Table of Contents

Amenities and Rural Development

Amenities and Rural Development

Theory, Methods and Public Policy

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Edited by Gary Paul Green, Steven C. Deller and David D. Marcouiller

Amenities and Rural Development explores the paradigmatic shift in how we view land resources and the potential for development in amenity-rich rural regions. Amenity-based growth can lead to several paths, based largely on proximity to urban areas and the type of development that occurs, whether it be seasonal residents, retirees, or tourism. The distributional implications of amenity-led development are an important consideration for policy, both within and between communities and regions. The contributors conclude that public policy needs to focus on maximizing complementary and supplementary uses while minimizing antagonistic uses of amenities.

Chapter 16: Raising the Gangplank: A Defense of Localism Aimed at Resource Protection

Eric Olson

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology, urban and regional studies, regional studies

Extract

Eric Olson INTRODUCTION Rural areas endowed with natural amenities such as shoreline resources, public lands, mountains and favorable climates continue to attract new housing investment for recreational and retirement homes. The development of land resources in such areas has many localized consequences ranging from increased traffic to higher property values to the introduction of non-native plants and animals. Local communities often seek to reduce or mitigate the negative effects of development through planning and land-use regulations. The regulatory approach faces an uphill battle in rural contexts where norms and traditions have historically allowed landowners to manage and dispose of their holdings as they see fit. A common caricature drawn of regulation proponents is that of the last one on the boat seeking to draw the gangplank up and prevent others from coming aboard. The gangplank metaphor represents a more serious critique of the exclusionary effects of localism and land-use regulations. Much of the research and analysis of localism and land-use regulations has occurred in the metropolitan context. Little research exists to substantiate the negative social repercussions of such regulations in rural areas. Perhaps this is because most rural areas lacking amenities are declining in population and face little if any pressure for new housing and development. That such areas lack natural amenities implies that there may be little worth trying to protect with land-use regulations in the first place. Amenity-rich rural areas, in contrast, present situations where population growth exerts pressure on an existing natural amenity that...

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