Land planning tends to be a general use term that gets thrown around when talking about how a specific tract of land will be used in the future—especially if there’s any sort of development being planned. Land planning itself, however, is actually a complicated term that usually results in a lengthy process of determining the efficacy of the land for its intended use. In fact, land planning in Idaho can actually be broken into 10 core stages:
- Establishing the goal: This involves a general understanding of what the goal is and everything involved with it. Specifically, it’s about identifying the land in question, the proposed use of land, information about the land, budgeting, timeline and operational objectives.
- Organizing work: This determines who will be needed to work on the project and what resources will be required. For example, is a cartographer needed? Will there be a mobile office on-site for the land surveyors? Is any special transportation need? This step is about getting a foothold on the manpower needed for the project.
- Analyzing problems: What problems are presented by your proposed land use? How is the land used now and what problems may arise from changing that use? A full survey of problems and possible problems must be created to gauge the impact of a project.
- Identify opportunities: The inverse of problems, what benefits come from the proposed reuse of the land? What short-term and long-term advantages are there to changing the land and who/what do those changes impact?
- Evaluate suitability: Is this a project that’s going to be beneficial long-term? How is the environment affected? What steps need to be taken to minimize environmental impacts from this project? This can even be so specific as to consider what terrestrial features will be gained and lost as the land is repurposed.
- Appraisal of alternatives: This is a continued environmental appraisal, with results that are leveraged against economic and social analysis of the intended land use. In short, this step looks to determine how the proposed changes to land will have rippling effects and what those rippling effects might do for local economies, populations and geography.
- Determining execution: Once the problems, opportunities and analyses of the proposed changes have been weighed, the proper execution of the development must be plotted. This step puts everything together into a strategy that works to bring the original goal to the forefront, with proper steps taken to minimize impact.
- Land-use planning: Here’s where it all comes together! This is where a formal plan is drawn up, maps are created, logistics are planned, costs and staffing are proposed and policies are outlined. This step sets the tone for development stages.
- Plan implementation: With a finalized land-use plan in hand, the project can now be executed. Project managers consult the plan and assemble teams as needed, working from start to finish as directed by the previous efforts put into the land planning process.
- Plan reevaluation: As everyone knows, nothing ever goes according to plan perfectly. This step exists to revise a land-use plan as needed, depending on unexpected situations or developments. It’s a way to make sure everything stays on track, while also being in accordance with the fact-finding done in the initial planning process.
Each individual step of land planning in Idaho can take weeks, months or even years! It’s easy to think of “land planning” as a simple term for figuring out what land may be used for, but in practice, it’s a broadly scoped process that’s absolutely vital to every development.