Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook

Chapter 7 (part 5): Local Planning

7-210 Natural Hazards Element [Opt-Out Provision Applies]

(1) A natural hazards element shall be included in the local comprehensive plan, except as provided in Section [7-202(5)] above.

(2) The purposes of the natural hazards element are to:

(a) document the physical characteristics, magnitude, severity, frequency, causative factors, and geographic extent of all natural hazards, from whatever cause, within or potentially affecting the community, including, but not limited to, flooding, [seismicity, wildfires, wind-related hazards such as tornadoes, coastal storms, winter storms, and hurricanes, and landslides or subsidence resulting from the instability of geological features];

— Obviously, the presence and prevalence of specific natural hazards varies widely not only among states, but even within states at both regional and local levels. This section lists all major categories while allowing states to use only those that apply, although it is clearly better to list in the statute any hazards that may apply somewhere in the state. Flooding, however, is a universally applicable concern. It should be noted that "natural" hazards include hazards caused or exacerbated by human action, such as forest fires sparked by campfires and ground subsidence caused by old mines.

(b) identify those elements of the built and natural environment and, as a result, human lives, that are at risk from the identified natural hazards, as well as the extent of existing and future vulnerability that may result from current zoning and development policies;

(c) determine the adequacy of existing transportation facilities and public buildings to accommodate disaster response and early recovery needs such as evacuation and emergency shelter;

(d) develop technically feasible and cost-effective measures for mitigation of the identified hazards based on the public determination of the level of acceptable risk;

(e) identify approaches and tools for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction that incorporate future risk reduction; and

(f) identify the resources needed for effective ongoing hazard mitigation and for implementing the plan for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

(3) The natural hazards element shall be in both map and textual form. Maps shall be at a suitable scale consistent with the existing land-use map or map series described in Section 7-204 (6)(a) above.

(4) In preparing the natural hazards element, the local planning agency shall undertake supporting studies that are relevant to the topical areas included in the element. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency may use studies conducted by others. The supporting studies may concern, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(a) maps of all natural hazard areas, accompanied by an account of past disaster events, including descriptions of the events, damage estimates, probabilities of occurrence, causes of damage, and subsequent rebuilding efforts;

— With regard to flooding and coastal storm surge zones, the local jurisdiction may simply incorporate the existing National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) maps and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/National Weather Service storm surge maps. State and U.S. Geological Survey maps should provide at least a starting point for areas with seismic hazards. Portland Metro, in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), has undertaken an effort funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to complete seismic hazard mapping of the entire Portland region using geographic information systems (GIS).[228] The department is also mapping tsunami hazard areas along the Oregon coast as a FEMA-funded sequel to the first such project, completed in early 1995 in Eureka, California.[229] In states with volcanoes, the mapping should include lava, pyroclastic, and debris flows and projected patterns of ash fallout in the surrounding region, including the potential for flooding from the blockage of rivers. Other sources for potential problems include the National Weather Service for storm and wind patterns and some innovative new GIS techniques in Colorado for mapping wildfire hazards.[230]

(b) an assessment of those elements of the built and natural environments (including buildings and infrastructure) that are at risk within the natural hazard areas identified in subparagraph (a) above as well as the extent of future vulnerability that may result from current land development regulations and practices within the local government's jurisdiction;

— The study in subparagraph (4)(b) is also known among disaster officials and experts as a "vulnerability assessment" and serves two purposes: (1) to identify vulnerable structures and; (2) to determine the cause and extent of their vulnerability. For example, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services has outlined procedures used by various communities for inventorying seismic hazards.[231] The subparagraph emphasizes the importance of including the impact of natural hazards in a buildout analysis in order to assess the potential consequences of current laws and policies, including those pertaining to the extension of public infrastructure in hazard-prone areas.

This requirement can be tailored to the actual hazards a state may be dealing with, as California and Nevada have done with seismic safety. One striking example is a 1979 Los Angeles ordinance that mandated both an inventory and a retrofitting program that over time has upgraded the seismic stability of the city's housing stock. The format for this with regard to flood hazard areas is already reasonably clear as a result of NFIP regulations, which include requirements for elevating substantially damaged or improved buildings above the base flood elevation. Analysis of wind-related problems is more likely to result in building code changes to strengthen wind resistance, as in southern Florida.

(c) state or other local mitigation strategies which identify activities to reduce the effects of natural hazards;

(d) an inventory of emergency public shelters, an assessment of their functional and locational adequacy, and an identification of the remedial action needed to overcome any deficiencies in the functions and locations of the shelters;

(e) an identification of all evacuation routes and systems for the populations of hazard-prone areas that might reasonably be expected to be evacuated in the event of an emergency and an analysis of their traffic capacity and accessibility;

— This study is a good place to marry the expertise of planners (including transportation planners) and emergency managers. While the latter can identify the resources and the needs in this area, the former can help integrate that knowledge into routine planning for hazard-prone areas. Lee County, Florida, has used such studies to evaluate its shelter availability for disaster purposes. Because of limited access to its offshore location, Sanibel, Florida, has gone even further in using evacuation and shelter capacity as the basis for growth caps.

An interesting example of a natural hazards element component dealing with these issues appears in Florida Stats. 163.3178 (2)(d), which requires a "component which outlines principles for hazard mitigation and protection of human life against the effects of natural disaster, including population evacuation, which take into consideration the capability to safely evacuate the density of coastal population proposed in the future land use plan element in the event of an impending natural disaster."

(f) analyses of the location of special populations that need assistance in evacuation and in obtaining shelter;

(g) an inventory of the technical, administrative, legal, and financial resources available or potentially available to assist both ongoing mitigation efforts as well as post-disaster recovery and reconstruction;[232] and

— Jurisdictions across the country have experimented with a number of means of facilitating and empowering efforts to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards. Some of these involve the use of performance and design standards that give planners and planning commissions greater authority to insist that new development meet strict standards of hazard mitigation. For example, Wake County, North Carolina, requires that, in drainage areas of 100 acres or more, the applicant must show that any rise in water level resulting from building on the property can be contained on that property, with the applicant's only alternative being to secure easements from neighboring property owners to allow for that rise. Portola Valley, California, is a good example of seismic and hillside hazard mitigation in its use of cluster zoning for new subdivisions in certain areas.[233] Jurisdictions also have experimented with means of financing such efforts. A clear starting point is to center somewhere in local government a periodically updated repository of information about outside funding sources both from government and the private sector, including voluntary resources from nonprofit organizations. The advantage is that the community can then, in the event of a disaster, tap these resources expeditiously, preferably with the added advantage of an already developed plan for reconstruction. In addition, this study will serve to highlight funding mechanisms through local government, such as the All Hazards Protection District and Fund created by Lee County, Florida, in 1990 to support local hazard mitigation programs.[234] That fund depends on a property tax levy; in 1993, Lee County also considered, but did not pass, a proposal for an impact fee targeted at hazard-prone areas to fund emergency public shelters.

(h) a study of the most feasible and effective alternatives for organizing, in advance of potential natural disasters, the management of the process of post-disaster long-term recovery and reconstruction.

— Numerous studies have examined at some length the potentials and pitfalls of various structural arrangements for organizing interagency, interdisciplinary task forces to oversee the process of long-term recovery and reconstruction following a disaster. A forthcoming (1998) APA Planning Advisory Service Report, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, deals with this issue and provides an extensive bibliography. Such plans have also been developed in Los Angeles;[235] Nags Head, North Carolina; and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, among other jurisdictions, and are mandated for coastal communities in Florida and North Carolina. Two overriding principles seem to emerge from such efforts to date: (1) that successful implementation depends heavily on support from top local officials, whether that be the mayor or city manager; and (2) that a recovery task force should include representatives of all major agencies potentially involved in the reconstruction effort, specifically including but not limited to safety and emergency management forces, planning, building inspectors, public works, and transportation. It is vitally important in the aftermath of a disaster that all these agencies know not only what the others are doing, but who should report to whom for what purposes.

(5) The natural hazards element shall consist of:

(a) a statement, with supporting analysis, of the goals, policies, and guidelines of the local government to address natural hazards and to take action to mitigate their effects. The statement shall describe the physical characteristics, magnitude, severity, probability, frequency, causative factors, and geographic extent of all natural hazards affecting the local government as well as the elements of the built and natural environment within the local government's jurisdiction that are at risk;

(b) a determination of linkages between any natural hazards areas identified pursuant to subparagraph (a) above and any other elements of the local comprehensive plan;

(c) a determination of any conflicts between any natural hazards areas and any future land-use pattern or public improvement or capital project proposed in any element of the local comprehensive plan;

(d) priorities of actions for eliminating or minimizing inappropriate and unsafe development in identified natural hazard zones when opportunities arise, including the identification and prioritization of properties deemed appropriate for acquisition, or structures and buildings deened suitable for elevation, retrofitting, or relocation;

— This language is drawn from Florida Stats. 163.3178 (2), which outlines the components of the coastal management element required of all communities within coastal counties, and (8). Subdivision (2)(f) states that a redevelopment component "shall be used to eliminate inappropriate and unsafe development in the coastal areas when opportunities arise" (emphasis added). Paragraph (8) requires that each county ""stablish a county-based process for identifying and prioritizing coastal properties so they maybe acquired as part of the state's land acquisition programs." The language has been combined and adapted here in part because it is also possible for the community itself to use state and federal funds to acquire, for example, substantially damaged floodplain properties and to relocate their residents. Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Arnold, Missouri, provide excellent examples of this strategy, in large part because they developed ongoing acquisition programs that were already in place before in the predisaster period. (A case study appears in the forthcoming PAS Report, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction.) This is, in effect, an "issues and opportunities" component of the natural hazards element.

(e) multiyear financing plan for implementing identified mitigation measures to reduce the vulnerability of buildings, infrastructure, and people to natural hazards that may be incorporated into the local goverments operating or capital budget and capital improvement program;

(f) a plan for managing post-disaster recovery and reconstruction. Such a plan shall provide descriptions that include, but are not limited to, lines of authority, interagency and intergovernmental coordination measures, processes for expedited review, permitting, and inspection of repair and reconstruction of buildings and structures damaged by natural disasters. Reconstruction policies in this plan shall be congruent with mitigation policies in this element and in other elements of the local comprehensive plan as well as the legal, procedural, administrative, and operational components of post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

(6) The natural hazards element shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section [7-211] below. These actions may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) amendments or modifications to building codes and land development regulations and floodplain management and/or other special hazard ordinances, including but not limited to natural hazard area overlay districts pursuant to Section [9-101], and development of incentives, in order to reduce or eliminate vulnerability of new and existing buildings, structures, and uses to natural hazards;

(b) implementation of any related mitigation policies and actions that are identified in other elements of the local comprehensive plan;

(c) other capital projects that are intended to reduce or eliminate the risk to the public of natural hazards;

(d) implementation of provisions to carry out policies affecting post-disaster recovery and reconstruction as described in subparagraph (5)(f) above, such as procedures for the inspection of buildings and structures damaged by a natural disaster to determine their habitability as well as procedures for the demolition of buildings and structures posing an imminent danger to public health and safety; and

(e) implementation of provisions to ensure that policies contained in other portions of the local comprehensive plan do not compromise the ability to provide essential emergency response and recovery facilities as described in the local emergency operations program, such as:

1. adequate evacuation transportation facilities;

2. emergency shelter facilities; and

3. provisions for continued operations of public utilities and telecommunications services.


Commentary: Program of Implementation

The concept of a program of implementation as part of the comprehensive plan is drawn from the American Law Institute's Model Land Development Code.[236] The intention of the program is to ensure that each element, whether required or optional, is translated into a series of actions that are designed to be accomplished over the planning horizon. By detailing their costs and consequences, the implementation program should give meaning to the goals and objectives of the local comprehensive plan.

Section 7-211 below is a general description of the program of implementation. In the ALI Code, the program was to be short-term, from one to five years, in the belief that such a time frame was more realistic and that action was more likely to flow from the plan's adoption by the governing body. By contrast, the time frame in Section 7-211 may extend up to 20 years (but also includes short-term actions). A longer-range perspective is especially important in the design and construction of public improvements, particularly those that have federal funding (and require extensive environmental reviews), which may go well beyond a five-year schedule.

The model also calls for the inclusion of benchmarks and procedures to monitor the effectuation of the plan. In addition to the language below, the model language for optional or required elements elsewhere in this Chapter may also contain a description of pertinent alternative measures to give the user of the statutes a sense of what might be appropriate to consider in formulating a program of implementation for that element.


7-211 Program of Implementation

(1) In order to achieve the goals, policies, and guidelines established in a local comprehensive plan, the plan shall contain a long-range program of implementation of specific public actions as well as actions proposed by non-profit and for-profit organizations to be taken in connection with required or optional elements, except for the issues and opportunities element described in Section [7-203].

(2) For each required or optional element, the program of implementation shall, as applicable, also include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(a) a time frame for identified actions (e.g., the sequence in which such actions should occur), which time frame shall cover a period not less than [5] and not more than [20] years, which time horizon may vary by required or optional element;

(b) an allocation of responsibilities for actions among the various governmental agencies and, where applicable, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations operating in the planning area and having interests in carrying out the program;

(c) a schedule of proposed capital improvements that includes a description of the proposed improvement, an identification of the governmental unit to be responsible for the improvement, the year(s) the improvement is proposed for construction or installation, an estimate of costs, and sources of public and private revenue available or potentially available for covering such costs. Such schedule shall form the basis for any local capital budget and local capital improvement program prepared pursuant to Section [7-502] below;

(d) benchmarks as described in Section [7-504] below;

(e) a general description of any land development regulations or incentives that may be adopted by the local government within the period of the program of implementation in order to achieve the goals, policies, and guidelines set forth in the local comprehensive plan and that may be further detailed in the individual plan elements; and

(f) a description of other procedures and programs that the local government may use in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the plan, such as monitoring the supply, price, and demand for buildable land.

(3) The program of implementation may also include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(a) proposed development criteria to be incorporated into any land development regulations or subplans;

(b) a statement describing proposed programs of public services (such as housing code enforcement, housing rehabilitation, policing, or public recreational activities) or changes in existing programs of public service that includes estimates of costs of personnel, equipment, supplies, and related matters;

(c) a statement of measures describing the ways in which state, regional, and/or local programs may best be coordinated to promote the goals and policies of the local comprehensive plan;

(d) a statement of recommendations and actions proposed by not-for-profit and for-profit organizations that would carry out the goals, policies, and guidelines set forth in the local comprehensive plan;

(e) proposals to adopt or amend a regional planning and coordination agreement to be entered into pursuant to Section [6-402], an urban service agreements be entered into pursuant to Section [6-403], and an implementing agreement to be entered into with other governmental units and nonprofit and for-profit organizations pursuant to Section [7-503]; and

(f) recommendations for further legislation or actions at the state, regional, or local levels that are not included in subparagraph (a) or (e), above as may be necessary to fully implement the local comprehensive plan.

(4) The program of implementation shall be in a uniform format for all required and optional elements.

(5) Specific public actions that are proposed in the long-range program of implementation shall not constitute a commitment by the local government to expend monies in a certain manner or at a certain time, raise taxes, enact or change fees or other charges, or issue bonds or to otherwise enact or change ordinances.

— Paragraph (5) recognizes that public actions that are proposed in the long-range program of implementation may not be carried out or may not be carried in the manner originally contemplated. Governing bodies cannot precisely adhere to such a schedule because of shifting public needs, funding sources, modifications to related laws, etc. For example, a proposal for a road improvement project may be contingent on the availability of federal or state matching funds that may not be available at the time the project is finally ready for construction. Moreover, governing bodies change over time and, as a consequence, so will support for specific types of actions recommended in plans.

Optional Elements


Commentary: Agriculture, Forest, and Scenic Preservation Element

Agricultural and forest lands are a source of food, fiber, and building materials. They contribute to an area's economy and the continuing viability of rural communities. Unique farmlands, such as the cranberry bogs of New Jersey, the vineyards of California's Napa Valley and the citrus regions of the Sunbelt, provide a cornucopia of food varieties in the United States.[237] Due to the scenic amenities they provide as well as the retention of floodwater, these lands may also confer additional benefits as open space and may contribute to the tourism economy as well. Forest land offers habitat for wildlife, and trees purify and filter the air. In addition. forest lands can provide opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other forms of recreation. Because of these characteristics such lands are important land-use activities.

However, as urban development moves outward and property values rise, pressure is placed on owners of agricultural and forest lands to convert them to other, more intensive uses. Moreover, new development, particularly in the form of residential subdivisions, may be incompatible with agricultural activities because of dust, noise, and odor associated with farming and feedlots. As farmers apply pesticides, spread manure, and operate loud machinery, adjacent homeowners complain. Thus, farming operations may become more difficult.[238] Forests, of course, are resources that may take 50 to 100 years (or longer) to mature.

A number of states require local comprehensive plans to contain elements that preserve and protect such uses, although they may sometimes use the term "open space" in describing them.[239] Other states, like Iowa and Minnesota, have enacted agricultural districting statutes that have a planning dimension to them.[240]

Section 7-212 below describes an agriculture, forest, and scenic preservation element that would be an optional part of a local comprehensive plan. While agricultural and forestry uses are also to be identified in the land-use element (see Section 7-204), this element gives these activities a special emphasis and may be appropriate for local governments in rural areas. The primary emphasis of the element is to focus on the value of agriculture and forest lands as a contribution to the local economy. A secondary emphasis is to recognize that such lands (as well as other privately owned undeveloped lands) may have a scenic value as open space or as historic and cultural resources. The Section indicates bracketed language that should be incorporated if this secondary emphasis is to be included (see, e.g., Section 7-212(2)(c), (4)(c), and (6)((b)).

Under this Section, a local government inventories agricultural and forest land as well as other privately owned undeveloped land that may have value as a scenic, historic, or cultural resource. The element requires the local government to identify any conflicts between such lands and any other element of the local comprehensive plan. It calls for the local government to map such areas, prioritize them, and propose a program of action that would preserve and protect such lands as well as promote the continuance of agricultural- and forest-based economies through joint marketing efforts and grant and loan programs, among other initiatives.

The identification of farmland is a key component of this element. Through soil surveys, prime farmlands have been identified throughout the country by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) and represent lands containing soil properties that are highly suitable for agriculture. While soil surveys are useful, another, more focused method for determining suitable agricultural lands is through the use of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Land Evaluation and Site Assessment (LESA) system.[241] LESA is designed to assist local and state governments arrive at objective rankings of the agricultural value of land within the community by gauging many diverse factors. Several states, including California, Hawaii, and Illinois, and a number of local governments have experience with a LESA-based system. LESA and the NRCS research on soils provide extremely useful tools for local governments as they evaluate the relative importance of agricultural properties.

Still, there are numerous active agricultural operations throughout the nation that are not identified by NRCS soil typology, or are not favorably reviewed by LESA, yet they constitute a significant economic resource. For example, many grazing operations occur on land not likely to be included in a LESA survey. The language in Section 7-212(4)(a) and (c) describing the inventories attempts to provide flexibility in identifying such lands.

If the local government incorporates an urban growth area into its comprehensive plan, the requirement of inventorying agricultural and forestry lands within the growth area may be omitted if it is intended that developed land will gradually replace such activities. On the other hand, if it is intended, for example, that forestry and related activities are to be continued within the urban growth area, then the inventory should include such lands.


7-212 Agriculture, Forest [, and Scenic] Preservation Element [242]

(1) An agriculture, forest[, and scenic] preservation element [may or shall] be included in the local comprehensive plan. No local government may undertake a transfer of development rights (TDR) program for agricultural, forest [or scenic] preservation purposes pursuant to Section [9-401], [enact agricultural or forest preservation zoning,] or acquire in fee simple, or less than fee simple, including the purchase of development rights, agricultural, forest[, or scenic] land unless it has first prepared and adopted this element as a part of the local comprehensive plan. However, a local government may accept gifts or donations of land or interests in land, including transferred development rights, for agriculture, forest[, or scenic] preservation purposes without having first prepared and adopted this element.[243] No land may be included in an agricultural district for the purposes of Section [14-401] unless it has first been delineated as agricultural land and prioritized for protection or preservation pursuant to subparagraph (6)(d) below.

— This element may need to be required if urban growth areas are mandated. Not all local governments, however, will need to address the need to preserve agricultural and forest land.

(2) The purposes of an agriculture, forest[, and scenic] preservation element are to:

(a) inventory agricultural, forest[, and scenic] lands within the jurisdiction of the local government;

(b) assess the relative importance of these lands in terms of size, quality, and/or resource significance as well as contribution to the economy of the local government and/or the surrounding region;

[(c) recognize that, in addition to their primary value as contributing to the economy of the local government and/or the surrounding region, agricultural and forest lands also have environmental value and may also have historic, cultural, open space, and scenic values;]

— If it is desired that the element is only to focus on agriculture and forestry as economic activities, even though there are other potential secondary noneconomic benefits that are associated with their preservation, then subparagraph (c) may be omitted.

(d) prioritize such areas containing agricultural, forest[, and scenic] lands in order to take subsequent action to preserve them through acquisition or other means or protect them from incompatible forms of development;

(e) promote and enhance the continuation of agriculture- and forest-based economies; and

[(f) reinforce any urban growth area designated pursuant to Section [6-201.1], as applicable.]

— Subparagraph (f) and related language below should be omitted if the planning statutes do not make reference to designation of urban growth areas.

(3) The agriculture, forest[, and scenic] preservation element shall be in both map and textual form.

(4) In preparing the agriculture, forest [, and scenic] preservation element, the local government shall undertake supporting studies. In undertaking supporting studies, the local government may use studies conducted by others. Maps for any inventories shall be at a suitable scale consistent with the existing land-use map or map series described in Section [7-204(6)(a)] above. The supporting studies may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) an inventory of publicly and privately owned agricultural lands, including such lands subject to conservation easements or other restrictions that ensure that it will remain undeveloped. [Such an inventory shall include lands outside of an urban growth area, if such an area has been designated pursuant to Section [6-201.1], suitable for agricultural use.] Agricultural land contained in the inventory shall include land that:

1 is classified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, as predominantly Class [insert class numbers from soil surveys] soils in [insert regions of the state];

2 consists of other soil classes that are suitable for agricultural use, taking into consideration suitability for grazing; climatic conditions; existing and future availability of water for irrigation; existing land-use patterns; technological and energy inputs required; and accepted farming practices;

3. contains uses related to and in support of agricultural, including dwellings related to agriculture.

4. provides a buffer of sufficient distance between adjoining and nearby land on which farm practices are undertaken and other nonagricultural land that might be adversely affected by such farm practices.

(b) an inventory of publicly and privately owned forest lands, including such lands subject to conservation easements or other restrictions that ensure that it will remain undeveloped. [Such an inventory shall include lands suitable for forestry outside of an urban growth area, if such an area has been designated pursuant to Section [6-201.1].] Such an inventory may include, but shall not be limited to:

1. land used for forest operations;

2. uses related to and in support of forest operations;

3. uses to conserve soil and water quality, and to provide for fish and wildlife resources, agriculture, and recreational opportunities appropriate in a forest environment; and/or

4. dwellings related to forestry management.

[(c) an inventory of any publicly and privately owned undeveloped land not included in subparagraphs (a) and (b) above that is:

1. subject to conservation easements or other restrictions that ensure that it will remain undeveloped; and/or

2. particularly characterized by scenic views or vistas or has, in its undeveloped state, historical or cultural significance.]

— Identification of lands that are neither agricultural nor forest may nevertheless warrant identification and protection as part of the local comprehensive plan effort. Identification of these "other" open spaces will vary dependent upon the setting. Urban communities will likely consider smaller parcels of greater significance than rural cities or towns, although this is only a generalization. At issue is the identification of tracts of open, undeveloped or "under-developed" land that has scenic, historic, or cultural value, regardless of parcel size.

It is important to identify the ownership of open spaces, regardless of whether the land is categorized as agriculture, forest, or "open space." Publicly held land may be contrasted with land held in private ownership (and thus subject to development). Another category, and one requiring more research by the local planning agency, are those lands subject to conservation restrictions, easements, or other restrictions permanently or for a fixed period of time. By identifying ownership and/or restriction status of agriculture, forest or open space lands, the local government can more accurately shape the action element of the local comprehensive plan. For example, a large tract of undeveloped forest in private ownership on the edge of an urbanizing area is unlikely to remain undeveloped in perpetuity absent some action by the local government or other entities. The local government can then decide upon appropriate action to acquire the land or obtain conservation easements.

As noted above in the discussion of Section 7-212(1)(c), which addressed the element's purposes, if it is desired that the element only focus on agriculture and forestry as economic activities, then subparagraph (c) may be omitted. The local government may instead elect to address such open space issues through the parks and recreation component of a community facilities element.

(d) an assessment of the relative priority of importance of lands inventoried in subparagraphs (a) to [(b) or (c)] above. In undertaking this assessment, the local planning agency may develop its own prioritization system or use systems developed by other governmental units, including any developed by state agencies and the federal government;

— Assessing the relative importance of agricultural and forest resources is a difficult but important task. It is difficult because it requires a subjective ranking of one resource's value over another. The relative ranking is important as it allows local governments to focus on priority protection areas. For example, a community that has a strong agricultural industry may wish to prioritize for protection lands used for and in support of agriculture in lieu of lands more generally defined as "forest" or "open space." Use of the LESA system described above should provide helpful guidance.

(e) an analysis of employment, economic, and land-use trends over at least the previous [10] years for which data are available in agriculture and forestry within the local government, especially in relation to the surrounding region and to the state. Such an analysis may include, but shall not be limited to, changes in employment, value-added, type of agriculture and forestry, technology in use, acreage in use, and size of farms and forestry operations. The analysis may also include an assessment of tourism related to agricultural;

(f) an evaluation of the effectiveness of any implementation measures that have been in effect since the adoption of the previous edition, if any, of this element of the local comprehensive plan; and

(g) a determination of any conflicts between agricultural, forest[, and scenic] resources and any future land-use pattern or public improvement proposed in any other element of the local comprehensive plan and identification of measures to mitigate such conflicts.

— This determination should identify and analyze conflicts between a local government's agricultural, forest, and scenic resources and growth and development programs contained in the local comprehensive plan. For example, a community calling for expanded economic development, a new town center, or improved/expanded housing stock should ensure that these goals do not conflict with goals of preserving large tracts of open space or a viable agricultural industry. A conflicts analysis will help the community balance conflicting goals through the determination of possible mitigating measures (e.g., focus development outside of identified agricultural or forest preservation areas) and/or re-evaluate the location chosen for development.

(6) Based on the studies undertaken pursuant to paragraph (5) above, the agriculture, forest [, and scenic] preservation element:

(a) shall contain a statement of the local government's goals, policies, and guidelines with respect to the preservation and protection of agricultural and forest lands and promotion of agricultural- and forest-based economies; [and]

[(b) may contain a statement of the local government's goals, policies, and guidelines with respect to undeveloped land that is:

1. subject to conservation easements or other restrictions that ensure that it will remain undeveloped; and/or

2. particularly characterized by scenic views or vistas, or that has, in its undeveloped state, historical or cultural significance.]

(c) shall contain a plan map or map series that is at the same scale as the map or map series employed for the land-use element pursuant to Section [7-204(6)(c)] that delineates land described in subparagraphs (a) [and (b)], above, and that depicts priorities for protecting such lands. [To the extent possible, such lands shall be in a contiguous pattern that reinforces the urban growth area, if such area has been designated pursuant to Section [6-201.1].]

(7) The agriculture, forest[, and scenic] preservation element shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section [7-211] above. These actions may include, but should not be limited to, proposals for:

(a) the acquisition of identified agricultural, forest [and/or other privately owned, undeveloped land] in fee simple or less than fee simple, including the purchase of development rights, by the state or local government or by nonprofit conservation organizations;

— Acquisition of a land parcel in fee simple refers to the acquisition of all the rights associated with that parcel; purchase of the owner's entire ownership and rights to the land. Government's purchase of the fee provides the highest level of protection for the land, assuming that the acquiring agency subsequently places appropriate restrictions against development on the land. Purchase of land in "less than fee simple" refers to purchase of some of the rights incident to land ownership. For example, a government or nonprofit conservation organization could purchase a farmer's development rights on her land, thus restricting the land's development potential. Similarly, a government or conservation organization could purchase a walkway or bikepath easement through a private forest. Purchase of less than fee rights in land, by virtue of the fact that all the rights are not being acquired, is generally far less expensive than purchase of the entire fee interest in private property. See Section 9-402, Purchase of Development Rights, and Section 9-402.1, Conservation Easements.

(b) the use of transfer of development rights;

— Transfer of development rights (TDR) is a technique that allows a landowner to detach development rights from a property, such as farmland, and transfer those rights to a portion of the community designated as capable of absorbing additional development. The tool requires local governments to establish areas slated for preservation (e.g. agricultural or forest resources) as well as areas that are able to receive the transferred rights (e.g., areas that have sufficient infrastructure). A model TDR statute appears in Section 9-401.

(c) the establishment of agriculture or forestry zoning districts;

— Adoption of an agriculture or forestry zoning district requires the identification and adoption of defensible minimum parcel sizes for effective agricultural or forest operations.[244] For example, certain agricultural activities require large contiguous tracts. Zoning could reflect this fact and establish minimum lot sizes coincident with large tract requirements as well as prohibit most non-agricultural activities from locating within the zoning district (e.g., prohibit land uses such as residential housing that are likely to conflict with agricultural operations).

(d) [the use of current use assessment of agricultural and forest land pursuant for property taxation purposes to [cite to applicable state statute]];

— Most states allow the assessment of agricultural and/or forest land values at their "current use", as opposed to the traditional assessment of "highest and best use." Current use valuation allows owners of farming and forestry operations to receive substantial property tax benefits as their lands are assessed and taxed as currently used, not at the speculative or market value of the property. In order to obtain tax relief, the farmer must have a minimum-sized parcel (say 10 acres) and show that the property is actively farmed. Some statutes contain a rollback penalty that requires the payment of the difference between the current use and the highest and best use (plus interest) if the property is converted to nonfarm use. The number of years included in the rollback varies among the states. In addition, several states require that, in order to receive current use valuation, the landowner must enter into a restrictive agreement. In the agreement, the landowner agrees to restrict the use of the land for a specific period of time in exchange for current use valuation or a freeze on the actual amount of property taxes imposed.[245]

(e) the establishment of agricultural districts pursuant to Section [14-401]

— Some 16 states have agricultural districting statutes.[246] Such districts are created voluntarily and are intended to create areas where commercial agriculture is encouraged. For land in such districts, the statutes may give property tax relief in the form of current use assessment or deferred assessments, limitations on assessments to farmland for water, sewage, and drainage (from which the property does not benefit by virtue of its use), exemption from a local nuisance ordinances that would restrict normal farming practices, state level review of eminent domain action within the district, and limitations on the ability of local government to assess farmland in the district for costs of new water and sewer lines extending to nonagricultural uses.[247] Such statutes may be distinguished from current use assessment statutes because they require that lands first be placed in a district before agricultural use assessment may apply.

(f) proposals to promote the agricultural and forest economy of the area through cooperative marketing efforts or through grant or loan programs; and

(g) pursuant to Section [7-503] below, any implementation agreements entered into between the local government and other local governments or other entities to protect agricultural or forest lands or other undeveloped lands that have scenic views or vistas or have historical or cultural significance.


Commentary: Human Services Planning

In the 1960s, local plans increasingly began to reflect concerns for social issues by addressing provision of human services, especially to disadvantaged groups in the community.[248] This area continues to be addressed in a number of contemporary local comprehensive plans. Human services include a broad range of activities that state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector provide to help meet health, welfare, employment, or other basic needs of groups in the community such as the poor, the elderly, youth (especially children), or the disabled. Human services programs may address alcohol and drug abuse, crisis management, day care, teenage pregnancy, family violence, nutrition, job training, mental and physical health (including infant, child, and adolescent health programs), consumer protection, and tenant rights, and include a variety of counseling services.[249]

The human services elements or policies of these plans typically define the local government's role in the delivery of human services among a diverse group of providers. These roles can be summarized as follows:

(1) Provider — the local government directly provides the service itself.

(2) Regulator — the local government oversees and regulates other agencies who directly provide services.

(3) Funder — the local government uses its own funds or funds from federal programs like community development block grants and enters into contracts with service providers. It may excercise performance control over contracts through contract monitoring and evaluation.

(4) Capacity builder — the local government provides advice, consultation, and technical assistance to build up the planning, management, and coordination capacities of other agencies. For example, it might use its tax or grant funds to assist a local citizens council in mental health planning or to build a network of emergency services.

(5) Facilitator/coordinator — the local government may focus on providing the mechanism by which local service providers, client groups, and others may come together and negotiate goals, policies, programs, and activities.[250]

The nature of the local government's role depends on the capacity of the governmental unit itself, the interests of the community, and the authority of the local government for such activities. Some local governments may operate public health departments, but in other areas these services may be provided by special districts. Counties will tend to have broader authority for human services activities than cities, but this may vary over states and regions.

The health and human services element of the Palm Beach County, Florida, comprehensive plan addresses the role of the county in providing a broad array of services including public health program services (including health education, school, environmental, and mental health); services for people living with AIDS; services for adults, families, children, and the elderly (including abuse and neglect prevention and emergency food and shelter); and support of information and referral services.[251] Assistance in updating the element and coordinating of the element's implementation are the charges of a citizens advisory committee on health and human services created by the county commission.[252] The committee makes program and budget recommendations, identifies annual service and funding priorities, and determines and recommends service outcomes and measurements in the context of the comprehensive plan's policies.[253]

The Howard County, Maryland, General Plan describes the priority citizen needs for the county (e.g., family support, affordable child care, in-home services such as home care and nutrition for the elderly, adult day care, and equal opportunity and consumer services) and describes the county's approach to support such services. These include developing human services needs assessments, establishing multi-service centers throughout the county, and devising a funding distribution system for grants and contracts.[254]

The City of Seattle's Comprehensive Plan contains a "human development element" adopted in November 1995. It describes a series of broad goals and policies that address vulnerable populations, education and employability, health, community safety, and service delivery. Here the the element places the city in a coordinative/facilitator role rather than a direct provider role.[255] A "human services strategic plan" for the City of Tacoma, Washington, establishes strategic priority areas that include a reduction in and prevention of violence and abuse, provision of basic services for food shelter, and clothes, and basic health care. Tacoma will provide funds for these, based on an annual application process by provider agencies. The plan is intended to help the city annually maintain and monitor some 120 separate contracts for human services activities.[256]

The 1990 Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, Comprehensive Plan states that it is the plan's goal "[t]o facilitate, sustain and improve the health, education and well-being of all persons on Nantucket by providing those public and private human services which improve the quality of life for all age groups."[257] The plan proposes the development, for public distribution, of a comprehensive directory of existing human service providers on Nantucket for health and medical services, support services such as emergency shelter and substance abuse, and emergency services. The plan also recommends establishing a formal program of assessment and evaluation of the Island's human services programs.

Section 7-213 below describes an optional human services element of a local comprehensive plan. The model statute is drafted broadly to accommodate the different roles that a local government might define for itself in the human services area. One feature of the model is language that provides for the appointment by the local legislative body of an advisory task force to help formulate the element; this is similar to the approach used in Palm Beach County, described above. Appointing an advisory task force ensures that the human services element draws on the experience and expertise of those in the human services field as well as those who are the direct beneficiaries of the services. The model emphasizes the development of an inventory of human services providers and programs in the community, an assessment of the existing needs being addressed by these providers, and an identification of any gaps in service and future needs. The model also stresses setting benchmarks by which human services programs may be evaluated for funding by the local government as well as other entities. It also emphasizes new human services programs or changes in or the elimination of existing human services programs, as appropriate.


7-213 Human Services Element

(1) A human services element may be included in the local comprehensive plan. The legislative body of the local government may appoint an advisory task force of persons with interest in or expertise in human services to assist the local planning agency and local planning commission, if one exists, in the preparation of this element.[258]

(2) The purposes of the human services element are to:

(a) integrate consideration of human services issues with other planning undertaken by the local government;

(b) coordinate programs of human services providers, whether they are the local government, other government agencies, or nonprofit or for-profit organizations and determine roles, if any, in addition to coordination, that the local government may assume in relation to provision of human services;

(c) identify deficiencies in existing human services programs;

(d) establish benchmarks by which human services programs may be evaluated for funding by the local government as well as other entities; and

(e) propose new human services programs or changes in or the elimination of existing human services programs, as appropriate.

(3) In preparing the human services element, the local planning agency shall undertake supporting studies. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency may use studies conducted by others. The supporting studies may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) descriptions of human service agencies within the jurisdiction of the local government (including the local government itself, if applicable), their programs (including those directed at the support of families and children), and the missions of those programs;

(b) an identification of the groups of people served by human service agencies within the jurisdiction of the local government, their approximate numbers, and those people in groups who have priority for receiving service from the provider, either established by law or by the provider;

(c) projections of changes in the character, composition, or size of those groups anticipated during the term of the human services element;

(d) analyses of expected changes in the services provided by human services agencies within the jurisdiction of the local government due to existing, pending, or potential changes in federal or state laws or regulations or other factors outside of the control of human service agencies;

(e) analyses of the resources of the human service agencies within the jurisdiction of the local government to meet current and future needs, including needs that may currently be unmet or may potentially arise in the future, and an estimate of additional resources that may be necessary to meet those needs;

(f) qualitative assessments and evaluations of existing programs operated by human service agencies within the jurisdiction of the local government; and

(g) relevant studies completed for other elements of the local comprehensive plan, including those that address population and population characteristics (including income), unemployment, and workforce and skill requirements.

(4) The human services element shall consist of a statement of goal, policies, and guidelines for meeting human services needs within the jurisdiction of the local government. The element shall include summaries of supporting studies identified in paragraph (3) above. The element may include:

(a) a statement of what the local government regards as important human services needs for the community;

(b) a statement of the role that the local government will assume with respect to other human services agencies within its jurisdiction; and

(c) an identification of the priorities of the local government in meeting human services needs with its own resources.

(5) The human services element shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation required by Section [7-211] above. These actions may include, but shall not be limited to, those that the local government, other governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector may take to achieve the goals and policies of the element, including:

(a) benchmarks for evaluating the degree to which human service programs are meeting the needs of individuals within the jurisdiction of the local government so that the local government as well as other entities can determine whether or not to fund them;

(b) human service programs or program changes to better meet existing and projected needs;

(c) proposed facilities for human services agencies, such as clinics and offices, and/or changes in existing facilities;

(d) proposals for new ordinances or administrative rules or policies or changes in existing ordinances or administrative rules or policies that may be enacted or adopted by the local legislative body or its administrators to promote the goals and policies of the human services element; and

(e) implementation agreements entered into pursuant to Section [7-503] below.


Commentary: Community Design Planning

The purpose of community design planning is to provide a framework for identifying positive physical attributes in a community and establishing principles on which to guide private and public development. In The Urban Design Process, Hamid Shirvani defines urban design as "that part of the planning process that deals with the physical quality of the environment."[259] The activities that constituted urban and town planning at its historical roots — the configuration of streets, the placement of public institutions and edifices, the physical arrangement of neighborhoods, manufacturing plants, and retail trade centers, the massing of buildings, the enhancement or preservation of views — are what the planning profession now considers urban design. Today planners regard design as a distinct subfield of the planning profession, one that combines public policy and social concerns with the physical layout and appearance of a community. For this model plan element, the Legislative Guidebook uses the more inclusive term "community" rather than "urban," in the context of design, reflecting that design planning processes are undertaken in both large cities and in suburban and rural jurisdictions.

The community design element presented in Section 7-214 is intended to help communities foster a high-quality physical design as a means of enhancing quality of life for residents.[260] This is accomplished by using the planning process to assess the positive and negative aspects of the community's overall appearance, by providing a framework for design planning in specific districts within a community, and by developing sound design goals and policies that are inclusive of the points-of-view of a cross-section of residents and other interested persons.

One of the more challenging aspects of community design planning is the process a local government and its residents go through to define aesthetic and design quality in their own terms. Without a well-accepted and fair sense of what is considered "good" or "bad" design and a clear presentation of those ideals such as in a plan, the administration of design guidelines or standards can be legally and politically problematic. The lack of planning prior to the application and enforcement of standards is what has led many private developers, business people, and citizens to label design standards and design review commissions as elitist and not reflective of a majority view. This element is therefore intended to provide a means of carefully appraising the community's visual environment and then laying the groundwork for community design processes and principles first before embarking on new programs of design review that would apply to both public and private development. There are a variety of contemporary theories and techniques for establishing community design processes (see footnote).


7-214 Community Design Element

(1) A community design element may be included in the local comprehensive plan. No local government may adopt or amend a design review ordinance pursuant to Section [9-301] unless it has first prepared and adopted a community design element as described in this Section.

(2) The purposes of the community design element are to:

(a) assess the positive and negative factors that constitute the visual environment of the community as well as the appearance and character of community gateways, business districts, neighborhoods, and other areas; and

(b) establish a basis for the local government to make decisions about community appearance and character by defining its goals and policies and by describing design principles or guidelines that will contribute to a desired overall image or series of images of the community

(3) In preparing the community design element, the local planning agency shall undertake supporting studies. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency may use studies conducted by others. The supporting studies may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) assessments and surveys, in map, graphic, and text form, of the local government's visual character (including views, topography, street patterns, building form and massing, settlement patterns, and major landscape features), and predominant architectural character,

(b) reviews of previous plans that addressed community design in order to assess their effectiveness;

(c) evaluations of goals, policies, and guidelines contained in other elements of the local comprehensive plan to determine their positive and negative impacts on community design; and

(d) surveys of citizens to determine preferences for visual character.

(4) The community design element shall contain goals, policies, and guidelines (in map, graphic, and textual form) which may include, but not be limited to:

(a) promoting the development of areas of special identity and character;

— Areas of special identity or character may include the central business district, neighborhood commercial districts, entertainment districts, residential areas with a unique character, community gateways, scenic highway corridors, and areas in and around major institutions such as campuses, hospitals, and museums and related cultural centers.

(b) preserving and enhancing scenic views, sites, and corridors;

(c) describing a series of design principles for the local government;

(d) encouraging innovative site and architectural design in private development projects that add to the local government's character;

(e) conserving and supporting the design characteristics and qualities of individual neighborhoods that make them attractive and unique;

(f) emphasizing important places, sites, and gateways by installing public art, removing excess and inappropriate signage, and placing utility lines underground;

(g) establishing linkages between community design goals and policies and the design and provision of community facilities and transportation facilities;

(h) establishing streetscape design criteria, including building design, scale, orientation, setbacks, landscaping, and signage that is appropriate to the street width and design traffic speeds; and

— Subparagraphs (4)(f) and (g) presume that a mechanism exists for community design policies to be taken into account in the design or redesign of transportation and community facilities (e.g., utilities, streets, roadways, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities). Measures to ensure that this happens typically cannot be legislated or prescribed. Such a process may involve an interdepartmental task force or work group with representatives from the community design staff, public works staff, and planning staff. Or it could be the result of an open, iterative decision making process through which local government departments regularly collaborate on cross-cutting issues. A waterfront development plan that includes public access, design of new public facilities, appropriate commercial uses, landscape architecture, view protection, and water quality protection is an example of such a cross-cutting issue.

(i) ensuring that the character of infill development in residential or commercial areas is compatible with the desirable attributes of surrounding residential and commercial areas.

(5) The community design element shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section [7-211] above. These actions may include, but shall not be limited to, proposals for:

(a) the adoption of a design review ordinance pursuant to Section [9-301], a community design and open space incentives ordinance pursuant to Section, 9-501], a sign ordinance, landscape design standards, and other land development regulations;

(b) procedures and standards for the review and approval of statuary and other works of public art;

(c) incentives for the inclusion of public art in private development projects; and

(d) local capital improvements that will enhance community character such as street lighting, street furniture, special paving, landscaping, gateway structures, and fountains.


Commentary: Historic Preservation Planning

Planning and zoning for historic preservation by local governments have evolved rapidly since the 1970s. Following the birth of the environmental movement and the increased awareness and controls on community appearance, historic preservation is no longer confined to a handful of quaint historic towns. State enabling legislation for historic preservation is now in place in some form in many states.[263] States have adopted their preservation laws incrementally over the last several decades, continually adding to the list of techniques and incentives. Many states have laws authorizing the establishment of local historic districts and commissions and the designation of landmarks, as well as provisions for variances, regulation of new construction, limitations on the demolition of historic structures, and allowances for tax relief to induce property owners to adhere to the restrictions.[264]

At the same time that preservation efforts were gathering steam, a handful of states were also reforming their state and local planning enabling laws. Most of those states took advantage of that opportunity and made preservation of historic and cultural resources a state goal, and even more commonly, a mandated, recommended, or optional element in a local comprehensive plan.[265]

The process of preparing the historic preservation element of a local comprehensive plan gives the local government the opportunity to take an all-encompassing look at the range of preservation mechanisms that the state enables it to use. Further, it allows the local government to review other land-use management tools that have a direct impact on preservation, such as land development regulations, housing, transportation, growth management, and environmental protection.

Planning enabling legislation generally does not provide much detail on either the content or structure of historic preservation elements. Rather, it instructs the state's historic preservation office or other rule-making agency to promulgate rules and guidelines for local governments. The model legislation that follows takes a more detailed approach and offers specific recommendations on what should be included in a historic preservation element. The legislation recommends that the plan element include: a statement of the local government's historic preservation goals, policies, and guidelines; a map showing the general location of historically significant features; the boundaries of areas that may be suitable for designation as historic districts; and, actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section 7-211 above.


7-215 Historic Preservation Element

(1) A historic preservation element may be included in the local comprehensive plan. No local government may adopt or amend a historic preservation ordinance pursuant to Section [9-301] unless it has first prepared and adopted a historic preservation element as described in this Section.

(2) The purposes of the historic preservation element are to:

(a) identify, designate, protect, and preserve the local government's significant historic, archaeological, and cultural sites, landmarks, buildings, districts, and landscapes;

(b) guide new development, as well as the rehabilitation or adaptative reuse of historic and cultural resources;

(c) contribute to the economic development and vitality of the local government;

(d) inform and educate the public about the local government's historic, archaeological, and cultural resources; and

[(e) integrate any relevant goals, policies, and guidelines in the state comprehensive plan, [and] any state historic preservation plan, [and the regional comprehensive plan] with local planning.]

(3) In preparing the historic preservation element, the local planning agency shall undertake supporting studies. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency may use studies conducted by others, such as the [state historic preservation office], preservation organizations, and citizen and business groups, concerning the local government's historic, archaeological, and cultural resources. The supporting studies may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) a survey of historically significant sites, landmarks, buildings, districts, and landscapes;

(b) an assessment of past and current protection and preservation efforts within the local government; and

(c) a discussion of the prehistory of the local government and the surrounding areas, such as geologic events, native populations, and early settlers.

(4) The historic preservation element shall consist of the following:

(a) a statement, with supporting analysis, of the local government's historic preservation goals, policies, and guidelines;

(b) a map that shows the general location of historically significant sites, landmarks, buildings, districts, and landscapes; and

(c) the boundaries of areas that may be suitable for designation as historic districts.

(5) The historic preservation element shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section [7-211] above. These actions may include, but shall not be limited to, proposals for:

(a) the adoption of a historic preservation ordinance pursuant to Section [9-301], a transfer of development rights program pursuant to Section [9-401, and other techniques, as part of the local government's land development regulations;

(b) loans, grants, tax relief, and other financial incentives or in-kind assistance;

(c) historic preservation easements;

(d) capital improvements; and

(e) educational programs.

— The Providence, Rhode Island, preservation plan includes an "Action Strategy for Preservation," which details goals, actions, first steps, time frames, and participants for implementing the plan. While not providing specific dates, the time frames are broken down into "immediate and ongoing," "short term," "mid term," and "long term." The participants that are identified to take the actions specified include government staff and elected representatives and agencies, private nonprofit organizations, private institutions, and neighborhood or community organizations.[267]

7-216 [Other]

Subplans

The following Sections present three different types of subplans that are meant to detail proposals contained in the local comprehensive plan. They address planning for neighborhoods, for lands near transit stops or facilities, and for redevelopment areas (including central and other business districts, and brownfields — environmentally contaminated sites that can be remediated and reused). In all cases, these subplans are to be treated as amendments to the local comprehensive plan (but see footnote).[268] For an example of a generic subplan, see the "specific plan" provisions in the California planning statutes.[269]


Commentary: Neighborhood Plans

Section 7-301 describes the purposes and the contents of a neighborhood plan. A neighborhood plan may be distinguished from a local comprehensive plan in that it focuses on a specific geographic area of the local government which includes substantial residential development (as opposed to a plan that, say, looked at an industrial area). It is intended to be a document that will detail goals, policies, and guidelines contained in a broader local comprehensive plan and that proposes a shorter-range program of implementation that would include actions that may be taken by the local government as well as by other governmental agencies, and nonprofit and for-profit groups.[270] It is based on a review of the literature of neighborhood planning,[271] a survey of contemporary neighborhood plans in the United States conducted by the APA's Research Department (see: A Note on Neighborhood Plans at the end of this Chapter), and several working papers commissioned by APA for the Growing Smart project.[272] The description of the plan characterizes the plan's contents in permissive, rather than mandatory, language to ensure flexibility.

In the following model, the local government must first adopt a local comprehensive plan before adopting a neighborhood plan.[273] The model permits private persons and organizations residing or conducting business in the neighborhood, as well as the local planning agency itself, to prepare the plan. Where such persons or organizations prepare the neighborhood plan, they must follow rules and/or guidelines adopted by the local planning agency. The model also provides a role for the review of the neighborhood plan by the planning commission, before action by the legislative body. Where it exists, a neighborhood planning council (see Section 7-109) would, of course, have a role to play in the plan's formulation, either through a review or through the actual preparation of the document. It is not necessary, it should be emphasized, for every part of the local government's geographic area to be covered by a specific neighborhood plan and the model statute below does not contemplate that degree of territorial comprehensiveness. Rather, the local government may undertake such plans over a period of years, depending on neighborhood interests and its own internal resources for preparing them and carrying them out.

7-301 Neighborhood Plan

(1) A neighborhood plan may be prepared or revised by the local planning agency, or any private person or organization residing or conducting business within the neighborhood. Neighborhood planning councils established pursuant to Section [7-109] above may prepare or assist in the preparation or revision of the plan. Before any private persons or organizations, including neighborhood planning councils, may prepare or revise neighborhood plans pursuant to this Section, the local planning agency shall first adopt rules and/or guidelines for the form and content of such plans.

(2) A neighborhood plan shall be revised on a [periodic or [5]-year] basis.

(3) The legislative body of the local government may adopt a neighborhood plan or revision thereof as an amendment to the local comprehensive plan. No neighborhood plan or revision thereof shall be adopted by the local legislative body until it has first adopted a local comprehensive plan and has referred the proposed neighborhood plan or revision thereof to the local planning commission, if one exists, for a recommendation in writing. Where a neighborhood planning council exists for all or a portion of the area included in the neighborhood plan and where the council has not had the responsibility of preparing the plan or revision, the legislative body shall also refer the proposed neighborhood plan or proposed revision thereof to the council for a recommendation in writing. If the local planning commission or the neighborhood planning council has not made a recommendation in writing on the proposed neighborhood plan or proposed revision thereof within [30] days, the legislative body may then take action on the revision.

(4) Neighborhood plans shall provide additional goals, policies, guidelines, supporting analyses, and programs of implementation that detail, and that are consistent with, the adopted local comprehensive plan. More specifically, the purposes of a neighborhood plan are to:

(a) provide a vehicle by which the goals, policies, and guidelines in the local comprehensive plan are interpreted by the local legislative body and applied to the designated neighborhoods of a local government;

(b) provide a means by which the local government may engage citizens in local government planning and decision making that affect the development of their neighborhood;

(c) state neighborhood issues, problems, opportunities, and priorities that arise out of the process of preparing the plan;

(d) foster or sustain a sense of community within designated neighborhoods; and

(e) provide a basis for the commitment of local government financial resources as well as private financial resources to carry out proposals and programs, especially capital projects.

— If there is a conflict between the local comprehensive plan and the proposed neighborhood plan, the local government will either: (1) need to modify the neighborhood plan before adopting it; or (2) amend the comprehensive plan to eliminate the conflict and then adopt the neighborhood plan.

(5) In preparing a neighborhood plan, the local planning agency or such other private person or organization shall undertake supporting studies, with maps of existing conditions or other graphics, that are relevant to topical areas included in the neighborhood plan. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency or such other private private person or organization may use studies that have been previously prepared to support the local comprehensive plan or that have been conducted by others. The supporting studies may concern physical, social, economic, and environmental conditions in the designated neighborhood and may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) population and population distribution, which may include analyses by age, household size, education level, income, or other appropriate characteristics, and which shall include [10]-year projections;

(b) an analysis of employment and labor force characteristics of residents in comparison with such characteristics at the [county or metropolitan] level and opportunities for employment and job training for neighborhood residents;

(c) an evaluation of and summary statistics on housing conditions for all economic segments, including special needs populations. The evaluation shall include the existing distribution of housing by type, size, value or gross rent, condition, the existing distribution of households by gross annual income and size, and the number of middle-, moderate-, and low-income households that pay more than [28] percent of their gross annual household income for owner-occupied housing and [30] percent of their gross annual household income for rental housing and surveys and assessments of the physical condition of residential properties, buildings, and structures;

(d) an evaluation of the physical conditions of non-residential properties, buildings, and structures;

(e) an analysis of trends in changes in real property values and in property ownership by neighborhood residents and non-residents owning property in the designated neighborhood over the previous [5] years;

(f) an evaluation of conditions of land and public infrastructure, including streets and alleys, water and sewer lines, buildings, parks, sidewalks, and other public facilities owned or operated by the local government, other governmental agencies, and public utilities;

(g) an analysis of the neighborhood's market for retail goods and personal services, including an identification of strengths and weaknesses of existing retail and personal service establishments serving the neighborhood and the potential market to support expansions to existing establishments as well as new establishments;

(h) an inventory of existing land uses that applies the land-use classification system from the local comprehensive plan; a description and analysis of existing land uses, including an historical overview of land-use change in the neighborhood; and a discussion of current land-use issues, including an assessment of proposals for future land uses in the local comprehensive plan. This inventory may also include a description of existing zoning districts within the neighborhood, alternate build-out projections for the neighborhood based on different assumptions, and a description of land-use ratios for the neighborhood in comparison with those for areas covered by the local government as a whole;

(i) an inventory and evaluation of architecturally significant and historically significant buildings and structures;

(j) an inventory of properties known publicly to contain environmentally contaminated land and/or structures;

(k) an inventory of neighborhood-level services and facilities, such as refuse disposal and recycling, snow removal, street cleaning, emergency services, libraries, community centers, and recreation centers;

(l) an analysis of trends in personal and property crimes reported to the local police department in the past [5] years;

(m) an inventory of public educational facilities serving the designated neighborhood;

(n) an assessment of neighborhood-level social services, such as child day care, adult day care and other forms of home health care, group homes for the disabled, food and sheltering services, crisis intervention and counseling services, including those directed at the support of families and children;

(o) an assessment of transportation services available at the neighborhood level, including the presence or location of public transit stops and the frequency and quality of mass transit service to destinations that are important to residents;

(p) an inventory and analysis of existing and proposed circulation systems for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles. This may also include an assessment of traffic accidents, levels of service at intersections, traffic signalization, and availability of parking;

(q) a survey of residents and businesses concerning various aspects of the quality of life in the neighborhood, which may be used to supplement any of the studies identified in this paragraph; and

(r) an identification and evaluation of the presence of natural hazard conditions that may threaten lives or property in the neighborhood, where such conditions have been first documented in a natural hazards element of the local comprehensive plan.

(4) A neighborhood plan may provide for, address, and include, but need not be limited to the following:

(a) a statement, with supporting analysis, of neighborhood goals, policies, and guidelines for the following topics:

1. land use, including residential, commercial, and industrial development;

2. transportation, including mass transit, vehicular circulation, pedestrian movement, and bicycling;

3. economic development and employment;

4. housing, including housing that is affordable to middle-, moderate-, and low-income households, special needs housing, or housing may be in need of rehabilitation or improved maintenance;

5. public infrastructure, including public utilities;

6. safety and crime prevention;

7. parks, recreation, scenic, and cultural resources;

8. architectural and historic preservation;

9. enforcement or development of statutes, ordinances, or administrative rules or policies relating to nuisance conditions or environmental hazards in the neighborhood;

10. large-scale developments that will have neighborhood-wide impacts or present issues of neighborhood-wide significance;

11. human or social services that meet the needs of underserved populations; and

12. primary and secondary education.

(b) a neighborhood plan map that shows:

1. neighborhood boundaries;

2. future land use in terms of net density for residential land uses and intensity for non-residential land uses;

3. existing and proposed community facilities;

4. existing and proposed transportation facilities; and

5. any other matters of neighborhood significance that can be graphically represented.

(c) amendments, as appropriate, to the long-range program of implementation in the local comprehensive plan as required by Section [7-211] that describe shorter-term actions that the local government and its boards, commissions, departments, and divisions, state agencies, public utilities, special districts, school districts, non-profit organizations, the private sector and other organizations may take over the next [5] years to achieve the goals and polices of the neighborhood plan, including:

1. [5]-year schedules of:

a. programs or program changes of services that may be undertaken by the local government, non-profit organizations, and the private sector. The schedule shall include a description of the program or program change, the agency or organization responsible for the program, an estimate of annual program costs, and the sources of public or private revenue for covering such costs;

b. proposed local capital improvements for the neighborhood that may be integrated with the local capital budget and local capital improvement program of the local government. The schedule shall include a description of the proposed local capital improvement, an identification of the department or division of the local government that will be responsible for the project, the year the capital improvement is proposed for construction or installation, an estimate of costs, and the sources of public or private revenue for covering such costs; and

c. capital projects for the neighborhood that are proposed by the non-profit and private sectors and by public agencies other than the local government. The schedule shall include a description of the proposed capital project, an identification of the organization, business entity, or public agency that will be responsible for the project, the year the project is proposed for construction or installation, an estimate of costs, and the sources of public or private revenue for covering such costs;

2. proposals for new programs of public services and/or for changes to existing programs of public services that may be carried out in order to promote the goals and policies of the neighborhood plan. Such proposals shall describe the new program or program change, identify the agency or organization that will be or is responsible for the project, and provide an estimated annual cost of the program or program change for a period of [5] years;

3. proposals to the local government for new ordinances or administrative rules or policies or changes in existing ordinances or administrative rules or policies that may be enacted or adopted by the local legislative body or its administrators to promote the goals and policies of the neighborhood plan; and

4. any other measures that may promote the goals and policies of the neighborhood plan.


Commentary: Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-oriented development (TOD) planning emerged in the 1980s and 1990s as a mechanism for reducing dependence on the automobile caused by dispersed, low-density development, improving the economic viability and general efficiency of public transit systems and regional transportation networks, and improving or enhancing the key factors that affect quality of life for citizens. TOD planning principles include compact development, pedestrian-friendly streets, mixed land uses, and a variety of housing types and densities. TOD shares many of the same principles as the New Urbanism movement in city planning,[274] though a TOD's distinguishing feature is a transit station and immediate surroundings that function as a focal point of a community.[275]

TOD plans can be prepared for new development sites on the urban fringe for which transit service is planned or anticipated. In existing cities and suburbs, TOD plans can be prepared that would retrofit development patterns and land-use regulations at existing transit nodes, using rezoning, infill development strategies, public-private development initiatives, and new streetscape plans to achieve TOD principles.

The roots of modern TOD planning lie in the network of railroad and streetcar neighborhoods and suburbs that arose in the late 19th century in almost every major American city. Dependency by people on public transit for work, school, and recreational trips dictated settlement patterns that mixed land uses, were compact, and generally treated pedestrians and motorized travel equally. The reemergence and refinement of this approach to planning-making and development are a response to the effects on people, communities, neighborhoods, business viability, and the natural environment that eight decades of automobile dependency have had.

Section 7-302 that follows describes a TOD plan that is adaptable in urban or suburban contexts and can be used for areas around transit stations as well as along transit corridors. It is based partly on a California statute, although the degree of detail has been substantially increased to provide guidance to the user.[276] The contents of some existing TOD plans were analyzed and evaluated for use in this model.[277] The model statute calls for supporting studies on all aspects of the planning area, including land-use types and densities, existing land development regulations, market analyses of potential development, surveys of transit users, and existing conditions and necessary modifications to public infrastructure, among others. The statement of the goals, policies, and guidelines of such a plan are intended to reflect basic TOD principles, including compact development patterns and increased densities and intensities, mixed land uses, and improved pedestrian circulation, comfort, and safety. The model also describes the typical set of actions that would be necessary to implement a TOD plan, which include enactment of amendments to land development regulations, scheduling capital improvements, application of financial incentives including special assessments and tax increment financing, and the creation or designation of a public or nonprofit organization (which could be the local planning agency) to administer the plan.


7-302 Transit-Oriented Development Plan

(1) The local planning agency may prepare and periodically revise a transit-oriented development plan and the legislative body of the local government may periodically adopt such plan or revision thereof as an amendment to the local comprehensive plan. However, no transit-oriented development plan shall be adopted by the legislative body until it has first adopted a local comprehensive plan and has referred the proposed transit-oriented development plan or revision to the local planning commission, if one exists, for a recommendation in writing.

(2) The purposes of a transit-oriented development plan are to detail and refine proposals in the local comprehensive plan for areas around existing or proposed transit stations and along transit corridors in order to create a pattern of development characterized by uses, densities, intensities, and design features that both support and are supported by mass transit service.

(3) In preparing the transit-oriented development plan, the local planning agency shall undertake supporting studies and shall consult with existing and potential providers of mass transit service for the area to be covered by the plan. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency may use studies conducted by others. The supporting studies may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) an inventory of existing land uses that applies the land-use classification system from the local comprehensive plan;

(b) a description and analysis of existing land uses, including an assessment of proposals for future land uses in the local comprehensive plan;

(c) evaluation of land development regulations affecting the area, including assessments of densities and intensities necessary to support transit services;

(d) analyses of socio-economic conditions as well as conditions of public safety of the area;

(e) opinion and origin/destination surveys of transit users as well as business owners, residents, and employees of the area;

(f) market analyses for residential, commercial, office, and industrial development;

(g) identification of existing and needed pedestrian and bicycle linkages to the transit station or access point to transit service;

(h) studies of traffic circulation and traffic signalization;

(i) studies of supply and demand for parking;

(j) identification of property ownership and opportunities for land assembly; and

(k) an evaluation of the conditions of public infrastructure such as streets, alleys, lighting, and street furniture that are relevant to transit-oriented development.

(4) Based on the studies undertaken pursuant to paragraph (3) above, the transit-oriented development plan shall contain:

(a) a description of transit service that is or is proposed to be available in the area, including existing or proposed schedules and routes;

(b) a statement of goals, policies, and guidelines (in map, graphic, and textual form) that may include, but shall not be limited to:

1. concentrating land uses of appropriate intensity and density in the transit station area and along transit routes that will generate transit ridership in peak and off-peak periods;

2. encouraging a mix of uses within the transit station area and along major transit routes at a scale, density, and intensity that will produce a high level of pedestrian activity and reduce dependence on the automobile;

3. enhancing the physical and aesthetic quality of the area surrounding the transit station, with specific attention to the needs of pedestrians and transit users;

4. providing for increased and improved pedestrian circulation in the area and encouraging walking and bicycling as alternative modes of transit station access;

5. improving the ability of passengers to transfer easily between transportation modes;

6. encouraging parking location and design that provide shared or joint-use facilities; and

7. providing information to transit users to orient them quickly to the character of the area surrounding the transit station or transit stop and to advise them about the location and time of transit services.

(c) a plan map that shows:

1. the boundaries of the area or areas covered by the plan, including the area(s) surrounding the transit station or stations or containing the transit corridor;

2. site plan(s) of transit station(s), as existing and/or proposed, as applicable, that relate(s) the station(s) to the surrounding area;

3. location of any other transit stops, such as bus stops;

4. future land use in terms of minimum net densities for residential land uses and minimum intensities for non-residential land uses;

5. existing and proposed community facilities that benefit or are intended to benefit transit service or transit users;

6. existing and proposed transportation facilities; and

7. any other matters that benefit or are intended to benefit transit service or transit users that can be graphically represented.

(5) The transit-oriented development plan shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section [7-211] above that may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) enactment of amendments to land development regulations for the area that increase density and/or intensity (including provisions for bonuses), diversify the mix of uses, allow shared parking, reduce required parking, modify setback or bulk provisions, provide for site plan review of new buildings or additions, establish an aesthetically-pleasing environment through unified design standards and guidelines, authorize transfer of development rights, and/or provide for overlay districts;

(b) local capital improvements that may include the installation, construction, or reconstruction of streets, lighting, related pedestrian amenities, public utilities, parks and open spaces, bikeways, and public buildings and facilities, including parking garages;

(c) assignment of the responsibility of administering the implementation of the plan to an existing agency of the local government, or creation of a public or nonprofit organization with such responsibility;

(d) the use of tax increment financing to pay for public improvements pursuant to Section [14-302];

(e) the use of special assessments pursuant to Section [cite to special assessment statute];

(f) land acquisition and assembling and replatting of lots or parcels;

(g) changes to the local government's engineering and design standards for public improvements and private development to enhance compatibility with and access to transit stations and transit stops;

(h) amendments to the major thoroughfare plan and corridor map;

(i) programs to enhance public safety in the area included in the plan;

(j) installation of signage or provision of public information for transit users;

(k) waiver or reduction of any transportation-related development impact fees for new development in the area included in the transit-oriented development plan; and

(l) development agreements pursuant to Section [8-701] that advance or are consistent with goals, policies, and guidelines of the plan.


Commentary: Planning Redevelopment Areas

Local governments typically plan for several types of areas needing redevelopment, each of which calls for a different set of planning strategies: (1) business districts that are experiencing loss of retail, office, and related residential activity;[278] (2) residential areas where dwelling units are in a marked state of deterioration or dilapidation; and (3) industrial areas where plants and facilities are abandoned, idled, or underused and the sites themselves are environmentally contaminated and must be remediated before they can be reused.[279]

In the United States, urban redevelopment efforts were prompted by the enactment of the Housing Act of 1949.[280] In providing grants to cities, this statute greatly stimulated the process of urban renewal, a mechanism by which a local government assembles and acquires land in slums and blighted areas, clears the land as necessary, relocates displaced families and businesses, and writes down the cost of the land from acquisition to reuse value. New infrastructure may be installed and land sold or leased to private or public developers. Housing rehabilitation and concentrated code enforcement may occur as well.

The early years of the urban renewal programs were characterized by massive clearance and reuse projects in American cities, an approach that largely has disappeared. This approach was criticized for the removal of large numbers of low-rent housing units while failing to provide replacement dwellings (except for high-income residents) as well as for the destruction of entire neighborhoods (including businesses) within cities.[281] In 1974, the Congress enacted the Federal Housing and Community Development Act,[282] which established the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and replaced the urban renewal program as well as many other categorical grants. The emphasis of planning using CDBG monies as well as complementary state grants now tends to focus on maintenance and rehabilitation of older, existing housing stock, and reconstruction and reuse of commercial and industrial buildings where feasible. Redevelopment projects tend to be smaller and the implementing actions more discrete and selective.

The 1970s brought a recognition of the impact on urban areas of environmentally contaminated industrial (as well as commercial and residential) sites resulting from the use, storage, and spillage of hazardous waste, sometimes due to the presence of leaking underground storage tanks. These contaminated urban industrial areas raise public health concerns, blight nearby neighborhoods, and hamper normal business recruitment and retention. At the same time these sites represent an inventory of land that, once environmental contamination is removed or mitgated, can be reused for a variety of public and private uses.

The current regulatory framework affecting these "brownfields sites" as they are known is defined primarily by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), amended in 1986 as the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act,[283] and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.[284] The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administers this legislation, and actively supports demonstration projects.[285] State EPAs assist in enforcement.[286] In addition, states may have individual statutes that further define the regulatory framework.

In California, redevelopment funding has been used as a tool by many communities to assist in the ongoing financing of seismic retrofits of unreinforced masonry buildings, In post-earthquake recovery, redevelopment authority has been used to subsidize repair of damaged structures, alleviate hazardous conditions (including demolition of hazardous structures), assist property owners in securing new tenants, and provide relocation and temporary housing assistance. Several communities utilized such redevelopment authority after a series of earthquakes in the 1980s and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Community Redevelopment Financial Assistance and Disaster Project Law[287] (the "Disaster Law") was adopted in 1964 to address tsunami damage from the Alaska earthquake of that year. It provides resources for post-disaster recovery and reconstruction by expanding the extent of the area eligible for redevelopment funds (under pre-existing state redevelopment authority), and by providing for an expedited process of redevelopment agency formation and plan adoption by any area certified to be in need of assistance by the Governor and declared a disaster area by the President.

Section 7-303 that follows describes a general purpose redevelopment area plan that can be adapted to many types of areas needing redevelopment.[288] Broadly drafted, it describes the factors that may characterize such areas, the underlying studies that such a plan may need, and the components of the plan. Paragraph (5) is a list of the type of implementing measures that a local government may employ. Typically states will have a suite of incentives for redevelopment in their statutes (e.g., tax abatement, tax increment financing, enterprise zones, special assessments for improvements in a redevelopment area) or may have special priorities for redevelopment that affect state-administered grant and loan programs.


7-303 Redevelopment Area Plan

(1) The local planning agency [or other agency under the supervision of the local planning agency][289] may prepare and periodically revise a redevelopment area plan and the legislative body of the local government may adopt such plan or revision thereof as an amendment to the local comprehensive plan. However, no redevelopment area plan or revision thereof shall be adopted by the legislative body until it has first adopted a local comprehensive plan and has referred the proposed redevelopment area plan or revision to the local planning commission, if one exists, for a recommendation in writing.

(2) The purposes of a redevelopment area plan are to detail and refine proposals in the local comprehensive plan and to encourage reinvestment in and revitalization and reuse of areas of the local government that are characterized by two or more of the following conditions or circumstances:

(a) loss of retail, office, and industrial activity, use, or employment;

(b) a predominance of deteriorating or deteriorated structures;

(c) abandonment of structures;

(d) environmentally contaminated land;

(e) the existence of unsanitary or unsafe conditions that endanger life, health, and property;

(f) damage from disasters;

(g) defective or inadequate street or lot layout;

(h) unimproved vacant land that has remained so for a period of ten years prior to the local government's decision to prepare the redevelopment area plan,[290] and that by reason of its location, remoteness, lack of means of access to developed sections or portions of the local government, or topography, or nature of the soil, is not likely to be developed through the instrumentality of private capital;

(i) deterioration in public improvements such as streets, street lighting, curbs, gutters, sidewalk, and related pedestrian amenities;

(j) tax or special assessment delinquency exceeding the fair market value of the land; and/or

(k) any combination of such factors that substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth and economic development of the local government, impedes the provision of adequate housing, or adversely affects the public, health, safety, morals, or general welfare due to the redevelopment area's present condition and use.

(3) In preparing the redevelopment area plan, the local planning agency shall undertake supporting studies. In undertaking these studies, the local planning agency may use studies conducted by others. The supporting studies may include, but shall not be limited to:

(a) analyses of socio-economic conditions of the redevelopment area;

(b) an inventory of existing land uses that applies the land-use classification system from the local comprehensive plan; a description and analysis of existing land uses, including an historical overview of land-use change in the redevelopment area; and a discussion of current land-use issues, including an assessment of proposals for future land uses in the local comprehensive plan.

(c) opinion surveys of property owners, business owners, employees, and residents within the redevelopment area;

(d) surveys and assessments of the conditions of properties, buildings, and structures;

(e) an evaluation of conditions of public infrastructure, including streets and alleys, water and sewer lines, buildings, parks, sidewalks, and other public facilities owned or operated by the local government, other governmental agencies, and public utilities;

(f) analyses of tax and special assessment delinquency of properties within the redevelopment area;

(g) assessments and site investigations to characterize the extent and location of environmental contamination of properties within the redevelopment area [[that are consistent with] cite to any brownfields statute and implementing rules];

(h) assessments and site investigations that characterize the extent and location of properties susceptible to the effects of natural hazards, or that describe damages from actual disaster events;

(i) assessments of historic, cultural, and scenic resources in the redevelopment areas;

(j) market analyses for residential, commercial, and industrial uses;

(k) analyses of parking supply and demand; and

(l) studies of traffic circulation and traffic signalization.

(4) Based on the studies undertaken pursuant to paragraph (3) above, the redevelopment plan shall contain the following:

(a) a statement, with supporting analysis, of the local government's goals, policies, and guidelines regarding the revitalization and reuse of the redevelopment area, including a statement of the relationship of the plan to the local comprehensive plan;

(b) a plan map drawn to an appropriate scale that delineates the boundaries of the redevelopment area and that may show:

1. the location and characteristics of permissible types of development;

2. the location and characteristics of streets, other rights-of way, public utilities, and other public improvements;

3. the dimensions and grading of parcels and the dimensions and siting of structures;

4. areas where rehabilitation of buildings is to occur;

5. parcels to be acquired or on which demolition is to occur; and

6. parcels on which environmental contamination or susceptibility to natural hazards is to be remediated.

(c) a legal description of the redevelopment area; and

(d) any other planning matters that contribute to the redevelopment and use of the area as a whole.

(5) The redevelopment area plan shall contain actions to be incorporated into the long-range program of implementation as required by Section [7-211] above that may include, but shall not be limited to, proposals for:

(a) the creation or designation of a public or non-profit agency to oversee and administer the implementation of the plan;

(b) land development regulations that apply to the redevelopment area;

(c) the enactment, amendment, and enforcement of property maintenance and housing codes;

(d) the creation of business retention and technical assistance programs and of grant and loan programs to encourage the rehabilitation of buildings, improve the appearance of building facades and signage, stimulate business start-ups and expansions, and otherwise attract private investment to the area;

(e) the use of tax increment financing to pay for public improvements pursuant to Section [14-302];

(f) the use of special assessments pursuant to Section [cite to special assessment statute];

(g) local capital improvements that may include the installation, construction, or reconstruction of streets, lighting, related pedestrian amenities, public utilities, parks, playgrounds, and public buildings and facilities;

(h) programs of site remediation to remove environmental contamination [[pursuant to] [cite to any brownfields statute and implementing rules]];

(i) programs to minimize the minimize the effects of natural hazards on property;

(j) acquisition of property;

(k) the demolition and removal of structures and improvements;

(l) programs of temporary and permanent relocation assistance for displaced businesses and residents, including an estimate of the extent to which decent, safe and sanitary dwelling units affordable to displaced residents will be available to them in the existing local housing market;
;
(m) assembly and replatting of lots or parcels;

(n) disposition of any property acquired in the redevelopment area, including the sale, leasing, or retention by the local government;

(o) programs to market and promote the redevelopment area and attract new businesses; and

(p) implementation agreements entered into pursuant to Section [7-503].

 

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