Land Use Legacies Linger

Authors: Hubert Stroud*, Arkansas State University
Topics: Land Use, Planning Geography
Keywords: obsolete subdivisions, platted lands, United States
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


During the 1950s and 1960s large interstate land sales corporations generated large profits from the sale of potential home sites to a widely scattered clientele. These large pre-platted subdivisions extend across thousands of acres and create a land use pattern that is difficult to change in part because of the vested rights associated with individual lot ownership. This research uses several case studies to identify problems and to examine feasible options for alleviating some of the most serious land use issues. Problems include environmental degradation, complicated ownership patterns, vested rights, scattered development, and inadequate infrastructure (services to lots, for example). Options for resolving problems include lot consolidation (lot merger), plat vacation, subdivision redesign, down-zoning (transfer of development rights), public acquisition of lots, and incorporation. The feasibility of using these options depends on the nature of the problem and the location and original design of the pre-platted subdivisions. Successful implementation of these solutions is limited by inadequate resources (funding) and the reluctance of local officials to infringe on individual property rights. For these and other reasons, lot sales subdivisions will continue to linger as land use legacies.

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