Development And Zoning From A Farmer's Perspective

Judith LaBelle explains the mistakes communities make about farmland preservation when creating development plans.
September 20, 2004, 5am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"...There are many ways in which local policy impacts farm viability. There are many local policies and regulations that undermine a farmer's ability to succeed, for example, by making it difficult to diversify or to engage in direct marketing. And there are many local regulatory approaches and real property tax programs that can affirmatively encourage those farmers to remain in farming."

For example: "When communities realize that one acre residential zoning is encouraging the loss of farmland, they generally require either 'large lot' zoning or 'cluster' development, neither of which helps farmers stay in production. In part this is because development is allowed to 'leapfrog' across the landscape, creating a patchwork of developments and farms that become uneasy neighbors.

The requirement of large lots – 3, 5 or even 10 acres – just leads to more rapid spread of residential development as more land is used for each house. So some communities now require 'cluster' development in which houses are grouped on small lots and some percentage of the land remains 'open.' To encourage clustering, many communities even provide a bonus, allowing additional units."

Thanks to The Practice of New Urbanism Listserv

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Published on Friday, September 10, 2004 in The New Farm
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