Volume 4, Number 13- April 24, 2002
= = = Highlight = = =
Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional
Planning Agency, No. 00-1167. A 32-month building moratorium imposed
while the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) prepared a land use plan
was not an unconstitutional taking of property rights, the U.S. Supreme
Court has held.
A report on the high court's decision is now available
on the California Planning & Development Report website, http://www.cp-dr.com.
The courtís opinion is available at http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/01slipopinion.html.
= = = State and Local = = =
Northern Virginians will vote Nov. 5 on whether
to raise their sales taxes and generate as much as $5 billion for regional
highway and mass transit projects over the next 20 years. Lawmakers, ending
a nearly three-year debate on Northern Virginia's premier legislative issue,
voted overwhelmingly to send the proposed sales tax increase to the fall
Land Use Planning
The Navy announced (4/23) that it will retain
the option of selling all or part of the former El Toro Marine base but
leave the ultimate decision on how the property is developed to local officials.
When Loudoun County supervisors passed their
ambitious and controversial
growth-control plan last year, development proponents said their attorneys
would fight to overturn any new building restrictions. So county lawmakers
decided on a new tactic- hire development lawyers and land use experts
from across the nation to write "watertight" laws.
A supporter of Atlanta's governor's green space
program, Joel Cowan (the first mayor of Peachtree City) who helped define
the green space program believes the need for green space is just as important
as the need for water, streets and electricity.
A new transportation strategy in Orange County
California lets rail commuters use a motor pool of electric cars at the
Irvine train station. The pilot project, the largest of its kind in the
country, allows employees of participating corporations to share 50 low-emission
vehicles for trips to and from the Irvine Transportation Center and for
errands during the workday.
Las Vegas, which never stops thinking big, has
just embarked on its most ambitious, costly attempt to solve a problem
that once seemed impossible to have in this sprawling desert valley: gridlock.
It is building the nation's largest monorail system.
= = = National News = = =
Growth in public transportation ridership sets
record for sixth straight year. In 2001, nationally, public transportation
ridership went up by 2 percent, compared to the previous year, according
to statistics released today by the American Public Transportation Association
(APTA). APTA reports that Americans rode public transportation a record
9.5 billion times in 2001. http://www.apta.com/stats/ridershp/
= = = New Releases = = =
A new release from the Congress for the New Urbanism
"Civilizing Downtown Highways" describes how California municipalities
are turning state highways into walkable main streets. While some of the
technical policies in the book are particular to California, the design
and public outreach techniques are universal. This book is available at
National Smart Growth Employment Opportunities
Volume 4, Number 12- April 17, 2002
= = = State and Local News = = =
A new consortium composed primarily of small
community banks is set to funnel $20 million toward resolving the critical
problem of affordable housing in Miami-Dade County. http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/3045994.htm
Growth Management Committee
Smart growth advocates are pleased with the Legislature's
decision to create a multi-year committee to study growth management issues.
Governor Angus King is expected to sign the bill. The new Community Preservation
Advisory Committee will be composed of seven legislators, including representatives
from districts with rural towns, fast-growing suburbs and hub communities.
It also will have representatives from the State Planning Office, the Maine
Commission on Historic Preservation, and real estate and environmental
The transportation sales tax referendum has not
yet been approved for Northern Virginia ballots, but already two disparate
but powerful camps in state politics are declaring war against it. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56716-2002Apr15.html
Virginia's new transportation commissioner, Philip
A. Shucet and other top officials charged with slashing up to $ 2.7 billion
from the state's six-year spending plan, listened to politicians representing
inner-Beltway communities needs for more money for Metro, suburban buses
and pedestrian safety projects.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove on Monday signed into law
a far-reaching $3.6 billion Mississippi road-building program known
as Vision 21. http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0204/16/m05.html
The Denver House passed the state's $13 billion
2002-2003 budget, House Bill 1420. Ensuring $100 million for road construction
is unrealistic in a tight budget year, the House decided (4/16), despite
Gov. Bill Owens' continuing insistence that transportation is a high priority.
As suburbia spreads to Orange County California's
canyons, longtime residents say a double standard is being applied by county
code officials. While owners of small homes in Modjeska, Silverado and
other canyons have faced an enforcement crackdown on building and land-use
regulations, major commercial ventures build and operate at will without
permits, residents say. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-000026867apr15.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines%2Dcalifornia
St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners voted
to limit home construction within rural preservation districts to one unit
per five acres, resolving the most hotly contested element of the new Comprehensive
Zoning Ordinance. The new five-acre rule is a stricter limit than the current
one unit per three acres standard but falls short of a 20-acre minimum
backed by local environmentalists or a 10-acre compromise proposed last
week by board President Julie B. Randall (D-At Large). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23424-2002Apr10.html
= = = News Releases = = =
The Pew Oceans Commission's new release "Coastal
Sprawl: The Effects of Urban Design on Aquatic Ecosystems in the United
States," links sprawl to declining coastal health. In his report for the
independent Pew Oceans Commission, Dana Beach of the South Carolina Coastal
Conservation League details the effects of urban design and land-use practices
on aquatic ecosystems in the United States. Beach presents new strategies
and tools that communities may use to preserve the same ecosystems that
attract residents, tourists, and businesses to the coasts. The report is
available at http://www.pewoceans.org/
The Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable
Communities releases "Education and Smart Growth: Reversing School Sprawl
for Better Schools and Communities." This paper describes how the trend
toward building new schools on large sites far from existing development
centers can have far-reaching impacts on school children, school districts
and the larger community. Copies of the paper can be downloaded from the
Network's website at http://www.fundersnetwork.org/info-url_nocat2778/info-url_nocat_show.htm?docid=107908
New from the Brookings Institution's Center on
Urban and Metropolitan Policy. "Open Space Protection: Conservation Meets
Growth Management." This paper provides an overview of the nature, quantity
and objectives of open space programs in the U.S. and, utilizing existing
literature, begins to speculate how they may affect the shape and form
of metropolitan areas. http://www.brookings.edu/urban
New from the Greater Washington Research Program
the "2001 Potomac Index". The Index is designed to measure the Greater
Washington region's progress on key economic, social, and environmental
issues. The Index confirmed that the region has a strong economy well positioned
for future growth, a highly educated population and range of vigorous educational,
philanthropic and nonprofit activity. However, the Index raised cautionary
flags about the shortage of affordable housing, poor water quality in the
Anacostia River, and persistent traffic congestion and air pollution. The
Index is a product of the Potomac Conference and a research team led by
the Brookings Greater Washington Research Program. http://www.brookings.edu/washington
"Financing Suburban Enrollment Increases" also
released by the Greater Washington Research Program analyzes the varying
enrollment changes of the major school systems in Northern Virginia and
Suburban Maryland between 1995 and 2001. The magnitude of these enrollment
increases has put local governments under pressure to find financing to
build classrooms and increase operating budgets. http://www.brookings.edu/washington
= = State and Local News = = =
Volume 4, Number 11- April 10, 2002
The California Assn. of Realtors reported that
housing affordability in California dropped in February to its lowest level
in five months as double-digit price appreciation pushed more properties
out of the reach of potential buyers.
Long Beach Redevelopment Agency Board members
authorized city staff to issue $104 million in bonds to refinance agency
debt, pay for low-cost housing citywide and fund new projects in downtown,
central and north Long Beach.
The Laguna Woods City Council approved, in concept,
a 2.5-mile trail the first of its kind in Orange County. The trail could
give senior citizens more mobility to reach shopping malls and other attractions
by foot, bicycle and possibly golf cart. http://www.latimes.com/editions/orange/la-000024170apr04.story?coll=la%2Deditions%2Dorange
Smart Growth Tools
State environmental officials unveiled new programs
(4/8) that will help fast-growing towns do a better job of planning and
the Livable Communities Act (would require state agencies to coordinate
policy on development, while certain grants would go only to those communities
that do planning) goes before the Senate for a vote (4/11). http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/099/metro/State_developing_tools_to_handle_growth+.shtml
Residents of the Baltimore region will have an
opportunity to offer their views on the future of the metropolitan area
over the coming three decades. The region's local governments, with additional
support from the Baltimore Regional Partnership, will hold 17 public meetings
around the region through May 8 as part of a nearly two-year
initiative known as Vision 2030. The meetings
represent the first time Baltimore, Annapolis, and the region's five counties
have come together in such a public way to explore the interactions between
growth, transportation, economic development, social equity, and environmental
protection at the regional level.
The proposed Atlanta-to-Macon commuter rail will
not receive the $12 million in tobacco settlement money as planned in the
2003 state budget, which takes effect in July. State revenues have fallen
eight months in a row, and Gov. Roy Barnes ordered state department spending
pared down 5 percent for 2003.
To encourage people to get out of their cars
and into car pools or public transit, the Virginia Department of Rail and
Public Transportation dispatched two buses to serve as mobile "commuter
stores". The stores will provide information about train and bus farecards,
van pools, car pool lanes, and biking and walking routes.
As the 188 senators and delegates who are the
Maryland General Assembly wrap up their annual 90-day session today, they
complete a four-year term that allows them to face voters with a long record.
It is one filled with money spent and social programs enacted, among the
most liberal records in the nation.
= = = National News = = =
Growth without Growth
A local economy can boom, even if the area's
population is not growing. So says a new Brookings Institution report that
is the subject of William Fulton's latest economic development column for
Governing magazine. The column is now available on the California Planning
& Development Report website, http://www.cp-dr.com.
Community Character Act
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public
Works will mark-up and vote on S. 975, the Community Character Act, and
S. 1079, the Brownfields Site Redevelopment Assistance Act on Thursday,
April 11th. The Community Character act provides funding - $25 million/yr
for five years to State and tribal governments to develop and update land
use planning statutes. The Brownfields Site Redevelopment Assistance Act
complements the recently signed brownfields law by providing additional
assistance for the development of public facilities and services, planning,
training and technical assistance to help communities overcome the burdens
of brownfield sites.
To find out how gas tax dollars are raised and
spent in your state as of 1/1/01 please
go to the following U.S. Department of Transportation
In the latest from Elm Street Writers Group writer
and economist Patty Cantrell makes a convincing case for lawmakers to keep
provisions of the bill that help small and medium size farms. Ms. Cantrell
argues that like hometown banks or specialty retail stores, small and medium
size farms are succeeding. They do it by adding value to their products
with a friendly face or specialty processing, by finding new ways to consumers,
and by finding profitable market niches.
Net returns for entrepreneurial farmers are often
40 and 50 percent versus the conventional farmís 15 to 20 percent. Thatís
a significant economic factor for leaders across the country who are working
overtime to generate jobs and save farmland and open space. http://www.mlui.org/projects/growthmanagement/elmstreet/farmentree.asp
= = = New Releases = = =
Greenbelt Alliance has released a hands-on guidebook
for civic leaders and citizens detailing how "infill development" can help
the San Francisco Bay Area grow smarter. "Smart Infill: Creating More Livable
Communities in the Bay Area" details 12 key strategies for achieving livable
communities and sustainable development through well-planned infill housing
and mixed-use development.
In addition to providing a useful toolbox of
specific strategies, the 72-page publication features photos and case studies
of successful infill development throughout the Bay Area. "Smart Infill"
may be downloaded free of charge from http://www.greenbelt.org.
Full color printed copies may be ordered for $10 each at http://www.greenbelt.org
Volume 4, Number 10- April 3, 2002
= = = State and Local = = =
By a 3-to-1 margin, Ventura County voters empowered
themselves last fall to block future hillside development. Slow-growth
activists crafted a ballot initiative that effectively prohibits the City
Council from approving hillside projects. The measure requires voters'
approval to extend city services into the hilly areas north of downtown.
One would think this would persuade developers to find land elsewhere but
instead they have proposed a ballot initiative that would allow the landowners
to proceed with the development in exchange for placing 80% of the land
into permanent open space.
To find out the public's knowledge of and interest
in paying for public transit, sewers and roads the Southeast Michigan Council
of Governments (the regional planning agency) will survey people in the
7-county region. Michigan ranks sixth out of the 12 most populous states
in the nation in terms of how much state money goes to public transit.
For information on the survey, go to http://www.semcog.org.
As older adults relinquish their driving privileges,
the need for mobility is especially acute in regions such as Southern California,
where urban sprawl, inadequate mass transit and access to commerce, culture
and social activities make automobile transportation a near-necessity.
Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Community
Energy Cooperative are launching I-GO, a unique, new neighborhood based
car sharing service. The service provides the freedom and convenience of
owning a car without the costs and hassles. I-GO cars are now available
in Edgewater and will be available in other neighborhoods as new members
apply. For more information please visit http://www.i-go-cars.org/
State transportation officials hailed the capital
budget they unveiled (4/2) as representing "a sea change" in attitude -
less money for new and wider roads that spawn sprawl and more money to
repair bridges and roads.
As monorail advocates prepare for another ballot
measure in November to raise taxes to pay for the project, an international
transit construction corporation has pledged to work with the campaign
in whatever way best suits the local proponents. The firm Bombardier is
prepared to counter opposition campaigns expected to be waged by anti-transit
and anti-tax groups.http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/transportation/64008_mono27.shtml
= = = National News = = =
Please check our job listings page. Sprawl Watch
will post new positions as we receive them. http://www.sprawlwatch.org/jobs.html
= = = New Releases = = =
The George Washington University Center on Sustainable
Growth has a published a groundbreaking essay on the civil rights aspects
of sprawl by Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr. of Rochester, New York. Drawing
on his own experiences and personal perspective, the Mayor argues that
sprawl is indeed a civil rights issue that must be addressed. Johnson,
who co-chairs the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Smart Growth and
Regionalism, served as President and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester
for 21 years. See http://www.law.gwu.edu/csg/Johnson.pdf
A new national report by the Michigan Land Use
Institute and United Cerebral Palsy challenges critics of public transportation
who assert that even if the money is spent Michigan residents are unlikely
to use anything but their private vehicles. Not so, says New Economic Engine,
which was reported and written by Kelly Thayer, our transportation project
manager, and Joey Miller, our policy specialist. Cities such as Cleveland,
Chicago, and Minneapolis, Kelly and Joey report, are building and expanding
transit choices to enhance their quality of life and economic might.
"The Limitless City: A Primer on the Urban Sprawl
Debate", author Oliver Gillham argues that whether we like it to not, sprawl
is here to stay, and only by understanding where it came from and why it
developed will we be able to successfully address the problems it has created.
Oliver Gillham, an architect and planner with
more than twenty-five years of experience in the field, considers the history
and development of sprawl and examines current debates about the issue.
The book: offers a comprehensive definition of sprawl in America, traces
the roots of sprawl and considers the factors that led to its preeminence
as an urban and suburban form, reviews both its negative impacts (loss
of open space, increased pollution, gridlock) as well as its positive aspects
(economicdevelopment, personal freedom, privacy), considers responses to
sprawl including "smart growth," urban growth boundaries, regional planning,
and the New Urbanism looks at what can be done to improve and counterbalance