Sunday, April 02, 2006

UGB Primer

I'm a proponent of real UGBs. Not Oregon's Metro mutation nor Maryland's BANANA rules. Real UGBs neither prohibit nor direct growth. Real UGBs establish limits to local government to permit/prohibit or direct natural growth patterns.

Got that? Real UGBs limit government not development. Examples include Napa and Ventura Counties in California.

I am constantly battling the misperceptions of Venturas process. SOAR only changes the venue of land use change approval
from the Board/Council to a public majority vote. Serious proposals are likely to be Santa Paula Canyons and Moorpark again. The last Moorpark attempt to expand and urbanize was fully supported by the city council who smuggly proclaimed that the people they represented were behind the proposal. Lost 3 to 1 despite being outspent 15 to 1.

I do, however, resent any Smart Urban Growth (SmUG) parallel advocacy claim. SOAR is in no way an UGB. SOAR does nothing in the way of Nurbanist rezoning agendas. I would separate the causal truism that SOAR prevents outward urbanization from the unassociated effect that the urbanization -must- turn inward. NURBs would like that to be the case but it is not part nor intent of the SOAR plan.

No deep thoughts here. Just that the methods of land use and zoning adopted in Oregon have been hijacked by politicians and planners. Of course they like the old status quo where politicians could pick winners in the land use lottery and planners could use zoning to force their preferred development patterns.

Oregon does not have the best record, it merely has the most controlled process. Napa and Ventura Counties in California have had far better success at achieving the stated goals of anti-sprawl. I say "stated goals" because anyone familiar with Oregon in practice will tell you there is an anti-mobility agenda that really drives their development processes.

My favorite example of Oregon's failings is the UGB. Urban Growth Boundary that in fact merely allows existing central cities to prohibit any exurban competition. It gives cities control over land that isn't expected to become urban for as much as 20 years and by exclusion prevents anyplace outside their sphere to develop as well.

We'll examine the differences in subsequent posts.

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