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Politics, Administration, and Local Land-Use Regulation: Analyzing Zoning as a Policy Process

Arnold Fleischmann
Public Administration Review
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1989), pp. 337-344
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/976843
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/976843
Page Count: 8
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Abstract

This article uses 2,290 rezoning applications in metropolitan Atlanta to examine prevailing views of rezoning by local governments. The conventional wisdom treats rezoning as a highly contentious political process in which citizens participate frequently and effectively, the expertise of professional planners has little effect on policy decisions, and elected officials readily succumb to public pressure to reject unwanted development. Contrary to this image, most cases involved only local officials and the party seeking the rezoning. When present, opposition seldom involved more than a handful of participants, and applicants were still granted rezonings in a majority of such cases. In addition, local officials ratified the vast majority of staff recommendations, and they reached unanimous decisions over 75 percent of the time. In sum, public participation may be less influential, and professional expertise more important, in rezoning decision making than is commonly supposed.

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