Growth Management Action Policy



This policy statement was adopted by the LWVC Board of Directors in May 1992. Although it is primarily intended to assist in analyzing state legislation on growth management, it may also be relevant at the regional and local levels. It may be used by ILOs and local Leagues in taking local (city, county, region) action on growth management.

This statement is based on the Land Use study/consensus of 1975 and subsequent LWVC studies. "Growth management" is the 1990's term for what LWVC and LWVUS called "land use" in the 1970's. Therefore, the policy statement is based primarily on the land use consensus; the term "growth management" has been substituted for "land use" where it seems appropriate.

The process of developing the statement included a review of the following:

  • pertinent LWVC positions, particularly Land Use, Intergovernmental Relationships, Agriculture, and Transportation, and to a lesser extent Water, Air Quality, Housing, and Solid Waste
  • LWVC Growth Management Action Guidelines of October 26, 1990
  • publications by the Regional Governance Network of the LWV of the Bay Area and a draft publication on regional governance by the Southern California Environmental Action Committee (ENACT)
  • reports from the Office of Planning and Research and the Growth Management Consensus Project of California State University, Sacramento.

This version of the Action Policy is annotated to aid in its application. A copy without annotations, which can be shared outside the League, is available from the LWVC advocate at the State Office. (The LWVC Growth Management Action Guidelines of October 26, 1990, are also available from the State Office.)


An integrated overall state planning effort should provide for the management of growth (LWVC--Land Use #2). To accomplish this requires clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, competent personnel, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government (LWV--Principles). Provision should be made for the efficient, effective and equitable balance of responsibility and authority among the levels of government with accountability to the public (LWVC--Intergovernmental Relationships-In Brief). All levels of government assigned growth management planning and regulatory responsibilities must provide for the following:

  • involvement of citizens in the earliest planning and regulatory stages and throughout the growth management process
  • adequate funding of the public information process
  • development of mechanisms to minimize conflict of interest on the part of persons who make growth management decisions (LWVC--Land Use #6).

1. State Role

State policies, guidelines and standards should be developed for managing growth that is of more than local concern (LWVC--Land Use). These policies, guidelines and standards should require the following:

  • recognition of land as a resource as well as a commodity (LWVC--Land Use)
  • identification and regulation of land areas such as fragile or historic lands, renewable resource lands (LWVC--Land Use #1), including the long-term protection of land appropriate for agriculture (LWVC--Agriculture); natural hazard lands and lands impacted by public investment (LWVC--Land Use #1)
  • environmental social and economic impact statements on major developments, public and private (LWVC--Land Use #2b)
  • coordination of plans and policies of local and regional agencies, maximizing local decision-making (LWVC--Land Use #2a)
  • integration of transportation and land use planning to promote reduced vehicle miles travelled through a jobs/housing balance and requirements that land use development facilitate use of transit and other alternatives to single-occupant vehicles (LWVC--Transportation #1)
  • management and development of water resources in ways that emphasize conservation and high standards of water quality and coordination of water resource planning with land use planning to provide for future needs without encouraging growth (LWVC--Water-In Brief and #1a)
  • an increase in the supply of safe, decent, adequate housing for all Californians including removal of barriers that inhibit construction of low and moderate income housing (LWVC--Housing #2, #6, and In Brief)
  • recognition of the interrelationship of decisions relating to air quality, energy, land use, waste management and water resources (LWVUS--Natural Resources)
  • establishment of mechanisms to mediate or arbitrate conflicts between governmental bodies and between citizens and governmental bodies in order to implement growth management decisions (LWVC--Land Use #3).

The state should assist local and regional agencies in the development and exercise of growth management functions by increased state financial aid for research, technical assistance and data collection (LWVC--Land Use #2c).

The state should encourage the formation of substate regional bodies for growth management planning and control in matters of more than local concern (LWVC--Land Use #4).

The state should assume authority for growth management planning and control where local governments and regional bodies fail to do so (LWVC--Land Use #3).

2. Regional Role

Regional decision-making should include extensive local input (LWVC--Transportation #4). Decisions should be made at the lowest level of government feasible, but should be subject to state review (LWVC--Land Use-In Brief). Provision should be made to allow for consolidation of functions between and among levels of government to deal with areawide problems (LWVC--Intergovernmental Relationships #1c), such as air quality, transportation, water quality, solid and hazardous waste disposal, and growth management (LWVC--Respective positions for AQ, etc.).

The state should grant each region the option to determine how to structure representation on its respective regional body for handling growth management decisions. (note:) As there is no consensus "on the basis of representation on a regional board (e.g., population) or what kind of representation (elected or appointed)" (October 26, 1990, Growth Management Action Guidelines, page 8) and each major regional ILO has a different perspective on this issue, reflecting the approach to regional decisions in their respective areas, LWVC supports state authorization of the option for each region to determine how to structure their respective regional body for handling growth management.)

3. Local Role

Local land use planning should be utilized as a means to determine how local communities should change and develop consistent with state growth management policies, guidelines and standards.

  • General plans should be used as a basis for zoning and other planning decisions at the local level.
  • Growth management decisions should relate to and protect the overall quality of the environment.
  • Local government should plan for the preservation of open space and provide for adequate parks and recreation (LWVC--Land Use #5).

4. Financing

Flexibility should be granted to local and regional agencies when administering state authorized and/or state funded programs to determine needs, priorities, and the use of funds, consistent with state growth management policies, guidelines, and standards (LWVC--Intergovernmental Relationships #2, Transportation #3).

Tax-base sharing should be authorized to implement growth management policies, guidelines and standards.

As Adopted by LWVC Board of Directors 1992. Readopted at last convention