MODULE-4 Land Use Planning

Introduction

Land use planning is the foundation of protecting drinking water supplies and ensuring the long-term sustainability of a community. Planning is the process by which towns establish how they would like to grow, operate, develop, and manage natural resources while keeping economic growth and environmental public health in balance. Without planning, Washington would be consumed with random sprawling development throughout the countryside; parks and open spaces could not be protected for future use and enjoyment; and the vulnerability of Washington's drinking water resources would be heightened.

It is not a question if growth will continue to occur, but rather where and how it will occur. The graph below shows the rate of population growth compared with the rate of land development in Washington State. Although both are steadily increasing, the rate of land development has increased at a much higher rate than population. Between 1982 and 1997, Washington's total population increased by approximately 25%, while the total acres of developed land in 1997 increased by approximately 32%. This indicates that our "footprint" is increasing and that we are spreading out. Planning gives local officials, citizens and planners the opportunity to take the future of their community into their own hands by becoming a part of the process; from developing a community vision statement (outlining how a community wants to grow and shape itself) to developing land use controls that implement the vision.

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