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Thread: How to discourage sprawl? (urban growth boundaries)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian silentvoice's avatar
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    How to discourage sprawl? (urban growth boundaries)

    ok, if this sounds like a stupid question, sorry... I'm new to this.

    we have drawn a urban growth boundary around a township, is there a way to completely stop people from developing outside this boundary except merely discouraging them by saying, we'll not extend municpal services? What measures do planners have in the real world?

    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    I think the theory is that a long range plan would indicate extremely low density for particular tracts of land where they want to discourage development and your governing body would have the stones to enforce it. Both of those two things are unfortunately rare.

    I know some municipalities do some stuff with ETJ (extra-territorial jursidiciton), but I have zero experience with it. Maybe someone else could expound on how useful it might be.
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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    One way to completely stop development would be to amend your policy documents (ie plans) to create a desigantion where nothing is allowed then amend the implementing docs (zoning, land division, building) to create a set of zones that don't permit much in them (agriculture/Planned Development/Hazard/Environmental Protection).

    The extension of services would be dictated in the Plan and budgets empowered by the Plan.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    We need a little more info. Is there another jusidiction involved? If so, an intergovernmental agreement of some sort is needed. Also state regs vary so be careful there.
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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I work in a city with legendary growth management polices. It was one of the first cities to draw "a line in the sand," and then follow up by buying land surrounding the city. Some would delude themselves into thinking it was a complete success. No doubt, it has resulted in a much better city than we would have otherwise had. At the same time, though, it has forced growth outward. The surrounding communities (like the one in which I live) are much more affordable and have mostly chosen to embrace growth. Now we are facing problems of high costs forcing businesses away, workers unable to afford to live here, and retail shifting to other communities. From a growth management perspective, this shows that a single community acting unilaterally cannot stop the problem. We are simply an island amid the sprawl.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by Breed
    I know some municipalities do some stuff with ETJ (extra-territorial jursidiciton), but I have zero experience with it. Maybe someone else could expound on how useful it might be.
    Most state enabling legislation permits ETJs in recognition that they are likely targets for annexation. These areas are contiguous, usually enjoy some municipal services such as sanitary sewer, and are unincorporated. The theory is that they should be subject to the same zoning regulations as the municipality so that when they are annexed, the municipality does not have an undue burden fixing infrastructure that might not have been required by a less-stringent county zoning ordinance. I suppose it is possible to plan and zone in those areas to discourage development and therefore growth, but that has not been my experience.

    Off-topic:
    Is all growth sprawl? Just because a city is growing, is it sprawling?
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I'm a believer in not subsidizing infrastructure, personally. If a developer has to pay a significant portion of the cost to extend water/sewer/electric over the development, then eat some of the costs of the maintenance, it adds a pretty big bite to lower density. It adds a price tag to open space. The hope is to get a situaton where a developer sees a plan for large lot ranches and in spite of the land itself being cheap, their immediate reaction on weighing the prices is to cross their legs and whimper. Then there's mandating higher density... that never seems to work like I prefer.

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    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by silentvoice
    ok, if this sounds like a stupid question, sorry... I'm new to this.

    we have drawn a urban growth boundary around a township, is there a way to completely stop people from developing outside this boundary except merely discouraging them by saying, we'll not extend municpal services? What measures do planners have in the real world?

    Thanks for any help
    Stick:
    Don't improve roads leading to outside the urban growth area, don't extend water/sewer utilities; outside the area, zone for agricultural only with no residential uses other than farm residences, tighten up septic tank permit requirements.

    Carrot:
    Offer tax breaks on land used as agricultural, buy development rights.

    I'm somewhat skeptical about drawing a line in the sand but I'm here to learn.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian silentvoice's avatar
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    thx for all your valuable ideas. I will include these in the policy plan

  10. #10
    Member JasonLB's avatar
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    I agree, The developers are the target

  11. #11
    Member
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    Pdr/tdr

    We are also looking into growth boundaries or greenbelts. We're leaning toward a Purchase of Development Rights program. The State has used this for agricultural preservation for years. The County will have to raise money through bonds or some other means to pay land owners to put lifetime non-development easements on their properties. Organizations that have helped develop support for preservation schemes include The Conservation Fund, Trust for Public Land, American Farmland Trust.

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