This article throws light upon the seven major forms of land use regulation and control in India. The forms are: 1. Zoning 2. Sub-Division Regulations 3. Building Regulation 4. Rent Control 5. Subsidies 6. Taxes 7. Density Charges.
Form # 1. Zoning:
Zoning is the demarcation of a city by ordinances and the establishment of regulations to govern the use of the zoned land. It also includes general rules about location, bulk, height, and the plot shape, use and converge of structures within each zone.
It is an attempt to organise and systematize the growth of urban areas. Zoning establishes categories, classes or districts of land in the community besides prescribing the ways in which land and buildings may be used. Zoning applies uniform restriction on the shape and placement of buildings. Zoning is a yes or no control.
Either the land use is permitted or it is prohibited. Zoning areas for structures of particular type, or require a minimum size for new family residences. Zoning is the control, most frequently employed to regulate the use of land.
In its most traditional form its purpose was to ensure a proper amount of land for all the activities that must be performed in a contemporary community. Early zoning ordinances meant designation of areas for residential, commercial and industrial uses for every community.
Older zoning ordinances regulated the shape, volume and placement of building by height limitations, set back requirement (that buildings be set back from the street at a certain space) surroundings, buildings, and courtyards. They were applied to all buildings in the relevant zones. This form of zoning was criticised for its rigidity.
The modem zoning methods use volume or floor areas ration based on the relationship between buildings to admit day light is also restrictions on the uses to which land may be put.
Zoning may have undesirable distributional effects when it is used to exclude certain minorities from particular neighbourhoods or in cases of over zoning when 208 Environmental Economics excessive amount of land is designed for tools employed in the planning process.
Form # 2. Sub-Division Regulations:
Sub-division regulations govern the use of raw land for residential or other purposes. They prescribe standards for plot sizes and layout, street improvements, procedures for dedicating private land to public purposes and other requirements in far more detail that in the zoning developments take account of the community’s need for public goods and services and of minimum standard requirements.
Regulation of sub-division on the outskirts of the cities can preserve the sound structure of the cities in the long run. Sub-division regulation has proved to be a powerful tool in assisting controlling sub- urbanisation in United States and France.
Form # 3. Building Regulation:
Building regulation limit or define the way new structures are to be built and the materials to be use They may also be applied to the maintenance and improvement of existing buildings. They may prohibit the creation of any structure or restrict the style of architecture, position of the building on the plot or its distance from the street, its height or depth.
Building regulations can also control the use for which the building is meant-for residential purposes only or for specified type of commercial uses only. Originally there were three main reasons for such regulation viz., fire protection, structural safety and sanitation. Today besides including aesthetic consideration, building regulations are used to prevent deterioration of housing stock.
Form # 4. Rent Control:
Among the more recent policy measures rent control make life in cities more attractive. Their objective is to prevent landlord from driving up the prices of available housing to a level that middle and lower income families can barely afford to pay. In total contrast to the objective outlined, the rent control leads to lowering the quality of housing stock and reduces the supply of housing stock.
This is because rent control forces the landlord to bear the cost of rising housing expenses particularly during periods of inflation when land lords will not be interested in investing on an enterprise that has been made unprofitable by legislative action. This will not only halt new construction but also deter landlords from undertaking any maintenance or repair expenditure.
Form # 5. Subsidies:
Subsidy is the bribe to induce people to occupy sites in urban locations that they would have otherwise shunned. Where the problem is urban renewal, subsidies are used to include people to live in central city neighbour-hoods rather than distant suburbs.
The rationale for the bribe is that there are benefits to the community at large from such a land use pattern. However, the subsidy programme is limited by the total amount of public subsidy available for all projects over a period of years.
Form # 6. Taxes:
Taxes are not usually seen as a significant tool for influencing land use because revenue is not the objective, but there are exceptions. For example, Taiwan and Chile tax vacant land stimulate development in certain zones; Jakarta has higher taxes rates on land not used in accordance with its zoming, and the Republic of Korea taxes speculative gain in land values.
Even revenue is the only objective, however tax on total property value, or site value exclusively or on betterment. At the end of 19th century, an American Economist, Henry George, made his reputation by proposing that there be only a single tax — a tax on the value of land to replace all other taxes, the tax was to be based exclusively on the value of lanti, regardless of market value of the buildings erected on the land.
It is dangerous to use land tax in societies where goal is to reduce construction on unspoiled land because, no distinction is drawn between a vacant and land with building for taxation purposes. A property tax on land value is better than a tax on total property on the ground that the latter would deter new construction and maintenance and increase the price of housing and real estates.
Form # 7. Density Charges:
If the aim is to preserve undeveloped areas or restrict urban sprawl density charges may be used. Density charges are charges that vary with density of structures and buildings in an area. If the new proposed buildings are in an area already densely filled with buildings, no charge may be levied. Thus unspoiled areas may be preserved.
Approval by Government Agencies is the main way in which controls over development sited sub-division and building permits are required to ensure compliance with the local bylaws and with the city plan. Government agencies have the power to deny permission to build and this is an important control. Some countries use denial technique to prevent urban sprawl.
Thus there is a wide range of experience, good and bad with land use controls in both developed and developing countries. These controls will be effective only if the regulations are up-dated from time to time in line with the development plan and need of the respective country.
Land is a scarce resource requiring stewardship by public bodies that can balance short term against long term benefits and balance the claim of one group against another. An appropriate mix of the various measures alone will promote efficient pattern of land use in urban areas.
Urban Land use Regulation in India takes the form or Urban Land (Ceiling and regulation) Act. Since 1976, this act limited the quantity of vacant land in cities that could be owned by an individual. Any excess was to be acquired by the State for industrial, commercial, or residential use deemed in the common interest, or held as reserve.
In addition there are tight controls over the transfer of land remaining in private hands. However evidence suggests, that the Act has not yet achieved its ends. Tax-incentives have been used as a means of stimulating growth in intermediate cities and development region.