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Policy and Conservation Tools: Tools 101 Jesse J. Richardson, Jr. Associate Professor Urban Affairs & Planning Virginia Tech Lands for Tomorrow.

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Presentation on theme: "Policy and Conservation Tools: Tools 101 Jesse J. Richardson, Jr. Associate Professor Urban Affairs & Planning Virginia Tech Lands for Tomorrow."— Presentation transcript:

1 Policy and Conservation Tools: Tools 101 Jesse J. Richardson, Jr. Associate Professor Urban Affairs & Planning Virginia Tech Lands for Tomorrow Farmville, VA June 29, 2011

2 Overview Pillars of Smart Growth Tools that Discourage Development on Resource Lands Tools that Encourage Development in Appropriate Areas/Do both/Designing Development But, arent rural areas different? Conclusions

3 Two Pillars of Smart Growth Discourage development on resource lands Encourage development in appropriate areas (the next country over is the wrong answer)

4 Pragmatic Balance Needed Without a balance, land conservation makes unavailable land that might otherwise have been suitable for new development, often driving up the cost of remaining raw land close to or inside existing communities Development leapfrogs protected lands to develop in formerly rural areas even farther from existing communities

5 Without a Pragmatic Balance, Land Conservation: Fragments remaining rural areas Degrades more watersheds Requires more taxpayer expenditures on roads, schools and other infrastructure Creates more long distance driving with attendant problems with traffic congestion and air emissions Knapp, Gerrit-Jan and John Frece, Smart Growth in Maryland: Looking Forward and Looking Back, 43 Idaho Law Review 445 (2007).

6 Tools That Discourage Development on Resource Lands Use-Value Assessment Agricultural and Forestal Districts Purchase of Development Rights/Conservation Easements Right to farm/forest

7 Use-Value Assessment Local option For real estate tax purposes, assess land at its value in present use v. highest and best use 4 categories: open space, agricultural, forestal, horticultural Rollback tax Landowners say important (for profitability) but studies show it delays, does not prevent, development

8 Agricultural and Forestal Districts Local option One or more landowners can form- voluntary 200 acre core required; noncontiguous parcels within 1 mile of core allowed 4-10 year agreements- landowner agrees not to develop; gets use-value assessment, right to farm, procedural protections against eminent domain Withdrawal can be problematic Interaction with conservation easements

9 Purchase of Development Rights/Conservation Easements Generally perpetual, but code provides for term easements (at least 5 years) Federal and state income tax, estate tax benefits for perpetual easements Virginia requires that easements conform with comprehensive plan, but do they? Forever is a mighty long time Do not stop development, just moves it around- can be positive or negative

10 Right to Practice Forestry Local ordinances: may not prohibit or unreasonably limit silvicultural activity, may not impose a permit or fee requirement to engage in such activity must be "reasonable and necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare" of the localities' residents, and may not "conflict with the purposes of promoting the growth, continuation and beneficial use of the Commonwealth's privately owned forest resources."

11 Accommodation and Design of Development Cluster development Transfer of Development Rights Planned Unit Developments Urban Development Areas Incentive Zoning Impact fees

12 Cluster Development Group homes on one part of parcel Remainder of parcel in open space- maybe agriculture? High growth counties must adopt cluster ordinance applicable to a minimum of 40% of the unimproved land contained in residential and agricultural zoning district classifications Virginia Code Ann. Section 15.2-2286.1

13 Transfer of Development Rights Program Receiving area Sending area Creating a market in development rights Enabled in Virginia effective July 1, 2006 Very complex No proffers- of right zoning Frederick County, VA

14 Planned Unit Development Unified site design for a variety of housing types and densities Clustering of buildings Common open space Mix of building types and land uses in which project planning and density calculation are performed for the entire development rather than on an individual lot basis

15 Urban Development Areas Land use and infrastructure coordination New requirements mandating urban development areas in the comprehensive plan certain circumstances

16 Urban Development Areas in Virginia Certain high growth cities, counties and towns must include UDAs in their comprehensive plan If population is less than 130,000: Residential development at minimum density of 4 SFR, 6 townhouses or 12 apartments/acre If population is 130,000 or more: 8/12/24

17 Urban Development Areas in Virginia Must be able to accommodate 10-20 years of projected growth Encourage development in UDAs Virginia Code Ann. Section 15.2-2223.1

18 Incentive Zoning Density Incentives Increasing densities in exchange for concessions from developers

19 Impact Fees Charge on new development to pay for the construction or expansion of off-site capital improvements that are necessitated by and benefit the new development Equity issues Politically popular Facilitate development and increase demand for housing - better infrastructure - lower taxes

20 Arent Rural Areas Different? We attempt to direct development to urban development areas, etc. However, demand for housing in rural areas will remain Must accommodate that demand in a rural friendly fashion Must prioritize land to protect, land to develop Use the tools we have discussed

21 What is the goal? NIMBY solutions will not work Land conservation is not enough and may hurt Must shape the form and location of development Target the benefits Semantics matter Conclusions

22 The Day Before Armageddon…

23 Regardless of how many conservation easements we have or how much downzoning we do…

24 There will be the same number of people, occupying the same amount of land…

25 And the same amount of open space…

26 We are just determining the spatial arrangement of growth and open space…

27 Are we making the right choices?

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