since 1994, grants have
funded the preparation of over 60 comprehensive plans.138 Today, 78 of 93 counties have
or are in the process of adopting comprehensive plans.
In 1993, the state created the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund (NET) and provided
revenues from the Nebraska Lottery. By 2001, the fund had spent $54 million in grants to
preserve and restore wetlands, protect lakes from pollution, and develop recycling programs
and markets. Given the high demand for NET resources, the Governor created the Natural
Nebraska Fund in 2001 to augment it. In 2002, the NET awarded the Joslyn Institute of
Omaha a three-year grant to work with state and local officials and stakeholders to develop
strategies for addressing growth in the Interstate 80 corridor between the cities of Omaha
and Lincoln. This area is projected to have a population of approximately 1.7 million by the
Other efforts to protect natural resources include an amendment to the Nongame and
Endangered Species Act that allows the Parks and Game Commission to purchase lands that
are vital to endangered animals and wildlife and the creation of the Lower Platte River
Corridor Alliance (LRCA). The LRCA works with numerous counties and organizations to
improve comprehensive land use and cooperation in the high-growth area of the Lower
Platte River. No evaluation of these efforts has been completed at this time.
137 American Planning Association, “A Critical Analysis of Planning and Land-Use Laws
in Montana: A Report of the American Planning Association Research Department Prepared
for the Montana Smart Growth Coalition” (Chicago, January 2001), pp. 7-10, 28, 42.
138 Community and Rural Development, Community Development Block Grants Funded for
Planning Activities, 1994-1999. Online. Available: http://crd.neden.org/cpr
/cpr_cdbg_projects.html. Accessed: November 12, 2001.
Nevada. Las Vegas is the fastest-growing city in the nation and Nevada was the
fastest-growing state as of 2001.139 Due to its history of a very small population and
substantial federal land ownership (approximately 86% of Nevada is in public ownership),
Nevada has historically taken a conservative approach to growth management and state
officials historically have shown little interest in land use management. But it has become
more proactive in recent years due to demographic challenges, especially in the greater Las
Local governments in Nevada approach growth management from two distinct
perspectives. In one, they encourage the state government to take a more active role in
providing coordination among local governments. They also support greater funding from
a state government that has been unwilling to act on private land use management issues.
In the other, local governments are apprehensive about restrictions that could result from
Las Vegas, although not the state capital, dominates the state legislature because of the
large portion of the population and economic activity in the state that are there. Nevada is
not a home-rule state, so policies enacted by the legislature apply throughout. As a result,
the pro-growth sentiments of the Las Vegas area and its representatives greatly influence
state policy. This can frustrate officials from other regions, specifically from the
environmentally sensitive Washoe County/Lake Tahoe region, who may be more interested
in growth management and environmental protection policies but lack the necessary political
leverage in the state legislature.
Growth management and open space preservation initiatives in Nevada are expected
to evolve as more people in the greater Las Vegas area demand action. The Nevada
legislature session that adjourned in July, 1997 was known as the “Growth Session.” It
created the Southern Nevada Strategic Planning Authority, which permits local governments
to institute strategic plans and included provisions for regional planning coordination and
In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act
(P.L. 105-263). This act sought to address the problems caused by the high percentage of
federal land ownership in the greater Las Vegas area by providing that Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) land in southern Nevada could be sold for development. The proceeds
from these sales would be transferred to northern Nevada to purchase environmentally
sensitive lands in areas such as the Carson City/Lake Tahoe region. This is one example of
the innovative ways that Nevada and the federal government have responded together to the
state’s unusual land management situation. Federal-state partnerships are often viewed as
a vital component of growth management and open space preservation within this state
because of land ownership patterns.
New Hampshire. New Hampshire has a strong, coordinated state and local system
for growth management and open space protection. It has experienced a significant loss of
farmland, forests, and habitat over the last 25 years, along with disintegration of many the
139 Negative Population Growth, NPG State Facts: Nevada. Online. Available:
http://www.npg.org/states/nv.htm. Accessed: April 8, 2002.
140 The Southern Nevada Strategic Planning Authority, Framework for the Future. Online.
Available: http://www.snrpc.org/Snspa_Plan/SNSPA_Plan_Framework.htm. Accessed:
April 23, 2002.
state’s country villages and historic town centers. By 1994 the state had created an Office
of State Planning and had implemented a comprehensive development plan.141 The state
utilizes a Smart Growth strategy and emphasizes historic preservation as a major part of this
plan. Laws and programs include:
!Office of State Planning;
!State Development Office;
!Department of Resources and Economic Development;
!Council on Resources and Development; and
!Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.
The state passed several laws in 2000-2001 that enhance efforts to protect open space,
historic areas, and farmland. These laws provide for a grant-giving framework to further
develop and strengthen regional planning agencies and allow those agencies to coordinate
with localities on downtown revitalization, sprawl discouragement, and traffic management
efforts. Also, the state has appropriated over $30 million to support the redevelopment of
brownfields and it provides grants to communities to assist them in protecting water supply
lands. New Hampshire also has recently strengthened its state master planning requirements
for communities to encourage growth management and land use planning and zoning
New Jersey. New Jersey has a long history of managing sprawl and preserving open
space. New Jersey’s active planning has been shaped by the state’s location between the
cities of New York and Philadelphia, and by the presence of a long desirable and
developable coastal belt. Furthermore, the state contains sensitive wetlands, and large,
undeveloped woodlands and watershed areas. Laws and programs currently being used
!Garden State Trust Act and Referendum;
!State Planning Act;
!Communities of Place;
!The New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan;
!Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plans (Choices 2020 and Choices
!Department of Environmental Protection Strategic Plans and Land Use
!Education Facilities Construction and Financing Act;
!Smart Growth Planning Grants;
!Green Acres Program;
!Farmland Preservation Program;
!Brownfields Redevelopment Program; and
!Coastal Area Facility Review Act and Rules.
The basis for New Jersey’s current activity in open space management is its State Plan,
developed in 1985. Plan goals are to “conserve its natural resources, revitalize its urban
centers, protect the quality of its environment, and provide needed housing and adequate
public services at a reasonable cost while promoting beneficial economic growth,
141 American Planning Association, Growing Smart: Statutory Summary for the State of New
Hampshire. Online. Available: http://www.planning.org. Accessed: January 20, 2002. p.
development and renewal.”142 The State Plan is comprehensive and attempts to coordinate
activities among all levels of government. All decisions regarding land management and
other antisprawl activities (including transportation, coastal management, and open space
acquisition) are framed by the Plan. It also calls for periodic review and assessment of New
Jersey’s achievements over time. It was amended by the State Development and
Redevelopment Act and reapproved (most recently in 2001).
The Department of Community Affairs, the Planning Commission, and the Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) are lead state agencies overseeing open space
management. Working with these agencies, New Jersey localities have also been extremely
active in preserving open space. Localities have used local referenda to allocate a small
percentage of property tax revenue directly to open space purchasing funds, which have
been used to acquire thousands of acres. Two especially successful municipalities are
Princeton and South Brunswick Township. Individual localities have instituted many
additional programs, and the state has numerous grant and partnership programs to assist
them to acquire and manage open space. The Governor’s Office continues to be an
incubator of ideas pertaining to these issues. In1999, for example, it supported a statewide
forum entitled “Living with the Future in Mind” that identified citizen concerns about the
use of land and environmental issues.143
As of 2001, New Jersey had protected approximately 1.1 million acres of open space
(more than 20% of the state) through such means as acquisition and conservation easements.
Much of this land has been acquired by the DEP through its Green Acres Program, which
was established in 1961 to meet New Jersey’s growing recreational and conservation needs.
The program staff assists the state and localities with legal matters, financing options, and
land management issues. This program, and the Farmland Preservation Program, have
recently been revitalized and strengthened through the establishment of the Garden State
Trust. This trust was established following an audit of land conducted during the mid 1990s
that determined that only 2 million acres of privately held open space remained in the state.
The voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1997 to create a trust, as proposed by
the governor. The trust can receive $98 million of sales tax revenue per year through 2009
(and also has authority to issue $1 billion in bonds) to protect 1 million additional acres of
open space. This has the potential to double the state-controlled open space while saving
half the open space still in private hands. The trust works with other state agencies, local
governments, and nonprofit organizations as well as individual landowners (especially to
New Mexico. In New Mexico, growth management and open space preservation
consist primarily of local zoning and planning authority. State laws allow local governments
to establish planning commissions144 and planning districts145 on the regional, county, and
142 New Jersey Department of Community Affairs–Office of State Planning, New Jersey
State Development & Redevelopment Plan, Executive Summary, Trenton, NJ, March 1,
143 New Jersey Future, Living with the Future in Mind. Online. Available:
http://www.njfuture.org/HTMLSrc/SSR/. Accessed: March 28, 2002.
144 Regional Planning Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 3-56-1 to 3-56-9 (Michie
3 (Michie 1978); and Planning and Platting, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 3-19-1
municipal levels. State land use legislation in New Mexico consists nearly entirely of
enabling legislation. Planning and zoning laws enacted prior to the 1990s relied on the
governor’s attention to local planning commissions. Representatives from state government
could participate only if “designated by the governor to attend meetings of the
commission.”146 Most recent land use legislation protects historical sites147 and helps
counties acquire land. Laws and programs include:
!New Mexico Subdivision Act;
!Land Use Easement Act;
!Cultural Properties Preservation Easement Act; and
!County Indebtedness (constitutional amendment)
Passed in 1991, the Land Use Easement Act attempts to preserve open space and148
natural resources. The 1995 Subdivision Act attempts to manage growth and ensure public
health standards.149 More recently, a law was passed that enables localities to better protect
properties of cultural or historical significance, and the constitution was amended to require
localities to issue general obligation bonds to acquire land.150 The state agency most
actively involved in planning and growth management is the Department of Finance and
Administration. Other entities involved in the administration of planning and land use laws
are local planning commissions and county clerks.
New York. Open space preservation and growth management efforts in New York
focus on funding for state and local conservation efforts and designing creative strategies
to combine managing growth with environmental protection. The state’s tradition of home
rule restricts the powers of the state legislature to act in relation to local government’s151
property, affairs, and administration. Laws and programs to preserve open space and
manage growth include:
!Open Space Conservation Plan;
!Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act;
!State Environmental Quality Review Act;
!Environmental Protection Fund;
to 3-19-12 (Michie 1978), at LexisNexis, New Mexico. Online. Available:
http://184.108.40.206/. Accessed: January 2, 2002.
145 Planning District Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 4-58-1 to 4-58-6 (Michie
146 Regional Planning Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 3-56-3 (Michie 1978).
147 Cultural Properties Preservation Easement Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 47-
148 Land Use Easement Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 47-12-1 to 47-12-6
149 Subdivision Act, New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 47-6-1 (Michie 1978).
150 New Mexico Statutes Annotated, Sec. 47-12A-1 to 47-12A-6 (Michie 1978) and Article
IX, Sec. 10F, respectively.
151 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Conserving Open Space in
New York State 2001— A Summary of the Draft Plan (Albany, NY, October 2001), pp. 4-6.
!Agricultural Districts (creation and review);
!Agricultural Assessment Program;
!Right to Farm Protections;
!Farmland Protection and Non Point Source Abatement Projects for
!Adirondacks Park Agency Act;
!Quality Communities Interagency Task Force;
!Historic Preservation Matching Grant Program;
!New York State Heritage Area Program;
!New York City Watershed Program;
!Local Government Training and Technical Assistance Program; and
!Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.
In the 1990s major sources of funding were created for land acquisitions and other
environmental projects, such as brownfield cleanup, coastal conservation, and historic
preservation. The $1.75 billion Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act, proposed by the Governor
and approved by voters in 1996, and the Environmental Protection Fund, established in
The Governor supported full funding for these programs in FY2002 while many others faced
budget cuts. Since 1995 the state has acquired full title or easements on nearly 250,000
acres of natural and recreational resource lands, including permanent conservation on
The state legislature has been active in other land management initiatives since 1990.
Agricultural land preservation has been one focus, as seen in laws to clarify the review
process of agricultural districts, protect the right-to-farm, provide grants for agricultural and
farmland protection projects, and maintain viable agricultural operations that need nonpoint
source pollution abatement and control projects. Legislation also enacted two grant
programs for historic preservation; the Historic Preservation Matching Grant Program
in1993 and the New York State Heritage Area Program, revised in1994. Finally, the state
has played a major role since 1997 in working with the City of New York to control
development in the watershed areas surrounding the reservoir system that supplies water to
The Governor has encouraged partnerships between local and state governments
involving growth management efforts. He created the Quality Communities Interagency
Task Force in 2000 to inventory key local, state, and federal programs that affect
community development, preservation, and revitalization goals of municipalities, and to
make recommendations to improve these programs and strengthen the capacity of local
governments to develop and implement land use planning and community development
strategies. In February 2001 it presented 41 recommendations, which include, for example,
authorizing Open Space Districts as a local government conservation tool, and extending tax
credits for farmland preservation.153 The task force has provided leadership for future
growth management and open space protection action by the state. While the Governor has
152 New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Project Review
and Compliance. Online. Available: http://www.nysparks.state.ny.us/field/projrevcomp/.
Accessed: December 4, 2001.
153 Quality Communities Interagency Task Force, State and Local Governments Partnering
for a Better New York.
recommended legislation to implement many of its recommendations, the legislature has not
yet enacted any of these bills.
North Carolina. North Carolina uses a variety of tools to plan for efficient growth,
especially at the state level, to protect land that ranges from coastal wetlands to scenic
mountain ridges. As a modified Dillion’s rule state, local governments in North Carolina
must seek approval for powers not granted to them in the state code. Localities do have the
power to develop land use plans outlining growth areas, implement zoning standards, and
to create farmland preservation and easement programs. Only two counties, Wake and
Forsythe, have enacted such preservation programs. State policy makers created a Smart
Growth Commission on January 30, 2000 to strengthen the tools already in place and
increase the options available to state and local officials for managing growth and protecting
open space. Current laws and programs include:
!Coastal Area Management Act;
!Clean Water Management Trust Fund;
!Million Acres Initiative;
!North Carolina Main Street Program;
!Commission to Address Smart Growth, Growth Management, and
Development Issues; and
!Wetland Restoration Program.
Basic land use laws have existed in North Carolina since 1974, when the Coastal Area
Management Act (CAMA) was enacted requiring 20 coastal counties to adopt land use plans
to be approved by the Coastal Resources Commission. Growth management expert John
DeGrove described the program as, “a success story of national significance, demonstrating154
a truly effective state-local partnership in land and growth management for the coast.”
North Carolina’s subsequent experience with growth management has been characterized
by a number of starts and stops. Since the late 1980s, some politicians have advocated
growth management policies, but these proposals have failed to attract broad political
support. For example, no state or regional framework is in place to guide local governments
in their land use planning. Approximately one-half of all local governments in North
Carolina lack land use plans.
Many of the more successful growth management programs involve trust funds. These
programs include the Clean Water Management Trust, the Farmland Preservation Trust
Fund (FPTF), and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. In 1999, for example, the FPTF
processed easements to protect 1,981 acres. In its most recent session, the state legislature
allocated $1.7 million for farmland preservation. At the same time, many other state
programs, especially those supporting infrastructure development, have actively contributed
to growth patterns without much consideration for effects on land use patterns. For
example, about 1% of the approximately $1.7 billion of state funds invested in North
Carolina’s highways per year is spent on public transit.
In an effort to respond to growing concerns of sprawl and unmanaged growth, the
North Carolina General Assembly created the Commission to Address Smart Growth,
Growth Management and Development Issues in January, 2000. The General Assembly’s
decision to create this commission may reflect growing interest in the issue and could be the
154 John DeGrove, Land Growth and Politics (Washington, DC: Planners Press, 1984 ), p.
beginning of more active growth management policies. The Commission issued its report
in the fall of 2001, and the General Assembly has yet to act on any of the
recommendations.155 The General Assembly passed the Million Acres Initiative in 2000 to
preserve open space through voluntary acquisition of land and conservation easements by
federal, state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations. With over a million
people moving into the state during the 1990s, more officials are beginning to recognize a
need for more effective growth management. The commission and the initiative are cited156
as important examples of increased interest and responsiveness.
North Dakota. While urban sprawl has become an issue in a few cities, such as
Fargo, and open space protection, specifically wetland and farmland protection, is a concern
for some, urban sprawl and open space protection are not broadly perceived to be problems.
In fact, following a decline in its population in the 1990s, North Dakota is actively seeking
population growth. A few policies, such as the Renaissance Zone Act and the Urban
Renewal Law, have been passed at the state level to encourage urban infill and
redevelopment. However, economic growth and population growth, rather than growth
management, have been the intent of these policies. Actions that have been taken have
occurred at the municipal level.
Ohio. Urban sprawl is a relatively serious concern in Ohio, but loss of farmland
appears to be the state’s most critical growth-related issue. Agriculture is Ohio’s leading157
industry, supporting one in every six jobs. Accordingly, state-level growth management,
while not a coordinated effort, has focused principally on agricultural lands, and the
Secretary of Agriculture is a high-profile advocate of farmland preservation. Laws and
!Office of Farmland Preservation;
!Clean Ohio Bond Fund;
!Agricultural Easement Purchase Program; and
!Community Reinvestment Areas.
Planning and zoning activities in Ohio are conducted at the local level. The state
enables, but does not require, local governments to create plans. Protection of property
rights has very strong support in Ohio, which counters the case for statewide comprehensive
planning. State involvement in growth management is also limited by the deep-seated
tradition of home rule in cities and towns.
In 1997, the legislature created an Office of Farmland Preservation within the Ohio
Department of Agriculture (ODA). The office coordinates and funds local farmland
preservation programs and collaborates with other state agencies to identify actions that
155 North Carolina General Assembly, Commission on Smart Growth, Growth Management
and Development: Findings and Recommendations, report prepared by cochairs Howard
N. Lee and Joe Hackney (Raleigh, NC, Fall 2001), p. 7.
156 North Carolina General Assembly, Commission on Smart Growth, Growth Management
and Development: A Message from the Cochairs, report prepared by cochairs Howard N.
Lee and Joe Hackney (Raleigh, NC, Fall 2001), p. 3.
157 American Farmland Trust—Ohio, Support Protection of Ohio’s Farmland. Online.
Available: http://www.farmland.org/regions/oh/support.htm. Accessed: May 16, 2002.
threaten farmland. A statute enacted in 1977 and last amended in 1999 allows the
designation of Community Reinvestment Areas, where the state provides financial
encouragement for urban containment through tax incentives.158 Legislation enacted in 1998
enables donated agricultural land to be placed under easement by the ODA.159 In 2001,
legislation created and funded the ODA’s Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. This
program will spend a projected $25 million by 2005 to help local governments and nonprofit160
agencies purchase agricultural easements.
A constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2000 created the $400 million
Clean Ohio Fund. The state will issue $200 million in revenue bonds for brownfield
redevelopment activities and $200 million in general obligation debt for preservation of
open space under a program created by the statute that also established the Agricultural
Easement Purchase Program. This statute also created the Clean Ohio Council, whose
members include the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA); two
state senators; two state representatives; and seven members appointed by the Governor who
represent local governments, business interests, and environmental advocacy organizations.
The Council will select projects to be funded by the Clean Ohio Fund. The Ohio
Department of Development (ODOD), through its Office of Urban Development,
implements the brownfields portion of the Fund in consultation with the OEPA. Local
agencies were to submit funding applications in the spring of March 2002. The fund
planned to make its first awards in July 2002. An ODOD official notes that while the
activities financed by the Fund may contribute to managing growth, the fund was established
to address overall quality of life rather than land use issues.161
Oklahoma. Oklahoma has no statewide growth management plan. Cities are given
authority by the state to adopt capital improvements and city plans, but neither is mandatory.
Generally, land use planning in the state is decentralized. In the mid-1980s, the legislature
enacted several development programs and increased power to state agencies to maintain
employment in Oklahoma and to attract additional economic activity to the state. The Long
Range Capital Planning Commission, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and the State
Bond Advisor preside over growth issues in the state, providing localities with technical
assistance, feedback on capital improvement plans, and financing expertise.
Oregon. Oregon’s growth management strategy, a “top-down” approach, has earned
the state recognition as the original model for centralized planning.162 City and county
governments are required to develop and implement comprehensive plans that must be
158Ohio Revised Code, Secs. 3735.65–3735.70.
159Senate Bill 223, 122nd General Assembly (1998); Ohio Department of Agriculture, Office
of Farmland Preservation. Online. Available: http://www.state.oh.us/agr/
FarmlandPresIndex.htm. Accessed: February 24, 2002.
160House Bill 3, 124th General Assembly, regular session (2001); Ohio Department of
Agriculture, Facts about the Farmland Preservation Component of H.B. 3. Online. Available:
http://www.pwc.state.oh.us/Clean.Ohio.Agricultural.htm. Accessed: February 24, 2002.
161 Telephone interview by Drew Murray with John Magill, Assistant Deputy Director,
Office of Urban Development, Ohio Department of Development, March 5, 2002.
162 University of California Hastings College of the Law, Public Law Research Institute,
“Smart Growth: State by State” database. Online. Available:
http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 17, 2002.
approved by the state. Plans are required by law to be consistent and coordinated at all
levels of government (state, county, city, special districts), and this has resulted in extensive
coordination. This law, the Land Use Planning Act of 1973, is a landmark statewide
comprehensive planning law, the first of its kind in the United States. It is administered by
the Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC), and continues to provide
the framework for all planning in the state. Five years later, in 1978, Oregon took another
significant step in growth management when it created the first elected regional government
in the nation, called Metro. Metro is responsible for growth and planning policies in the
Portland region, which encompasses three counties and 24 cities. This regional approach
can improve the effectiveness of growth management by addressing concerns that cross
political jurisdictions and allowing for comprehensive planning.
Building on both 1970s initiatives, the state remains committed to land use planning.
In the 1990s, the legislature passed bills related to growth management in each legislative
session, and the Governor actively enhanced growth management coordination through
several executive orders and initiatives. Current initiatives and programs include:
!Ocean Resource Planning;
!Removal and Fill from Wetlands and Rivers;
!Special Land Assessments;
!Oregon Highway and Transportation Plans;
!Oregon Livability Initiative;
!Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds;
!Statewide Planning Goals;
!Transportation and Growth Management Program and Planning Rule; and
!Using State Resources to Encourage Quality Community Development.
Several programs implemented in the 1990s address transportation topics. The state
Transportation Plan, prepared by the Department of Transportation (ODOT), is the
overarching policy plan for multimodal transportation systems. It supports approved land
use plans, although local governments are ultimately required to amend their plans to be
consistent with the state plan. The plan’s highway element seeks to achieve the long-term
objectives shared by land use and transportation. It focuses on relationships between
highways and patterns of development, and also on how ODOT will work with local
governments and other affected entities when developing transportation system plans. The
Transportation and Growth Management Program, a joint venture between the Department
of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and ODOT, offers financial and technical
assistance to foster livable, transportation-efficient communities. The Transportation
Planning Rule, created to interpret the Transportation Statewide Planning Goal, sets
requirements for the coordination of affected governments in developing transportation
A key element of Oregon’s effective growth management efforts is the coordination
at (and between) the state and local levels. The Community Solutions Team, created by the
Governor, brings together the directors of five agencies to coordinate actions on growth
management and community development. Other such teams work at the regional level.
The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds also requires that each affected agency be
represented on the monitoring team.
Oregon’s laws and programs emphasize protection of resource lands. Wetlands, for
example, are protected through a statewide inventory and provision of technical assistance
to local communities. Other laws provide special assessments for farm and forest lands.
The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds has wide-reaching effects on water quality,
watersheds, and salmon. Most of these programs implement one or more of the 19
Statewide Planning Goals.
Federal policies on growth management issues have also affected Oregon’s efforts.
For example, the LBJ survey found that Oregon officials cite federal transportation policy
as helpful, due in part to the flexibility of the use of federal funds. (It is also viewed as a
hinderance for other reasons.) This flexibility may help explain why Oregon has such a
strong transportation element to its growth management programs. Also found to be helpful
are environmental and federal land management policy and intergovernmental revenue
transfers. Federal policies are also important because more than 50% of Oregon is federal
Several state-level entities implement growth management and open space preservation
laws. The all-volunteer, seven-member LCDC, supported by the DLCD, coordinates state
and local planning, adopts state land use goals, verifies that local plans pursue the state
goals, and oversees the coastal zone program. The DLCD is the administrative arm of the
LCDC, and prepares the state planning guidelines and provides funding and expertise to
local governments. The Commission can block the distribution of tax revenue or suspend
local authority to issue building permits if the local government’s actions are not consistent
with state goals. The Division of State Lands administers state wetlands policies. The State
Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for beach and other open space issues.
State legislation clearly established a commanding role for state planning but the
system was complex, involving state, county, and city governments and special districts.
In 1997, the Governor signed an executive order to integrate land use programs and
investments, including consolidation of all planning goals, laws, and rules, around six
objectives, which included prioritizing mixed-use development and supporting development
compatible with the community’s ability to provide public services. Based on the level and
type of activity since 1990, Oregon remains committed to the principles of managing growth
and appears poised to remain a model for growth management practices.
Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s growth management system, which relies on county
and municipal governments to take the initiative to plan, has been described as a “bottom-
up” approach.163 The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed this system’s new legislative
centerpiece, amending the Municipalities Code, in 2000. Currently, laws and programs
include the following:
!Growing Smarter Legislation;
!Land Use Planning and Technical Assistance Program;
!Growing Greener PA;
!Pennsylvania Greenways Commission;
!21st Century Environmental Commission;
!Agricultural Land Preservation Policy76;
!Keystone Opportunity Zone Program;
!Land Recycling Program; and
!The Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Plan.
163 David R. Godschalk, “Smart Growth Efforts around the Nation,” Popular Government
(Fall 2000), pp. 12-10.
Prior to the 1990s, Pennsylvania passed few measures to address growth management
and open space preservation. About 25% of the state is agricultural lands (7.3 million acres)
and 50% is forest land (15.5 million acres). Its abundance of these natural resources as well
as its colonial heritage made rapid loss of farmland, concern for historical landmarks, and
revitalization of inner cities critical issues for Pennsylvania’s fledgling growth management164
movement. The one exception is that since the early 1980s, Pennsylvania has been a
national leader in farmland preservation. In 1981, legislation was enacted permitting
farmers to petition local governments for the creation of Agriculture Security Areas (ASAs).
In 1987, Pennsylvanians voted to issue $100 million in bonds to finance a conservation
easement purchase program. In 1988, legislation was enacted creating the Agricultural
Conservation Easement Purchase Program. The program has permanently preserved more165
than 225,000 acres since 1989, more than any other state.
In 1994, the Governor identified growth management and open space preservation as
priorities.166 He created the 21st Century Environment Commission and charged it with
recommending environmental policies for the twenty-first century. Among the issues it
identified, the commission singled out the “challenge of promoting responsible land use”
as the most pressing environmental problem. Further, it recommended that local level
planning commissions were crucial in developing recommendations for promoting
responsible land use patterns.167 During this same time period, Pennsylvania journalist Tom
Hylton, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his editorials on community planning, generated
public awareness of growth management issues when he recommended policies for
discouraging sprawl and creating better communities in his book, Save Our Land, Save Our
TownsÕA Plan for Pennsylvania.168
In 1999, the Governor established a foundation for future growth management systems
through an Executive Order. The order recommended that the findings of the 21st Century
Environment Commission be acted upon and also established the Governor’s Center for
Local Government Services as the principal state entity responsible for land use assistance
and monitoring. Also in 1999, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and
Preservation Pennsylvania, a nongovernmental organization, launched a campaign to
develop a five-year plan for historic preservation. The plan calls for expanding the use of
preservation as an economic development strategy, and for strengthening preservation
planning at the local level. Both groups continue to secure funding and legislative support
for their initiatives.
164 Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Governor’s Office, Executive Order 1999-1, Sound
Land Use Planning. Online. Available: http://www.dced.state.pa.us/PA_Exec /DCED/
government /exec-order.htm. Accessed: February 1, 2002.
165 Email from Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Mona
Nichols, April 24, 2002.
166 Text of Governor Ridge’s speech at the Pennsylvania Environmental Council Annual
Dinner (May 31, 1995). Online. Available: http://www.dep.state.pa.us /dep/ridge/
govremark0531ec.htm. Accessed: February 1, 2002.
167 Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, Department of Community and
Economic Development, The Planning Commission in Pennsylvania—Planning Series 2,
168 Save Our Land, Save Our Towns. Online. Available: http://www.
saveourlandssaveourtowns.org/book.html. Accessed: May 22, 2002.
During the 1990s, the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopted several measures to
address open space and environmental protection as well as urban renewal, centering on
farmland and open space acquisition, brownfields redevelopment, and tax-free zones to
revitalize communities. In 1995, it passed measures to establish the state’s Land Recycling
Program, which encompasses the Industrial Sites Reuse Program and the Infrastructure
Development Program. These programs foster the cleanup of environmental contamination
at industrial sites and work to bring contaminated lands and brownfields back to productive
use by disbursing grants to businesses that are willing to undertake the restoration efforts.
It also established the Keystone Opportunity Zone Program to promote urban renewal in
1998. This legislation attempts to attract economic development and renewal to
Pennsylvania’s distressed areas by allowing state and local governments to issue tax
abatements, credits, exemptions, and deductions. Most recently, it passed the Growing
Greener Program to implement part of the governor’s 1999 Land Use Planning Executive
Order. This Program allows for the investment of nearly $650 million over five years in
farmland and open space protection, state parks refurbishment, abandoned mines and
watersheds cleanup, and water and sewer systems upgrades.
Accompanying the Growing Greener Program is the Growing Smarter Initiative, which
is the cornerstone of the state’s current growth management approach. It encourages
counties and municipalities to coordinate their planning and implementation efforts, and
offers better planning tools and some implementation funding. Announced in February
2000, this initiative doubles the commonwealth’s investment in land use planning and
technical assistance, amends the Municipalities Planning Code, and calls for a complete
review of state government programs and policies to ensure agency programming and
decision-making support local land use planning. Funding for land use planning assistance,
a component of this initiative, more than doubled between FY 1999-2000 to FY 2000-2001,
and is now $4.6 million.
Legislation was enacted in 2000 that supports and encourages communication,
coordination, and consistency of land use issues at all levels of government to implement
another component of the Initiative. This legislation requires that state agencies be
permitted to comment on local government planning and zoning, strengthens regional
planning, and permits the designation of growth and rural resource areas through
intergovernmental cooperative planning and implementation agreements. To increase public
awareness of the Initiative, the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services has
implemented an “Action Plan”, which gives county and municipal governments the tools169
and resources to manage growth.
The future of growth management and open space preservation efforts in Pennsylvania
seems bright. Since 1990, the state not only invested resources in studying growth
management issues and practices, but implemented many of the recommendations and
provided substantial funding. Also, nongovernmental entities like 10,000 Friends of
Pennsylvania and Preservation Pennsylvania are providing direction and support. These
groups and the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services work to maintain public
169 Governor’s Center for Local Government Services, The Comprehensive Plan in
Pennsylvania—Planning Series #3. Online. Available: http://www.inventpa.com/
al%20Government%20Services. Accessed: February 1, 2002; and Governor of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania email.
interest in state growth management issues. The new Governor has promised “to be a
strong proponent of Growing Smarter initiatives.”170
Rhode Island. Rhode Island adopted a growth management system in the late
by both the state and municipalities.” The state comprehensive planning act mandates
both comprehensive planning by municipalities and consistency between state and local
plans and actions. Many growth management professionals consider the Rhode Island
system the most comprehensive state plan adopted in the 1980s.172 Laws and programs that
are a part of the Rhode Island effort include:
!Building and Fire Code Revisions;
!Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit;
!Rhode Island Greenways Act;
!Governor’s Growth Planning Council:
!Local Open Space and Recreation Grants Program:
!Zoning, Land Development, and Subdivision Review Enabling Acts;
!Development Impact Fee Act;
!Brownfields Redevelopment; and
!Mill Building and Economic Revitalization Act.
Concern over rapid development in Rhode Island during the 1970s and 1980s and loss
of open space, particularly in coastal areas, were major factors in the establishment of a
growth management system. In1988, Rhode Island passed the Comprehensive Planning and
Land Use Regulation Act (CPA), which is a collection of plans adopted over the past 30173
years grouped into a dozen areas.
Rhode Island had established an Office of Statewide Planning and a State Planning
Council prior to 1988. The 1988 statute established a program of comprehensive planning
review within the Department of Administration of the Statewide Planning Program to
coordinate a review of local plans by state agencies and to review these plans for
consistency with the elements of the State Guide Plan. The Statewide Planning Program
personnel, who are staff of the State Planning Council, develop elements of the State Guide
Plan, which are then reviewed and adopted by the State Planning Council.
All cities and towns are required to adopt comprehensive plans and to submit them to
the Statewide Planning Program for approval, based in part on compliance with the 1988
law. Plans must address the following elements: goals and policy statements; land use;
housing; economic development; natural and cultural resources; services and facilities; open
space and recreation; and circulation and implementation strategies. The municipal council
170 Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania email.
171 Letter from Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to Professor Robert
Wilson, University of Texas at Austin, April 16, 2002.
172 John M. Degrove, Planning and Growth Management in the States (Cambridge, MA:
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1992), p. 86.
173 Rhode Island General Laws 42-11-10.
approves submissions for statewide review when all required elements are included.174 The
CPA stipulates that local governments failing to develop a plan consistent with state
regulations will have a plan developed for them by the Office of State Planning. The statute
has effectively motivated reluctant local governments to comply.175
The state legislature subsequently approved two measures to support the state planning
system, updating the Zoning Enabling Act in 1991 and the Land Development and
Subdivision Review Enabling Act in 1992. The measures aligned zoning and development
standards with the principles of the 1988 growth management plan, and included modern
language and current techniques.
In the late 1990s, the state legislature passed laws to refine the growth management
plan. In 1995, it approved the Greenways Act, which establishes a 25-year plan for creating
greenspace and a statewide greenway network which will eventually encompass one-third
of the state. Voters approved $15 million for bonds to implement the network. In 1998,
Rhode Islanders reaffirmed their commitment to protecting open space by approving new
bond funds for the Local Open Space and Recreation Grants Program.
The state also established a brownfields redevelopment program in the 1990s. The
Department of Environmental Management, the Economic Development Corporation (a
quasi-governmental entity that encourages economic investment in the state), and the
Statewide Planning Program are responsible for implementing the provisions of the 1995
Industrial Property Remediation and Reuse Act 1995. These entities assist parties with the
brownfields redevelopment process and help them obtain grants and other funding for
projects, mainly from state and federal sources. The state promotes brownfields
redevelopment through tax incentives. Redevelopers also are encouraged to utilize tax
credits offered through the Mill Building and Economic Revitalization Act, if they are
redeveloping historic industrial mill structures, and the Historic Preservation Investment Tax
Credit (discussed below).
Rhode Island continues to successfully implement growth management legislation. In
2000, the legislature passed an impact fee act to ensure that new development bears a
proportionate share of the cost of building new educational facilities. The 2000 Building
and Fire Codes Revision and the 2001 Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit promote
urban redevelopment and historic preservation by encouraging and facilitating the
restoration of old buildings and neighborhoods. The state’s Historic Preservation
Investment Tax Credit of 30% reinforces the federal historic tax credit of 20%.
Recently, nongovernmental groups such as Grow Smart Rhode Island have been
calling for Smart Growth initiatives in the state. In response, the Governor signed Executive
Order 2002-2 to establish a Growth Planning Council comprising state agency heads. The
council will recommend best practices for managing new growth and will inventory all
existing state programs, policies, and expenditures to evaluate their effect on sustainable
development and the preservation and enhancement of environmental quality and natural
174 American Planning Association, Growing Smart Project: Statute Summaries. Online.
Available: http://www.planning.org/. Accessed: February 15, 2002.
175 Degrove, Planning and Growth Management in the States, p. 91.
South Carolina. South Carolina recently enacted legislation to reduce urban sprawl
in its communities. However, the state does not have a statewide coordinated plan for
growth management. Like many states, it enables its local units of government to manage
sprawl on a regional basis.
Prior to 1994, South Carolina’s coastal management program and the Mountain Ridge
Protection Act were the two primary statewide growth management directives. The 1977
coastal management legislation requires local entities to submit their zoning requirements
for all designated coastal areas to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for
approval. The 1984 Mountain Ridge Protection Act banned the construction of tall
structures on protected mountain ridges. 176
In 1994, the legislature passed the State Planning Enabling Act, providing
municipalities and counties with the authority to manage growth dependent upon each
community’s needs. While previous laws are grandfathered, the 1994 act governs resolution
of conflicts between old and new laws. Under the act, municipalities and counties may, but
are not required to, form local planning commissions “to undertake a continuing planning
program for the physical, social, and economic growth, development, and redevelopment177
of the area within its jurisdiction.” The plans these commissions develop are to include
evaluations of population growth, housing needs, economic development characteristics, and
infrastructure availability. Planning commissions have the authority to set aside land for
conservation purposes and to employ impact fees and tax incentives, as well as coordinate
zoning standards. In 2001, the state recognized the need to preserve open space and created
the Conservation Land Bank to provide grants and loans to municipalities to designate areas
for conservation purposes. The state largely defers to communities according to the area’s
needs, except along the ocean shoreline, where it uses the coastal management program to
South Dakota. Comprehensive land use planning and zoning is implemented by
counties and municipalities. State law allows, but does not require, these local units of
government to create zoning commissions, and to develop comprehensive land use plans and
zoning ordinances.178 Some counties have pursued comprehensive planning and zoning
ordinances. The unzoned counties are mostly very rural; they generally address land use
problems through the enforcement of public nuisance ordinances.
With over 48 million acres and less than 1 million people, urban sprawl and open space
have not traditionally been high priority issues in South Dakota. The state has focused its
few efforts on maintaining open space near its growth areas and establishing urban forests.
Cities generally encourage growth, without much attention given to resulting development
patterns. However, planned growth, land use compatibility, and agricultural land
preservation are emerging issues in some of the more urban areas.
176 American Planning Association, Growing Smart: Statutory Summary for the State of
South Carolina. Online. Available: www.planning.org. Accessed: April 28, 2002.
177 South Carolina State Statutes, Sec. 6-29-340.
178 South Dakota Legislative Research Council, South Dakota Codified Laws, chapters 11-2
(County Planning and Zoning) and 11-4 (Municipal Planning and Zoning). Online.
Available: http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/index.cfm. Accessed: April 24, 2002.
The state government is not empowered to conduct state-level comprehensive land use
planning, though several state agencies coordinate with local planning and zoning agencies
on land use-related issues. The Department of Transportation engages in extensive
statewide transportation planning. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources
is responsible for assuring the environmental compliance of proposed development179
activities. Environmental impact statements are discretionary under state law. The
Department of Education and Cultural Affairs, Office of History addresses historical
Tennessee. During the 1990s, rapid population and economic growth in Tennessee
led to numerous legal disputes over annexation and incorporation laws. In 1997, the
Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House formed an Ad Hoc Committee on
Annexation to study growth policy.180 Committee recommendations were later incorporated
into legislation passed in 1998, and intended to minimize urban sprawl, eliminate poorly
planned annexations or incorporations, and improve the coordination of development with
public services. The law requires that counties and municipalities establish coordinating
committees to develop growth plans and submit them for ratification to the county
commission and municipal government. Municipal growth plans must identify an Urban
Growth Boundary (UGB), while county plans must identify Planned Growth Areas (PGA)
and Rural Areas (RA). Ratified plans must be submitted to the state’s Local Governmental
Planning Advisory Committee (LGPAC), made up of appointed officials from agencies and
organizations with an interest in planning, for approval. Approved plans may be modified
for three years only under extraordinary circumstances. If an impasse is reached in the plan
preparation process, the county or municipal government may request mediation services
from the Office of the Secretary of State.
The law established incentives and disincentives to participate. Proposals to the
Housing Development Agency and the Department of Economic and Community
Development from counties and municipalities are awarded bonus points if they adopted an
LGPAC-approved growth plan by July 2000. Technical assistance is available from the
County Technical Assistance Service, Division of Local Planning, Municipal Technical
Service, and University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. Counties who do not
receive final LGPAC approval become ineligible for some grant programs and loans after
July 1, 2001 until their plans are approved.181
The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs (TACIR)
evaluated implementation efforts; it found in 2000 that 75 counties (of 93) administered
approved growth plans (thus gaining bonus points). The 18 remaining counties were unable
to reach a consensus on the size of their UGBs, but are continuing negotiations to resolve
differences. TACIR notes that despite this progress, some approved plans may not
179 South Dakota Legislative Research Council, South Dakota Codified Laws, chapters 34A-
http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/index.cfm. Accessed: April 24, 2002.
180 Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs, Tennessee’s Growth
Policy Act: A Vision for the Future. Online. Available: http://www.state.tn.us/
tacir/tacirpublications.htm. Accessed: January 11, 2002.
181 Metropolitan governments are exempt from sanctions, and counties that created
metropolitan government charter commissions by July 1, 2001, have a one-year extension.
adequately assess RAs, minimize sprawl, or comply with planning requirements. 182 A 2001
review, published by the TACIR stated that the RA component of growth plans has received
“little substantive attention,” and recommended that coordinating committees assess their
RA based on the quantity, quality, location, and vulnerability of natural assets and provide
data resources and techniques that might help in the process.183 TACIR reports on the
impact of approved growth plans on urban sprawl and compliance with planning
requirements are pending. Other laws and programs available include:
!Agricultural District and Farmland Preservation Act;
!Agricultural, Forest, and Open Space Land Act;
!Brownfields Law; and
!State Land Acquisition Fund.
Texas. In curbing urban sprawl, the state defers to cities, counties, and regional
planning organizations. The constitution’s home rule provision enables its cities with
zoning and annexation authority. Counties have limited authority to plan for growth.
However, both cities and counties are able to create and join regional planning
organizations, which have tended to focus on transportation issues. Texas does not have a
statewide planning requirement; however, it does provide localities with the ability to
manage growth, based on their needs.
In 1997 the state legislature authorized comprehensive planning among regional and
local entities. Although the law does not mandate a comprehensive plan, it does enable to184
cities to use concurrency in their planning process. In 1999, the legislature enacted
several laws affecting land use. One of these authorized municipalities to establish
empowerment zones, within which they could waive or adopt certain fees related to
construction, enter into beneficial agreements, grant sales tax refunds and municipal sales
tax abatements, and enter into agreements abating municipal property taxes on property
located in these zones.
The state grants growth management authority to cities, and some of them have taken
the initiative to curb urban sprawl in their communities. They are using tools such as tax
abatements, land purchases for conservation purposes, and zoning restrictions to encourage
greater development density.
Utah. In the late 1990s, Utah began to address managing the growth of cities and open
space preservation, largely in response to a population growth rate that is more than double
the national average. Smart growth techniques are being promoted through cooperation
among state and local governments and private and nonprofit organizations. These groups
are assisted by state growth management commissions.
182 Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs, Implementation of
Tennessee’s Growth Policy Act in CY 2000 (online).
183 Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Affairs, Planning for Rural
Areas in Tennessee under PC 1101. Online. Available:
http://www.state.tn.us/tacir/PDF_FILES/ Growth_Policy/ruralareas.pdf. Accessed: March
184 Concurrency is defined as linking an entity’s comprehensive plans with its zoning and
The need for state land use management policies was not very apparent until about
1970, in part because almost 65% of Utah is federal land. An initial attempt at establishing
a policy was unsuccessful when the Utah Land Use Act of 1974, designed to create a land
use commission, was repealed when opponents successfully argued that the Act infringed
on private property rights.185 After this repeal, the state legislature showed little interest in
growth management until the early 1990s, when it enacted legislation addressing growth at
the local and regional levels. Under the leadership of the Governor, new efforts to institute
planned growth tools emerged in 1997 with the creation of Envision Utah, a public/private
community partnership for growth management. This was followed by the passage of the186
Utah Quality Growth Act in 1999. This act created the Utah Quality Growth
Commission to administer planning grants to local governments. The Commission requires
comprehensive plans from counties and cities. Strong leadership in the legislature and in
the Governor’s Office has enabled the state to employ statewide planning for growth
management. All state agencies implement the policies developed by the Quality Growth
Commission. Related laws and programs include:
!Agricultural Protection Area;
!County Land Use Development and Management Act;
!Municipal Land Use Development Act; and
!Utah Forest Legacy Program.
Vermont. Vermont actively attempts to control urban sprawl, monitor land use, and
encourage community development. It has a statewide comprehensive plan, a state agency
planning implementation committee, and numerous state grant, loan, and technical
assistance programs that encourage environmental preservation, cultural and historical
preservation, and land conservation.187
Vermont first became involved in land use issues with the passage of the State Land
Use and Development Law, known as Act 250, in 1970. The law includes ten criteria that
guide regulatory review of large development projects by nine regional citizen District
Commissions. The 10 criteria include: environmental protection; traffic impacts;
agricultural land preservation; historic preservation; the fiscal impacts of growth and
scattered development; impacts to public investments; and conformance with regional and
municipal plans. District Commission decisions can be appealed to the Environmental
Board, which oversees the implementation of Act 250.188
The next major law, called the Growth Management Act of 1988, and known as Act
200, establishes a state-planning framework of 12 goals aimed at planning development so
as to maintain the historic settlement pattern of compact village and urban centers separated
by rural countryside. A grant program, administered by the Agency of Commerce and
185 Elizabeth Evensen, “Open Space Preservation in Utah: Techniques, Tools, and First
‘Quality Growth’ Steps,” Journal of Land, Resources & Environmental Law, vol. 19 (1999),
186 Utah General Statutes, Secs. 10-2-401.5-426. Online. Available:
http://www.le.state.ut.us/~code. Accessed: December 20, 2001.
187 John M. DeGrove, “Vermont: The Struggle to Meld Permitting and Planning,” in Land,
Growth, and Politics (Washington, DC: American Planning Association, 1984), pp. 64-97.
188 Vermont Environmental Board, Act 250: Vermont’s Land Use and Development Law.
Online. Available: www.state.vt.us/envboard/statute.htm. Accessed: October 22, 2001.
Community Affairs, assists municipalities in preparing up-to-date plans to meet the goals
of this Act.189 Also about this time, the Housing and Conservation Fund, administered by
the Housing and Conservation Board, was established to provide for the
protection/conservation of open lands, historic properties, and affordable housing. The
Fund has conserved over 300,000 acres of agricultural and ecologically sensitive lands.
Since 1990, Vermont has enacted laws to encourage the revitalization and preservation
of downtown areas, including the Downtown Program (1994) and the HUD Consolidated
Plan (1995). The Plan spends HUD Community Development Block Grant Funds on
projects in growth centers and downtown areas. The Agency of Commerce and Community
Affairs administers both programs. Since 1992 and the inception of the Transportation
Planning Initiative, regional transportation plans are funded by the Agency of Transportation
through the regional planning commissions, the entities who are also responsible for
preparing Act 200-compliant regional plans. All proposed accesses onto state highways in
regional transportation plans must comply with local land use plans.
In 2000, the legislature passed the Development Cabinet Law, requiring key agency
secretaries to advise the Governor in a coordinated fashion on matters related to
implementing land use programs, policies, and actions. These matters include such issues
as land conservation, affordable housing, and strengthening the agricultural and forest
products industries. Also, the Development Cabinet is to work with local entities on
planning efforts to discourage scattered development and encourage downtown
revitalization and compact growth centers. Other laws and programs it might draw on
!Municipal and Regional Planning Development Fund;
!Agricultural Nonpoint Source Pollution Reduction; and
!Interstate Interchange Executive Order.
Virginia. Local governments address urban growth issues. State-local relationships
are defined by Dillon’s rule, so the state legislature determines which tools localities may
use.190 Local planning commissions adopt comprehensive plans that address land use,
transportation, community facilities, historical areas, and natural resources, but zoning
ordinances and subdivision regulations need not comply with the intent of these plans.191
The state does not provide oversight, technical assistance, or financial incentives for local
189 Farmland Information Library, Vermont Statutes. Online. Available:
www.farmlandinfo.org/fic/laws/state/stvt.html. Accessed: October 31, 2001.
190 A Dillon’s rule state allows local governments to exercise only those powers expressly
given or implied by the state legislature. A municipality must look to the Virginia
Constitution, statutes, and the municipal charter (granted by the General Assembly) for its
legal powers. Many localities have appealed, generally unsuccessfully, to the General
Assembly for more flexible powers to address local growth problems. Critics suggest that
localities have sufficient planning powers, but fail to use them appropriately and
191 Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association, Virginia’s Growth Management
Tools (June 1999-2002). Online. Available: http://www.vaplanning.org/growthtools.pdf.
Accessed: February 10, 2001.
The Regional Cooperation Act of 1985 authorizes the creation of planning district
commissions to create regional plans for municipalities to consult and follow. The
commissions also provide technical aid to local governments and collect data for the state.
Recent legislation in Virginia addresses particular open space or natural resource
concerns, including the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, Open Space Lands Preservation
Fund (OSLPF), and the creation of the Virginia Land Conservation Fund (VLCF). The
Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act limits development that will adversely impact water
quality of the bay or its tributaries. New goals for improving water quality were adopted in
2001. The OSLPF offsets the costs for landowners to convey an easement, while the VLCF
awards local governments, public bodies, and non-profit organizations matching grants to
purchase land that has cultural, historical, or environmental importance. State funding for
the VLCF was suspended in 2001. Other laws and programs include:
!Office of Farmland Protection;
!Open Space Preservation Trust Fund; and
!Southern Growth Policies Agreement.
One recent growth management initiative is the effort by the Virginia Coalition of
High Growth Communities. It advocated permitting municipalities to use transfer of
development rights and to charge infrastructure fees, as well as the establishment of a
Growth and Economic Development Commission in 2001 to address infrastructure,
revitalization, and open space preservation. In recent years, there has been little
gubernatorial leadership on these topics or to secure state funding for conservation
programs. Some critics also point out that local governments often fail to use the growth192
management or open space preservation tools available.
Washington. Washington State’s comprehensive growth management and
environmental protection efforts are viewed as among the most aggressive in the nation. The
Growth Management Act of 1990 and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) of 1971
form the foundation for a strategy that empowers counties and localities to create their own
plans and that requires consistency of city/county plans with the state plan. Although the
Growth Management Act of 1990 was not the first legislation authorizing local land use
planning, it broadened the relationship between the state and localities on growth193
planning. Its principal predecessors were the Planning Commission Act of 1935 and the
Planning Enabling Act of 1959.
Washington has a long tradition of interest in environmental protection, but the federal
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 spurred Washington to action when it required
that environmental issues be exposed and environmental values be considered in decisions
made by federal agencies. Washington subsequently passed a state version of this
legislation in 1971, requiring all state and local government agencies to develop procedures
that consider environmental issues in their decision-making. During this time, it also acted
to protect its coastal resources where development was occurring. The Shoreline
192 Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association, Virginia’s Growth Management
193 Ed Bolen, Kara Brown, David Kiernan, and Kate Konschnik, Smart Growth State by
State (Hastings, CA: University of California College of the Law, Spring 2001). Online.
Available: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring2001.PDF. Accessed: January 10, 2002.
Management Act of 1971 requires localities to integrate coastal management issues into
their planning and submit plans to the Washington Coastal Zone Management Program for
consistency with state efforts.
The first amendments to SEPA, enacted in 1995, require the Department of Ecology
to add procedures to coordinate SEPA with the Growth Management Act by integrating it
into the planning process. Subsequent amendments have made planning policies clearer and
easier for local governments to use and further integrated the SEPA and Growth
Management Act framework into agencies’ internal planning processes.
Washington’s Office of Economic Development coordinates and reviews plans made
at the state, regional, and local levels. The Growth Management Act requires counties to
submit a comprehensive plan for meeting growth thresholds if the county 1) has a population
of 50,000 or more and the population has increased by at least 10% in the previous 10 years;
or 2) the county has a population of less than 50,000 and the population increased by at least
20% in the previous 10 years.194 Techniques often required by counties to implement their
plans include: mandatory urban growth boundaries for metropolitan areas; identification of
open space corridors between urban growth areas; groundwater protection measures;
transferable development right inclusion; farmland protection planning; and forest land
West Virginia. In West Virginia, planning is addressed at the regional level with
guidance from the state. This role is concentrated at the beginning of the regional planning
process, and is limited to the effects of regional planning on economic development. West
Virginia law generally empowers local governments to create regional planning councils to
oversee planning and zoning. These councils consult with municipalities before developing
a comprehensive regional plan, which must include the elements of transportation and
infrastructure. These plans are compiled by the governor’s office, and must be incorporated
into statewide planning goals. The state also encourages the establishment of interstate and
local planning commissions, but does not require their creation. The Impact Fees and Local
Powers Act of 1990 enables counties and regional planning councils to assess impact fees
on developers. The other significant related law is the Conservation and Preservation
Easement Act, which encourages land conservation.
The lack of state-level growth management results, in part, from the commonly held
belief in the state that West Virginia needs to seek, rather than limit, growth. Therefore, the
state focuses its planning efforts on attempting to attract new and diverse industries through
the Governor’s Development Office.
Wisconsin. Wisconsin has implemented several approaches to managing urban
growth and preserving open space since 1990. In 1999, the Governor backed enactment of
comprehensive planning legislation to encourage 2,000 local governments to create land use
plans. Localities have significant discretion in determining how and to what extent they will
address the various elements of their comprehensive plans. Given these broadly defined
parameters, the actual design and implementation of these plans by the localities determine
194 American Planning Association, Growing Smart: Statutory Summary for the State of
Washington. Updated 2000. Online. Available: http:// www.planning.org. Accessed:
February 15, 2002.
195 Ibid., pp. 42-54.
whether the plans will have an impact on land use practices.196 This statute, widely known
as the Smart Growth Law, mandates that any action of a local government affecting land use
must be consistent with its comprehensive plan after January 1, 2010. In addition, local
governments are encouraged to improve their plans using more sophisticated, integrated
planning approaches, drawing on the incentive of a competitive grant program. Other
available laws and programs include:
!Wisconsin Land Council;
!Planning and Transportation Planning Grants to local governments;
!Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship 2000 Program;
!Natural Resources Land Endowment Fund;
!Grants to Nonprofit Corporations for Urban Land Conservation;
!Urban Forestry Grants;
!Urban Redevelopment Law;
!Boundary Change by Cooperative Plan and Agreement;
!Comprehensive Planning; and
!Architectural Conservancy Districts.
Wisconsin’s history with planning policies follows the economic and political trends
of the last 30 years. In the 1970s the first wave of planning statutes addressed agricultural
land preservation, zoning, and basic planning guidelines. Those policies were functional,
with a focus on agricultural land preservation. For example, minimum lot size requirements
attempted to discourage individuals from purchasing parcels of land too large for a single-
family home and too small for a farm. By the 1980s, the economy lagged and the momentum
diminished, and few new planning statutes were created or old statutes amended.
In the 1990s the state experienced economic and population growth, particularly in the
southeastern region (where Milwaukee is located) and in other urban centers, which elevated
interest in growth management and open space preservation. Features of previous land use
policies were proving inadequate. For example, minimum lot size requirements no longer
discouraged home ownership as wealthy residents purchased 40-acre lots. The state decided
it needed new and improved strategies.
The impetus behind Wisconsin’s Smart Growth Law was a combination of factors
dealing with population and economic growth, addressing change at a regional level, and
improving coordination among state agencies. Comprehensive planning has the potential
to address all these pressures, although results are largely still in the future. The architects
of the planning legislation strove to design a strategy that would motivate local governments
to consider both impacts outside their own borders and relationships between localities and
agencies. Financial incentives are used to encourage thinking at a regional or even state
The driving force behind this statute was several coalitions that formed to promote
more predictable development patterns. The coalitions included key legislators, builders,
196 Richard A. Lehmann, Where’s the Meat? A Reading and Analysis of the New Wisconsin
Comprehensive Plan and Smart Growth Laws with Emphasis on the Extent of State
Direction vs. Local Choice of Plan Content, Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning
Association. Online. Available: http://www.wisconsinplanners.org/SmartGrowth/
wheres_the_meat.htm Accessed: March 22, 2002.
realtors, environmentalists, county and local government associations, academics, and
planners.197 The development and real estate coalition formed in response to exclusionary
zoning that prevented the construction of multifamily housing. Suburban communities
would not allow developers to build condos, apartments, and particularly, “affordable
housing”. This coalition, like the other coalitions, found it wanted clear definitions on land
use regulation. However, while the smart growth advocates were interested in determining
which land could not be developed, the real estate industry wanted to know which land
Wyoming. In Wyoming, the state government does not directly address open space
issues nor does it fund open space management programs. In 1995, however, the Governor
convened a statewide conference, The Wyoming Partnership: Natural Resources for Today
and Tomorrow, to discuss conserving Wyoming’s open lands and the quality of life they
bring,198 illustrating a growing awareness of the issue. This conference led to an Open
Wyoming is a larger state, where 50% of the land is federally owned, and much of the
privately-owned open space is used for agricultural. A significant amount of land has
recently been acquired and developed by wealthy individuals for residences or second
homes, who are attracted by Wyoming’s vastness and low taxes. One result is that open
space has begun to disappear. The state’s culture and political history (freedom of “the
range”; very low taxes; right to farm) helps to prevent adoption of legislation that would
address this situation. With residents opposing tax increases and expending revenue to
preserve or manage open space, state governmental involvement in preservation is a low
priority. For example, the Department of State Parks and Urban Sites receives no assistance
to expand existing sites or to preserve historic locations.199 Wyoming does administer an
Environmental Quality Act to control the various environmental-related activities in the state
(mining; water; oil drilling).
Two recent changes have occurred in the state. First, the Governor’s 1995 conference
produced a comprehensive guidebook to help residents conserve Wyoming’s open space.
The guidebook is intended to increase awareness of options available. It provides
information citizens can use about tools to help deal with these issues.200 Second,
independent non-profit conservancies have appeared and are active, including: The Nature
Conservancy–Wyoming; the Jackson Hole Land Trust; the Green River Valley Land Trust;
and the Wyoming Stockgrower’s Agricultural Land Trust. They are well funded and are
purchasing conservation easements or full fee ownership, and are generally maintaining
these lands as productive open space.
197 Philip C. Evanson, “Achieving Intergovernmental Planning Coordination by
Strengthening Wisconsin’s ‘Smart Growth’ Law,” presentation at the WAPA 2001 Great
Communities Workshop (June 12, 2001). Online. Available:
http://www.wisconsinplanners.org/SmartGrowth/index.htm. Accessed: March 20, 2002.
198 Governor Jim Geringer’s Open Spaces Initiative, Ways to Conserve Wyoming’s
Wonderful Open LandsÕ A Guide Book. Online. Available:
http://www.state.wy.us/governor/openspace/openspaces.htm. Accessed: February 10, 2002.
199 Telephone interview by T.J. Costello with Bill Gentle, Parks Department, Cheyenne,
Wyoming, January 20, 2002.