Issues and Recommendations - State Critical Areas Programs



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Council of State Governments


This report summarizes some of the major issues involved in organizing and operating programs to identify and regulate the development and use of areas which are of critical concern to States or regions. Particular emphasis is given to the types of data needed to suppoer the designation of a critical area and to uphold such a designation when challenged. The recommendations of the Task Force on Natural Resources and Land Use Information and Technology to States in dealing with the resulting problems and conflicts are presented. The Task Force is sponsored by the Council of State Governments in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Office of Land Use and Water Planning, U.S. Department of the Interior. Critical areas programs are one of six major problem areas considered by the Task Force in its study of the technical, institutional, and financial problems which States encounter in their use of natural resources and land use information and in establishing related planning and regulatory programs. Occasional reference is made to the proposed national land use planning legislation considered by Congress during 1973-74, and pertinent sections of S. 268 are reproduced in Appendix A. Although no land use legislation was enacted by the 93rd Session, the bills passed by the Senate and reported favorably by the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs represent more than three years of work by Congress and its staff in this field and the results of extensive hearings, testimony, and revisions. Hopefully, these bills and the commentary thereon in this paper will provide a basis for future federal action on this topic. Much of the material used in this paper was drawn from a background paper entitled "Report on State of the Art for Designation of Areas of Critical Environmental Concern" prepared for the Task Force by Mr. Anthony G. Neville, Director of Ecological Planning, Urban Studies Center, University of Louisville. State land use programs which are now in operation and other sources of experience and information used are referenced in the footnotes. Chapters 1 through 4 of this report are limited to a summary review of the major issues emerging from these studies and programs, and suggested responses to these problems. Chapter 5 examines the data requirements for designating critical areas.


45 pages


environmental policy, resource management, urban planning, land use