John M. Levy defines Growth Management in this past week’s chapter entitled, “Growth Management, Smart Growth and Sustainable Development”. Levy says ” Growth management is generally defined as the regulation of the amount, timing, location and character of development…Growth management programs are often heavily motivated by environmental considerations” (280) When speaking of an area of land it is nearly impossible to address growth without focusing on environmental issues. On Sunday November 3, 2013 there was an article posted on a website titled, eco RI News, that encompassed some issues of growth management that go hand-in-hand with key issues mentioned in this chapter; the article is titled, “R.I. Works to Keep Farms and Forest”. In this article, ecoRI News contributor, Rudi Hempe speaks about smart growth and insuring proper land use in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island has a lot of farming and forest terrain and it has become a common for residential developments to “encroach” on farmland. As we learned in class, Rural areas and Natural Land fall into the T1 transect, which according to planners are off limits; planners usually try to preserve lands like these and keep residential development in the T3 -T5 transects. Since Rhode Island has a great deal of farm land and forest it is relatively difficult to establish boundaries for developmental growth. Although this is all true, most farmers and people that live and sell commodities harvested in the forest, are eager to allow residential property owners and developers to purchase their land from them because they are not making great profit off of the land and cannot afford to pay the taxes on their land.
As previously mentioned, it is almost impossible to look at land development without considering environmental development, which leads us to the the effort “launched by the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to help owners of farms and forest to retain their lands, by convincing municipalities to allow certain uses that will enable landowners to reap more income from their holdings, thus heading off the temptation to sell.”(Hempe) These T1 transects must be preserved so with this effort, owners of farms and forests can not only get their land back but can preserve T1 transects in Rhode Island. The DEM initiative is said to map out “examples of business ventures that are auxiliary to farms and forestland, zoning suggestions, zoning examples and a list of performance standards that local officials can use when business proposals come across their desks.” (Hempe) If worst comes to worst the government has a successful program to buy development rights to the lands that owners can’t support but the government cannot buy all the plots that owners can’t afford. This scenario reminds me of the section of growth management that focuses on winners and losers.
The book mentions that there are always winners and losers in growth management; people that will benefit from the growth and people that won’t. While Rhode Island is fighting to keep farms and forest, which is very important, they must also empathize with landowners and making enough money to pay for taxes on the land. I believe it should be a number one priority to preserve all T1 areas and I believe Rhode Island is doing a good job at trying to achieve this goal but I also understand the necessity of the farm owners and forest owners in selling their land. Maybe if the government can channel more money into their system we can preserve more T1 areas; but in the long run this is all easier said then done, there are a lot of different factors that must be accounted for in order to make this happen.