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Uk/usa

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New Users! I'm a planner from the UK and would like to exchange ideas from the USA/UK. Any takers?
 

Mary

Member
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Nice to have you join us. Just write a post on whatever you want to talk about and I'm sure people will be more than happy to discuss it with you. Welcome to Cyburbia
 

Journeymouse

Cyburbian
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Hello, gwyatt, I'm about to be incredibly nosy...
What does the 'G' stand for? and where in the UK are you (town- or county-wise)?
Other than being nosy, I'm adorable. Honest.
<practices her best 'innocent' look - with a little halo and everything>

Nice to meet you.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
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17,450
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gwyatt wrote:
New Users! I'm a planner from the UK and would like to exchange ideas from the USA/UK. Any takers?
Yuppers! I'll probably type more later, since I'm off to lunch in a few.

I've always been fascinated by the planning process in the U.K. -- or at least what little do know about it. The planning process iin the United States and Canada is about 95% identical. South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have North America-style zoning, but they may be bundled with "town planning schemes;" the comprehensive plan in North American municipalities is almost always a separate document.

My understanding of UK planning is that there is a town plan, much like the US. However, unlike the US, it's not implemented through zoning, subdivision regulations and so on. Instead, planning cases are presented to a body or commission, which uses the town plan as the basis for their decision making. Although this seems to permit an arbitrary decision-making process, at least by US standards, UK councils don't have to worry about such matters as "constitutionality." There's also a variety of appeals boards, on the regional and national level. I think ... at least, that's the impression I've gotten from UK council Web sites.

I'm curious about the little things in the built environment that might not be covered by a broad town plan -- elements such as signage, lighting, garage setbacks from property lines, and so on. How are those dictated? Would a UK council have sign regulations, or would any request to build a sign go before a planning body?

The other thing I'm very curious about is the built environment in suburbia. We Yanks have this idealized image of UK suburbia as being filled with quaint brick side-by-side duplexes, with fenced gardens and small garages where the Vectra is stored at night. The house is a few minutes away from a pleasant High Street filled with chemists shops, booksellers and pubs. Walk a few more feet, and you can hop a British Rail train that will take you anywhere you want to go on the island.

There's few images of the suburban built environment in Europe online, at least compared to examples showing the worst of North American suburbia. I have seen some photographs of suburban development in France, though, and if it wasn't for the language on the signs, the images are almost indistingushable from those of working class 1970s era suburbs in the U.S. -- only France has a lot more billboards. What does "out of town" development in the UK look like? Any examples online? Are councils working to improve the form of such areas?
 
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The G stands for Graham. I'm in Andover, Hants but work for West Berks. Does the US have an equivalent of the Royal Town Planning Institute?
 
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The RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute ) have a very strict criteria for membership. This requires an accredited degree and a post-graduate diploma. Once this has been obtained relevant experience is required. This could take up to 6 years before one could become chartered. Does the APA have such a rigorous educational and experience requirements?
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
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gwyatt wrote:
The RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute ) have a very strict criteria for membership. This requires an accredited degree and a post-graduate diploma. Once this has been obtained relevant experience is required. This could take up to 6 years before one could become chartered. Does the APA have such a rigorous educational and experience requirements?
APA...no.

Byt the American Institute of Certified Planners (the professional certification arm of APA) does.

Visit www.planning.org for more info.

Welcome aboard!
 
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Re: Re: Uk/usa

Dan Tasman wrote:
I've always been fascinated by the planning process in the U.K.
?
You're not far from the truth, only British Rail doesn't exist anymore. The UK government (in its infinite wisdom) decide to sell off the railways (and then buy them back, well part of it) and it doesn't quite reach all four corners of the island anymore.The Vectras (lol) are pretty much standard company cars and are indeed parked in garages at night. I will write more in detail about the UK planning system and give links to UK websites, but Junkyard Wars is about to begin! Thanks for the interest. Enjoy your lunch.
 
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mike gurnee wrote:
Welcome aboard. What has been your biggest dilemma this past week?
The finer points of a legal agreement requiring a financial contribution in lieu of on site public open space for a residential development of approx 20 houses.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,450
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54
gwyatt wrote:
The finer points of a legal agreement requiring a financial contribution in lieu of on site public open space for a residential development of approx 20 houses.
I've seen the provision of open space addressed in US zoning through several methods. Here's what I'm most familiar with.

1) If a project is fairly large, the developer has to provide space for schools, parks, and so on. For small projects, where the dedication of land for a good-sized park or school would be impractical, the developer has to pay an "in lieu fee" or "open space impact fee," based on the number of housing units. The hard part is determining a basis for what the impact fee will be; once it's established, it has to be applied uniformly.

The risk of making a developer provide open space is that all too often, the area that makes ideal parkland is also the most valuable from the developer's perspective. I work for a municipality that sits between two lakes. Developers would rather put large houses on the lakefront lots, instead of dedicating the land for parks. In such cases, the comprehensive plan should have a policy statement encouraging lakefront parks; not providing any would be grounds for recommending denial of a development request.

What if a community is approaching buildout, all the parks are in place, and the only developable land are small infill parcels where parks are impractical, and greenswards would provide no real benefit? The in-lieu or impact fee would be the ideal way of making the developer pay for their fair share of parkland; the fee would be applied towards upgrading existing parks -- planting trees, or building a pool. (Impact fees usually can't be used for maintenance; they have to be used for new facilities. Planting new trees or building a pool = OK; replacing dead turf or repairing an existing pool = not OK.)

2) Cluster zoning. Let's say we have a part of town that is zoned R-1, which permits two dwelling units per heactare. A developer owns 100 heactares of R-1 zoned land. The developer could build about 150 housing units (the remaining land going for streets, drainage, and so on), and "max out" the property. Under cluster zoning, the developer would be allowed to build more units on smaller lots -- enough to allow the developer to earn the same profit as if they were "maxing out" the property (i.e. 150 1/2 hectare lots versus 200 1/4 acre lots), with the remainder of the land to be dedicated for open space, or placed in a "conservation easement" or "agricultural preservation easement."



 
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