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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Capping Impacts Instead of Development: an Alternative Approach to Growth Management


Traditional growth management techniques that focus on regulating the amount of development often fall short of their objectives because of the weak relationship that aists betwene the amount ofgrowth and its impacts. Performance zoning and similar efof rts to control impacts are insufficient solutions because they ignore the cumulative effects of new and aisting development. jurisdictions are aperimenting with a new approach where caps are put on impacts rather than development. This is different from previous strategies because it focuses on ambient conditions and the impacts of newandaistingdevelopment. Cappingimpactsentailsset­ ting cumulative impact standards, devising a strategy to achieve them, and following a program to monitor progress and make necessal}' adjustments. While capping impacts is not without its technical and political difficulties, it does offer the potential for more effective growth mana&ement.

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