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Land Use Policies, Sprawl and Equity in Lower Richland

Land Use Policies, Sprawl and Equity in Lower Richland
2005Opportunity Communities

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Technical Memorandum Prepared for the Center for Social Inclusion

The following memorandum assesses the proposed land use policies designed to implement the town and country plan in Richland County. The policies are assessed in respect to their impact on sprawl and equity in Lower Richland. The key findings of this memorandum are:

  1. The inefficient and costly development patterns associated with “sprawl” have negative impacts for most Richland County residents and in particular are detrimental to the African American community.
  2. The primary land use policies to implement the “Town and Country” plan in Lower Richland will not impede sprawl nor improve environmental protection.
  3. The proposed land use policies will not significantly impede developers financially but will increase the cost of housing.
  4. The development of villages in Lower Richland may not be financially feasible without additional public subsidy. Villages developed without sufficient employment opportunities may further isolate Lower Richland residents and concentrate poverty.
  5. Significant inequity exists in Lower Richland County in respect to infrastructure, employment and tax base (critical for schools). The land use policies associated with “Town and Country” will have a disproportionate impact on Lower Richland. These policies will not improve (and may increase) the disparities found in Lower Richland.
  6. Due to cost, the housing market is restricted for both Lower Richland residents and African Americans in Richland County. This excludes Lower Richland residents and the African American community from key opportunities in Richland County. The proposed land use policies do not address this problem.