newsletter archive
Sprawl Watch
Volume 1, Number 8 - August 12, 1999
The Tucson City Council unanimously ordered its staff to draw up a proposed 
ordinance that would bar new stores of more than 100,000 square feet that 
generate a certain amount of traffic. (Arthur H. Rotstein, 
Associated Press, 08/04/99)

Phoenix has set up a version of an urban growth boundary called an
"infrastructure limit line".  The line limits how far the city will build streets and 
sewer lines without special approval from the Phoenix Planning Commission and 
City Council. Any development outside the line will have to pay for its own 
streets and sewers or seek aid from the city through public hearings. (Catherine 
Reagor, The Arizona Republic, 7/30/99)

Federal officials are planning to announce an ambitious plan to develop national 
forest land beside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona that 
environmentalists are calling a model for future development around national 
parks. Canyon Forest Village on 272 acres at the south entrance of the park in 
the town of Tusayan, represents a compromise that appears to have something 
for everyone. (The New York Times, 8/6/99) 

HUD will give Richmond $4.5 million for redevelopment of an abandoned Ford 
plant site, where the city envisions a waterfront 'cyber village'. The 23-acre 
Richmond project envisions live-work lofts and high tech offices.  The property 
is one of four brownfields in Richmond. (Shawn Masten, The Contra Costa 
Times, 8/5/99) 

As the economic boom of the '90s pushes construction beyond the edge of U.S. 
cities, developers are digging up more than dirt.  Their bulldozers are 
uncovering, and sometimes destroying, potential treasures of America's 
prehistoric past. The surge of excavation for homes, shopping malls, highways 
and other projects is turning up fossils and archaeological sites, especially in the 
West, in numbers not seen since the great bone-hunting expeditions of the 19th 
century. (Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY, 7/26/99)

A study committee headed by Colorado State Sen. Bryan Sullivant will decide if 
the growth issue is worthy of legislative action next year.  The panel of seven 
Republicans and four Democrats held its initial meeting August 9 and will 
continue to take a broad look at the subject of growth in upcoming meetings. 
"Growth is a critical issue for Colorado,'' said Sullivant, the Breckenridge 
Republican whose growth management measures were killed by the Legislature 
last session. Colorado's population is projected to grow by 1.5 million in the 
next two decades, mostly along the Front Range.

The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants $7 million, the 
largest this year under the federal government's brownfields program, to 
redevelop a contaminated industrial site in Boston's Dudley Square area.  The 
former factory building will be cleaned up and turned into a three-story retail 
complex and parking lot.

The Wilder Foundation has just released a report on senior housing needs in the 
Twin Cities region for the next 30 years.  Entitled "Building Toward the Senior 
Boom," the extensive report analyzes demographic trends among Twin Cities 
residents, noting that the senior population is expected to double within the next 
25 years as the baby boom generation ages.  Importantly, the bulk of that 
increase is expected to occur in the suburban counties of the region. The full
report can be found at:

New Jersey
State environmental officials recently proposed rules designed to slow 
development in New Jersey coastal areas.  In the rules, the state would link the 
coastal development law to the state plan in an attempt to clearly designate 
where development should occur and where it should not. State officials say the 
rules make it easier for developers to build in targeted areas that are already 
developed -- and much more difficult for them to build in undeveloped, 
environmentally sensitive areas.  Environmentalists disagree with the state 
saying the rules don't specify the number of houses that can be built per acre; 
rather, they say how much land can be "covered" by development in a certain 
area. (Thomas Martello, AP, 8/3/99)

= = =Nationwide= = =
Senators James M. Jeffords (R-VT) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), 
introduced the Small Business Brownfields Redevelopment Act of 1999.  The 
bill will link the Small Business Administration's successful loan guarantee and 
community development corporation programs directly to specific brownfields 
financing needs. 

Better America Bonds legislation was introduced in both the House and  the 
Senate this summer.  In July, Representative Matsui (D-CA) introduced house 
bill H.R.2446, a bill to provide tax credits to holders of Better America Bonds, 
with 55 cosponsors.  This bill has 116 cosponsors to date.  In August, Senators 
Baucus (D-MT) and Hatch (R-UT) introduced senate bill S.1558 the 
Community Open Space Bonds Bill. 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that 37% percent 
of respondents to a 1999 survey said they would accept no fewer than four 
bedrooms, and 51% would accept no fewer than 2 1/2 baths in a new home. 
This is roughly proportional to the houses actually constructed in 1998 and a 
considerable increase from 1975, when just 20% of new homes had 2.5 baths. 
In a notable mirroring of the 2 1/2 baths statistic, the U.S. Census Bureau 
reports roughly 2 1/2 people (2.62) lived in the average household in 1998. 
(sources: National Association of Home Builders,; U.S. Census Bureau

The July 29 edition of the Chronicle of Philanthropy explores Land Trusts.

Preliminary figures from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program released 
this May show that serious crime declined nationwide by 7 percent between 
1998 and 1997, marking the seventh consecutive year of decreases in major 
crime indexes.   As in past years, the sharpest declines occurred in big cities, 
with the nation's 27 largest cities experiencing double-digit drops in the number 
of murders, robberies, and motor vehicle thefts.  Suburban areas recorded 
somewhat smaller drops in most crime categories.  To view the preliminary 
report, visit the FBI's Internet site at
(Washington Post, 5/17/99). 

= = =New Releases= = = 
The Ecological Society, a professional scientific society of over 7,000 
members, has just released a report, entitled: Ecological Principles and
Guidelines for Managing the Use of Land.  The full report is available 
online at

ColorLines magazine takes a critical look at race, border lands and the 
'burbs: Renowned civil rights lawyer john powell on why attacking 
suburban sprawl is critical anti-racist work.  Gary Delgado asks whether 
metropolitics will address racial equity and offers suggestions on how 
to focus on issues of race.

In an August 2nd interview on the NBC Nightly News, Secretary of the 
Interior Bruce Babbitt declared population growth to be the greatest 
threat to national parks and open space throughout the United States. On 
August 6, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) released 
a new study, The Environmentalist's Guide to a Sensible Immigration 
Policy, linking rapid U.S. population growth to immigration policies. 
The Census Bureau projects that U.S. population will grow to nearly 400 
million people by mid-next century -- an increase of more than 125 
million people -- and that nearly all of this growth will be a direct 
result of post-1990 immigration. The full report can be found at

A new brownfields report, produced by the International City/County 
Management Association's (ICMA's) Superfund/Brownfield Research 
Institute, is available. The new report, Beyond Fences: Land Use 
Controls Today, is free of charge.  The report describes the current 
state of knowledge on institutional controls in redeveloping 
brownfields, and the important role local governments can play in 
implementing them.  To order a copy of this report, call Adam Ploetz of 
ICMA at 202/962-3601, or send e-mail to the following address: