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Does Rural Land Use Planning and Zoning Enhance Local Economic Development?

  • Year: 2006
  • Author: Wilkins, Joy; Riall, B William; Nelson, Arthur C
  • Journal Name: Economic Development Journal
  • Journal Number: Vol.5, No.4
  • Publisher: International Economic Development Council
  • Published Location: Washington, United States
  • Country: United States

To some, land-use planning and implementation through zoning to regulate land-uses in rural areas may appear to be anathema to rural economic development. This view would be shared by those who are concerned that any land-use regulation in weak rural economies could dissuade economic development investment. This article addresses such concerns head-on through statistical analysis combined with focus-group interviews. It is based on the first comprehensive study of its kind to address rural economic development issues related to land-use planning and zoning. The finding is that land-use planning and zoning implementation protects industrial and commercial development from conflicts with residential land uses and thus facilitates rural economic development, rather than impedes it. For rural communities seeking economic development, the implication is that planning and zoning supportive of industrial development may improve economic development prospects relative to its lack.

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