Local Land Use Control Over Critical Areas

by Charles Thurow, Research Assoc.; American Society of Planning Officials, Chicago, Ill.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 9, Pg. 73-76

Document Type: Feature article


Some people advocate land-use plans that ban development in environmentally critical areas. But courts are overturning such regulations because they take land without compensation. Better are controls that balance environmental preservation and land owners' concerns. To help local planners, the American Society of Planning Officials has prepared a land-use manual for local officials. The manual says that, rather than prohibit development, more reasonable ordinances allow developers, if they preserve trees or wetlands, to build more densely on other lands. In the case of an aquifer recharge area, rather than specifying which land may be built on and which not, some ordinances require merely that a given recharge capability be maintained.

Subject Headings: Land use | Legal affairs | Trees | Wetlands (fresh water) | Case studies | Aquifers

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