Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics

Department name when degree awarded

Agricultural Economics

Committee Chair(s)

Darwin B. Nielsen


Darwin B. Nielsen


John Workman


James Kennedy


Economic and environmental inventory and evaluation were made of Utah recreational subdivisions filed with the state from 1962 through 1972. Major data were collected from standard subdivision questionnaires, filed by developers with Utah Real Estate Division, Department of Business Regulation. Study included 62,716 lots, 238,004 acres, and a value, in terms of developers' projected gross sales, of $211,836,550 in 1972 dollars.

Description of Utah recreational urbanization included: community services such as water supply and sanitation, drainage and flooding, fire protection, roads, and schools; developer sales inducements, improvement costs, and selling costs; subdivision layout characteristics, locations, magnitude, value, and buildout rates; and lot owner improvements. Data included documentation of subdivisions by year, by county, and by county and year, in terms of number of subdivisions, number of lots, number of acres, average size in acres, average price per acre, and total value. Number of lots in each county was compared with county populations, populations changes, households, and household changes. Development locations were documented on a state map using composite computer mapping techniques.

Developer questionnaires revealed economic and environmental impacts of recreational urbanization. Economic impact study included property tax assessments and revenues, state filing fees and administrative costs, and projected demand on community services. Environmental impact discussed included soil erosion, sedimentation, and preemption of public land use. Locational analysis was made with respect to natural environment: national forests, parks, monuments, and recreational areas. Political, social, and cultural impacts were also discussed.

Special problems of long term leases of state school lands to recreational subdividers was studied. A case study in Iron County documented subsidization of California and Nevada ownership of Southern Utah mountain property through differential assessment.

Effects of existing tax and fee control techniques upon recreational development were identified and assessed. Examination was made of state and local laws and regulations and their enforcement as they relate to development impacts on state and local economic and natural environments, with comparison of Utah with California and Colorado.

Theory of environmental economics was applied to land use planning, control, and management. Economic alternatives to alleviating problems of recreational urbanization were presented, with special attention to problems of: speculation; demand on community services; tax inequities, negative economic and environmental impacts; an internalizing, for the public sector, external costs of private development. Composite computer mapping was illustrated as a land use planning tool in solving "fit" between human settlements and the natural environment.