Tag: Planning

Mayor Nan Whaley on economic transformation in Dayton, OH

The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.The Greater Downtown Plan will guide development for Dayton, OH Photo via jimcrotty.com.

Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH and member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, sees smart growth strategies playing an important role in positioning the city for a new generation of economic vibrancy.

A former city commissioner, Whaley was elected mayor of Dayton in November, 2013. In her inaugural speech she was upfront about the challenges the community faces, including economic stagnation brought on by a decline in the city’s manufacturing base and reduced federal spending affecting a major nearby Air Force base.

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Spotlight on sustainability: Doña Ana County, NM prepares comprehensive plan for sustainable development

Las Cruces, NM train station. Photo via Flickr
New Mexico’s Doña Ana County is facing a number of challenges as it plans for the future. Compared to the rest of New Mexico, the county has a younger population, higher poverty rate, larger Hispanic population and higher combined transportation and housing costs. Now, Doña Anna County is implementing a new plan to address these challenges, made possible through a grant from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The project is called Camino Real: Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, and it will address the county’s long-term growth trends, capacity of infrastructure, and the ability of the county to serve its residents.

In 2012, the region adopted One Valley, One Vision 2040, the first ever comprehensive plan encompassing Doña Ana County, the City of Las Cruces and other municipalities within the county. However, this plan dates back to 1995 and did not anticipate factors including a nearly 25% growth in population and major investments in multi-modal rail in surrounding areas. In order for Doña Ana County to realize it’s goals of sustainable growth over the next 25 years, a new comprehensive plan was needed in preparation.

Doña Ana County is expected to grow by nearly 90,000 residents by 2040 and nearly half of it’s current residents are under the age of 30. A future development plan will account for a range of housing choices connected to regional transportation networks and consider ways to ensure mobility for an aging population, expanding rural transportation, providing low-cost and efficient transportation and better integration of transportation and land use.

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Partnership in the news: Smart Growth in the Military

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 3.58.01 PM
In 2010 the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) was awarded $640,000 for the Planning for Livable Military Communities project to provide improved transportation and housing conditions for families in the US armed forces. The award comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Challenge Grant, which is an initiative of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.
North Central Texas is home to Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base. Many of the military families live off base, in surrounding communities including Fort Worth, White Settlement, Westworth Village and River Oaks. Planners intend to use the community challenge grant in a number of studies aimed at integrating smart growth strategies in the surrounding communities.

The NCTCOG will conduct a number studies that will create short- and long-term recommendations to improve transportation options, establish a model building code for greater energy efficiency, and update the City’s zoning, ordinances and comprehensive plan.

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Smart Growth Stories: A region collaborates in Southern Maine

Balancing development with environmental and economic concerns is one of the biggest challenges facing Southern Maine today.

“Maine has a lot going for it: its sense of place, its scenery, its quality of life,” says Carol Morris, President of Morris Communications and lead consultant for Sustain Southern Maine, a regional partnership of organizations, communities and businesses working to make Maine’s economy, environment and sense of community stronger. “If we lose that, we’ll never get it back, and people understand that, so there’s a fair amount of local support for balancing it all together.”

Sustain Southern Maine is addressing these important challenges with a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to planning. Aided by a Regional Planning grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the partnership is working to make sure development in small, rural communities as well as larger urban areas like Portland – Maine’s biggest city – will benefit the communities and economies of the entire region.

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Smart Growth Stories: Susie Byrd on planning and growth in El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas, is split by a mountain and bordered by Mexico, and Susie Byrd is helping the city build great neighborhoods around these unique features.

Byrd is a City Council Representative in El Paso, and has represented District 2 since 2005. During her time as a Representative, Byrd has led numerous efforts to preserve the best parts of El Paso’s historic corridors while also transforming the city into a model of 21st-century success. Her leadership has helped lead to the adoption of a city-wide Smart Code (PDF), a new Rapid Transit System, and an innovative comprehensive plan for El Paso’s growth in coming decades. Plan El Paso has already been called the best smart growth plan in America, and it’s hardly a coincidence that an experienced, knowledgeable supporter like Byrd is behind it.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Madison, WI

Unsustainable growth, lack of economic opportunities, community health concerns, and loss of natural resources—these are issues facing cities and towns across the country, and Madison, Wisconsin is no exception. But, regional planning organizations in the Greater Madison area are now attempting to confront these endemic issues in a strategic and sustainable way that utilizes Madison’s strengths rather than allowing its weaknesses to be barriers to an effective response.

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Upcoming Webinar: Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities – Planning Transit to Connect the Dots

Join us Tuesday, August 23rd at 3:30 PM ET for the next Sustainable Communities Network webinar: “Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities: Planning Transit to Connect the Dots.” This event is hosted by Smart Growth America, PolicyLink, Reconnecting America and the National Housing Conference.

The session will begin with a discussion of the different types of transit corridors and how what they connect can have significant implications for land uses, ridership, and the potential for development after the transit is built, including a description of examples of these different corridor types and how transit and land use have interacted in a few regions. Following that, participants will learn how planners in a small town in Colorado are making the transition from thinking about making a successful transit system to ensuring that the system is integrated into community life and makes inter-agency connections. The session will conclude with an overview of the innovative tools being used in a joint planning process between city staff in Tigard, OR, a suburb of Portland, and the regional planning agency to direct growth alongside a high capacity transit planning project in the city.

Speakers include Dena Belzer, President of Strategic Economics and partner in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development; Crista M. Gardner, Senior Planner at Portland Metro; and David Johnson AICP, Director of Planning, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. This webinar will be moderated by Elizabeth Wampler, Program Associate at Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development.

What: “Transit Corridors for Sustainable Communities – Planning Transit to Connect the Dots”
When: Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 3:30 PM ET
Where: Webinar information will be sent to registrants.
RSVP: Click here to Register. Please RSVP by 5 PM ET on August 22nd.


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Partnership For Sustainable Communities Grantees Host Briefing On Capitol Hill

This week, Smart Growth America brought together representatives from groups who received Department of Housing and Urban Development regional planning grants as part of the interagency Partnership for Sustainable Community for a briefing on Capitol Hill. The grantees who spoke at the briefing represented a diverse cross-section of communities that are implementing regional planning grants, including representatives from the Metro-Boston region, Northern Maine, and Metropolitan Des Moines. Shelley Poticha, Director of HUD Office of Sustainable Housing and Community Development, shared the agency’s perspective of the transformative potential of regional planning grants and the unique cross-agency collaboration between HUD, DOT and EPA that defines the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

HUD distributed just shy of $100 million for regional planning grants to 45 different grant recipients as part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities in fiscal year 2011. So far those grant recipients have managed to leverage almost another $100 million out of local private, non-profit and local government partners to support their efforts. Shelley noted that kind of financial investment in support of a non-construction project was remarkable. Why is there so much excitement from the business community, local governments, universities and other partners on the ground when it comes to these regional planning grants?

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EPA Selects 32 Locations for Assistance with Sustainable Community Planning

From the EPA press release:

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today named 32 communities in 26 states as the initial participants in the Sustainable Communities Building Blocks program. The communities will receive technical assistance during a day-long session that will help them achieve their sustainable planning goals. Sustainable planning helps safeguard the environment and spur economic development while also improving Americans’ health.

“The public-private partnerships in the Building Blocks program give communities new and proven tools to maximize the health and economic benefits of brownfields revitalization,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This is another great example of how a targeted investment in protecting public health can create jobs and strengthen the economic future of our communities.”

EPA selected the 32 communities from 354 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). During a day-long session with EPA-funded, private-sector experts, participants will focus on a specific sustainability tool such as zoning code reviews, walkability assessments, or economic and fiscal health assessments. They will also learn about additional environmentally responsible, economically healthy development techniques and general sustainable community strategies.

Sustainable Communities Building Blocks is coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort between EPA, HUD, and DOT to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation, and environmental protection. This interagency collaboration achieves efficient federal investments in infrastructure development, facilities, and services that meet multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives.

The selected communities are: Bemidji, Minn.; Bluffton, S.C.; Cambridge, Md.; Chelmsford, Mass.; Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Dover, N.H.; Erie County, N.Y.; Essex, Conn.; Fitchburg, Wis.; Granville, Ohio; Helena, Mont.; Hellertown, Pa.; Jersey Shore, Pa.; Kayenta Township, Ariz.; Lincoln, Neb.; McKinney, Texas; Muskegon, Mich.; Nashville/Davidson, Tenn.; Northampton, Mass.; Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Portland, Maine; St. Louis, Mo.; Pike’s Peak Council of Governments, Colo.; Ranson, W.Va.; Reedsburg, Wis.; Renton, Wash.; Rockport, Texas; Shelburne, Vt.; Spencer, N.C.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Wichita, Kan.

More information on the Building Blocks program: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html


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SGA News Clips, 3/31/11

Fredericksburg considers a return to Main
Fredericksburg.com, 3/31/11
Hedelt and Tremblay believe downtown would benefit from the organizational structure that Main Street provides as well as the staff member devoted entirely to creating a thriving central business district–which would likely include the densest downtown commercial development areas including parts of Caroline, Sophia, Princess Anne and William streets as well as side streets in those areas.

Sprawl Invited-Editorial

Miami Herald, 3/30/11
The tired excuse that controlling growth hurts the economy is being rolled out once again. That just won’t hold water — not when the state’s glut of new homes standing empty and unsold is no smaller than when this same ploy was tried during last year’s session.

In Foreclosure Settlement Talks With Banks, Predictions of a Long Process
New York Times, 3/31/11
The nation’s top mortgage servicers met Wednesday in Washington with the attorneys general from five states as well as Obama administration officials, beginning negotiations in earnest over new rules for homeowners who are in default. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that an agreement was going to take time.

Sioux City Saving Money with Demolition at Morrell Site
Sioux City Journal, 3/31/11
A team from the International Economic Development Council will visit Sioux City this summer to evaluate how to attract new jobs downtown…Downtown Partners levies taxes on property in the downtown improvement district and pays for revitalization projects and activities. ‘One of the strategies identified was to seek the funding for and participation in the creation of the first comprehensive master plan for downtown Sioux City,’ she said. ‘This funding is an amazing opportunity for us to continue working with our partners to keep the positive momentum going in downtown.’ The federal grant is tied to the Morrell closure as a way to create more jobs.

Subsidies prove a rich harvest for farmers
Financial Times, 3/30/11
US farmers, reaping record receipts for crops this year, are also harvesting $10.6bn in government payment…Brad Lawrence, who owns 6,000 acres in northern Indiana, says he, his brother and his mother together receive about $120,000 annually in federal subsidies. He concedes that those who would oppose them have a point. “I expect them to be cut, and you won’t get any argument from me,” he says. “I’d rather see the government take that money and put it into infrastructure of the country.”

Google to Build Fiber Network in Kansas City
Wall Street Journal (subscription required), 3/30/11
Google Inc. said it would build an ultra high-speed network in Kansas City, Kansas, after a year-long search for a location to test new uses of the Internet at speeds 100 times faster than existing technologies.

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