Tag: Smart Growth Zoning for Small Cities

Green River, WY hosts workshop to align development code with master plan

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The sun sets over Tollgate Rock in Green River, WY. Photo by Jonathan Percy, via Flickr.

When a small town has big plans for changing its development patterns, how does it put them into action? From fixing restrictive codes to working with the real estate community—what the first steps to smart growth?

On August 27 and 28, 2014, officials and residents from Green River, WY met with representatives from Smart Growth America for an expert-led workshop focused on implementing the ambitious vision inside the new Green River Comprehensive Master Plan. Provided as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program, the two-day event was designed to provide the City with tools to modernize its development codes so that they encourage the types of growth outlined in the plan’s vision.

The Green River Comprehensive Master Plan was adopted in January 2013 after a year-long public input process. The plan lays out the community’s long-term vision and serves as a blueprint for future growth and investment within the city and surrounding areas. For the implementation process, Green River leaders sought technical assistance from Smart Growth America, hoping to bring the city’s development codes into better alignment with the master plan’s principles. The resulting two-day workshop helped Green River identify high-priority code fixes to promote infill development and redevelopment, preserve and revitalize existing neighborhoods, and promote orderly development in suitable outlying areas.

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Where is America growing? The answer may surprise you.

Cities are growing faster than their suburbs for the first time in recent history, and this trend applies to the country’s biggest as well as some of its smallest.

New analysis of U.S. Census data from Smart Growth America reveals that cities in small metro areas are gaining population – and most are growing faster than their suburbs. This finding reflects population trends revealed earlier this year in research from the Brookings Institution, which examined growth rates the country’s 51 largest metropolitan areas. But whereas that report looked only at large metro areas like New York, San Francisco and Chicago, Smart Growth America’s research examines what’s happening in the nation’s slightly smaller – but no less important – metro areas.

The results are surprising.

“Small metro areas’ cities are doing just as well, if not better than, big cities,” says Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson. “The trend in terms of population growth is toward city living, and that’s happening at a greater rate in our smaller metro areas and the middle of the country.”

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Hershey, PA updates its comprehensive plan


The Hershey Theater in Derry Township, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Photo by Mr. T in DC.

Hershey is a rural town of 25,000 residents in the center of Pennsylvania, best known for being home to The Hershey Company and Hershey Park. Now, Hershey’s Derry Township is working to make sure new development benefits residents and visitors alike.

In 2010, the city’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to update Hershey’s 1991 Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinances to include smart growth policies. To help achieve this goal, Hershey applied for and received a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America and Clarion Associates, on Smart Growth Zoning Codes for Small Cities.

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