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Autonomy, justice and expertise in land use planning: how home rule shapes thought and policy in one New York town

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Title: Autonomy, justice and expertise in land use planning: how home rule shapes thought and policy in one New York town
Author: Mall, Jennifer Anne
Abstract: A fundamental tension pervades land use planning in New York. As a strong home rule state, New York delegates to each town, village or city the authority to approve, disapprove or modify land use planning and zoning projects. Yet under state law, county planning departments are also required to review and make recommendations on those projects that could have inter-community impacts. While municipal boards ultimately determine whether projects are approved, county planning departments’ recommendations can carry significant political weight and sometimes play a major role in determining the fate of land use planning and zoning projects. This thesis will examine the tension between New York State’s commitment to municipal home rule, and its insistence that county planners have input into planning and zoning decisions. Through a case study approach, the relationship between one town and its county planning department will be explored, with an emphasis on Section 239 of New York State’s General Municipal Law. Section 239 of the General Municipal Law provides a lens for problematizing the notion of home rule and analyzing how this notion shapes and is shaped by concerns for autonomy, justice and expertise. This thesis seeks to create more openness among planners at all levels, and foster an environment of collaboration, rather than antagonism, within this power sharing context. Moreover, through a critical examination of the autonomy, justice and expertise questions that surround land use planning, it may be possible to identify planning and general policymaking approaches that more fully incorporate the needs and contributions of all stakeholders, and that more holistically address environmental concerns.
Description: Thesis (M.A.)--Humboldt State University, Social Science: Environment and Community, 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2148/858
Date: 2011-12

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  • Masters Theses [874]
    A collection of selected Masters Theses in electronic format.

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