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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Local government decision-making and community planning : a study based on A.L.R. exclusion applications Boyle, Geraldine Catherine


The objective of the study is to provide a fuller understanding of elected local government decision-making on the use of land, in particular, to examine the notion of universal goal-priorities and the role of site specific information in decision-making. Such an understanding helps in determining the usefulness of various approaches to community planning and is used in the study to assess the 'general plan' concept. The objectives of the study are pursued through an analysis of Regional Board decisions on land owner applications for exclusion of land from the A.L.R. The question of universal goal-priorities is addressed by examining the degree to which Regional Boards exhibit similar support for the preservation of agricultural land and by statistically analyzing the extent to which differences stem from certain regional characteristics (Importance of Agriculture to Regional Economy, Population Growth Pressures in the Region and Level of Urbanism in the Region). The question of the role of site specific information in decision-making is addressed by statistically analyzing the significance of certain site specific information (C.L.I. Rating for Agriculture, Location in Relation to the A.L.R. Primary Existing Use and Primary Surrounding Land Use) to Regional Board decisions. The analysis indicated that a universal priority is not attached to the goal of preserving agricultural land, even when regional characteristics are recognized, and that site specific information has little, if any, consistent effect on land use decisions. From these findings it was concluded that elected local government land use decision-making is characterized by a lack of universal goal-priorities and a lack of a narrowly defined information base. In terms of the 'general plan' concept, these characteristics of elected local government land use decision-making suggest that it is a useful approach to community planning, provided it is used as a process composed of a blend of procedures and participants which vary at different points in time and from community to community. In conclusion, this study illustrates the demanding nature of the environment in which community planners must operate -- an environment in which universal goal-priorities are lacking and where narrowly defined information is inconsequential to decision-making. Under these circumstances, effectiveness demands efforts to understand and clarify the uniqueness of of each planning environment and to adopt a comprehensive approach to the information base of plans and recommendations.

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