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Jun 10

What is development?

Posted on June 10, 2021 at 4:35 PM by Allison Duncan

Based on feedback from our Steering Committee, it was identified that it was important to define what qualifies as development.  Planners and public officials use the term “development” very generically to describe a series of different activities. Development can be new construction, or it can be the cumulative impact of construction over years or decades.  Development can be a threat to existing character, or an asset to implementing the community’s vision.
1975 Plan Cover

The County’s first comprehensive Development Plan was completed in 1975.  It covered a ten-year period between 1975-1985.  The 1975 plan described Rural Residential, Agricultural and Undeveloped land as follows: A large portion of Douglas County will remain untouched in 1985.  Some 85.8% of the County will be undeveloped or used for agricultural purposes 10 years from now.  Most of this undeveloped land will be in western Douglas County, where the physical terrain and lack of necessary facilities such as sewerage will hinder development.  Also included in this section are the rural residential and farm homes.  Persons living in these areas may own from 5 to over hundreds of acres.
1975 Future Land Use Map

The current Comprehensive Plan designates a sizeable area in the south and west parts of the County in the Rural Places Character Area.  The vision for Rural Places is a continuity of the narrative first set down almost 50 years ago: outlying rural areas with active farming and scattered single family housing on large lots….The intent of the Rural Places Character Area is to provide a residential-agricultural community, which benefits from its scenic rural landscape with much of its identity based on its agrarian past while accommodating residential growth and very limited county-crossroads type commercial.   This area emphasizes the preservation of sensitive natural resources and reserves non-residential development largely to within master planned communities.
2018 Character Area Map

So development includes both what is, and what is not, along the proposed scenic byway. It is the natural and built environment - both past and present.  And it is anticipated that policy and land use recommendations documented as a part of the Scenic Byway Study will translate into the next Comprehensive Plan Update in 2023 to influence development in the future.  The focus on maintaining a balance of development today – including consideration of natural, scenic, historic, cultural, archaeological and recreational qualities of the area – will become part of the decision-making process for the vision of the corridor in the next 50 years.