Office of State Planning Coordination


Investment Level 3


Investment Level 3 Areas generally fall into two categories. The first category covers lands that are in the long-term growth plans of counties or municipalities where development is not necessary to accommodate expected population growth during this five-year planning period (or longer). In these instances, development in Investment Level 3 may be least appropriate for new growth and development in the near term.

The second category includes lands that are adjacent to or intermingled with fast-growing areas within counties or municipalities that are otherwise categorized as Investment Levels 1 or 2. These lands are most often impacted by environmentally sensitive features, agricultural-preservation issues, or other infrastructure issues. In these instances, development and growth may be appropriate in the near term, but the resources on the site and in the surrounding area should be carefully considered and accommodated by state Agencies and local governments with land-use authority.

Investment Level 3 is further characterized by:

  • Areas with leap frog development1 that is not contiguous with existing infrastructure;
  • Areas that are experiencing some development pressure;
  • Areas with existing but disconnected development; and
  • Possible lack of adequate infrastructure.

Investment Level 3 Strategies:

Due to the limits of finite financial resources, state infrastructure spending on "hard" or "grey" infrastructure such as roads, sewer, water, and public facilities will generally be directed to Investment Level 1 and 2 Areas during this planning period. The state will consider investing in these types of infrastructure in Investment Level 3 Areas once the Investment Level 1 and 2 Areas are substantially built out, or when the infrastructure or facilities are logical extensions of existing systems and deemed appropriate to serve a particular area.

Decisions about investments and policies should be based on these principles:

Agriculture: Promote farmers' markets, on-farm markets, sale of local agricultural products in traditional grocery stores, restaurants, as well as public and private institutions. Foster and promote efforts to expand public knowledge of agriculture, particularly animal agriculture.

Further the Department of Agriculture's consumer-protection efforts in support of sustainable economic development. Promote the use of nutrient BMP in the urban/suburban/rural fringe setting in support of improved water quality. Identify and pursue agricultural-development opportunities such as retention and expansion of processing companies, institutional and retail food operations, and agricultural cooperatives, granaries, seed and fertilizer companies. Identify new opportunities for, and retain existing, agricultural-support businesses.

Foster and support the long-term needs of traditional production agriculture and forestry activities, as well as the needs of niche and small- scale production agriculture. Support the continued success of existing farmland and forest land-preservation activities as well as identifying and furthering new, innovative preservation strategies, such as those that create specific opportunities for young farmers and ensure the generational succession of land and operations.

Economic development: Focus on agribusiness and forestry activities that complement and enhance agriculture in these areas. Visitor- industry development, such as heritage, ethnic, and agri-tourism festivals and events and similar operations, may be appropriate uses that would provide employment opportunities and produce additional income.

Education: DOE recognizes the integral role of educational facilities within communities. As such, DOE seeks to assure that residential growth, that generates additional demand on educational facilities, is managed with adequate educational infrastructure in mind as a part of growth plans. Proposals to develop Investment Level 3 should be carefully evaluated to determine its impact on educational-infrastructure phasing and land-use patterns in the area.

It is the goal of DOE to direct new school construction to areas that will integrate school facilities into the communities and neighborhoods they serve. Educational facilities proposed to be constructed in Investment Level 3 will be redirected into Investment Level 1 and 2 Areas to the extent possible. Educational facilities will be considered for construction in Investment Level 3 Areas, provided that:

  • They have reasonable access to adequate civil infrastructure (water, sewer, etc.) as well as public support services (police, fire, EMS).
  • They have reasonable access to transportation-system connections in order to support reasonable multimodal access to the facility, to include, but not limited to, walk paths, bike paths, and safe pedestrian-grade crossings.
  • They have reasonable access to a transportation system that is adequate to accommodate bus and delivery-vehicle traffic.
  • They provide reasonable recreation facilities and opportunities to the communities served.

Housing: Level 3 Areas are characterized by low density and rural homes, which may or may not be served by public utilities. New housing development in the short term would, in most cases, represent leap-frog development, which would be undesirable. In the longer term, these areas may be desirable for a variety of housing types, styles and densities in conjunction with local government comprehensive plans.

In some areas, Level 3 may be appropriate for compact development once Level 2 Areas are built out and utilities are available. In other areas, Level 3 may be more appropriate as low-density housing that serves as a transition from more urban / suburban areas to the rural areas in Level 4. It is important to ensure that housing is constructed in conjunction with needed infrastructure and services. State resources would be used only to support the rehabilitation of existing homes.

Level 3 Areas are likely to contain some abandoned or partially completed subdivisions as a result of the housing boom. Current market demand, as well as demographic trends and changing consumer preferences, indicates there will be less demand for large-lot homes - particularly in partially built subdivisions that are now considered to be a risk for potential buyers. Various strategies, depending on the viability of the subdivision, will include sunsetting2 unbuilt subdivisions, converting some of the partially built subdivisions back to agriculture uses, or if they contain infrastructure, replatting3 for a smaller, but viable, market segment.

Natural Resources and the Environment: Protect critical waterways, promote establishment of greenways, and maintain "green" separators between more intensely developed areas. Emphasize the protection of critical natural habitat and wildlife, aquifer recharge, and stormwater-management/ drainage areas. Financial assistance to local government's water and wastewater facilities in Investment Level 3 needed to correct public health and existing environmental problems will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise, prioritize financial assistance in Investment Level 1 and 2 Areas before considering Investment Level 3.

State Facilities and Investments: Depending on needs and conditions, Investments in these areas will focus on parkland expansions, open-space purchase, green energy, and facility maintenance. Other types of investments will depend on long- term plans.

Transportation: The priorities in the Level 3 Areas are for the Department to focus on regional movements between towns and other population centers. Local roadway improvements will be made by developers and property owners as development occurs. Lower priority is given to transportation system-capacity improvements and transit-system enhancements.

1Leap Frog Development - New development separated from existing development by substantial vacant land. (A Planner's Dictionary, American Planning Association, Edited by Michael Davidsond and Fay Dolnick.)
2Sunset Law - A provision shutting off a program on a specific date, requiring reexamination and a fresh authorization prior to that date to continue. (A Planner's Dictionary)
3Plat - To increase or decrease the number of lots in a subdivision. (A Planner's Dictionary)
Last Updated: Wednesday, 09-Aug-2017 07:34:22 EDT
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