Impacts of rural residential subdivisions on adjacent farming operations in DeKalb County, Illinois
McCallister, Robert B.
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A considerable amount of informal literature suggests that farms located next to rural residential developments have special problems. Direct impacts from adjacent development may include trespassing, vandalism, runoff water problems, and complaining neighbors. Operators of 40 farms in DeKalb County, Illinois, were interviewed to determine if these reputed problems had occurred in this County. These farmers operated parcels which adjoined rural residential subdivisions of at least 10 homes. Interview questions covered 14 hypothesized impact categories. Results of the face-to-face interviews revealed that subdivision-associated trespassing, vandalism, and theft had affected 73% of the 40 farms. Field operations on 65% of the farms were changed to some degree because of the subdivision. Farmers on 58% of the parcels reported subdivision-related increases in litter and trash. One-third of the farms were negatively impacted by water and soil changes brought about by the subdivision. Effects of such problems ranged from minor nuisances to significant reduction in yields, increases in repairs and costs, and changes in operations and management plans. Approximately 90% of the farms had at least two different types of impacts. measures for a) type of farm, b) position, size, and layout of the farm, c) farm topography and drainage, d) type of buffer, e) natural farm attractants, f) subdivision size, density, and layout, g) subdivision inhabitants, h) subdivision topography and drainage, and i) natural deterrents in the subdivision were gathered. Farm and subdivision characteristics were collected from on-site inspections, aerial photos, soil maps, and other appropriate sources. These measures were analyzed for patterns which they exhibited with the four most prominent types of impacts. Trends shown in subdivision and farm characteristics indicated that some of these characteristics may have been factors in the presence and/or severity of the four prominent impacts. The study's findings and the opinions expressed by farmers suggested recommendations concerning: a) location of rural residential development, b) design requirements of developments, and c) other pertinent recommendations.