Volume 2, Number 21 - November 27, 2000
= = = State and Local News = = =
District of Columbia
District Mayor Anthony Williams, who has made
downtown housing and urban revitalization a central theme of his administration,
unveiled his "Downtown Action Agenda" to increase both affordable and market-rate
housing in downtown DC. In addition to downtown revitalization, Mayor
Williams announced his plan for the redevelopment of much of the area
along the Anacostia River.
In what transportation reform advocates hope
is not a trend, the Illinois State Senate has voted to eliminate the state
sales tax for gasoline. As gas prices rose over the summer in the
Midwest, Illinois temporarily suspended its gas tax through December 31,
action would make the suspension permanent.
Smart growth advocates have criticized a bill
which recently passed the New Jersey State Senate that would allow developers
of a new mega-mall near the Meadowlands to receive public subsidies for
roads and other infrastructure projects. Smart growth advocates believe
that, at the very least, the public sector should not subsidize sprawl.
1000 Friends of Oregon released a report outlining
90 state and local actions that could trigger payment under Oregon's Measure
7, which passed in the election. These could include comprehensive
general plans, building codes, and a variety of environmental measure amongst
others. To view the report, visit www.friends.org.
Pennsylvania State Representative David Steil
(R-Bucks County) recently spoke at a National Association of Homebuilders
(NAHB) luncheon in DC. Representative Steil, who sponsored historic
land use planning legislation earlier this year in Pennsylvania, had been
heavily criticized by the home-building industry in Pennsylvania for his
sponsorship. Some advocates view the NAHB's support of "smart growth"
as a promising development, while others feel the NAHB is merely greenwashing
and has no intention supporting real smart growth legislation.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that
South Carolina is losing 107,000 acres of open space per year to
development-the ninth highest rate in the nation, many South Carolinians
are growing concerned and taking action. The cause of preservation
is getting assistance from some very savvy private organizations along
with increased action from
the state and local governments.
One tool public officials have to control haphazard,
sprawl development is by curtailing infrastructure extensions such as sewage
lines. This was the strategy of Chesapeake, Virginia city council
members of who have been trying to stop a golf community on the outskirts
of town. The controversial sewage line was recently allowed by a
5-4 vote, and some
fear this will be the impetus for "Virginia Beach-style"
= = = New Reports = = =
Report on "School Sprawl"
In a new report released during National Education
Week, "Historic Neighborhood Schools in the Age of Sprawl: Why Johnny
Can't Walk to School," the National Trust for Historic reservation
contends that public policies, including excessive acreage requirements,
funding formulas and planning code exemptions, are promoting the spread
of mega-school sprawl on outlying, undeveloped land at the expense of small,
walkable, community-centered schools in older neighborhoods. Among its
recommendations, the National Trust suggests eliminating arbitrary acreage
standards, funding biases, and certain zoning exemptions that undermine
the public's ability to maintain older and historic schools as centers
of community life and learning. To read the report in full, please
= = = National News = = =
In its annual ranking, Money magazine chose Portland,
Oregon as the nation's best place to live. Although the editors emphasize
their traditional standards such as school quality, crime rate, and job
growth, Portland is particularly cited for its ability to control sprawl,
its pedestrian friendly neighborhoods, open space and efficient public
= = =New Releases= = =
ITE Journal, November, Institute of Transportation
Engineers "Special Issue on Smart Growth". - Smart Growth Tools for
Transportation- Smart Growth and Transportation: Opportunities and Challenges
for Austin - Maryland’s Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation
Initiative - Transportation — A Major Player in Smart Growth
ITE Journal is available on line at www.ite.org
but only to members, but reprints and electronic versions are available
2. Popular Government, Special Issue, Institute
of Government, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill "Growing Smart
in North Carolina" - Smart Growth around the Nation
- A Smart Growth Toolbox for Local Governments
- The Environmental Consequences of Growth - Growing Smart about Transportation
Popular Government is available on line at
3. Wake Forest Law Review, Fall 2000, Wake
Forest University "Sustainable Growth: Evaluating Smart Growth Efforts
in the Southeast" - New Kid in Town: The Georgia Regional Transportation
Authority and Its Role in Managing Growth in Metropolitan Atlanta
- Growth Management and Smart Growth in Florida
- Smart Growth in North Carolina: Something Old or Something New?
The Wake Forest Law Review will not be available
on line for some time but information about it is available at http://www.law.wfu.edu/lawreview/home.html
Volume 2, Number 20 - November 9, 2000
The election is over, and as the counting continues,
it is apparent that citizens—as in 1999 and 1998--have voted to protect
open space and promote transportation alternatives. As Sprawl Watch
will make them available on our website at http://www.sprawlwatch.org/election.html.
For a preliminary analysis of Tuesday's results by the Brookings Institute,
= = = State and Local News = = =
A backlash is brewing in some downtowns against
"dot-com" businesses in many of the
same communities that were the original incubators
of the digital economy. Redwood City,
located about thirty miles south of San Francisco
and home to Oracle and Napster among
other Internet-based businesses, has voted to
extend a controversial ordinance that sets rigid limits on industrial development
in half of the city's commercial districts, including
downtown. The Redwood City City Council
believes the incursion of dot-com businesses
into their downtown will hurt revitalization
efforts, which have encouraged retail businesses and their attendant pedestrian
activity. Others warn that this pattern of preventing Internet-based
businesses to locate in downtowns will only exacerbate the tendency of
these businesses to locate on the suburban fringe.
The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation
released its second annual "Eleven in the
Eleventh Hour"; its list of the most endangered
historic properties in Central Kentucky. The
properties on the endangered list are based on
several factors, including historic significance, proximity to proposed
or current development, lack of protection from demolition, the condition
of the structure, and architectural significance.
The State Planning Commission yesterday unanimously
approved a new vision for how New Jersey could look 20 years from now if
development is targeted to cities and older suburbs while forests
and farmland are preserved. This plan, an integral part of
Gov. Whitman's 1 million acres preservation plan, will be subject to twenty-five
public meetings across the state with a final decision in February.
The Palmetto Conservation Foundation has released
the "Citizen's Guide to Billboard
Control". The "Citizen's Guide", the third
such guide released by the Foundation, is intended as a resource for South
Carolinians interested in questioning the impact of outdoor advertising
and enacting some guidelines for scenic protection. The 20-page booklet
gives advice on how to get billboard regulations passed, in addition to
shedding light on billboard industry tactics to halt regulations.
For ordering information, please visit http://www.palmettoconservation.org/shared/pubs.htm
Utah farmers placed a record number of acres
under the state's Agricultural Protection Area (APA) through the first
9 months of 2000. As of September, 2000, a total of 44,273 acres
were placed under protection for the year. This represents a 74 percent
increase in the number of acres protected under the program. Agriculture
Protection Areas are designed to protect landowners from civil nuisance
complaints and other issues involving standard agricultural activities.
= = = New Releases = = =
Poll shows Cities and Suburbs agree on Public
The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Mortgage
Bankers Association of America has
released a five-point plan to encourage city
reinvestment while also releasing a nationwide poll that found city and
suburban residents alike support tax dollars being spent to revitalize
central cities. This finding challenges the widely-held belief that cities
and suburbs have little in common and are often in conflict with each other
over housing, transportation and other community development issues.
The poll found that 68% of city residents and 66% of suburban dwellers
said rebuilding cities and relying more on public transportation is the
most effective way to solve the impact of sprawl and traffic congestion.
Office Park Sprawl
Suburbs now contain the majority of office space
in many of the country's top metropolitan office markets, according to
a new study by the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan
Policy. Before 1980, central cities dominated the office market, but over
the last two decades, office space has become much more dispersed. The
old, central-city downtown has lost its primacy in most major office markets.
The report is available at: www.brookings.edu/urban
= = = National News = = =
"Fair Growth" Conference in Atlanta The Fannie
Mae Foundation introduced the term "fair growth" at a November 1 conference
that, for the first time, took a comprehensive look at the relationship
between sprawl, smart growth and social equity. Panel discussions
covered ways in which sprawl -- and the smart growth legislation designed
to curb it -- impact social equity issues such as housing affordability.
Research to better define sprawl also was introduced and land-use experts,
using new, more precise criteria, ranked 13 major metropolitan areas according
to sprawl. To learn more about the conference and read the reports
and the rankings for sprawl, visit http://www.fanniemaefoundation.org/home.htm.