SUBURBAN HIGHWAYS AND ROADS AS INSTRUMENTS OF LAND USE CHANGE

Initial development in suburban areas typically occurs around a rural highway. The highway quickly becomes the main street of the new community and serves shopping, medical, and educational needs. Safety and congestion are 2 problems quickly recognized that result in community endeavors to have traffic control devices and increased capacity provided. However, increased capacity may adversely affect a regional environment. This in turn can place a severe restriction on the road service provided to a suburban community. Under such restrictions, it stands to reason that land use changes should be controlled to be compatible with the permitted highway capacity. The author argues that highway and road capacity in suburban areas can be used to effectively control land development in the same manner as sewer connections and capacity are used. Both public facilities are specifically included in typical adequate public facilities ordinances and subdivision regulations, and on occasion, in zoning ordinances. Recent litigation upheld the Township of Ramapo zoning ordinance that required an assessment of road standards among other public services. This has effectively slowed the pace of land development in Ramapo, New York. Court decisions (National Land, 1966; Ramapo, 1972; and Petaluma, 1974) strongly suggest that an individual's constitutional rights, such as the right to travel, the right to develop land, and the right of equal protection, can be overridden if a compelling state interest (in the public welfare) is present. Regional environmental considerations could represent such a compelling state interest and constrain highway and road capacity. Therefore, it follows that highway and road capacity constaints could be used effectively to control land development through the exercising of an adequate public facilities ordinance. This argument is discussed in the context of the rapidly growing Washington, D.C., suburban area, South Laurel-Montpelier, Maryland.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 53-60
  • Monograph Title: Transportation and land development policy
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00134884
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309024757
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Sep 4 1976 12:00AM