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Factors Influencing Adoption and Implementation of Conservation Development Ordinances in Rural United States

Kretser, Heidi E., Dale, Elliot, Karasin, Leslie, Pejchar, Liba, Reed, Sarah E.
Society & natural resources 2019 v.32 no.9 pp. 1021-1039
land use, models, motivation, open space, private lands, rural communities, Intermountain West region, Northeastern United States
Conservation Development (CD) is a land-use tool to reduce the impacts of development on natural resources, yetthe use of CD is highly variable. We used a collaborative conservation model to examine factors influencing adoption and implementation to improve the future application of CD. We interviewed 2–3 individuals including planners, board members, and developers (n = 46) from 16 rural communities in the intermountain west and northeast U.S. Motivations to preserve rural character or comply with state statutes drove adoption. Greater capacity such as outside expertise, model regulations, and iterative revisions of ordinances was associated with stronger ordinances. Adoption processes including ample dialog across diverse constituents, especially those overseeing subdivision development, facilitated higher rates of implementation. Concerns over open space management, lack of successful CD examples, and inexperience with CD posed barriers to implementation. Understanding social context revealed the strengths and shortcomings of CD and provided guidance for strategically engaging communities in private lands conservation.