Subdividing Rural America: Impacts of Recreational Lot and Second Home Development



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United States Government Printing Office


Second home developments and recreational lot sales have concerned many people because of their potential negative environmental, economic, and social impacts in addition to the problem of possible consumer fraud. Legislation was enacted by the Federal Government and some state governments in response to the consumer fraud problem, but the other impacts often remained unregulated by any level of government. The purpose of this study sponsored by the Council on Environmental Quality, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Appalachian Regional Commission was to assess the seriousness of these problems, and to suggest possible remedies. The research was conducted by the American Society of Planning Officials with the assistance of the Urban Land Institute, the Conservation Foundation, and Richard L. Ragatz, Associates, Inc. The study has taken place over a period of several years and had produced a series of reports. The study concludes that there is a potential for significant adverse impacts from such development, but these can be mostly ameliorated if developers and governmental officials work together in the careful planning and development of such projects. Although the recent energy crisis and economic conditions have substantially reduced the demand for recreational developments, there is a strong possibility that this market will pick up again in the future. Local and state governments should strongly consider taking advantage of the current lull to pass the legislation and establish the appropriate procedures for dealing with the resurgence when it does occur. This study is one in a series of land use studies jointly sponsored by CEQ and HUD in an effort to provide developers and planners with better information on which to base land use decisions.


34 pages; available for download at the link below.


resource management, second homes, land use, urban planning, vacation homes, land use planning