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Thread: National land use policy

  1. #1

    National land use policy

    Resolved: The United States should adopt a national land use policy, with general standards for land development, requirements for state and local planning, and requirements for interstate cooperation. This policy will be the basis for a tiered system of land use planning, with most decisions being made at the local level, but with appropriate decision-making authority at the regional, state, and national levels.

    Any comments, or do you just want to make me President and get on with it?

  2. #2
    The latter...
    In my life, I have met men both good, and evil. I defend my self against them all...

  3. #3
    Member Mary's avatar
    Aug 2001
    Tempting. :-\

  4. #4
    I may support your presidency, if you let me be your chief domestic advisor.

    More specifics, please.

    Where's the disagreement?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Aug 1997
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    Is this really a "national policy"?
    What's national about it, other than the requirement for everyone to plan, and for plans to be coordinated at a regional and multi-state level? Are the purposes and contents of the plans to be aligned with some national land use goal? Is there a non-local body that can un-approve a locally approved plan for not being in conformance with those goals? Are these national goals set by a simiple majority of the the national pool of voters, or their representatives in Congress . . . . or are we going to use something more esoteric like the electoral college to better balance the influence of larger and smaller (both in size and population) states and regions? Will plans be required to be coordinted, or can East Suburbiaville just plan on all the LULU's to be in West Suburbiaville, and West Surburbiaville plan on all the NIMBY's being located more than 100 miles outside their city limits?

    Is your intent a national framework in which to plan, free of unified content and goals? If so, how would you review these plans without any requirements other than their existence?

    Is your intent a unified, national set of goals and policies? If so, then what is the process for implementing those goals at a multi-locality level?

    If your intent is both of these, wouldn't the process of setting national goals and policies, then developing conforming local plans, then aligning and coordinating each plan at a multi-locality level be take so much time as to be ineffective? By the time a multi-locality plan was created from all the local plans based on the previously set national goals, wouldn't it be time to start over? I work in a rapid growth area, and the best opportunity to match it's land use policies with national goals would be gone by the time the plans would go into effect!

    Just my thoughts.

  6. #6
    I will probably let my chief domestic advisor form a committee to work out the details, but let me give you a general outline of my thoughts:

    I would start with a national framework that simply requires planning (and implementation of planning through land use regulations). That would indeed be a significant new national policy, since there are still many rural areas that do no such thing. The framework would include some general standards; e.g., requiring cities to adopt urban growth boundaries. It would also require states to write regional plans, and to insure that these plans are compatible across state boundaries.

    Most planning would still be done at the local level. But states would step in if localities failed to plan, or failed to implement their plans. This is the sort of thing that is already being done in Oregon and a few other states.

    As for having a national land use plan, rather than a national land use policy, I doubt that we will need one if we can get it right at the local level. But there should be a national transportation plan, which will have to be coordinated with regional land use plans. And maybe one for water, too.

  7. #7
    The Chief Domestic Advisor recommends:

    1.) Comprehensive Regional Land Use Planning - Planning Areas to be defined. Large states (in terms of land area) may have more than one regional commission. Small states, such as in the Northeast and New England may be combined. The primary focus would be on metropolitan areas, and bioregions would be a consideration. Of course, there would be a need for many rural planning districts. Planning districts would often cross state lines (for example the New York City Metro District would probably extend into parts of Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York State).

    2.) Metropolitan Tax Base Revenue Sharing would be enabled (perhaps required), supported, and subsidized with Federal incentives and monies.

    3.) Tax Increment Funding would be enabled (perhaps required), but the definition of blighted areas would be strictly defined and substantial penalties for using TIF for sprawl development strongly enforced. Only quasi-public, not-for-profit regional community development corporations would be allowed to employ TIF programs. (See item #5 for a discussion of RCDCs).
    RCDCs would be allowed to joint venture with private enterprise as a transitional strategy (see item # 10.).

    4.) Presevation of ALL prime farmlands would be required. Federal policy would require and provide incentives and financial support for the full implementation of agricultural zoning, UGBs, PDRs, TDRs, right to farm provisions, and property tax abatement programs. Furthermore, Federal programs would directly and indirectly support community activities to subsidize local agricultural business operations. Special advantages, educational, organizational, and research and development funding would be given to cooperative business organizations that would support sustainable and humane agricultural operations.

    5.) The Federal government would enable, facilitate, foster, and suport the creation of regional business organizations (regional ommunity development corporations {RCDCs} based on the principles of cooperative economics, community stewardship, equity, neotraditional planning, sustainability, and conservation; to implement regional ecological economic plans.

    6.) EPA, DOT, HEW, Urban Development and Housing, DOE, and Department of Agriculture and other programs would be coordinated subject to unified policy and program objectives.

    7.) Department of Defense funding would be substantially reduced and reassigned.

    8.) Progressive gas guzzler and gasoline taxes would be established and raised. Exceptions or possibly tax credits for essential commerce and high mileage vehicles would be considered.

    9.) A more progressive income tax structure would be re-introduced.

    10.) Stockholder corporations would be phased out in favor of cooperative communitarian socialist business entities (as introduced in item #'s 3. and 5.)

    11.) A national energy plan would be designed and implemented based on the principles of conservation, sustainable use levels, and renewable energy.

    12.) Dependence upon the automobile and airplane would be actively phased out (see my document(s) in the Transportation in Historical Perspective on this website).

    13.)A comprehensive waste management system would be designed and implemented based on the priorities of waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.

    14.) A national health plan would be implemented based on the five principles as outlined previously. (see Health Care under the Planning Forum section of this website).

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
    Dec 1998
    In addition,
    We are finding out in my state that it is very difficult to agree on standards for an adequate comprehensive plan and to enforce these standards with any consistent "penalties". If states are having a difficult time doing this how could it be done nationally. We have a very diverse nation and our states differ drastically with regard to the infrastructure available and the priority that they place on these issues, in case you all hadn't noticed.

  9. #9
    Dear Sasquatch,

    Do you agree?


    Mary, Joe?

    Mr. Whites?

    Come on now, folks... this is polemics. Surely you must have something to say.

    Planzilla and mimi would like your support. Please don't be afraid to voice it, even under an alias.

    Remember the election is only 20 days away. Don't hesitate...jump on the bandwagon... I think they're callin' our names... maybe now, you can't hear them, but you will...but first...?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
    Dec 1998


    I get the feeling that these fellows could relate to the proposed "nationalization" of planning where they, or "us" decide what is best for everyone else. While I am a fan of regional and local planning, this stuff gets me a little nervous. Besides, programs on these scales are notoriously ineffecient. Witness, "nationalized" industry in the former Soviet Union

  11. #11
    Dear Planerella,

    Tilia is Latin for the Linden tree!

    First of all, "little girl", you have more to fear from the self-destructive greed-driven, oil dependent, entropic machinated sprawl that you so fallaciously call the "free market". Your sham of a so-called democracy would quiver and wilt if the shackles of your military hegemony and its associated police state were broken.

    On paper the Soviet Union (have you ever read THEIR constitution) was a superior democratic document to our own. The failure of the Soviet system was not due to the failure of an economic planning system, it was due to nationalistic and ethnic rebellion against a Russian military dictatorship. Furthermore, great problems related to the production of goods and services arose because of their opportunity costs lost to the arms race with that other great military dictatorship, the United Snakes(Corporations) of America.

    For further discussion on these issues, I refer you to the Economic and Community Development forum on this website, Mondragon-like societies.



  12. #12
    Dear Planzilla (aka Goreilla?),

    I know that I took your idea fourteen steps further.

    As your Chief Domestic Advisor, I need to know, do I have your support and will we be able to implement such Plans after you are elected?

    To all the public and self-appointed representative of the public interest and vigilant guardians of special interests,

    I need your considred response regarding the Plan.

    Will we have constitutional issues? What will it take to get popular and congressional support? How can we best educate the public, educators, legislators, etc. about the need for such reform?

    What special interests are going to put up the most resistance? How can their interests be met without sacrificing the public good?



  13. #13
    Dear Mike,

    Let's see--the government will run businesses it has usurped (or 'collectivized') so that it can create products it feels I should have rather than what I believe is best for my family. It will control the markets, leave us more vulnerable to outside forces by decimating our defense program, and provide and control health care. And we are to assume that it will work here when it didn't in the USSR because . . . why? There's no USA to counter us?

    Help me, here, I'm trying.

    Did I read you right, Mike?


  14. #14
    No Stacy.

    Your interpretation is totally alien to my proposal. the role of the government is only to enable activities that people will choose to make in the collective interests of their communities, their neighbors, their families, etc.

  15. #15
    No Stacy,

    People will run the businesses.

    They will not be usurped they will be equitized,
    (mutualized and equalized.)

    The government will not control markets. In fact, markets will be controlled even less than under your counter-USA hegemony.

    What I am trying to do primarily is establish a set of values and principles that will be in the long term best interest of all people. It is problematic that the short term interests of the status quo(i.e.capitalist special interests) are contradictatory to the (long term)interests of the citizenry.

    I know that to some extent, some people think that they are justified in their wealth, and to some extent I can appreciate their argument.
    However, for the good of all people, people must realize that the maximization of acquisitions is an immensely destructive force. Now whether you use the term shared capitalism or socialism is somewhat immaterial. Planned economies appropriated capital resources. Giant corporations and their military associates plan all the time. Have you heard of the military-industrial complex? What about the national highway program?

    If you want to make the argument that the USA was responsible for the destruction of the Soviet Union, I think that you are validating my argument. The case was, that the allocation of capital resources to military means was and is an opportunity cost to the USA also. You can try to cultivate a multi-national ruling class to justify global capitalist dominance. You may even succeed for awhile. I can't predict the future, I can only make proposals for a more equitable and sustainable future.

    I hope this clarifies my position somewhat.

    The ideal is that everyone wins. The reality without fundamental reform, maybe even with fundamental reform, is all too clearly that everybody loses. Now, for those who think they have a competitive/comparative advantage, I say to you, it's just a matter of time. Economic resources are scarce, natural resources are even scarcer. We're ALL in this together. An associate says there are no "shoulds". I say, should we go through the winter with no shoes? Should we allow oil resources to be depleted for unnecessary transportation purposes when there will be an eventual (for many I read already existing)shortage of heating and cooking fuel?

    It may be too late, but I think we should reconsider our priorities and rearrange our social and economic infrastructure, accordingly.

    Let's work together.

  16. #16
    very good,its like everybody wants an SUV but noone wants to live near an oil refinery or the toxic waste in the soil caused by the refinery,everyone wants to go out and be seen at the newest hot restaurant but no one wants to pay the waitress,cook or dishwasher enough to afford an apartment,most restaurant staff are homeless though they won^t admit it,the girl who serves you coffee in the morning at starbucks is homeless,the deliworker at lunch,homeless.half the store clerks are homeless. the maids who make the beds are homeless.injustice

  17. #17
    The problem as i see it is that possessions as status objects are seen as a defining badge of rank in a hypercompetitive global war of dominance and control of resources,costume changes are fast and furious and taken deadly serious,kindness is
    seen as weakness,force is seen as strength,power as the only thing worth keeping.this neo colonialism will be absolute,final,total.there will be no middle class,just an ultra high class of 1% supported by the suffering 99%.All because people listen to the commercial media/greed conditioning.

  18. #18

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    When considering a national land use policy it is worth remembering a usually-forgotten fact. The Congress of the United States actually does run one local government: the District of Columbia. Does anybody out there really want their place to be run the way DC is?

    I hasten to add that I'd love to see an overall national/global ethic of community and land. But it has to be built from the bottom up, not imposed from the top down.

  19. #19

  20. #20
    Yes, Lee...

    from the bottom up.

    But the bottom up needs principles, values, proposed policies and programs.

    Do you think I'm sitting at the top? (or in Washington, DC for that matter?) In fact I've never seen or read about a local government that wasn't dominated by the money interests. I live in Eugene, OR. It ain't much diffrerent here. Where do you live? Is it a garden of popular participatory democracy implementing enlightened ideas?

    How about that (s)ham Planzilla?

    By the way Magilla, what are your thoughts?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    I was fortunate several years ago when a professor included utopian philosophies in a political science course. Very interesting and germane to these postings. Start with Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward: written in 1881, it is set in 2000. Critique the problems with the different concepts of the ideal society. Determine how far government and planners should go telling people how to live.

  22. #22
    I've been off-line for about a week, so I just got a chance to see what's going on here. Can't I turn my back on you guys for a minute?

    I just wanted to talk about a national land use policy, not social and economic revolution. Not that such a revolution might not be a good idea, but maybe that could be a separate discussion.

    I still think that some level of guidance and coordination is needed at a national level regarding land use--thousands of individual local government plans do not create a cohesive approach. And for those of you who say that planning must always be "bottom up," I can only say that I remember the days when civil rights were handled that way. A lot of black people would still be waiting for the right to vote if the feds hadn't jumped in and stomped all over states' rights. Sometimes a little leadership is needed at the top.

    Anyway, having failed to attract a giant coporation that would like to sponsor my presidential campaign in exchange for my soul, I hereby withdraw from the race and sign off.

  23. #23
    Ever hear of the Tenth Amendment? (So I hope you were just fishing for philosophical discussion, and not being serious in your proposal.) (In case you are serious in your proposal, I do, and would, oppose it vigorously.)

  24. #24
    Powers not delegated to the United States by the Costitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. You want national level land use planning, amend the Constitution. It is after all a living document, and has been amended before. The founders were not infallible, which they knew, and which is why amendments are possible. If national land use planning is the will of the people, then an amendment should be rather easy. It is getting tiresome to see the end-runs around the limits of federal authority. Now, if you want to reply, please do. It may take awhile for me to reply, however, as I dont live on-line, especially on the weekends. And if you do reply, I look forward to your holier than thou insults. They brighten my day.

    PS. Silly me, I thought that making decisions at the level most responsive to the will of the people was best.

  25. #25
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    Ahhh...the memories.....good ol' MM and his socialist diatribes!
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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