Land Use Laws and the Landscape: A Proposal for Public Horticulture Involvement

Medic, Kristine
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University of Delaware
Landscape design standards appear regularly in community land-use regulations. Problems are often inherent in these regulations and in the landscapes they produce. This study identifies some of these problems, and the issues that they raise, proposing a role for public horticulture professionals in helping communities to address them. The procedure for investigation involved case studies of three southeastern Pennsylvania communities. Local land-use regulations, legal framework and processes, were examined as well as non-residential landscapes resulting from the regulatory language. The case studies revealed a number of problems with the landscape regulations. Objectives for landscape specifications were found to be frequently invalid or unclear, regulatory language often failed to address objectives when they were stated, design standards were overly restrictive at times, plant lists often contained questionable recommendations, and horticultural expertise was not evident in most cases. Each of the problem areas raised its own subset of issues that warrant careful consideration by each community, and action by public horticulture organizations. Programming ideas are offered; background information is based on the experience of organizations currently active in land-use policy activities on a local level. Assistance is needed in addressing the problems of landscape regulation, and public horticulture organizations have much to contribute toward the attainment of workable solutions.
Planning , Environmental management , Land use , Laws , Regulations