newsletter archive
Sprawl Watch
Vol. 1, Number 10 -- October 7, 1999

= = =State and Local News = = =
A booming Los Angeles Basin economy coupled with strong population
growth have sparked the tightest industrial real estate market in
decades, but a shortage of manufacturing space and affordable housing
loom as potential impediments to continuing growth, a top official of
The Seeley Company said September 23 at "Foresight 2000," a conference
focused on evolving sociopolitical and economic influences on varied
business sectors and presented by the Los Angeles Economic Development
Corporation, Arter & Hadden LLP, and The Seeley Company of Los Angeles.
The same official said "The lack of housing and available parcels for
infill development are pushing the workforce, particularly middle income
families, to the outskirts of the five counties. This is creating
traffic, pollution and down time commuting issues, especially for young
families." (Businesswire, 9/23/99)

Colorado's unprecedented growth over the past decade will continue in
the years ahead, state demographer Jim Westcott reported October 4.
Colorado's growth rate has hit 2 percent or higher every year since
1990, twice the national average.   Representatives from Colorado Forum,
a statewide organization of business leaders, recommended that each
city, town and county in Colorado be required to develop a comprehensive
growth plan.  But Aurora Mayor Paul Tauer, speaking for the
Metropolitan Mayor's Caucus, said the state shouldn't be handing down
mandates -- he said it should encourage local governments with funds.
(By John Sanko, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 10/5/99)

Stamford based Clearview Investment will receive the first loan in the
nation given under EPA's Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund
Program. The EPA announced the grant to the private developer on
Tuesday.   The $250,000 loan will help pay for the cleanup of 2.9 acres
along Stamford Harbor. This cleanup will be part of a project aimed at
developing a 15 acre parcel along the water with about 320 residential
units and a marine facility, boardwalk and public fishing pier.
(Environmental News Service, 10/6/99)

Governor Jesse Ventura unveils smart growth plan.  The goals of Governor
Ventura's Smart Growth Initiative are to:  1.) Maximize economic
opportunity for all while protecting and enhancing the assets that make
Minnesota a great place to live - healthy communities, clean air and
water, and Minnesota's unique natural, cultural and historical areas.
2.) Manage natural resources and agricultural land to ensure they are
sustained for future generations.  3.) Be fiscally prudent by avoiding
wasteful spending today and future costs down the road. The Governor has
developed strategies to accomplish Minnesota's smart growth goals.
Contact: Scott Elkins, 1000 of Minnesota, e-mail:

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Majority Leader John M. Perzel
expects House members to focus on preserving farmland by combating urban
sprawl, among other issues.  The second quarter of the 1999-2000 Session
began September 27.  There is momentum building towards seeking a
legislative solution to the problems created by urban sprawl, Perzel
said. There are two proposals under consideration by the House, a
package of five land use bills offered by Rep. Chuck McIlhinney of Bucks
County and legislation offered by Rep. John E. Barley of Lancaster
County, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which would give
counties the ability to leverage more than $600 million in local and
state funds for environmental projects and farmland preservation.
(Businesswire, 9/23/99)

A new light rail for commuters will test the theory that a 17-mile rail
line can attract investment and reinvigorate connect two communities
once divided by dilapidated neighborhoods and businesses.  Peter
Calthorpe, a partner in the firm that is helping the two communities of
Sandy and Midvale, said light rail has been an important component of
redevelopment in other cities, including Portland, San Diego, San Jose
and Sacramento. The two towns have united to forge a new standard for
development that includes a walkable residential neighborhood mixed with
attractive shops, all catering to people who want to ride the train as
much as they drive. (By Brandon Loomis, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10/03/99)

Five years after Walt Disney Co. canceled plans to build a $650 million
theme park near the site of the battles of Bull Run, urban sprawl may
pose an even greater threat to the region's Civil War sites.  Developers
in northern Virginia, driven by the area's booming economy, have chewed
up land at a frantic pace with new condominiums, subdivisions and strip
malls. ``It's like being nibbled to death by ducks,'' said Kat Imhoff,
executive director of the Preservation Alliance of Virginia. ``You don't
even realize the quantity of resources we're losing because it's so
piecemeal.'' Fighting Disney was tough, but tracking the seemingly
endless local development proposals may be even more difficult, said
Elliott Gruber, executive vice president of the Civil War Trust, the
country's largest Civil War battlefield preservation group. ``The
threats just continue to expand,'' he said. (AP, 9/3/99)

= = =Nationwide= = =
Some time around Oct. 12 the world's 6 billionth person will be born.
The Census Bureau says that in any one year, immigrants account for more
than a third of the nation's growth and over the next 50 years they will
account for two-thirds, largely because most of the new immigrants to
the United States have higher birthrates.  John Bermingham, president of
the Colorado Population Coalition, says: "We must become more and more
accustomed to sprawl, congestion, wilderness losses, ethnic enclaves,
families locked in an underclass for generations, lopsided school costs,
battles over bilingualism, demeaning of citizenship and, perhaps most
important of all, a continued lessening of the chance that an ordinary
American will ever converse with any member of Congress."  (By Holger
Jensen, Scripps Howard News Service Scripps Howard News, 10/03/99),1249,115013108,00.html

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented a $200,000 grant to
the City of Carson, California, on October 5. With the grant, the city
will inventory its brownfields properties, conduct environmental
assessments, develop cleanup plans for the sites and perform community
outreach. The purpose of the brownfields program is to assist
communities in redeveloping underutilized land in the inner-city and to
curb urban sprawl. The City of Carson is a major center for
transportation, manufacturing and distribution. (EPA, 10/5/99)

The  International Downtown Association presented the Downtown
Achievement Awards to 15 city projects (out of a field of 70) that
exemplify the best in downtown revitalization and management at the 45th
Annual International Downtown Association Conference in Philadelphia on
October 4.  In the category of economic development two project's won:
Roanoke, Va.'s Center in the Square and Portland, Me.'s Portland Public
Market.  In the category of Physical improvement, Santa Cruz, Calif.'s
Downtown Earthquake Recovery project and Savannah, Ga.'s Savannah
College of Art Design won awards. For more categories and winners see

Surgeon General David  Satcher announced September 30 that the Centers
for Disease Control and  Prevention (CDC) will award $9.4 million to
community coalitions in 18 states to help address racial and ethnic
disparities in the United  States. "These awards will put funds into the
hands of frontline leaders and minority health organizations without
delay to build on the progress we've already made in reducing racial and
ethnic health disparities," HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala said. A total
of 32 community coalitions will receive funding. (U.S. Newswire,

EPA New England Administrator John P. DeVillars at a recent Capitol Hill
meeting told the New England Congressional Caucus and the New England
Council that urban sprawl was perhaps that region's greatest threat:
"New England loses 1,200 acres per week to unplanned development."
According to DeVillars, "poorly planned suburban growth is the largest
challenge New England faces and it will continue as such for a good long
while. It's degrading to our environment, it's fiscally inefficient and
it's undermining our social fabric. Action to curb it is long overdue."
(Business Wire, 9/30/99)

= = =New Releases= = =
The Sierra Club released its "Solving Sprawl" report to a packed room at
the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. October 4.  The second
annual report rates each of the 50 states by measuring progress in four
broad categories: open-space protection, land-use planning,
transportation planning and community revitalization.  Broad media
coverage followed the release of the report.

Pro-sprawl advocates such as William M. Wilkins, executive director of
The Road Information Program (TRIP) (a non-profit highway research
organization sponsored by equipment manufacturers and distributors,
material suppliers and businesses involved in highway engineering,
construction and financing) released a press statement later saying that
the Sierra Club's solutions would  "control growth through policies that
will only make things worse and will result in a loss of freedom for
individuals to make decisions for themselves about where to live and
work and how to travel." Charles Ruma of the National Association of
Homebuilders also released a press statement saying "we part company
with the Sierra Club on the definition of 'smart growth' and on many of
the Sierra Club's recommendations."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a step-by-step
handbook "KidsWalk-to-School: A Guide for Community Action to Promote
Children Walking to School" to promote healthier, safer life styles for
kids.   From 1977 to 1995, the number of walking and biking trips made
by children declined by 63 percent.  Dependence on cars for
transportation and television for entertainment has left kids overweight
and out of shape. Yet many parents keep kids off the streets for fear of
accidents and crime. The manual offers practical suggestions for
organizing a community-based walk-to-school program, including tools for
assessing the number and condition of trails and sidewalks. For more
information, contact Jessica Shisler at the CDC: