Document type: DU ETD
Collection: Geology Theses  
Title County Land Use Planning: An Appraisal, with a Proposed Methodology For Evaluating Its Spatial Component
Author(s) Combs, Jr., Herbert Lee
School/Department Department of Geography
Institution University of Denver
Degree Type Doctoral
Degree Name Ph.D.
Type of Resource text
Degree Date 1979 September
Digital Origin reformatted digital
Rights Statement All Rights Reserved
Reason for Restrictions No restrictions
Type of Restriction No restrictions
Keyword(s) Geography
Abstract Only in the past two or three decades has there been voiced any real sense of alarm arising from the extraordinary increase in population.In that same time period an increasing awareness of our nation's finite land space has been penetrating the minds of citizens and government officials. One consequence of this intensifying situation is the emergence of a group of professionals who desire to manage land use decisions in such a way as to present a balance between the numerous and often divergent uses of the finite land surface. These professionals are land use planners. As a result of several factors, state, county, and municipal governments have agencies of one sort or another which are charged with the responsibility for preparing comprehensive land use plans and, in some instances, for overseeing the proper functioning of the plans. These factors are numerous but one may cite federal initiatives in the form of legislation and financial incentives as examples and, at lower levels, the apparent competition for land use in the rural-urban arena. The inexorable growth of population with the expectable intensification of land use has prompted a concurrent—although somewhat tardy—evolution of comprehensive land use plans. The present stage in the evolution reflects a recognition of the scope and seriousness of the need for truly effective land use management. When one considers land use management, the concern is for planning the best use of land area; that is the spatial component.One notable shortcoming persists in the latest comprehensive plans; they include neither a procedure for evaluating the spatial component nor a stated intent to evaluate that critical component—particularly at the county level.If this is so, a methodology for evaluating the spatial component in county land use planning should be proposed.The problem and a purpose for this study emerge. In order to confirm the existence of the problem as initially perceived and to determine the planning milieu in which county governments are working, the planning background at the federal government level was examined as was that at the state level. The latter was accomplished through correspondence with planning agencies in each of the fifty states. In order to narrow the field to a manageable dimension, the planning and support documents of three counties in Colorado's north central area were carefully examined; i.e., those of Boulder, Larimer, and Weld Counties. Further information was obtained through field observation; visits to and conversations with planners of the three counties plus extensive correspondence. Through the study and investigation involved in this effort, it has been found that most states have provided authority and guidance to their counties to initiate and pursue land use planning. The extent to which counties have undertaken the tasks involved vary widely.This is true even among the three counties making up the study area for this paper. Comprehensive plans reflect to what extent land use pressures are perceived by the residents and officials of a county.They also reveal the degree of control that is to be exercised in managing land use decisions.Not surprisingly, the findings confirm the absence of a procedure to evaluate the spatial component in county land use plans.These findings are significant in that at this late date in the land management affairs of mankind, that management is still quite elemental in relation to the need.With the findings of this study available a methodology was proposed to evaluate the spatial component in county land use plans. The methodology includes a procedure which includes a detailed inventory of present land uses, a cyclic monitoring of the county area, steps which may be taken to rectify misuses, and a suggested means by which the effectiveness of the spatial component in plans may be evaluated. Some important conclusions emerge from this study. Now, late in the nineteenth century, some counties still have inadequate and in¬effective comprehensive plans. Even though some counties may have timely and sophisticated comprehensive plans for land use management, none specifically include a methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of any component of the plan.Finally, it is concluded that a new generation of county comprehensive land use plans is needed.The new plans must have as a specific objective woven into the fabric of the plan, the intention to evaluate the effectiveness of the spatial component of the plan, and a procedure whereby that intention can be effectuated.
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Created: Mon, 25 Oct 2010, 10:21:58 UTC by John Adams . Detailed History