Some say that the US movement towards growth management began with the management policies of Ramapo, New York. Due to the court’s 1972 decision in the case Golden v. Planning Board of Town of Ramapo, the Ramapo city government continued an ordinance that gave developers approval to develop based on the provision of public infrastructure (in other words, in areas without public infrastructure, developers could choose between waiting for infrastructure or taking on the risk personally). After this case, growth development policies arose out of several factors. These included increased regional transportation, a spike in the town population, and a change of leadership from Republican to Democrat, which opened space for the possibility of growth management by the city government. Ultimately, Ramapo’s management strategy included: the elimination of apartments from the zoning ordinance, creation of sewer and drainage districts, institution of mandatory average density ordinance, an official map, and more (Meck 2008, 122). The most controversial part was the elimination of multifamily residential units (apartments). Stuart Meck from Rutgers University claims, in 2008, that although the case of Ramapo has greatly influenced growth management, it had several major issues, the greatest of which was its encouragement of exclusionary development patterns.
The case of growth management in Davis, CA (beginning around 1973) is interesting because city planners explicitly attempted to “mitigate the effects of growth controls on the price of housing” in acknowledgement of the exclusionary effects of growth management (Zorn et al 1986, 46). A study in 1986 examined the extent to which Davis succeeded in reducing the increase in housing prices associated with limits to growth. Davis’s growth management plan was instituted through the 1973 General Plan, which included setting a city population limit of 50,000 and limiting the number of new single-family houses (Zorn et al 1986, 49). Atypically from cities instituting growth management plans, Davis’s plan included a Designated Low-Price Housing Program for price mitigation. The Zorn et al. study found, as expected, an increase in per unit pricing (due to a reduced supply of housing through growth management). However it also found that price-mitigating programs were effective because they produced a 13% smaller decrease in affordable housing to richer people and no change in the affordability of houses for less affluent people.
King County, WA
A 2014 study analyzed the impact of King County, WA’s UGB on housing and land prices. This is interesting and relevant considering the major debate around if UGBs do indeed contribute directly to gentrification. Additionally, the author’s distinction between housing and land prices is significant (as seen in the results). King County’s UGB was adopted in 1985 and has undergone some changes since. The author used an inventory of sales transactions of single-family homes and lots within and outside the UGB. He created models that measured the effect of distance from the UGB on land price (for lots inside the UGB), the effect of distance from the UGB on land price (for lots outside the UGB), and the aggregate effect of the UGB on land prices. Mathur found that land prices, both inside and outside the UGB, did not change based on their distance from the UGB. However, he found that land prices within the UGB raised 230% while housing prices actually decreased by 1.3%. He says, “Although the land prices are higher inside the UGB due to the provision of an urban level of infrastructure and services and the low probability of UGB change, the housing prices are not” (Mathur 2014, 145). Based on these findings, Mathur recommends that planners should adopt price-mitigation policies, such as “minimum density requirements, zoning for multifamily housing, ordinances enabling the construction of accessory dwelling units” (Mathur 2014, 129)
Mathur, S. (2014). Impact of Urban Growth Boundary on Housing and Land Prices: Evidence from King County, Washington. Housing Studies, 29(1), 128–148. http://doi.org/http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/chos20
Meck, R. R. (2008). The Emergence of Growth Management Planning in the United States: The Case of Golden v. Planning Board of Town of Ramapo and Its Aftermath. Journal of Planning History, 7(2), 113–157. http://doi.org/10.1177/1538513207310210
Zorn, P. M., Hansen, D. E., & Schwartz, S. I. (1986). Mitigating the Price Effects of Growth Control: A Case Study of Davis, California. Land Economics, 62(1), 46–57. http://doi.org/http://le.uwpress.org/content/by/year