While all states have some broad form of land use regulations, local governments are primarily responsible and have the largest impact on the landscape. Through planning and regulatory tools such as zoning, they will continue to exercise their powers to protect the public's health, safety, and welfare. In the future, local governments will continue to be challenged by increased growth, shifts in living patterns, trends in large-scale agriculture, and land use conflicts.

At this time, it is not known whether state and/or federal government will play a stronger role in land use regulation. Regardless, local governments will continue to face the four basic questions regarding land use policies:[8] What are the appropriate management goals? What is the role of government? Who should bear the cost of any management strategy? Who decides?

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