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NATURAL RESOURCES

Promote the wise management of resources in the public interest and an environment beneficial to life.

LAND USE

The League of Women Voters supports an integrated local, county, regional, and state land use policy which enhances our quality of life and provides for:

  • Preservation of prime agricultural land and sensitive natural areas, e.g. prairies, woodlands, wetlands, as priorities;
  • Soil and water conservation;
  • Managed urban growth which protects agricultural land, fosters higher density urban development, encourages infill development and redevelopment in cities, and preserves natural areas;
  • A statewide land capability inventory;
  • A diversified transportation system; and
  • Statewide distribution of natural areas, open spaces and public recreation areas.

A state land use agency or other state entity should provide policy and guidelines for local and regional planning bodies, including guidelines for zoning decisions. Land use planning and enforcement should be adequately funded by a combination of state funds, fees, local taxation, and federal funds. State personnel should assist jurisdictions that cannot afford their own planners. The state agency should have power to initiate action and levy fines against violators if local jurisdictions fail to do so, and to hear appeals from local decisions.

Land use impact statements should be required for cases involving state funds, large developments above a designated size, land acquisitions by other government agencies, transportation and utility sites, and extractive industries. Citizens should have the right to sue to prevent the granting of variances. Public input at all levels of decision making is essential to sound land use planning.

The League supports the concept of publicly owned recreation trails on abandoned railroad rights-of-way. If present routes cannot be maintained, the League encourages governmental bodies to purchase abandoned rights-of-way for use as recreational trails, wildlife habitat, or for open spaces, thereby maintaining the capability for future transportation uses.