The Value of a Land Use Management Plan for Future Sustainability
The land use management plan is the master plan that is used to guide the future use of land in a specific area and the actions of the community on that piece of land. In general, the land use management plan is the vision of the future of a community in a particular area. It is about the long-term goals, as well as objectives, related to the activities under local government control.
The plan includes guidelines for decision-making regarding property development plans, whether such are for private or public properties. It also gives the guidelines for using public funds. The comprehensive plan includes guidance on cooperation efforts regarding important issues including, for instance, the preservation of agricultural land or renovation of run-down inner city sectors.
The land use management plan serves to give direction regarding future activities related to land use. It can be a five-year, ten-year, or twenty-year plan. What is important is that the land use management plan must be reviewed at least every five years and either scraped because it is no longer relevant or is not working, or adapted to stay on course regarding an overall twenty-year land use vision.
Such a plan has several important functions, as briefly described below.
Providing Permanence to Plans
Continuity of actions in order to reach a long-term goal is essential. The land use management plan makes it possible to ensure that successive local government bodies can work within a set framework to address specific issues related to land usage.
No doubt, competing interests can cause conflict and derail even the best intentions regarding land use management.
A large multinational company may want to set up oil storage tanks on their property, but the community living adjacent or near the parcel of land want to erect a retirement village nearby. They don’t want the unsightly oil tanks to devalue the properties in the area and are concerned about health issues, since they intend to house senior citizens nearby in the retirement village.
It is important to create a balance between conflicting private property interests. The land use management plan provides guidelines regarding orderly and functional development patterns. As such, zoning is set to prevent industrial intensive activities from encroaching on the wellbeing of residential communities.
Protecting Public Interests
Without a plan in place, nothing stops someone from demolishing a recreational facility erected the previous year to make space for a road or even a factory. It also prevents unnecessary double work and wastage. The plan, for instance, prevents one department from destroying a large part of a newly built road to insert a new sewage system. It thus gives plans for phased development. First, the sewage pipe is installed and then the road is built. It prevents scattered, unorganised, and low-density development in urban areas.
Protecting Environmental and Other Important Resources
Woods, forests, wetlands, and agricultural land are under pressure when it comes to the needs of the community and environmental protection. With a land use management plan in place, strategies can be set in motion to protect the environmental resources by limiting certain types of development.
Foundation for Decision Making
Instead of local authorities haphazardly developing areas and making decisions that have negative effects on the future of the land parcels and the activities of communities, it is possible to create a master plan that forms the foundation for decision-making. This gives a factual basis for zoning, which also enables communities to defend decisions if challenged.
Framework for Community Culture
It is possible to preserve the character of a particular area if a master plan is in place. An example is Simon’s Town near Cape Town. The historical buildings are preserved and zoning was applied to prevent changes to the character of this historical town.
Encourage Public Participation
The land use management plan provides for a planning process in which the community can be involved. Public input forms are an integral part of the planning of the development. Decisions can therefore be consistent and in line with the plan as the public supports it.
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