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Appalachia Creates a 'Suitability Map' to Entice Responsible Development

A key idea of western North Carolina's Mountain Landscapes Initiative is to create a map of land already in conservation, layered with land that should be preserved, so that developers, builders, and residents together can plan responsibly.

"In the mountains of western North Carolina, planning isn't all that popular. Three of the Tar Heel State's seven westernmost counties have no subdivision regulations, and when planning is proposed, some longtime residents deride it as 'socialism.'

But development, especially of second homes, has run strong in the region in the last several years, causing a growing number of people to argue that construction should be guided by some kind of community vision.

Thus was born the Mountain Landscapes Initiative, an attempt to get an independent-minded, largely rural region to take action before too many ridgelines are built upon and too many streams polluted."

Full Story: Finding the right tools for Appalachian planning

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