Zoning Across Boundaries

Zoning Practice — January 2012

By Suzanne Rhees, AICP


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Jurisdictional boundaries, whether they separate cities and townships, villages and towns, or cities and counties, can present seemingly intractable problems for planners and planning officials. Creating plans and ordinances that serve the interests of both the urban and rural sides of the boundary can be a daunting task when their goals seem to be at cross purposes.

Typically, cities seek room to expand, as well as efficient extension of municipal utilities in the future. Therefore, they prefer that the land surrounding them be reserved for agricultural or very low-density development. Rural jurisdictions such as townships or counties, on the other hand, may seek to increase their tax bases by promoting commercial or industrial development adjacent to the city.

This issue of Zoning Practice examines the conditions that foster interlocal cooperation on planning and zoning and shares lessons learned from noteworthy initiatives in Minnesota, Iowa, and Washington.


Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2012
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Suzanne Rhees, AICP
Suzanne Sutro Rhees, AICP, has worked across many facets of the planning field for over 30 years.  With a Master's in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania, she has worked in the public and private sectors as a project manager, lead planner, writer and editor, with a focus on urban design traditional neighborhood zoning. In her current position as Special Projects Coordinator for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, she works to develop and launch programs and initiatives that support climate mitigation, landscape resilience, and soil health. She's especially excited about her work with many partners advancing peatland restoration as a natural climate solution.