Spadina District where the city of Toronto has relaxed
development control regulations except with respect to
desired setback and height requirements.  It is conceivable
that this approach could be used to secure limits on
allowable impervious cover or road configuration, in order
to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of storm
Several speakers also noted that there are tensions between
local and regional planning interests.  For example, it may
be desirable to have no more than 10 percent impervious
cover in a planning region.  However, a given local area
may experience pressure to exceed this percentage because
of light industrial development opportunities associated
Some states require zoning to be consistent with a compre-
with proximity to rail or shipping facilities.  Both the local
hensive plan, though most do not.  Similarly, local govern-
and the regional goals have legitimacy, though they are in
ments have the authority to regulate land use, but it is not a
apparent conflict.  There is therefore a need to enable and
indeed facilitate a public debate between local and regional
interests to ensure that all goals are understood and the
Several speakers suggested changing the “price structure”
conflicts resolved. At least 10 states have implemented
of planning decisions, rather than attempting to regulate
Growth Management Acts, and although these vary
every stage in the planning and approval process.  This
somewhat in form and content, they include requirements
would entail economic (tax) incentives for preferred forms
such as:
of development, and disincentives for those forms to be
discouraged.  For example, free parking at suburban malls
statewide land-use planning goals and state land-use
(especially in comparison to high inner city parking rates)
plans such as for impervious cover;
hides the true environmental costs of suburban develop-
concurrency between infrastructure capacity and new
ment from shoppers.  Imposing parking fees at such malls
would be a simple means of creating public awareness of
consistency between local, regional and state plans
these costs.  As another example, municipalities might
and state-legislated goals and regulations; and
require new developments build storm-water treatment
compactness of new growth.
facilities, if their estimated impervious cover exceeded
target levels.  Developments within impervious cover
The consistency requirement gives both the land-use plans
targets could have treatment requirements waived.
and their implementing regulations, such as zoning, the
Similarly, infrastructure funding grants can and should be
force of law.  As such, it remedies a basic flaw in institu-
tied to the existence of an approved water quality improve-
tional arrangements that governed land-use decision
ment plan, a capital improvements plan, as well as ap-
proved comprehensive land-use plans. Disincentives could
include removal of U.S. tax deductions for mortgages and
Larry Bourne made the point that current measures of
capital gains, and similar hidden subsidies for large-home,
sprawl focus on residential land-use, however, non-
low-density developments.  This could also include
residential uses, such as commercial and industrial uses, go
removal of incentives for low-density commercial and
largely unrecognized.  Yet, non-residential uses create the
industrial development in greenfields such as public
most significant ecological and socio-economic impacts.
subsidy of road and infrastructure improvements necessary
From an ecological standpoint, non-residential land uses
to support those developments.  Average cost pricing for
consume disproportionately large quantities of land for
public services, regardless of proximity to existing urban
buildings and transportation networks from natural areas.
areas, is another type of hidden subsidy.  These initiatives
Most of this development results in impervious cover and
are being tried in a few selected areas, however, broad
generates disproportionate amounts of emissions from
implementation of these policies throughout entire
large vehicles and of storm-water runoff. From a socio-
jurisdictions would have prospects for noticeable impact
economic standpoint the dispersal of non-residential uses
on current development patterns.
increases the geographic separation between workplaces
and housing.  Bourne argued that it is the commercial and
John Sewell suggested that developers be allowed more
industrial uses that generate most of the vehicular traffic
freedom to build what they like, provided that key condi-
and emissions and use the most land on the urban periph-
tions are met. Sewell cited the example of Toronto’s King/
ery. Municipalities are often reluctant to restrict these types