I know some of you are fortunate enough to work for forward thinking towns and cities but I think I express the frustrations of most local planners with the rant that follows...
Let's face it- local governments can't say no to development. Despite adverse environmental impacts, questionable site designs, and limited public services to support new growth the local planning counter is nothing more than a rubber stamp. Runaway development has gotten so bad in some places (ahem-Florida-ahem) that the state has had to step in with growth management rules making municipalities prove in comp. plans that there is enough water, roads, and schools for new development.
Of course, none of this matters at City Hall. Here the fantasy continues that growth will pay for itself. Those regional impacts? Well, they're just all in the imagination of that wacko Regional Planning Agency, and surely for someone else to worry about down the road at least. Growth management statutes? Just red tape that applicants hire a bunch of lawyers and shady planning consultants to get around with all sorts of "planning" studies.
So why can't municipalities simply say no? What have our local governments capitulated to developers over other interests? Can this be explained by unique politics and/or power dynamics at work? I'm curious to hear what the throbbing brain thinks.