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When might land use planning be necessary?

Land use planning usually occurs when there is some conflict over how land should be used or cared for or if the needs associated with the land are changing. Land use planning usually involves an assessment of the potential of the land, specifically related to resources such as water or minerals. Social and economic conditions, adjoining land use and condition and environmental factors are usually considered in this planning, which is often required to follow systemic government guidelines. Government agencies often play a role in land use planning.

Land use planning is common with rural landscapes such as that involved in forestry, wildlife conservation, tourism or agriculture, but uses of lands change. Urban sprawl might also convert previously rural land to urban or suburban environments over time, which is why it's important to be able to protect land while reconsidering its use.

For land use planning to be viable, two major conditions must be present. First, either there must be a requirement for the land use to change based on needs or there must be a proposed change that people are against. Second, the political will and resources must be available to put planning into action. If one or two people are against a change in land use, for example, it's unlikely the political machine required for planning and zoning is going to take strong action.

If you are dealing with land use issues and you can't get traction with local or state agencies, then awareness campaigns and other political tools can be an option. You might also have legal tools to help support your side of whatever land use argument might exist. Working with a business and commercial law attorney can help you understand what options you have.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Guidelines for land-use planning," accessed Jan. 06, 2017

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