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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Authority models of planning and their influences on the 7-Utes Mountain case study Manville-Ailles, Marianne


The question which this thesis addresses is how authority or responsibility for decision making influences the planning process. Planning is defined as a process which guides change, is future oriented, leads to action, is on-going, is linked to politics and is socially acceptable. The process consists of a series of sequential steps including goal formulation, identification and evaluation of alternatives, selection of appropriate alternatives, and implementation and evaluation of alternatives. Three authority models of planning are discussed. They represent three points on a continuum. The Central Authority Model (CAM) is at one end of the continuum and is characterized by a strong well defined central authority which makes all decisions. At the other end of the continuum is the Participatory Adaptive Model (PAM). It is characterized by decentralized authority and the inclusion of impacted interests in all steps of the planning process. The third model discussed, the Lead Agency Model (LAM), lies in the middle of the continuum. It incorporates elements from both of the other models. Authority is somewhat decentralized but decision making is still the responsibility of a well defined authority. The public is, however, included in the planning process to a degree. A case study of 7-Utes Mountain, located in the northern Colorado Rockies, is presented. Proposals have been submitted to develop the mountain as a destination ski resort. Several levels of government are responsible for making land use decisions for 7-Utes Mountain. Each level of government has a different approach to decision making. Those different approaches have influenced the land use decisions which have been made regarding the mountain's development or, in this case, non-development. The decision making approaches used by the different levels of government closely parallel the three authority models of planning. The case study can therefore be defined in a planning context by the models and the results of the planning processes can be analyzed. It is the conclusion of this work that while each of the models has merit and can be successfully applied, none is by itself appropriate in every circumstance. In fact, more than one model may be necessary to achieve optimal land use decisions. Further, the models must be flexible to account for unanticipated events. Successful planning can be measured by its ability to educate participants and/or result in action. If the plan which results from the planning process is not implemented or if the process does not serve to educate participants, it makes no difference what type of process was used or how authority influenced that process.

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