Date of Award

1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning

First Advisor

Farhad Atash

Abstract

In the l980's, coastal communities in the northeast were subject to heightened demand for residential and commercial land uses. This increased demand combined with the reality of a fixed resource has resulted in growing conflict between the preservation of open space and development. As municipal leaders attempt to balance expenditures with revenues, they often question if it is fiscally and economically prudent to invest in the protection of open space. Yet, environmental quality, attained in part by the conservation of open space, is often the basis for sustaining the quality of life and the economic vitality of coastal communities.

The values associated with open space include scenic vistas as well as other aesthetic, social, recreational, tourist, and environmental qualities which increase adjacent property values while protecting essential natural resources. This increase in property values benefits a community's fiscal and economic stability.

A quantitative measurement of the impacts of land conservation strategies on a rural community's economy and tax base is needed to justify municipal expenditures and management strategies for preserving open space. Under the constraints of dwindling budgets and increasing local opposition a fiscal impact analysis methodology applicable to rural communities is needed to weigh the costs of development versus the benefits gained by preservation.

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