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Sprawl Watch
Volume 1, Number 3 -- May 24, 1999

This Week's Content 

= = =State and Local News = = =
Homes in the nation's largest sustainable mixed-use community are ready for 
families as Governor Jane Hull and U.S. Representative James T. "Jim" Kolbe (R-AZ)
joined U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and 
Renewable Energy, Dan Reicher, Tucson Mayor George Miller, and Civano's 
key partners today to celebrate the first completed neighborhood homes in the
environmentally-friendly Civano.  (Business Wire, 4/16/99),234,nscp-
44278337,00.html.  Website:

The San Francisco Bay area provided permanent protection to 50,000 acres in 
parks, farms and wildlife habitats between March 1998 and March 1999, 
according to a study by the Bay Area Open Space Council.  During most of the 1990s, only 10,000 to15,000 acres were set aside as open space (Contra Costa Times, 5/19/99). 

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is sponsoring three town 
meetings in the Bay Area to discuss growth issues. The first was held in Petaluma, 
the second will be held 5/26 in Contra Costa County, and the third will be 
held 5/27 in San Jose.ABAG will show a 30-minute video which explores 
ways the Bay Area can help slow sprawl, increase affordable housing and 
encourage high-density projects near public transit stations.

The city of Clermont has created an ordinance that blocks Wal Mart's efforts 
to build a $8 million supercenter - a single store bigger than four football fields. 
The cities new zoning rule does not allow a store to be bigger than 100,000 
square feet - about two football fields. Wal-Mart officials said that after the vote 
limiting the size of retail stores they aren't "walking away". 
(Orlando Sentinel, 4/18/99) 

The Lexington [KY] Herald-Leader ran a special section yesterday on political 
and business influences on growth issues in the Lexington, KY, area.
(Lexington Herald Leader, 5/19/99).

Responding to an op-ed by Steven Hayward of the Pacific Research Institute, 
Royce Hanson, former chairman of the Montgomery County planning board, 
writes in a Baltimore Sun op-ed:  "Smart Growth is not about denying development.  It 
is about organizing it to make the most efficient and productive use of 
existing and planned roads, sewers and public services" (Baltimore Sun, 

A coalition of St. Paul churches working on issues relating to urban sprawl 
received one of two social justice awards given by the Headwaters Fund.  The 
St. Paul Ecumenical Alliance of Congregations consists of 19 congregations, 
which have organized to develop leaders and tackle problems identified by its 
members.  Headwaters was founded in 1998 to give money to "grassroots social change organizations" that address economic, racial and social injustice in the seven counties of the Twin Cities.  (St. Paul Pioneer Press 4/25) 

Federal officials told the Governor's Economic Development Conference in Osage 
Beach, MO, last week that cities must make decisions affecting local quality 
of life.  But federal and state governments would provide the tools and 
funding needed when cities decide how they want to integrate matters such as 
the environment, education and reducing crime, the officials said. (Wall Street 
Journal/Greenwire, 5/24/99). 

New Jersey
The state of New Jersey has committed $7.35 million to help revitalize 
neighborhoods and towns.  Each municipality will receive $525,000 during the 
next five years to save neighborhoods that local and state officials have 
deemed "threatened but viable".  The Neighborhood Preservation Program has 
provided aid to 115 cities and towns since its creation 23 years ago.  (Star 
Ledger 4/26/99) 

New York
Mayor Rudoloph Giuliani canceled on May 12 the controversial sale of 115 
community gardens after the Trust for Public Land, New York Restoration 
Project and Bette Midler agree to pay the city $4.2 million for them. City 
officials planned to sell the popular gardens to the highest bidder, but they 
agreed to the May 12 deal after a judge ruled they had violated state law by ignoring the environmental impact of the auction.
-idx.html (Washington Post 5/12/99) 

North Carolina
North Carolina state senator Howard Lee has proposed a 27 member committee to study growth - management strategies in nine other states.  The groups will look at the impact of population growth on the infrastructure, environment and economy. (News and Observer, 4/15/99)  To look at Senate Bill 1123, The Blue Ribbon Growth Study Commission link to:

The Ohio EPA will give Cleveland one more year to fix "chronic problems" with 
the city's management of air pollution control and enforcement before deciding 
whether to cancel the city's $2 million contract to oversee the programs. 
(Cleveland PlainDealer, 5/19/99).

Fifty forums will be held around the state on land use between June 1 and 
August 5.  Governor Tom Ridge appointed a 39-member "Sound Land Use Advisory Committee" that with the Center for Local Government Services, will conduct forums on four main areas: existing land use practices, citizen's views on what constitutes livable communities, the role of local government and legal issues. The Committee will create a manual with an inventory of sound land use practices to be available in the fall to local communities.   (Patriot News, 4/26/99) 

Voters rejected several land-preservation initiatives and pro- preservation candidates in local primary elections around the Philadelphia region. Voters showed they are "committed to preserving open space, but not at any cost."  Assessments of the recent defeats found the issue is not "waning in voter interest.  But voters want more accountability on how tax dollars for open space are spent" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/20/99).

Republicans in the nation's third-fastest-growing county (Loudoun) on Saturday 
overwhelmingly nominated a slow-growth advocate for chairman of the board of 
supervisors and rejected his incumbent  opponent. Loudoun County Supervisor 
Scott K. York of Sterling received 4,509 votes to at-large supervisor Dale Polen Myers' 1,633 in the primary. (AP, 5/24/99)

Former Virginia Gov. Gerald L. Baliles (D), who pursued Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts during his term, is urging today's legislators to take a second look 
at a 1989 report written for Baliles and the governors of Maryland and Pennsylvania.  The study of population growth and development in the bay watershed "is just as important now as it ever was" if the bay-area states expect to clean up the Chesapeake, according to Baliles. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/22/99).

= = =Nationwide= = =
National Public Radio Audio Series, May 4-11, 1999 
Combating urban sprawl is high on the agendas around the country, and Vice 
President Al Gore is trying to make it an issue for the year 2000 presidential 
campaign.  Listen to National Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered reports on urban and suburban problems. 

Morning Edition, May 4:  "Suburban Sprawl"

All Things Considered, May 10:  "Sprawl in Atlanta," "Employers and Sprawl," 
"Auburn Avenue," "Sprawl and Cars," "Sprawl and Suburbs"

Morning Edition, May 10:  "Expanding Neighborhood"

All Things Considered, May 11: "Sprawl in Montana"

Morning Edition, May 12: "The Old Neighborhood"

National Association of Realtors Sponsor Forum
The pros and cons of government-based initiatives to balance growth and 
quality of life issues were discussed May 22 during a forum sponsored by the NationalAssociation of Realtors.  The program, held during NAR's Midyear Governance Meetings and Trade Expo, featured Jonathan Weiss of the office of Vice President Al Gore; Jonathon Adler, director of environmental programs for the Competitive Enterprise Institute; and Robert Rhodes, executive vice president of the St. Joe Corporation, a development firm in Florida.  (PRNewswire 5/22/99),234,home-48062893,00.html

= = =New Releases = = = 
Remarks at the International Downtown Association 1999 Spring Workshop from 
Hugh L. McColl Jr., Chairman and CEO, Bank of America International Downtown 
Association 1999 "A Fair Summer Evening in the Center City" May 17, 1999 Charlotte, NC

The American Farmland Trust released a study that finds bias toward sprawl in 
state and local growth policies in California. The study, "Smart Growth Versus Sprawl in California," looks at three important agricultural counties and found that 
state and local policies, ranging from property taxation to development fees and zoning, bias the market against efficient residential and commercial development and toward land-wasting sprawl. To obtain a free, one-page summary of the report, go to American Farmland Trust's web page at The complete report is available for $9.95 by calling 800-370-4879.(U.S. Newswire, 5/20/99).

A report released by the Trust for Public Land "The Economic Benefits of Parks
and Open Space: How Land Conservation Helps Communities Grow Smart and Protect the Bottom Line" finds that parks and conservation of natural and agricultural 
lands contribute billions of dollars to local economies each year. The report 
provides an overview of research findings and cites examples of communities that areprotecting the landscapes that contribute to their quality of life and economic well-being. To full the report check out TPL's website 
Or order via e-mail at:

Sprawl Watch
Volume 1, Number 2 -  May 10, 1999

= = =This Week's Content = = = 

In the States:     News from Arizona, California, DC/Maryland/Virginia, 
Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania. 

Nationwide:  The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, National Public Radio, AP/Anchorage Daily News all report on sprawl.  The Transportation Department, General Services Administration and the Audubon Society announce new programs. 

New Releases:     New releases from the General Accounting Office, Taxpayers for Common Sense, United States Conference of Mayors and the Environmental Protection Agency, The National Association of Home Builders'. 

= = =State and Local News = = = 

Pinal County (AZ) Citizens for Sustainable Communities is collecting signatures on a referendum petition that could halt construction of Coronado -- a project planned to bring 3,894 homes and commercial development to the unincorporated community north of Tucson.  The project could more than triple the rural community's population.  (Maureen O'Connell, The Arizona Daily Star) 

New Study from Pepperdine University Debunks Stereotypes to Reveal Economic Vitality Contributing to Regional Growth Top Business, Political Leaders Convene Conference to Discuss Future of Inner City - A study released by Pepperdine University 5/6/99 revealed that South Central and other neighborhoods that make up South Los Angeles are defying stereotypes of gangs, unemployment and physical blight to become a conglomeration of economic wealth upon which, in some cases, the vitality of the larger Southland region depends. 

The Washington Post ran a series on the effects of overcrowding on public 
schools during the week of May 1 through May 7.  Headlines: "The Classroom Crunch," "No Room to Park," "the Lunch Shift," "Trailer Life," and "A Principal's Decision." 

A business and and pro-growth group, Responsible Economic Growth in Our Nation, found that transportation congestion is the biggest problem facing Northern Virginia. The group conducted a poll of over 800 residents in three Northern Virginia counties . Crime and education also were cited as top concerns. (The Washington Post, 5/5/99) 

The Czar of Gridlock  Terrified of becoming the next Los Angeles, the Atlanta region has given a superagency controlled by the governor dictatorial powers to regulate traffic, smog and sprawl. In the May issue of Governing Magazine.  Article by Alan Ehrenhalt. 

An article in the Detroit Free Press profiles a promising decade-old civic movement in Grand Rapids to strengthen city neighborhoods, check the rampage of sprawl and traffic engulfing the suburbs, and solve both problems by governing collaboratively. The movement, coordinated by the Grand Valley Metro Council, an alliance of 29 local governments, has succeeded because leaders put aside conventional turf competitiveness. Grand Rapids is the only known metropolitan area  in the state to not only recognize that the central city and the suburbs are intimately bound, but also to realize that sprawl is less an engine of economic growth than a vacuum draining vitality from communities. (Keith Schneider, 
Detroit Free Press, 5/6/99) 

A bill to support inclusionary housing has now been included in the economic development omnibus spending bills of both the House and Senate Economic Development Committees.  Each chamber has made a "one time" appropriation for this program.  The Senate appropriated $4 million for an Inclusionary 
Housing Account to be administered by the Met Council.  The funds originate from a special challenge grant fund for affordable housing.  On the House side $1.6 million has been appropriated for an 'Innovative & Inclusionary Housing Demonstration Projects' initiative, to be administered by the MN Housing 
Finance Agency. For more information, contact Russ Adams with the 
Alliance for Metro Stability at

New York
Crime is plummeting. Rents are skyrocketing. Upscale families are restoring elegant brownstones and not just in the black-bourgeois district called "Strivers' Row." ... Officials say Harlem has even surpassed the Empire State Building as New York's number one destination for foreign tourists. Harlem's Empowerment Zone's revitalization efforts are seeing fruition, says The Washington Post, May 5. 

North Carolina
Officials from local governments across North Carolina, legislators, 
environmental experts, and industry representatives met in Winston-Salem, 
Friday, April 30, to discuss the role of local governments in addressing water quality problems in urban and rural North Carolina. Save Our State, an organization of some 150 North Carolina civic, corporate, academic and 
political leaders who want to safeguard the state's natural and economic
resources while encouraging sustainable economic development, convened the forum. 

Pennsylvania's chemical industry announced its support of Governor Tom Ridge's 'Growing Greener'  proposal which would  reallocate $1.3 billion of state funding for better environmental protection. (PR Newswire 5/3/99

After decades of funding highways that encouraged sprawl, the Federal Highway Administration has awarded $1.2 million to New Jersey and Philadelphia-area agencies to foster village-style development around commuter rail stations.  (Philadelphia News.Com 5/5/99)   For a list of other grant winners, link to 

What will happen to the family farm? According to the Agriculture Department, the average age of an American farm operator in 1997 was 54.3 years, up from 53.3 years in 1992 and 50.5 years in 1982. In Ohio, the average age also increased by a year from 1992 to 1997, to 53.1 years.  That rise is connected to the question of what happens when a farmer retires or dies. Unless heirs protect the farm or another farmer takes it over, it may fall into the hands of developers.  (AP 5/9/9) 

= = =Nationwide= = = 
The Transportation Department announced that it will establish a $1 million "center for global climate change and environmental forecasting" to address problems caused by fossil-fuel emissions.  (DOT Press Release, 5/3/99) 

A quote from "The Littleton I Know Isn't Anytown.  It's Notown": "Without a more nuanced critique of the kinds of choices people make about communities in late 20th-century -- where we live and how those places develop -- we are unlikely to accurately account for the behavior of individuals whose actions are, after all, perhaps an extreme manifestation of something that's widely felt but rarely acted upon." Op-Ed by Lakis Polycarpou, The Washington Post, 5/3/99) 

In a New York Times article "How Suburban Design is Failing Teen-Agers," designers of the newest American suburbs say they have largely ignored or avoided one volatile segment of the population.  Three dozen urban planners, architects, environmental psychologists and sociologists, and experts agree.  (William L.  Hamilton, The New York Times, 5/6/99) 

The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency that oversees federal real estate, introduced its new national Center of Expertise for Urban Development and Livability on 5/4/99. The new center, a focal point for GSA's downtown, smart-growth and other community programs, will enhance the agency's contributions to the Federal Livable Communities Agenda. " 

Property Rights issues on the Hill and in the media: Congressional Republicans are renewing their effort to "cushion the impact" of the Endangered Species Act on private landowners by requiring the government to pay landowners who cannot use their land because of the law. The proposal, introduced last month by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and more than 25 other House Republicans, equates land use limits as a "taking" of the land for public use. Such takings would be prevented, unless the government gets landowner permission or pays compensation. (Greenwire 4/3/99) Check out Natural Resources Defense Council's Legislative Watch for legislative updates. 

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, James V. DeLong, of the DC-based Competitive Enterprise Institute, says property rights is becoming "a significant issue of business law." Governments are becoming "eager to assert control of key assets" and businesses are fighting to keep control of their property. For example, Western public land users, builders, natural resource companies and conservative idealists "protest that many environmental and land-use regulations seize property without compensation." And the Superfund program requires retroactive liability for cleanups, regardless of fault (Greenwire 4/3/99). 

After two decades of being used to pay off the national debt, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund may be revived as a way to preserve more green space. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports on efforts by politicians to restore the fund.

The National Audubon Society is building a grassroots network of advocates who are interested in protecting open-space and want to help influence the passage of Better America Bonds -- a new open-space protection financing tool -- through Congress. 
If you are interested in protecting open space and want to learn more about this proposal or how you can help influence its passage in congress contact: Amy Stock, National Audubon Society, Better America Bonds Campaign Organizer, email:
The USEPA has updated their website with helpful information on the Better America Bond program. 

NPR's John Nielsen reported May 4 that Vice President Gore is placing increasing emphasis on the need to limit suburban sprawl and that he's likely to make it an issue in his presidential campaign next year. 

= = =New Releases = = = 
The Northeast - Midwest Institute (NEMW) Congressional Coalition on 5/11 will introduce the Brownfield Redevelopment and Environmental Revitalization Act sponsored by Reps. Bob Franks R-NJ and Marty Meehan D-MA.  Also on 5/11 the NEMW Institute will release Financing Brownfield Reuse, a 65 page anthology of articles by bankers, real estate appraisers, local officials and policy experts. Link 

A General Accounting Office study finds only "anecdotal evidence" pointing to a federal role in causing suburban sprawl. The 11-month study did not find a consensus among researchers that federal spending on new highways, environmental regulations, housing polices and tax incentives cause sprawl. There are even some positive aspects to sprawl, the report says, such as increased home ownership and cheaper sites for business. (USA Today 4/30/99) To download the report, link to 

A report released by Taxpayers for Common Sense and Friends of the Earth identifies 50 highway projects across the US that the groups say are the most wasteful because they will damage protected lands, promote sprawl and cost $17 billion in federal taxpayer money. (TCS release, Apr. 28). For a copy of the report, link to 

The United States Conference of Mayors and the Environmental Protection Agency released a report 4/27/99 on the status of Brownfield sites in 223 American cities. The report indicates that Brownfields are a major problem for cities large and small and the lack of funds to cleanup these sites was the most frequently identified obstacle in recycling these lands. 

The National Association of Home Builders' will hold a press conference May 11 at the National Press Club to present its Smart Growth Report and the results of a survey measuring consumer attitudes on growth issues.