Using Environmental Ordinances To Slow Development?

Are stream buffers effective or is Fairfax County, VA, using environmental ordinances to slow development?

June 2, 2003, 7:00 AM PDT

By Abhijeet Chavan @

"The unhappiness of some of the affected landowners highlights the difficulties localities face in protecting environmentally sensitive but privately owned land. Fairfax officials say that the specially designated areas are necessary to preserve the region's water quality and that the new buffers are required by recent revisions to a state law intended to protect Chesapeake Bay tributaries.But building industry representatives say the county's ordinance would go further than the state requires. They note that Fairfax is choosing to start the 100-foot buffer at the edge of a stream's banks, rather than at the high water mark. State law lets localities decide where to start measuring. As a result, some developers question whether the county is using environmental ordinances to slow development."

Thanks to C. P. Zilliacus

Sunday, June 1, 2003 in The Washington Post

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