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Zoning, TDRs and the density of development

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  • McConnell, Virginia
  • Walls, Margaret
  • Kopits, Elizabeth

Abstract

Many communities on the urban fringe are implementing a range of policies to preserve farmland and open space, cluster residential development, and guide development to areas with existing infrastructure. These efforts are an attempt to control overall growth and the concomitant loss in open space and also to counter a trend toward the so-called large lot development that often takes place in these areas. Planners have argued that policies to manage density are the most important local policy focus for urban areas in the coming years. It is possible that large lot development and sprawl are themselves the result of government policy. Most local governments use zoning to establish minimum acreage requirements for each residential dwelling unit; in ex-urban localities, these limits are often quite high. Developers might build a subdivision with average lot sizes greater than the minimum but they cannot by law go below it. Some researchers have argued, however, that the spatial patterns of development are simply the natural result of household preferences and market forces. In this paper, we address the question of whether zoning limits are the primary cause of lowdensity, sprawling development or whether market forces tend to dictate this outcome. If zoning limits account for low-density development in at least some cases, how would development patterns be different if there had been no such rules? We begin by constructing a simple model of the developer decision about the density of new development. The subdivision is the unit of observation, and developers must weigh both demand and cost considerations in choosing density, in addition to complying with zoning restrictions that vary across parcels. We apply the model using parcel-level data from a region where zoning rules vary but are exogenous to the period under study. Calvert County, Maryland, near Washington, DC, is an historically rural county that has experienced rapid growth in recent years. The county has a

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 59 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 440-457

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:59:y:2006:i:3:p:440-457

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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References

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  1. Walls, Margaret & McConnell, Virginia & Kopits, Elizabeth, 2003. "How Well Can Markets for Development Rights Work? Evaluating a Farmland Preservation Program," Discussion Papers dp-03-08, Resources For the Future.
  2. Pasha, Hafiz A., 1996. "Suburban Minimum Lot Zoning and Spatial Equilibrium," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-12, July.
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  5. Frew, James R & Jud, G Donald & Wingler, Tony R, 1990. "The Effects of Zoning on Population and Employment Density," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 155-63, June.
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  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2004, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Rolleston, Barbara Sherman, 1987. "Determinants of restrictive suburban zoning: An empirical analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-21, January.
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  15. Walls, Margaret & McConnell, Virginia, 2004. "Incentive-Based Land Use Policies and Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay," Discussion Papers dp-04-20, Resources For the Future.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lewis, David J. & Provencher, Bill & Butsic, Van, 2008. "The Dynamic Effects of Open-Space Conservation Policies on Residential Development Density," Staff Paper Series 522, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  2. Tsekeris, Theodore & Geroliminis, Nikolas, 2013. "City size, network structure and traffic congestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 1-14.
  3. Gottlieb, Paul D. & O’Donnell, Anthony & Rudel, Thomas & O’Neill, Karen & McDermott, Melanie, 2012. "Determinants of local housing growth in a multi-jurisdictional region, along with a test for nonmarket zoning," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 296-309.
  4. Paul Gottlieb, 2013. "Agricultural preservation, large-lot zoning, and real estate development in New Jersey, USA," ERSA conference papers ersa13p513, European Regional Science Association.
  5. Ferris, Jeffrey & Newburn, David, 2013. "Does Zoning Cause Sprawl?," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150252, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  6. Banzhaf, H. Spencer & Lavery, Nathan, 2010. "Can the land tax help curb urban sprawl? Evidence from growth patterns in Pennsylvania," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 169-179, March.
  7. Wrenn, Douglas H. & Sam, Abdoul G. & Irwin, Elena G., 2012. "Searching for the Urban Fringe: Exploring Spatio-Temporal Variations in the Effect of Distance versus Local Interactions on Residential Land Conversion Using a Conditionally-Parametric Discrete-Time D," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 125007, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  8. Maria A. Cunha-e-Sa & Sofia F. Franco, 2013. "The Effects of Land-Use Development Policies on Forest Management," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp576, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
  9. Magliocca, Nicholas & McConnell, Virginia & Walls, Margaret & Safirova, Elena, 2012. "Zoning on the urban fringe: Results from a new approach to modeling land and housing markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 198-210.
  10. Lewis, David J. & Provencher, Bill & Butsic, Van, 2009. "The dynamic effects of open-space conservation policies on residential development density," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 239-252, May.
  11. Sims, Katharine R.E. & Schuetz, Jenny, 2009. "Local regulation and land-use change: The effects of wetlands bylaws in Massachusetts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 409-421, July.
  12. Lichtenberg, Erik, 2008. "Open Space and Urban Sprawl: The Case of the Maryland Forest Conservation Act," Working Papers 37812, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  13. Lichtenberg, Erik, 2011. "Open Space and Urban Sprawl: The Effects of Zoning and Forest Conservation Regulations in Maryland," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 40(3), December.
  14. Magliocca, Nicholas & McConnell, Virginia & Walls, Margaret & Safirova, Elena, 2012. "Zoning on the Urban Fringe: Results from a New Approach to Modeling Land and Housing Markets," Discussion Papers dp-11-32, Resources For the Future.
  15. Lewis, David J., 2010. "An economic framework for forecasting land-use and ecosystem change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 98-116, April.

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