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Historic Land Use

Map of US highlighting truck routesLand use patterns are a basic feature in community planning. The community needs to identify past and present land use patterns, how development has occurred, and the policies that are in place to control and guide future land use decisions. Environmental and natural features which will influence growth and development in the community or contribute to the overall quality of life should also be inventoried and mapped.


Inventorying and Information Gathering

The natural resources information sources listed below are tools that are designed to assist communities gather pertinent information to answer the question "Where Are We Now?" and to develop a Community Profile. Each of these sources contains a description of the resource, what information is available and where to find that information.

Existing Land Use Mapping
Past Land Use Practices
Identification of Large Tracts of Vacant Land and Identification of Current Plans
Inventory Regulatory and Policy Issues in the Community That Control and Guide Land Use Decisions

Existing Land Use Mapping

Existing land use maps provide a picture of current development patterns and also serve as a basis for developing future land use plans. If existing land use maps are not available, they may be derived from land cover maps, aerial photography and/or windshield surveys. Land use and associated maps can be obtained from a variety of sources, as presented below.

Available Information

Information Sources

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Past Land Use Practices

Identifying past land use practices can help to provide an historical perspective to land use decisions. From this review of past development practices, development trends or patterns may be identified to help project future development patterns.

Available Information

Information Sources

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Identification of Large Tracts of Vacant Land and Identification of Current Plans

The identification of large tracts of vacant land establishes the location and amount of land available for future development. In some cases, plans for future development may already be underway. The identification of current plans for vacant or underdeveloped land can help to determine what lands are already committed to development.

Available Information

Information Sources

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Inventory Regulatory and Policy Issues in the Community That Control and Guide Land Use Decisions

A review of your community's regulations and policies will help identify those key forces at work within the community that control and guide land use decisions. Applicable policies and regulations will include such things as zoning ordinances, subdivision and land development ordinances, comprehensive plans, design standards, and industrial/economic development/recovery plans. While most of these will be found at the local and county levels of government, some may be found at the state level.

Available Information

Information Sources

 

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