Smart Growth in Action: Housing Capacity and Development in Ventura County
Urban growth has emerged as a touchstone policy issue, particularly on the state and local levels, ushering in an unprecedented new wave of growth-management and growth-control legislation. More than a dozen states have enacted some form of statewide growth-management law, and 37 others are actively considering growth-management legislation or planning reform laws that will directly affect the pace, pattern, and quality of land development. On the local level, hundreds of growth-management initiatives make it to local and statewide ballots each election cycle. One of the more salient trends in this movement is toward “ballot-box zoning”-the process of passing growth-management legislation and mandates through popular vote. Ballot-box zoning has been particularly prevalent in California, where dozens of cities and counties have adopted urban-growth boundaries and other growth controls to limit new land development. Growth controls, however, are not implemented in a political vacuum. Once policies are adopted, local politics figure prominently into whether planning goals will be realized. Particularly in the United States, where planning is explicitly local and must be adopted by locally elected officials, these constraints are important elements of the planning process and should be incorporated into an evaluation of their success and recommendations for further reform.
William Fulton, Chris Williamson, Kathleen Mallory and Jeff Jones