Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook

Chapter 6 (part 3): Regional Planning

6-302 [Resolving Potential Conflicts Among State, Regional, and Local Plans—See Sections 7-402.1 to 7-402.5]


Commentary: Adoption of Regional Plans

In contrast to adoption of state plans, there are few, if any, realistic institutional alternatives for the adoption of regional plans. The provision below is similar to Alternative 3 in Section 4-210 of the Legislative Guidebook. The language requires the full regional planning agency to act on the plan, not a committee of the agency.[136] Adoption of a regional plan is a significant action that should not be delegated to a subordinate group, such as an executive committee, which does not fully represent the regional interests in the agency. Further, the chair, and not another officer of the agency, must preside at the meeting when the plan is adopted. This is to ensure continuity in the discussion of the plan and its amendments, and fix responsibility for orchestrating that discussion on one public official. This language also requires action on the plan within a certain period after the final public hearing by the regional planning agency. This places an obligation on the regional planning agency to make a decision on the plan. If it decides to delay the decision, amend the final draft plan, and then vote on it, it must do so within that time period, or it must hold another public hearing.

It should be noted that if there are strong disagreements over the adoption of a regional plan by the local governments and other entities affected by that plan, a regional planning agency has the authority to administer dispute resolution and conflict resolution programs under Section 6-107(3)(l) and to adopt rules governing such programs pursuant to Section 6-105.

The model also provides for the adoption of functional plans, such as transportation plans, that have been approved by another regional agency, such as a special district or metropolitan transportation commission. While another organization may approve the functional plan, the plan,
under this model, will not become effective for the region until adopted by the regional planning agency.


6-303 Adoption of Regional Plans

(1) A regional comprehensive plan, any regional functional plan, a regional housing plan, [a regional fair share allocation plan,] a regional transportation plan, or an amendment to any plan shall become effective when adopted by the affirmative votes of not less than the majority of the entire membership of the [regional planning agency] [no later than [30] days] after the final public hearing on the plan or amendment by the [agency] at any meeting of the [agency] at which the chair is present. The action taken shall be recorded on the adopted plan by the identifying signature of the chair.

(2) Where a regional transportation plan, other functional plan, or amendment thereto affecting the region has been approved by a public agency other than the [regional planning agency], it shall not become effective for the region until the [regional planning agency]'s membership adopts the plan or amendment in the manner provided in this Section.

6-304 Certification of Regional Plan; Availability for Purchase

(1) Upon the adoption or amendment of any regional plan pursuant to Section [6-303], the [chief executive officer] of the [regional planning agency] shall, within [90] days, certify copies of the plan or amendment to:

(a) the director of each relevant state agency [alternatively: the director of state agency designated by the governor to serve as the distributor of regional plans and amendments to all state agencies];

(b) the director of each adjoining [regional planning agency];

(c) the chief executive officer of each local government, special district, and other organized taxing districts or political subdivisions located wholly or partially in the region;

(d) the director of each local government's planning department or, where there is no local planning department, the chair of the local planning commission in the region;

(e) each member of the state legislature, U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate representing all or a portion of the region;

(f) the state library and all public libraries in the region that serve as depositories of state documents; and

(g) other interested parties [including federal agencies as necessary].

(2) The [chief executive officer] shall make the plan or amendment available for purchase by the public at actual cost or a lesser amount.

6-305 Adoption of Plans by Local Governments, Special Districts, and Other Governments

(1) Any governmental unit in the region, including local governments, special districts, school districts, and other governmental authorities, to which the [regional planning agency] has certified a copy of a regional plan, may adopt so much of the plan, part, amendment, or addition as falls within the jurisdiction of the governmental unit or, in the case of a local government, as part of the local government's comprehensive or functional plan, and, when so adopted, it shall have the same force and effect as though made and prepared, as well as adopted, by the governmental unit.

Relationships and Agreements with Other Units of Government


Commentary: Reviewing Plans and Major Capital Facility Projects

When a regional plan is adopted, ideally there should be a mechanism to ensure consistency of action by various units of government and agencies and private entities operating within the region. One alternative is a process of review and approval of local plans administered by the state planning agency, in which consistency with state and regional plans and plans of adjoining governmental units would be addressed. This alternative approach is addressed in Sections 7-402.1 to 7-402.2 of the Legislative Guidebook.

Another alternative is a process in which the regional planning agency reviews plans of local governmental units, special districts, and state agencies operating in the region. Under this approach, the regional agency, after adopting a regional comprehensive plan or any other regional functional plan, would then adopt rules for review of local or other plans affecting the region for consistency with regional plans. The model statute, below, follows this approach, but leaves the specific details to the regional agency since those details will reflect the individual issues and concerns in the region.

The regional agency is authorized to comment on the plans and recommend revisions to them. Local governments, special districts, and state agencies would be required to consider the recommendations and make a decision on whether to modify the plan to include these proposed revisions before adopting the plan. The model legislation permits the local government, special district, or state agency to reject all or part of the recommended revisions, provided it does so by a two-thirds vote that applies to each disputed revision, and, in the case of state agencies, only with the written concurrence of the governor. If the local government, special district, or agency rejects the revisions recommended by the regional planning agency, it must indicate in a statement to be included in the plan its reasons for the rejection. The comments and recommended revisions of the regional agency must appear as a comment section in the plan.[138]

Apart from the review of plans, the other area of importance is the review of major publicly funded capital facility projects having an extra-jurisdictional or regional impact. The model legislation gives the authority to the regional planning agency to review such projects, preferably when they are in the pre-engineering or early design stages, that are sponsored by local governments, special districts, public utilities (whether publicly or privately owned), and state agencies.[139] An example of the type of conflict that might be resolved through such a review would be a proposed regional trunk sewer that would extend beyond an urban growth area boundary designated in the regional comprehensive plan, thereby opening new areas for development. In its review, the regional planning agency would observe this problem and resolve it through consultation with the sponsoring governmental unit, before detailed design of the sewer even got underway.

This approach, however, is not without its potential pitfalls and some commentators have questioned whether autonomous or semiautonomous state agencies will comply with regional planning agency advice and comments on proposed public works projects.[140] Presumably, local governmental units and special districts that had entered into regional planning and coordination agreements with the regional planning agency under Section 6-402 would have identified predicaments like this well in advance by being aware of the contents of the various regional plans and their effects on the design of capital projects.

Regional planning agency review of large-scale public and private developments is also covered in Sections 5-301 et seq. on developments of regional impact (DRI). If a DRI process is in place at the regional level that addresses proposed publicly sponsored developments, language in the following section pertaining to "proposed major capital projects of extra-jurisdictional or regional significance" should be omitted. Section 7-402.4 provides an alternate approach for review of significant state, special district, and school district projects that are not included in state-approved
regional plans.


6-401 Effects of Regional Plans on State Agencies, Local Governments, and Special Districts; Review of Plans and Major Capital Facility Projects of Extra-jurisdictional or Regional Significance

(1) Upon the adoption of a regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan, each [regional planning agency] shall, within [90] days, adopt rules for reviewing local plans and plans of special districts and state agencies and proposed major capital projects of regional significance for consistency with the regional comprehensive plan and any regional functional plans.

(2) Where a [regional planning agency] has adopted a regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan, each local government and special district located within the region and each state agency operating within the region shall submit to the [agency] for review, comment, and recommendation its proposed comprehensive plan, or any other proposed plans, or proposed plan amendments, which, in the judgment of the [agency], affect, or are affected by, the regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan. A county government may submit a plan that includes the plans of other local governments. The [regional planning agency] shall consider this to be a consolidated plan and shall waive the submission requirements for the units included. The [agency] shall have [30] days from the date of the submission of a plan to conduct its review and make written comments and recommendations for revisions, during which period the local government, special district, or state agency shall take no action to adopt or otherwise implement the plan.

(3) Where the [regional planning agency] has recommended a revision or revisions to the proposed plan or amendment of a local government, special district, or state agency in order to be consistent with the regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan, the local government, special district, or state agency shall consider the revisions and shall either:

(a) make the recommended revision or revisions to the plan; or

(b) indicate in a statement to the [regional planning agency], to be included in the plan, its reasons for rejecting the revision or revisions as recommended by the [regional planning agency].

(4) The comments and recommendations for revisions of the [regional planning agency] shall be included in the plan or amendment in a comment section. Nothing in this Section shall preclude the local government, special district, or state agency from adopting or rejecting any or all of the recommended revisions before its adoption of the plan or amendment. However, should the local government reject any proposed revision, it shall do so only by a vote of not less than two-thirds of the membership of its legislative body for each revision. Should the special district reject any proposed revision, it shall do so only by a vote of not less than two-thirds of the membership of its governing board. Should the director of the state agency reject any proposed revision, the director shall do so only with the written concurrence of the governor. If the state agency is a board or commission, it shall reject a proposed revision only by a vote of not less than two-thirds of its membership and with the written concurrence of the governor.

[(5)[141] Where a [regional planning agency] has adopted a regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan, each local government, special district, or public utility, whether publicly or privately owned, located within the region, and each state agency operating within the region shall submit to the [regional planning agency] for review all proposed major capital facility projects.[142] The [agency] shall advise the local government, district, utility, or state agency within [30] days from the date of submission as to whether the proposed project has extra-jurisdictional or regional significance. If it lacks extra-jurisdictional or regional significance, the [agency] shall certify this finding. If the proposed project has extra-jurisdictional or regional significance, the [agency] shall determine in writing whether the project is consistent with the regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan and whether it is properly coordinated with other existing or proposed projects in the region. If the [agency] finds the proposed project is inconsistent with the regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan or lacks proper coordination, it shall notify the local government, district, utility, or state agency in writing as to the inconsistencies and lack of coordination. The local government, district, utility, or state agency shall resolve all inconsistencies and problems of coordination to the [agency]'s satisfaction before it initiates the project.[143] The inclusion of a major capital facility project in the regional comprehensive plan or in any regional functional plan shall constitute evidence of consistency.]


Commentary: Agreements with Other Governmental Units

The model legislation below authorizes the regional planning agency to enter into written agreements with other governmental units as a means of implementing regional comprehensive plans and regional functional plans and monitoring the results of plans. These agreements may address the delegation of responsibility for different types of functional planning and the provision of urban services consistent with regional plans.

Sections 6-402 and 6-403 below are based on two Oregon statutes. Under Ore. Rev. Stat. § 195.020 et seq., counties, which exercise some of the regional planning functions throughout most of the state, and cities must enter into cooperative agreements with each special district that provides an urban service within an urban growth boundary. The agreement must describe the responsibilities of the governmental unit in comprehensive planning, including plan amendments, periodic review of and amendments to land-use regulations, and the provision of urban services. Under Ore. Rev. Stat. § 195.060 et seq., providers of urban services — local governments, special districts, and public utilities — must enter into urban service agreements that describe how they will provide such services to areas within an urban growth boundary identified in a municipal or county comprehensive plan.

One substantial example of how this might be done appears in the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Regional Growth Management Strategy (1993). The strategy contains standards, objectives, and recommended actions for nine quality-of-life factors: air quality, transportation/congestion management, water-quality management, sewage disposal, sensitive lands and open space preservation and protection, solid waste management, hazardous waste management, adequate housing, and economic prosperity. The strategy contains a self-certification process for determining local and regional agency consistency. Through the completion of a checklist contained in the Strategy document, local governments indicate to SANDAG the degree to which implementing measures contained in the strategy are being carried out by different units of government.

This checklist and self-certification process would be part of an agreement that the regional planning agency entered into with local governments. It would be the local government's responsibility, under the agreement, to complete the checklist each year and submit it to the regional agency.[144]

Note: In the following sections, where there is no regional planning agency, the county can assume the same role with respect to the formulation of the agreements.


6-402 Regional Planning and Coordination Agreements

(1) Within [6] months of the adoption of the regional comprehensive plan and the certification of the plan to local governments and to special districts, the [regional planning agency] shall enter into a cooperative agreement with each local government or special district that provides an urban service within an urban growth area shown in the regional comprehensive plan.

(2) As used in this Section and in Section [6-403] below, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) "Urban Growth Area" means an area delineated in an adopted [regional or county] comprehensive plan [in accordance with the goals, policies, and guidelines in the state land development plan, prepared pursuant to Section [4-204]] within which urban development is encouraged by delineation of the area, compatible future land-use designations, and implementing actions in a local comprehensive plan, and outside of which urban development is discouraged. An urban growth area shall allow existing or proposed land uses at minimum densities and intensities sufficient to permit urban growth that is projected for the [region or county] for the succeeding [20]-year period and existing or proposed urban services to adequately support that urban growth.

(b) "Urban Growth Area Boundary" means a perimeter drawn around an urban growth area.

(c) "Urban Services" mean those activities, facilities, and utilities that are provided to urban-level densities and intensities to meet public demand or need and that, together, are not normally associated with nonurban areas. Urban services may include, but are not limited to: the provision of sanitary sewers and the collection and treatment of sewage; the provision of water lines and the pumping and treatment of water; fire protection; parks, recreation, and open space; streets and roads; mass transit; and other activities, facilities, and utilities of an urban nature, such as stormwater management or flood control.

(3) The cooperative agreement between the [regional planning agency] and a local government shall:

(a) describe the process the local government will use to involve the [regional planning agency] in local comprehensive planning, including review of plans and plan amendments for consistency with adopted regional plans and amendments to land-use regulations to the extent that such plans and amendments affect extra-jurisdictional or regional interests;

(b) describe the responsibilities of the [regional planning agency] in participating in local comprehensive planning, including review of plans and plan amendments for consistency with regional plans and amendments to land-use regulations to the extent that they affect extra-jurisdictional or regional interests;

(c) establish the role and responsibilities of each party to the agreement with respect to local government approval of developments having extra-jurisdictional or regional impact;

— If there is a development of regional impact process at the regional level, then paragraph (c) would not be a topic that is necessary to include in the agreement.

(d) establish the role and responsibilities of the local government with respect to the interests of the [regional planning agency] including, where applicable, review of capital projects having an extra-jurisdictional or regional impact, the provision of urban services as described in Section [6-403], the purchase of real property, including rights-of-way and easements, and the achievement of performance standards contained in the regional comprehensive plan;

(e) require a biennial report by the local government to the [regional planning agency] and by the [regional planning agency] to the local government concerning activities carried out pursuant to the agreement during the previous [2] years; and

(f) describe any other duties and responsibilities as may be agreed upon by the parties.

(4) The cooperative agreement between the [regional planning agency] and a special district shall:

(a) describe how the [regional planning agency] will involve the special district in regional planning;

(b) describe the role and responsibilities of the special district in regional planning, including preparation or involvement in the preparation of regional functional plans for the services that the special district provides;

(c) establish the role and responsibilities of the special district with respect to the interests of the [regional planning agency] including, where applicable, review of capital projects having an extra-jurisdictional or regional impact, the provision of urban services as described in Section [6-403], the purchase of real property, including rights-of-way and easements, and the achievement of performance standards contained in the regional comprehensive plan;

(d) specify the local governments and special districts that shall be parties to an urban services agreement under Section [6-403];

(e) require a biennial report by the special district to the [regional planning agency] and by the [regional planning agency] to the special district concerning activities carried out pursuant to the agreement during the previous [2] years; and

(f) describe any other duties and responsibilities as may be agreed upon by the parties.

(5) The [regional planning agency] shall review in writing each cooperative agreement at least every [5] years or upon the adoption or amendment of a regional comprehensive plan or regional functional plans to ensure that it is consistent with adopted regional goals and policies. The [regional planning agency] may also amend the agreement from time to time, with the consent of the other party or parties thereto.

6-403 Urban Service Agreements

(1) Each [regional planning agency] shall have the responsibility for convening representatives of all local governments, special districts, public utilities, whether publicly or privately owned, and other entities that provide, or declare an interest in providing, an urban service inside an urban growth area shown in an regional comprehensive plan. A [regional planning agency] may establish 2 or more subareas inside an urban growth area for the purpose of such agreements. A [regional planning agency] may provide or contract with others to provide technical assistance, mediation, or dispute resolution services in order to assist the parties in negotiating such agreements.

(2) Local governments, special districts, and public utilities, whether publicly or privately owned, and other entities that provide an urban service to an area within an urban growth area with a population greater than [2,500] persons shall enter into urban service agreements that:

(a) specify whether the urban service will be provided by one local government, special district, or public utility or by a combination of 2 or more local governments, special districts, or public utilities;

(b) set forth the functional role of each service provider in the future provision of the urban service;

(c) determine by map the future service areas for each provider of the urban service, provided, however, that no future urban service is to be provided to an area not within an urban growth boundary shown in the regional comprehensive plan;

(d) assign responsibilities for planning and coordinating the provision of the urban service with other urban services, for the planning, constructing, and maintaining of service facilities, and for the managing and administration of provision of services to urban users;

(e) define the terms of necessary transitions in the provision of urban services, ownership of facilities, annexation of service territory, transfer of monies or project responsibility between one urban service provider and another, and the merger of urban service providers or other measures for enhancing the cost efficiency of providing urban services; and

(f) establish a process for the review and modification of the urban service agreement. Each agreement shall be reviewed by parties to the agreement at least once every [5] years.

(3) The parties to an urban service agreement shall consider the following factors in establishing the agreement:

(a) the financial, operational, and managerial capacity to provide the service;

(b) the effect on the cost of the urban service to the users of the service, the quality and quantity of the service provided, and the ability of urban service users to identify and contact service providers for assistance;

(c) physical factors related to the provision of the urban service;

(d) the feasibility of creating a new entity for the provision of the urban service;

(e) the elimination or avoidance of unnecessary duplication of facilities;

(f) economic and demographic trends and projections relevant to the provision of the urban service;

(g) the allocation of charges among urban service users in a manner that reflects the difference in the costs of providing services to the users;

(h) the equitable and reasonable allocation of costs between new development and existing development; and

(i) economies of scale in providing the urban service.

(4) Urban service agreements entered into pursuant to this Section shall provide for the continuation of an adequate level of urban services to the entire area that each provider services. If an urban service agreement calls for significant reductions in the territory or district in which services are provided, the urban service agreement shall specify how the remaining portion of the territory or district is to receive services in an affordable manner.

(5) In entering into an urban service agreement, local governments, special districts, public utilities, and other entities that provide urban services shall consider the agreement's effect on the financial integrity and operational ability of each service provider and its protection of the solvency and commitments of affected service providers. When an urban service agreement provides for the elimination, consolidation, or reduction in size of a service provider, the urban service agreement shall address:

(a) the capital debt of the provider and the provider's short- and long-term finances;

(b) rates; and

(c) employee compensation, benefits, and job security.

(6) Whether the requirements of paragraphs (2) to (5) of this Section are met by a single urban service agreement among multiple providers of a service, by a series of agreements with individual providers, or by a combination of multiprovider and single-provider agreements shall be a matter of local discretion.

(7) Local governments, special districts, public utilities, and other entities that provide urban services shall enter into urban service agreements by [date]. After that date, no local government, special district, public utility, or entity that provides an urban service shall extend that service to an area not previously served, unless it has become a party to an agreement entered into pursuant to this Section.

Miscellaneous Provisions

6-501 Withdrawal from [Regional Planning Agency]

  • This section is inapplicable where membership by local government is mandated by statute.

Any participating unit of government may withdraw from membership in the [regional planning agency] at the end of any fiscal year, provided that the following conditions are met:

(1) Adoption, at least [6] months prior to the end of the [regional planning agency]'s fiscal year, of a resolution by a majority of the membership of the governing body of the governmental unit requesting withdrawal from membership;

(2) Provision of written notice to the [regional planning agency], accompanied by a certified copy of the resolution; and

(3) Payment, or provision for payment, regarding any obligations of the governmental unit to the [agency] or its creditors, including its allocated share of the contractual obligations of the [agency] continuing beyond the effective date of its withdrawal.

6-502 Dissolution of [Regional Planning Agency]

  • This section is inapplicable where membership in the regional planning agency is mandated by statute and there is no local agreement establishing the agency.

The agreement establishing the [regional planning agency] shall provide for the manner of its dissolution, should it become necessary, provided that all outstanding indebtedness or obligations of the [agency] have been paid and all unexpended funds have been returned to the local governments, other governmental agencies, and private organizations or individuals that supplied them, or that adequate provision has been made therefore.

[or]

Upon receipt of certified copies of resolutions recommending the dissolution of a [regional planning agency] adopted by the legislative bodies of a majority of the local governments in the region, and upon a finding that all outstanding indebtedness or obligations of the [agency] have been paid and all unexpended funds have been returned to the local governments, other governmental agencies, and private organizations or individuals that supplied them, or that adequate provision has been made therefore, the governor shall issue a certificate of dissolution of the [agency] which shall thereupon cease to exist.


Commentary: State Aid to Regional Planning Agencies

A number of states, among them, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Texas, provide direct financial support to regional planning agencies.[145] Where the state mandates the creation of a regional planning agency and mandates the membership of local governments as well as representation by appointees of the governor, state financial support is especially appropriate. The following Section provides alternative formulas for state aid.


6-503 State Aid to [Regional Planning Agency]

(1) Each [regional planning agency] shall be eligible for state financial assistance from funds appropriated by the [legislature] to the [state planning agency or other appropriate state agency] for this purpose. Financial assistance shall be an annual grant of [331/3 or 50] percent of local contributions to the annual budget of the [agency] but shall be subject to the availability of funds as appropriated by the [legislature].

[(2) The [regional planning agency] shall receive [3] percent of all state revenue-sharing funds distributed to local governments within the region pursuant to [citation to appropriate state law].][146]

[or]

(1) The [state planning agency] shall establish by rule a minimum funding level for [regional planning agencies], conditioned upon the amount of state funds appropriated, and a supplemental funding formula to be used for the distribution of available state funds in excess of the minimum funding amount. To be eligible for the minimum funding amount, each [regional planning agency] must assess and collect annual dues in the amount of [stipulate amount in dollars or cents] for each resident in each county within the region, based on the most recent estimate of county population from the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

(2) To be eligible for any supplemental funding, each [regional planning agency] shall be required to match the amount of the supplemental funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis. For the purpose of computing matching funds, it shall use only its revenues in excess of the amount required for the minimum funding amount.[147]

Designation of Regional Planning Agency as Substate District Organization


Commentary: Designation of Regional Planning Agency as a Substate District Organization

A number of states delineate the boundaries of substate districts and designate substate districting organizations within them. For example, North Carolina accomplishes this through executive order.[148] Virginia, Kentucky, and Georgia are examples of states where the power to designate districts is authorized by statute.[149] These substate districts, in many cases, were established to respond to federal mandates in the 1970s for multijurisdictional planning that involved local governments and special purpose agencies and to undertake regional reviews of applications for federal assistance as an A-95 clearinghouse, a reference to the federal Office of Management and Budget Circular that set up the review process and has since been replaced by a Presidential executive order.[150] In addition, they are intended to provide a two-way conduit to the state for local government views — a single point of contact that state agencies may use in formulating programs with an intergovernmental dimension. In some states, the substate districts are economic development entities, a vehicle for assisting businesses in locating within the region through technical assistance and data collection and analysis.

The legislation below, based on a model originally developed by the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations,[151] formalizes the process of substate districting by placing responsibility on the governor to delineate substate districts according to statutory criteria, designate or stimulate the creation of a substate district organization where one does not exist, and periodically consider revisions to district boundaries. State agencies would be required to use the district boundaries in administration, planning, environmental permitting, and other activities, to the extent possible. Designated organizations would be responsible for all federally assisted multi-jurisdictional planning in the district, review of applications for federal assistance, and review of proposed state capital improvements for consistency with regional plans. Existing regional planning agencies are therefore given, in the Sections below, a preference in the designation of substate district organizations.


6-601 Delineation of Substate Districts

(1) The governor [may or shall] divide the state into substate districts for planning, administration, development, and other regional purposes [by [date]].

(2) Prior to the delineation of any district boundary, the governor shall make any necessary studies and surveys, consult with appropriate state officials and agencies, and convene meetings of local elected officials. The governor shall hold at least [1] public hearing in each proposed substate district, notice of which shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the proposed substate district at least [30] days in advance of the hearings. [The governor may delegate the responsibilities of making studies and surveys, consulting with state officials and agencies, convening meetings of local elected officials, and holding hearings to the director of the state planning agency [and other appropriate state agencies].]

(3) In defining the districts, the governor shall take into account the following criteria:

(a) patterns of urban and rural development;

(b) distribution of population;

(c) patterns of transportation, including regional commuting;

(d) interrelatedness of social, economic, and environmental problems;

(e) boundaries of existing [regional planning agencies] and state planning and administrative units;

(f) interstate relationships and metropolitan area boundaries (to the maximum extent possible, no county, metropolitan area, or local government may be divided when forming a district);

(g) geographic and topographic features

(h) historic, scenic, and natural resources, living and non-living; and

(i) preferences of affected local governments as expressed through resolutions adopted by legislative bodies.

(4) Within [1 year] of the effective date of this Act, the governor shall report to the legislature and shall certify to the [secretary of state] the boundaries of each substate district. At the same time, the governor shall notify the governing body of each local government, appropriate special districts, and the [regional planning agency], should one exist.

(5) After each decennial census and when local governments representing at least 60 percent of a district's population so request through the adoption of resolutions by their legislative bodies, the governor shall reconsider the delineation of substate district boundaries and may make appropriate adjustments pursuant to the criteria and procedures set forth in paragraphs (2) through (4) of this Section.

6-602 Designation of Substate District Organization

(1) The governor shall designate a single substate district organization in each substate district. [This designation shall follow completion of any necessary studies and surveys, and consultation and meetings with appropriate local elected officials and their respective state associations, and the holding of at least [1] public hearing in each substate district, notice of which shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the proposed substate district at least [30] days in advance].

(2) The governor may designate existing regional planning agencies organized pursuant to Sections [6-101 et seq.], including those covering interstate areas, as substate district organizations. Where the governor intends to designate an interstate [regional planning agency] as a substate district, the governor shall notify the governor(s) of the affected states of that intention at least [60] days in advance of a decision on designation for comments and advice.

(3) If the governor finds that:

(a) no [regional planning agency] exists in a substate district;

(b) the existing [agency] does not have the basic powers, functional responsibilities, membership, staff, geographic scope, or other factors necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Act; or

(c) the existing [agency] is not willing to serve as the substate district organization;

then the governor may convene a meeting of elected officials representing each local government within the district to organize a new regional body or reconstitute and reorganize an existing regional body, which the governor shall then designate as the substate district organization.

(4) If a single local government encompasses and is the major direct provider of services for [all or 90 percent] of the geographic area and population within a substate district, the governor shall designate the local government as a substate district organization.

6-603 State Agency Use of Substate District Boundaries

(1) Each state agency that divides the state for purposes of planning, administration, service delivery, environmental permitting and control, economic development, and emergency management shall conform its boundaries to those of the substate districts, except as provided in paragraph (3) of this Section.

(2) The governor shall monitor the boundary conformance process and shall allow the agencies involved sufficient time to comply. In all cases, agencies shall conform within [2] years of the effective date of this Act.

(3) If a state agency, due to the unique nature of its clientele or functional responsibilities, cannot efficiently and effectively conform to the substate district boundaries, the chief executive officer of the agency may petition the governor for permission to maintain separate boundaries. Such a petition shall be accompanied by appropriate studies and surveys. The governor may grant the exception only if compliance would be clearly detrimental to the achievement of the agency's purposes as balanced against the desirability of uniform district boundaries for state-supported services and activities. Where exceptions are granted, the governor may require that the state agency compile all data for research, analysis, budgeting, and reporting purposes on the geographic patterns of the official substate districts where these districts are basic statistical units in a statewide information system.

6-604 Effect of Designation on Substate District Organization

(1) The substate district organization shall be the authorized agency in each district to receive federal grants-in-aid for areawide planning, coordination, and development purposes.

(2) All state agencies shall use the substate district organization in each region for any areawide planning, coordination, and districting activities in which they engage, except those state agencies exempted from conforming to substate district boundaries under Section [6-603(3)] above. Where this Act provides for substate district review of state agency projects, state agencies shall develop, by administrative rule, procedures for such review.

(3) The substate district organization shall review all applications submitted by local governments, special districts, and private nonprofit organizations within its boundaries for a loan or grant from a federal department or agency for programs and purposes required by federal law or regulation so as to determine whether the application is consistent with its regional comprehensive plan or regional functional plan.

(4)[152] The substate district organization shall review any proposed state major capital facilities project to be located within its boundaries. The organization shall advise the state agency within [30] days from the date of submission as to whether the project is consistent with the regional comprehensive plan or any regional functional plan and whether it is properly coordinated with other existing or proposed projects in the region. If the organization finds that the proposed project is inconsistent with the regional comprehensive plan or regional functional plan or lacks proper coordination, it shall so notify the state agency in writing as to the basis of the conflict and lack of coordination. The state agency shall resolve all inconsistencies and problems of coordination to the organization's satisfaction before it initiates the project.

Note 6A — A Note on Weighted Voting Procedures

This Note provides three examples of regional planning agency bylaws or constitutions that have mandatory or optional weighted voting procedures. Where the procedures are optional, representatives may activate the procedure simply by calling for it. These procedures and the weighting will vary depending on whether the agency has representation from jurisdictions that are not general purpose units of local government (e.g., special districts like metropolitan transportation authorities or school districts) or representation either by members of the state legislature or appointees of the governor. For instance, the nongovernmental representatives of the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission have a vote, as do the governor's appointees to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council in Florida. For the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, members of the Virginia and Maryland legislatures have a vote; however, if a weighted vote is called, they cannot participate.

Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (Dayton, Ohio) Constitution and Bylaws

Voting

1. Members of the Commission shall be entitled to cast the following number of votes on matters coming before the Commission at meetings thereof:

  • Members appointed by a city: one vote for each 50,000 residents or fraction thereof
     
  • Members appointed by a village: one vote
     
  • Members appointed by a township: one vote for each 50,000 residents or fraction thereof located in the unincorporated area
     
  • Members appointed by a county: one vote, plus one vote for each 50,000 residents or fraction thereof located in unincorporated areas of nonparticipating townships
     
  • Each nongovernmental member: one vote

2. Except where otherwise specified herein, at any meeting of the Commission at which a quorum shall be present, the action of members casting a majority of all votes cast shall constitute official action by the Commission.

3. A roll call vote will be taken upon the request of any commission member.

4. On issues for which the Chair, acting in consultation with the Executive Director, shall deem that it is desirable to obtain a vote of the full Commission membership, a vote by mail may be conducted, using a mailing list which exactly corresponds to the current official roll of voting members.

Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (Tampa, Florida)

2H-1.004 — Membership and Voting

(4) (a) For the general conduct of business, each member government shall have an equal vote which shall be one for each representative, except as provided below.

(b) Prior to a vote and upon the call of three representatives, a weighted vote shall be taken by role call. The total weighted vote shall consist of the member governments' vote and the Governor's appointees' vote. The member governments' vote shall be two-thirds of the total vote and shall be apportioned among the member governments' representatives in the same proportion as the member governments' population bears to the total population of the region, provided, however, that no portion of the population shall be represented by more than one member government.

(c) The Governor's appointees' vote shall be one-third of the total vote and shall be apportioned among the Governor's appointed representatives in the same proportion as the appointed representative's county of residence's population bears to the total population of the region.

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (Washington, D.C.) Bylaws

5.06 When a quorum of the board is present at any meeting, the vote of a majority of the Board members shall decide any question before the meeting, except when a weighted vote is invoked as follows.

(a) On a vote on any matter before the Board of Directors, weighted voting may be called for by any two (2) members present and representing two or more participating local governments represented on the Board.

(b) Any question for which weighted voting has been called shall be determined by the majority of the weighted votes allocated to the members of the participant governments present and voting. For this purpose, each participating government shall have one vote for each 25,000 population, and the next major succeeding portion thereof in the jurisdiction of the participating government, except that any participating government which has a population of less than 25,000 shall have one vote. For the purpose of weighted voting, the population assigned to each participating local government shall be the population used for fee assessment purposes under Section 11.03 [of the bylaws].

(c) Representatives of any participating local government having two or more members on the Board of Directors may divide their aggregate votes between or among them.

(d) Board members from the Virginia General Assembly and the Maryland General Assembly shall be excluded from any weighted vote. On a vote for which weighted voting has not been called, they shall each be entitled to one vote, and it shall be counted to determine if a majority vote has been attained on the question before the membership.

Note 6B — A Note on Urban Growth Areas and Regional Planning

This Chapter, in Section 6-201, Alternative 2, and in Section 6-201.1, introduces the concept of the urban growth area as a device for determining the spatial structure of the region and overall land-use density or intensity. It is an instrument for "urban containment planning" intended to promote compact and contiguous development patterns that can be efficiently served by public services and to preserve or protect open space, agricultural land, and environmentally sensitive areas.

An urban containment program:

consists of a perimeter drawn around an urban area, within which urban development is encouraged and outside of which urban development is discouraged. Urban containment lines are generally designed to accommodate projected growth over a specified time period, typically 10 to 20 years.

Land outside urban containment boundaries is generally restricted to resource uses and to very-low-density residential development ranging from one unit per 10 acres to one unit per 20 acres or more in prescribed and carefully restricted areas. The extension of utilities, especially wastewater service, is generally prohibited outside the boundary. Within urban containment boundaries, development is generally encouraged, often with density bonuses and, occasionally, with minimum density requirements. Land within an urban containment boundary, but outside the city limits, is often subject to contractual city/county agreements governing development standards and timing of annexation and utility extension.

This note addresses only the technical issues of urban growth boundaries, and presumes that policy issues of the appropriate scale and location of growth have already been addressed in the public process.

Definitions

The Washington statutes provide a good contemporary definition of what constitutes an urban growth area. In Washington, all counties that are either required or choose to plan under the state statutes must designate urban growth areas within their comprehensive plans.[154] Under the statute, an urban growth area is one

within which urban growth shall be encouraged and outside of which growth can occur only if it is not urban in nature. Each city that is located in such a county shall be included in an urban growth area. An urban growth area may include more than a single city. . . .

. . . [T]he urban growth areas in the county shall include areas and densities sufficient to permit the urban growth that is projected to occur in the county for the succeeding 20-year period. Each urban growth area shall permit urban densities and shall include greenbelt and open space areas. . . .

Urban growth should be located first in areas already characterized by urban growth that have public facility and service characteristics to serve such development, and second in areas that will be served by a combination of both existing public facilities and services and any additional needed public facilities and services that are provided by either public or private sources. Further, it is appropriate that urban government services be provided by cities, and urban government services should not be provided in rural areas.[155]

Urban Growth Area Boundaries as Regional Planning Instruments

To serve as an effective device for containing urban growth, urban growth boundaries must play a central role in the development of regional plans.[156] The construction of an urban growth area boundary, for example, helps regional planning agencies and local governments form consistent expectations about the rate and character of future urban growth; helps to establish a consensus among regional and local governments about where future urban growth will take place; and facilitates regional agencies and local governments in coordinating their efforts to manage and accommodate such growth. These important benefits can be realized by completing the following steps:

(1) Develop a population and employment forecast for the urban area or region. The process of delineating urban growth area boundaries begins by developing a population and employment forecast for the entire urban area. At a minimum, population forecasts must be disaggregated by household size, and employment forecasts must be disaggregated into commercial and industrial sectors. The regional planning agency can develop the forecasts itself or may obtain them from state agencies or national forecasting firms. In preparing or obtaining the forecasts, the agency should ensure that they are consistent with larger supra-regional economic and demographic forecasts.

(2) Develop regional density targets or minimums and public service standards. The regional urban growth boundary must be based on carefully chosen targets or minimums for residential and employment densities and standards for public service. Regional residential density targets or minimums (measured in terms of dwelling units per acre), for example, must be based on housing plans or assumptions about housing development that provide for a range of housing alternatives. Commercial and industrial employment density targets (measured in terms of the number of employees per acre) must reflect carefully considered plans for regional economic development. Public service standards may be expressed through such measures as acres of parks and open space per capita, minimum sizes for or acreage per capita of schools, fire and police stations, and health care facilities, and miles of road network per acre. Alternately, they may also be expressed as a percentage of total urban land.

(3) Estimate residential and nonresidential land required to accommodate future urban growth. A series of calculations — greatly simplified here for the purposes of illustration — shows how land requirements can be calculated using regional population and employment density targets and infrastructure service standards.[157]

Calculations for residential land. Assume that, over a period of 20 years, the population of a hypothetical region is projected to rise from 200,000 to 225,000 persons, an increase of 25,000 or 12.5 percent. Projected occupancy is 2.5 persons per dwelling unit on the average for the period.

If the density target or minimum for the urban growth area in the regional comprehensive plan is set at six dwelling units per net acre, the land for residential purposes that would need to be set aside would be calculated as follows:

(25,000 persons projected population growth) / (2.5 persons per dwelling unit)) / (6 dwelling units per net acre) = 1,667 net residential acres

As illustrated in the above equation, residential land requirements depend critically on the target or minimum for residential density. If the net density target is increased to 10 units per net acre, the amount of residential land necessary for the 20-year period would drop to 1,000 acres, a reduction of about 40 percent.

Calculations for industrial land. Calculations of industrial employment requirements can be based on targets for industrial employment density. Such targets should be based on employment densities in the types of industries the region seeks or expects to attract. For example, assume that industrial employment growth projected for the community equals 1,000 employees over the forecast period (primarily in electronics) and that the industrial employment density in the (electronics) industry equals 20 employees per net acre. Using this information, industrial land requirements can be calculated as follows:

(1,000 employees in projected industrial employment growth) / (20 industrial employees per net acre) = 50 industrial acres

Calculations for commercial land. Calculations for commercial land requirements can be based on target employment densities, just as industrial land requirements. Commercial employment densities may, however, vary extensively by location and type of commercial land use. Office employment densities in central cities, for example, are likely to exceed retail employment densities in suburban malls. Therefore, it may be preferable to calculate requirements for commercial land based on employment forecasts for and employment densities in specific commercial sectors and urban locations.

Calculations for public and institutional land. Public and institutional land requirements can be based on national or regional public service standards. A national service standard for neighborhood parks, for example, is approximately one to two acres per 1,000 population. If the regional agency chooses the higher service standard of two acres per 1,000 population, the land required for public parks can be calculated as follows:

(25,000 persons in projected population growth) x (.002 acres of park per person) = 50 acres of parkland

Alternate approaches. There are alternate ways to project nonresidential land-use needs, although they do not have the precision of projections based on forecasts of economic activity or assumptions about standards for public and institutional land. Under such approaches, nonresidential land absorption is calculated by conducting a historical analysis of the relationship between population and nonresidential land absorbed or nonresidential land use as a proportion of total land use in the region. The resulting ratios — either per capita or a percentage — are used to determine additional nonresidential land.

For example, assume that, historically, nonresidential land uses, including commercial, industrial, institutional, park and recreation, and other public uses, including rights-of-way, accounted for between 48 and 58 percent of the land uses in the region, with the remainder for residential land uses.[158] Using 52 percent for residential land uses and 48 percent for nonresidential land uses, and applying it to projected residential land uses at six dwelling units per net acre, total nonresidential acreage for the urban service area can be computed as follows:

(Projected residential land use)/percentage of residential land use to total land uses) x (Percentage of nonresidential land use to total land use) = Nonresidential land use in acres

Substituting the figures used in the example in "Calculations for residential land" (above), the formula yields:

(1,667 acres / 52 percent) x (48 percent) = 1,539 acres

In this alternate approach, a market factor is also applied to ensure there is a sufficient supply of vacant land inside the urban growth area boundary to allow the efficient and competitive functioning of the real estate market and to prevent landowners from monopolizing large parcels of vacant land, thereby driving up land prices.[159] Applying this factor results in the calculation of an additional amount of developable land beyond what residential and nonresidential land-use projections yield. For example, assume that the market factor is 16 percent.[160] If land absorbed for residential and nonresidential uses totals 3,206 acres (1,667 acres for residential and 1,539 acres for nonresidential), application of the 16 percent market factor would require an additional 513 acres, for a total of 3,719 acres over the forecast period.

(4) Identify potential for infill and redevelopment within existing urbanized areas. Encouraging infill and redevelopment is critical for successful urban containment planning. Identifying potential for infill and redevelopment within existing urbanized areas requires a detailed analysis of land use and land-use potential within each jurisdiction in the region. At a minimum, such analysis requires the identification of vacant developable land. The potential of such land can be determined by examining the proposed use of the land in local comprehensive plans. Vacant land zoned for residential use, for example, should be considered as potential for accommodating future residential growth. The assessment of potential for redevelopment requires a similar but more difficult process. Specifically, it requires identifying land that is currently in one use but planned for a more intensive use. Land currently in single-family use but zoned for multiple-family use, for example, should also be considered as suitable for accommodating future residential growth.

(5) Identify environmentally sensitive and undevelopable land outside existing urbanized areas. Before demarcating areas for future urban growth, the regional planning agency must identify those areas outside existing urban areas that should not be designated for urban use or intensive development. These lands include environmentally sensitive areas, such as wetlands, threatened and endangered species habitats, and shorelands, and resource areas, such as prime agricultural land. These also include areas that are difficult to develop due to physical attributes, such as steep slope or natural hazards (e.g., potential for landslides or flooding). (These areas, however, could be used to satisfy park and open space requirements).

(6) Identify areas for future urban growth. Once the technical tasks of estimating land necessary to accommodate future urban growth and identifying areas where growth can be accommodated are done, the potentially difficult task of selecting areas for future urban growth begins. Three outcomes are possible:

(a) In the unlikely event that estimated land requirements equal land available for development and redevelopment within existing urban areas, and that planned densities in local comprehensive plans meet regional density targets or minimums, the urban growth area boundary can simply be drawn around the area contained in the local comprehensive plans.

(b) If land available for development or redevelopment exceeds estimated land requirements, local governments can designate less land for urban use or experience idle land use within the planning period.

(c) In the most likely event that estimated land requirements exceed land available for development or redevelopment, then growth will have to be accommodated by increasing planned densities or intensities, by expanding the area of urban development, or by some combination of both.

Participants in the process — regional agencies, local governments, special districts, and lay citizens, among them — should be prepared to undergo several iterations of discussions on where and how growth should be accommodated before arriving at a firm location for urban growth area expansion. It is through these discussions, however, that the major benefits of growth management and regional planning are realized.

While urban growth areas could conceivably be implemented individually by local governments, the existence of a regional framework will ensure that the effort will be more effective and equitable. Absent a regional framework, as proposed here, the consequence of single or scattered urban containment programs by one or several local governments means that: (a) growth will simply be shifted from one part of one community in the urban area to another community in the area; or (b) growth may bypass the enacting community and jump outward to the next tier of vacant but developable land.[161] Further, a regional urban growth area framework spreads the benefit of the system among central cities, the inner ring of developed and mature suburbs, developing suburbs, and the rural areas beyond.

Relationship to State Land Development Plan

If the state has adopted a state land development plan that provides standards and criteria for the establishment of urban growth area (see Section 4-204), the regional comprehensive plan must incorporate those standards and criteria.[162] For example, the state could describe standards for locating the boundary lines. It might provide either a range of minimum densities (in terms of net dwellings units per acre) or land-use intensities to be provided within the growth area. The urban growth area, as delineated in the regional comprehensive plan, would follow the state locational standards and incorporate the density range. In turn, if there is a system in place where the regional planning agency reviews local comprehensive plans for consistency with the regional comprehensive plan, the regional agency would look to determine: (a) whether the local plan's urban growth area corresponds with that of the regional comprehensive plan; and (b) whether the local plan has provided densities and land-use intensities consistent with those in the regional comprehensive plan.

Adjustment of Urban Growth Area

Periodically, the regional planning agency may need to adjust the urban growth area. In 1995, Oregon amended its planning statutes to provide for a formal procedure, including specific analytical techniques, to do so. Ore. Rev. Stat. § 197.295, which addresses buildable land available in an urban growth boundary,[163] provides in part:

(3) As part of its next periodic review pursuant to [state statutes] . . . or any other legislative review of the urban growth boundary, a local government shall.

(a) Inventory the supply of buildable lands within the urban growth boundary;

(b) Determine the actual density and the actual average mix of housing types of residential development that have occurred since the last periodic review or five years, whichever is greater; and

(c) Conduct an analysis of housing need by type and density ranges, in accordance with ORS 197.303 and statewide planning goals and rules relating to housing, to determine the amount of land needed for each needed housing type for the next 20 years.

(4) If the determination required by subsection (3) [above] of this section indicates that the urban growth boundary does not contain sufficient buildable lands [which are defined in the statute as "lands in urban and urbanizable areas that are suitable, available and necessary for residential uses" and include "both vacant land and developed land likely to be redeveloped"] to accommodate housing needs for 20 years at the actual developed density that has occurred since the last periodic review, the local government shall take one of the following actions:

(a) Amend its urban growth boundary to include sufficient buildable lands to accommodate housing needs for 20 years at the actual developed density during the period since the last periodic review or within the last five years, whichever is greater. As part of this process, the amendment shall include land reasonably necessary to accommodate the site of new public school facilities. The need and inclusion of lands for new public school facilities shall be a coordinated process between the affected public school districts and the local government that has the authority to approve the urban growth boundary;

(b) Amend its comprehensive plan, functional plan, or land-use regulations to include new measures that demonstrably increase the likelihood that residential development will occur at densities sufficient to accommodate housing needs for 20 years without expansion of the urban growth boundary. A local government or metropolitan service district that takes this action shall monitor and record the level of development activity and development density by housing type following the date of the adoption of the new measures; or

(c) Adopt a combination of the actions described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection.

(5) Using the analysis conducted under subsections (3)(c) of this section [of the statute], the local government shall determine the overall average density and overall mix of housing types at which residential development of needed housing types must occur in order to meet housing needs over the next 20 years. If that density is greater than the actual density of development determined under subsection (3)(b) of this section, or if that mix is different from the actual mix of housing types determined under subsection (3)(b) of this section, the local government, as part of its periodic review, shall adopt measures that demonstrably increase the likelihood that residential development will occur at the housing types and densities and at the mix of housing types required to meet housing needs over the next 20 years.

(7) . . . Actions or measures [under subsections (4) or (5)], or both, may include but are not limited to:

(a) Increases in the permitted density on existing residential land;

(b) Financial incentives for higher density housing;

(c) Provisions permitting additional density beyond that generally allowed in the zoning district in exchange for amenities and features provided by the developer;

(d) Removal or easing of approval standards or procedures;

(e) Minimum density ranges;

(f) Redevelopment and infill strategies;

(g) Authorization of housing types not previously allowed by the plan or regulations; and

(h) Adoption of an average residential density standard.

  • The approach taken in these amendments is useful for any state or regional planning agency intending to identify urban growth areas in plans or to periodically revise the location of the boundaries and the extent of the land area within them, and to compare the nature of the development that is actually occurring with what was proposed.

Note 6C — A Note on Existing Regional Plans

This Note outlines six recent regional plans and the legislation that prescribes their contents.[164] It is intended to offer a snapshot of regional planning practices in various states. Table 6-2 summarizes what the legislation authorizing the plan calls for and indicates whether the legislative requirements were fulfilled in that plan.

Florida: South Florida Regional Planning Council
Florida has established regional planning councils for the entire geographic area of the state. In essence, this is a form of substate districting. State statutes requires each council to prepare a "strategic regional policy plan." Florida Statutes § 186.507 and Chapter 27E-5.004 of the Florida Administrative Code require strategic regional policy plans to address a number of subject areas, including affordable housing, regional transportation, economic development, natural resources, emergency preparedness, and significant regional resources and facilities. Regional planning agencies in Florida provide technical assistance and information, provide information, and review developments of regional impact.

The South Florida Regional Planning Council, in Hollywood, covers a region consisting of Broward, Dade, and Monroe Counties. The Council is made up of 13 local government officials, six gubernatorial appointees, and four ex officio members. It has prepared a plan centered around the required subject areas in the statute. The plan also contains a section describing implementation strategies for the plan. The heart of the plan lies in its series of strategic regional goals, benchmarks /indicators, and regional policies.

The state statutes do not require absolute consistency between the state comprehensive plan and the strategic regional policy plan. The executive office of the governor, under Florida Statutes § 186.508, reviews the proposed regional plan and recommends revisions to the regional council. However, under this section, "nothing . . .shall preclude . . .a council from adopting or rejecting any or all of the revisions as part of its plan prior to the effective date of the plan." Whether or not the council agrees with them, the governor's recommended revisions must appear in a comment section in the plan.

Oregon: Portland Metro

Voters in the three-county region (Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas Counties) surrounding Portland, Oregon, authorized by referendum in 1979 a metropolitan service district. Metro, as the district is called, is governed by 12 officials directly elected from districts in the metropolitan area. Metro provides technical assistance and information, has binding review authority over local plans, and operates certain regional services such as the zoo, the Oregon convention center, and solid waste management activities. Oregon statutes also permit the voters of such a district to frame a charter. Adopted on November 3, 1992, the current charter calls for the Metro to adopt a regional framework plan.

Under the charter, the framework plan is to: (1) describe its relationship to a "future vision" statement for the region, to be drafted by a special commission appointed by the Metro board (that statement is a "conceptual statement that indicates population levels and settlement patterns that the region can accommodate within the carrying capacity of the land, water and air resources [of the Portland area], and its educational and economic resources, and that achieves a desired quality of life"); (2) comply with applicable Oregon statewide planning goals; (3) be subject to compliance acknowledgment — a form of state certification — by the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission or its successor; and (4) be the basis for coordination of local comprehensive plans and implementing regulations.[165]

The regional framework plan was adopted in 1997, providing detailed goals and policies on land use, transportation, parks and open space, water management, and natural hazards, as well as implementation measures including but not limited to an urban growth boundary and regional review of local comprehensive plans. The 2040 Framework Plan was preceded by the 2040 Growth Concept, establishing a general policy direction for managing growth in the next 50 years — through the year 2040, as the name implies. The growth concept was adopted by the Metro in December 1994 and served as a guide for developing the regional framework plan, an updated regional transportation plan, and changes to local comprehensive plans. While the concept did not delineate the specifics of exactly when, how, or where growth may occur in the region, it applied the policy groundwork laid out in previously developed regional urban growth goals and objectives to explain or discuss several "concepts" (e.g., green corridors, intermodal facilities, transportation demand management and pricing strategies, etc.) that should be pursued. It also recognized that additional planning is needed to test the growth concept and determine implementation actions.

California: San Diego Association of Governments

In California, regional planning exists through one of two mechanisms, both of which derive from state statutes: (1) the creation of a regional planning district, whereby the preparation of a regional plan is required;[166] and (2) the use of a joint powers agreement to create an independent planning agency and subsequent plan.[167]

In the San Diego metropolitan area, the joint powers agreement was used to form the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) that represents 18 cities and one county. The board consists of representatives of those governmental units. The current joint powers agreement lists the issues that SANDAG's regional planning must address (see Table 6-1). SANDAG's authority includes technical assistance, information management, and administration of a self-certification process by local governments for compliance with the regional plan (see the discussion in the commentary to Section 6-402 of the Legislative Guidebook).

SANDAG's main document, the Regional Growth Management Strategy (1993), establishes a framework for managing growth in the region. As discussed earlier in the commentary to Section 6-402, a distinguishing component of the strategy is a self-certification process for determining consistency between local and regional agencies. The checklist is to be used by local governments to monitor implementation of the recommended actions and the achievement of the standards and objectives. Governmental units complete the checklist each year and return it to SANDAG.

Massachusetts: Cape Cod Commission

In 1990, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed "An Act Establishing the Cape Cod Commission."[168] The legislation is a special act applying only to Barnstable County. The Commission, headquartered in Barnstable, is to serve as the regional planning and land-use commission for the county. The Commission consists of 15 representatives of the county's towns, one county commissioner, one Native American, one minority member appointed by the board of county commissioners, and one minority member appointed by the governor. It has authority to prepare and oversee the implementation of a regional land-use policy plan for all Cape Cod, to recommend for designation specific areas of critical planning concern, to review and regulate developments of regional impact, and to review local plans for consistency with the regional land-use policy plan.

The Act details the contents of the regional policy plan. The plan establishes review and regulatory policies for developments of regional impact and a framework for the preparation and review of local town comprehensive plans. Additionally, it identifies key resources of regional concern — such as aquifer recharge areas, shellfish habitat areas, and historic village centers — that may deserve special recognition and protection.

Minnesota: Twin Cities Metropolitan Council

The Metropolitan Council for the seven-county Twin Cities area in Minnesota was established in 1967 by the state legislature. The Council membership consists of representatives of 16 districts appointed by the governor. Its authority includes preparation of regional plans, binding review of local plans and developments of regional significance, technical assistance, and regional services management, including transit, solid waste, airports, and regional sports facilities. In contrast to states where regional plans are generally specified as part of separate legislation or a charter, Minnesota statutes prescribe the specific contents of regional plans for the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning agency for the Twin Cities area. In perhaps the most comprehensive legislation addressing the content of regional plans, the Minnesota statutes require the Metro Council to:

prepare and adopt . . . a comprehensive development guide for the metropolitan area. It shall consist of policy statements, goals, standards, programs and maps prescribing guides for an orderly and economic development, public and private, of the metropolitan area. The comprehensive development guide shall recognize and encompass physical, social or economic needs of the metropolitan area and those future developments which will have an impact on the entire area including, but not limited to, such matters as land use, parks and open space land needs, the necessity for and location of airports, highways, transit facilities, public hospitals, libraries, schools and other public buildings.

The Metro Council's current edition of the development guide is called the Regional Blueprint. The Blueprint identifies the Urban Service Area, representing the area where a full range of metropolitan systems (sewers, highways and transit, parks and airports) are to be provided along with local service systems. The Blueprint also designates a series of seven communities as freestanding growth centers that are physically separated from the larger urban service area of undeveloped land. In addition to the development guide, the Minnesota statutes describe a variety of functional plans dealing with water, solid waste, airports, and other metropolitan systems. The statutes require Metro Council regional policy plans (including various functional plans) to include statements that address topics described in Table 6-2.[170]

New York: Adirondack Park Agency

In 1971, the New York state legislature passed the Adirondack Park Agency Act to "insure optimum overall conservation, protection, preservation, development, and use of . . . the Adirondack Park." In contrast to the other regional entities discussed above, it is a state agency with authority over a specific region of New York The legislation defines the makeup and functions of the agency. The governing board consists of five park residents and three other private citizens appointed by the governor. It authorizes the agency, based in Ray Brook, to develop two plans for the lands within the park: (1) the State Land Master Plan for the park's publicly owned lands, and (2) the Land Use and Development Plan for the park's privately owned lands.

The State Land Master Plan categorizes sections of the State Forest Preserve (the public lands) according to their resource characteristics, patterns of use, and abilities to withstand additional recreation activity. This plan guides the direct management of state lands within the park. The Land Use and Development Plan for the private lands classifies private lands into six intensity classes according to their ability to withstand development without significant adverse environmental impacts. Through this latter plan, the agency engages in direct regulation of private land, including issuance of building permits outside of areas designated as "hamlets."

Regional Planning Agency/Plan Authority Contents of Plan as Described in Legislation
Strategic Regional Policy Plan for South Florida (1995) Florida Statutes, § 186.507 (1995) and Florida Administrative Code, 27E-5.004 (1995) ** executive summary
** vision statement
** trends and conditions statement
** discussion of strategic regional subject areas (land use and public facilities, natural resources of regional significance, economic development, regional transportation, affordable housing, emergency preparedness)
** goals
** policies
** coordination outline
** regionally significant resources and facilities
** glossary
Cape Cod (Mass.) Commission Regional Policy Plan (1991) Cape Cod Commission Act, Ch. 716 of the Acts of 1989 and Ch. 2 of the Acts of 1990 ** growth policy for the county
** regional goals for each issue area (land use /growth management, natural resources, economic development, community facilities and services, affordable housing, open space and recreation, historic preservation/community character)
** policy for coordinating regional and local planning effots
** identification of the county's critical resources and management needs (including coastal, historical resources, available open space, etc)
Metro (Oregon) 2040 Framework (1997) 1992 Metro Council Charter * regional transportation and mass transit systems
* management and amendment of the urban growth boundary
* protection of lands outside the urban growth boundary for natural resource future urban or other uses
* housing densities
* urban design and settlement patterns
* parks, open spaces, and recreational facilities
* water sources and storage
* coordination of policies
* planning responsibilities mandated by state law
Metro Council (Minnesota) Regional Blueprint (1994) Minnesota Statutes, § § 473.145 to 473.146 Development guide shall include:
** compilation of policy statements
** goals
** standards
** programs
** maps
** action steps divided into five strategy areas (economic, reinvestment, building stronger communities, environmental, guiding growth)

Specific/functional regional plans shall include:
* forecasts of changes
* issues, problems, and needs
* goals, objectives, and priorities
* policies
* fiscal implications
* standards, criteria, and procedures
* matters that must be addressed in implementation of the plan
* relationship of the policy plan to other policy plans
* relationships to other plans
* additional general information as necessary

San Diego Association of Governments (California) Regional Growth Management Strategy (1993) Joint Powers Agreement (1990) SANDAG must address the following planning issues:
* quality-of-life standards and objectives
* holding capacities
* growth rate policies
* growth phasing
* regional land-use distribution
* growth monitoring
* open space preservation
* regional arterials
* transportation system and demand management
* siting and financing regional facilities
* fiscal abilities and responsibilities
* consistency of regional and local plans
* regional growth management strategy

Regional Growth Management Strategy includes:
*** standards, objectives, and recommended actions for air quality, transportation/congestion management, water, sewage disposal, sensitive lands and open space preservation and protection, solid and hazardous waste management, housing, and economic prosperity
*** local and regional consistency checklist

Adirondack Park (New York) State Land Master Plan (1991) Adirondack Park Agency Act, § § 805 and 816, New York Executive Law, Art. 27 (1990) State Land Master Plan:
** classifies state lands and provides general guidelines and criteria for the management and use of lands within such classifications

Land Use and Development Plan:
** describes land use areas by intensity classes and includes a map applying these classifications to private properties

* Indicates description is provided for in legislation

** Indicates legislative requirement is satisfied in the plan

*** Indicates provision is not called for in legislation, but is included in plan

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