Volume 3, Number 31- August 29, 2001
= = = Highlight = =
Michigan Republican Governor John Engler replaces
Maryland Democratic Governor Parris N. Glendening as the chairman of the
National Governors Association at the 93rd annual meeting in Providence.
Governor Glendening, has accepted the position as the top post on the Council
of State Governments, "where he is expected to continue efforts to promote
smart growth to other states." For more information: http://www.nga.org
= = = State and Local News = = =
Denver’s Affordable Housing Task Force, appointed
by Mayor Webb, has proposed an ordinance requiring developers of townhouses,
houses and condos to make some units more affordable.
Government mandated affordable housing units
look like the single-family estates that sell for nearly a million.
Discount Chain Stores
MD State Department of Planning opposes plan
for new Wal-Mart Store.
They call it agritourism. As farmers discover
how to market their products directly to consumers, planners hope to copy
the model to preserve green landscape from suburban sprawl.
The Greensboro, NC City Council unanimously approves
a growth boundary for the city. The boundary includes areas that
the city can someday annex - and therefore tax. That means as the city
grows, newcomers would pay a share of the cost to expand streets, police
and fire protection and other city services.
Higher Density Development
Affordability, location and family circumstances
come into play in Charlotte’s second condominium boom.
With the help of the Internet and GIS, local
officials are learning how to control land use for future generations.
Construction unions monopolize work done inside
the city, raising the cost of residential construction by as much as 50
percent compared to the suburbs.http://dailynews.philly.com/content/daily_news/2001/08/28/opinion/HUGH28E.htm
= = = National News = = =
NY Times Editorial Better Protection for
Farmers and Their Land by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rep.Wayne Gilchrest
The Great American Station Foundation is now accepting
nominations for its 2001 Most Endangered Station list. This list calls
national attention to threatened stations, giving local station preservation
advocates additional credibility and leverage. This year, local advocate
groups or governments can also receive a $1000 grant to help in their efforts
to save the station. Nominations are due by September 21, 2001.
For a full application go to http://www.stationfoundation.org
or call 505-426-8055.
= = = New Releases = = =
The Housing Assistance Council's Why Housing
Matters – 2000 Report on the State of the Nation's Rural Housing
is available at http://www.ruralhome.org/pubs/hsganalysis/snrh/why/whyhousingmatters.pdf
Solimar Research Group has released a “research
brief” on the loss of farmland and urbanization of land in Ventura County,
CA, based on new Census population figures and new California Department
of Conservation land use statistics. The brief finds that Ventura
County is doing a good job of accommodating population growth by using
land efficiently. The county is losing farmland very slowly, and -- counter
to the national trend – is "densifying," in the sense that the county's
urbanization of land is proceeding more slowly than the growth in population.
This research brief is posted at http://www.solimar.org
In addition, you can read more about the Department
of Conservation statistics and our interpretation in the Ventura County
edition of the Los Angeles Times at
Bullfrog Films presents two new sprawl films available
for purchase Save Our Land, Save Our Towns. Pulitzer
Prize winner Tom Hylton explores logical reasons why America’s towns can
be rebuilt and its countryside preserved from strip malls and subdivisions.
Filmed in PA, England, Oregon and North Carolina.
Store Wars; When Wal-Mart Comes to Town.
This film explores the impact of discount chain stores on American towns
and cities, and our society as a whole. To order copies of the films,
please contact Bullfrog Films at: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com
or e-mail: email@example.com
Volume 3, Number 30- August 8, 2001
Thousands in Metro Detroit seek federal funds
to help them pay for housing. Rents have as much as doubled in Metro Detroit
in the past five years.
A Chelsea, NY apartment complex is the first
to be financed under a city-sponsored taxable bond program that offers
developers quicker, if somewhat more expensive, access to financing. (“Residential
Real Estate; 356 Units Under New City Bond Plan”, 9/3/01) http://www.nytimes.com
Despite the slump in the economy housing is still
expensive in Seattle, pushing homebuyers father into the suburbs, ultimately
creating more congestion for the already strained infrastructure.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
declared Tuesday and Wednesday ozone
action days, the 10th and 11th such days this
summer. During such days, the agency encourages people to use public transportation,
avoid using gasoline-powered recreational vehicles, and postpone refueling
"Code Red" in Washington D.C. due to heavy air
pollution and a high level of humidity and high temperatures will make
it feel like 100 degrees, as a result, some Metrobus routes are offering
free rides. Check out this link for a list of free routes.
Orange County supervisors deadlocked Tuesday
on whether to order an appeal of a judge's ruling that voided petitions
on the Great Park ballot initiative.
Land Use Planning
Douglas County, MN unveils draft land use plan
that includes county residents input.
The city of Greensboro moves ahead with growth
plan. Officials hope the plan will be complete and adopted by the council
by late 2002 or early 2003. http://www.news-record.com/news/local/gso/compplan06.htm
Conflict between the increasing need for more
Ventura County, CA schools and the decreasing land available for them has
prompted county officials to plan two public forums on the problem.
Georgia will rely on federal bond program GARVEE
-Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles- to help pay for transportation plan.
Kansas City voters rejected a $793 million light-rail
transit system. Mayor hints at possible light-rail vote next year.
New York city public transportation in the 1990's
saw for the first time in 50 years more growth in riders than those who
chose to drive cars, which will increase pressure to expand services to
accommodate the number of riders.
= = = National News= = =
New Strategy Needed to Preserve Farms, Forests,
and Ranches, Governors Say.
A new report released by the National Governors
Association, outlines the benefits to private landowners of working land
who want federal assistance with conservation efforts, and proposes program
and policy changes that would provide better benefits. http://www.nga.org/nga/newsRoom/1,1169,C_PRESS_RELEASE^D_2430,00.html
Census Bureau Releases 2000 Supplemental Survey
In Michigan only 83.7 percent of state residents
surveyed in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2000 supplemental survey reported
that they drove alone to work each day. Only 1.14 percent reported
that they used public transportation.
Census Bureau data is available at: http://factfinder.census.gov/home/en/c2ss.html
“Green Banking; Are people who live near public
transit better credit risks?”
A critical look at Location-Efficient Mortgage
(LEM), a smart growth program that makes loans more available to homeowners
living in close proximity to public transportation, subsidized by several
groups including Fannie Mae, has several fundamental flaws in it's design,
the most obvious is not requiring those who qualify, to use public transit.
Reason Public Policy Institute’s Sam Staley
discusses the latest 'Sprawl Index', that urban
decay can't be blamed on suburbs, and that people
ought to have a right to more room if they want it."
RealPlayer is needed.
To find out more about the Reason Foundation
and Sam Staley please visit our Communications page at: http://www.sprawlwatch.org/communications
= = =Highlight = = =
Volume 3, Number 29- August 1, 2001
Greenbelt Alliance Names Brownfields, Anti-Sprawl
Experts to Board
The three new members, Ignacio Dayrit of Berkeley
[Alameda County], Guadalupe Arellano of Gilroy [Santa Clara County], and
Jake Mackenzie of Rohnert Park [Sonoma County] will provide policy leadership
for the organization in its activities across the 9-county San Francisco
Bay region. Greenbelt Alliance is a nationally recognized leader
in smart growth and open space protection. http://www.greenbelt.org
= = = State and Local News = = =
An op-ed piece in the Denver Post opposes the
proposed city sales tax to subsidize affordable housing, putting more pressure
on already struggling small business owners, and potentially pushing more
jobs out to the suburbs.
The state regulators, who insisted on increased
community input, did not approve the Bay Area's clean air plan.
Chicago's second "ozone action" in a row- cars
in the Chicago area contribute to about 40 percent of the problem.
Vegas city officials submitted a request to annex 82 square miles,
effectively doubling the size of the city. U.S. Wildlife officials
are surprised and concerned by the proposal because half of the land requested
lies in the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, home to 79 threatened plant
and animal species, protected by the Multispecies Habitat Conservation
Orange County supporters of the urban park at
the former El Toro Marine base are forced to restart their signature drive.
Smart Growth advocates and environmentalists
enjoy a victory as the Sustainable Communities Demonstration Project, initially
created to give local authorities more control over land-use, but actually
used to bypass environmental protection, recently expired and was not granted
Atlanta's Regional Commission has set up an incentive
program called the Livable Centers Initiative that provides grants for
infrastructure and planning costs to growing cities and towns. Funding
for the Living Centers Initiative comes in part from the recently announced
state transportation budget.
Admittedly "a part of the sprawl problem", America
Online executives still criticize "smart growth " plans for the county,
arguing that housing affordability will decreases, traffic problems will
worsen and business will be hampered with strict environmental policies.
Endangered Species Act
In Washington the Pilchuck Audubon Society and
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility filed suit against the
National Marine Fisheries Service using the Endangered Species Act, in
an attempt to block the construction of an Everett Highway project that
would further threaten the Puget Sound chinook salmon.
The Oakland City Council unanimously approved
a two- year contract with City
CarShare, now operating in San Francisco.
Atlanta Regional Commission members threaten
to delay projects included in the governor's five-year transit plan, frustrated
by disregard of local level needs.
Chicago's northwest suburbs public transportation
network has reached a crisis point.
Las Vegas, in response to increasing transit
demands and an attempt to make public transit more attractive, has ordered
computer-guided buses developed by the French companies IRISBUS and MATRA
= = = National News = = =
As Congress considers a new bill on farmer subsidies
and farmland protection Environmental Defense released a report that reveals
more than $2 billion of conservation program subsidies for farmers await
funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, thousands
of farmers, who want to protect wildlife, cleanup water pollution and prevent
farmland from being consumed by sprawl, are being rejected entirely.
Environmental Defense Report "Losing Ground"
= = =New Releases = = =
A new report released by the National Governor's
Association New Community Design to the Rescue, explains how
states and communities can encourage New Community Design -- mixed-use,
mixed-income, walkable development that is distinctly different from sprawl
-- by eliminating institutional barriers in the marketplace. http://www.nga.org/center/divisions/1,1188,C_ISSUE_BRIEF^D_2344,00.html
The new Brooking's Institution Center on Urban
and Metropolitan Policy survey, Job Sprawl: Employment Location
in U.S. Metropolitan Areas maps the new American employment landscape,
using zip-code employment files to map the location of jobs in the 100
largest U.S. metropolitan areas. http://www.brookings.edu/urban
The Center for Neighborhood Technology
has created a new version of their Neighborhood Early Warning System
(NEWS) indicator program, designed to monitor real estate trends and
to more effectively counteract housing abandonment, commercial decline
and financial disinvestments in Chicago's inner city communities. http://www.newschicago.org/
Redesigning Streetscapes: The Sierra Club's
Restore the Core Campaign has added computer generated images to their
web site of how unattractive streets can be made more interesting. These
images are available on: http://www.sierraclub.org/sprawl/community/transformations/index.asp.
= = =Employment Opportunities = = =
Sierra Club Washington, DC office seeks Washington,
D.C. Sprawl Representative. Inquiries should be sent to Senior WDC
Director and Environmental Quality Team Leader- Ed.Hopkins@sierraclub.org.
Click here for more information, http://www.sierraclub.org/jobs/WDC_sprawl_rep.htm