newsletter archive
Sprawl Watch
Volume 3, Number 35- September 26, 2001

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For only the second time in history, a Governor has called the state legislature back for a special session to address sprawl. The first time was in May, also in Colorado. Colorado lawmakers began their special session September 20 and hope to approve growth legislation after two unsuccessful tries earlier this year. Citizen groups are holding a series of local Town Hall Meetings on Growth across Colorado. The Town Hall Meetings are gathering feedback from citizens on growth issues, and providing them with factual information on different growth management tools that have been used around the country and solutions that may work best in their communities. Citizens will voice their views and ask questions of a local panel of experts. Citizen comments will be collected and compiled into a report that will be presented to the State Legislature.

For details on the Citizen Town Hall Meetings on Growth and to find about growth trends in your region, visit

The Rocky Mountain News reports that Senate Democrats have blocked Governor Owens highway plans.,1299,DRMN_37_832013,00.html

A proposal to impose impact fees on new construction to help pay for the cost of growth comes before a Senate committee today 9/26.,1299,DRMN_37_832027,00.html

For more information on Colorado and sprawl, visit

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Habitat Designation
A federal judge has directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its designation of 260,000 acres in Pima County as critical habitat for the endangered pygmy owl. The judge's decision Friday came in a lawsuit filed last year by the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and other business groups. A critical habitat designation makes development more difficult and costlier.

Mayors from three of Orange County's largest cities seek to revive altered light-rail plan

Students from the grass-roots group Sacramento Area Congregations Together requested a price cut for bus passes for students attending middle and high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, started in 1999 to ease traffic troubles and help air quality in metro Atlanta, plans to roll out its first buses Monday on some of the county's busiest commuter and shopping routes.

A University of California Irvine survey finds that population and traffic congestion are among top concerns. Last year, crime and education led the list.

New Mexico
In Albuquerque, NM, traffic and growth are voters' top concerns.

For more information other state or national polls please visit

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The Brookings Instiution’s Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy released Bigger, Faster. But Better? How Changes In The Financial Services Industry Affect Small Business Lending In Urban Areas. This paper assesses the extent to which the evolving structure of the small business finance system affects both the nature and availability of capital in inner cities and modest income suburbs.  To read the report, visit

Neal Peirce’s latest column focuses on Marrying Smart Growth and Housing Affordability.

Community Open Space Summit
Sponsored by the Open Space Foundation, the “Community Open Space Summit” will be held
October 11-13, 2001 in Appleton, Wisconsin. The conference will explore successful models and practical strategies for using open space to create healthy, enriching neighborhoods and natural areas. Participate in Shaping the Principles that will guide future neighborhood open space design.  For more information, visit

To find out what other events are taking place across the country visit Sprawl Watch Clearinghouse’s Calendar page at

Sprawl Watch
Volume 3, Number 34- September 19, 2001

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In the latest edition of “Blueprint Magazine”, the New Democrats are pushing a transportation agenda that is increasingly hostile to the goals of transportation reform and smart growth. The authors of many of these articles are well known proponents of highway interests, sprawl and the like.

About the New Democrat Movement

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Land Trusts
Conservationists in the past decade nearly tripled the acreage protected by small, regional land trusts, which for the first time have land in all 50 states. More than 6.4 million acres have been put into land trusts, an area twice the size of Connecticut.

If approved by the state, the San Francisco-based environmental group the American Land Conservancy plans to purchase a $25.8 million parcel of land using state park bond money and transfer the land to the state parks department.

As the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority Board develops its permanent process for evaluating the traffic and air quality impact of large developments, the board shies away from denying state and federal road funds to a local project.

Howard County, MD transportation and senior citizen advocates are trying to understand why more older Howard County residents don't use public transportation and are exploring ways the system might be more responsive to them.

In Portland, ME the Independent Transportation Network,a non-profit, membership organization is dedicated to helping seniors in the community with their transportation needs.

The Metropolitan Organizing Strategy for Enabling Strength concludes its 100-day transportation campaign urging state and local lawmakers to allocate money to overhaul Metro Detroit’s mass transit system.

North Carolina
Worried about sprawl, a group of Charlotte, NC eastside activists sued the city when council members approved a developers' plan to build a large department store. The suit has caused the city to amend its zoning practices.

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The Colorado Sprawl Action Center in conjunction with CoPIRG (the Colorado Public Interest Research Group) released its 4th Annual Sprawl of Shame report.  Sprawl of Shame is a survey of ten examples of sprawling development projects in Colorado and the planning and development issues associated with those developments. The report can be downloaded on the web at

California Planning & Development Report has compiled the top 10 land use bills that were approved during the recently completed session of the state Legislature. Among the bill topics are water supply, redevelopment, the Subdivision Map Act and affordable housing. Please visit their website to learn more.

Sprawl Watch
Volume 3, Number 33 - September 12, 2001

Due to the tragedy of September 11 the Growth Management Leadership Alliance, ULI and Campaign for Sensible Growth have cancelled their meeting/symposium in Chicago this week. Sprawl Watch apologizes for the brevity of this week’s newsletter.

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House leaders announce plans to merge the Senate-passed brownfields bill (S.350) with a House small business Superfund liability relief bill (H.R. 1831). The combined legislation addresses funding and liability issues that have blocked the redevelopment of many brownfield sites, impeding economic, environmental and social benefits to many communities.

A new Northeast-Midwest table examines the leading proposals in the 107th Congress to spur brownfield redevelopment. The table compares measures within the Senate-passed bill  (S. 350) and provisions advanced by Republicans and Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The table is available at

The Working Lands Stewardship Act of 2001 (H.R.2375) and the Kind-Gilchrest-Boehlert conservation amendment to the Farm Bill (H.R. 2646) are expected to be voted on this week. The bills present an opportunity to dramatically increase support for farmland preservation and smart growth. 

To read both of these bills in their entirety, visit

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Maryland Governor Parris Glendening will push to strengthen a controversial law designed to limit development along the Chesapeake Bay.

Atlanta, GA: MARTA joins national effort to increase public ridership.

About 24,000 state employees in Columbus can save up to 40 percent on the cost of a monthly bus pass if they use a new pre-tax transit-benefit program announced by the state.

Mayor John O. Norquist is accusing Assembly Republicans of exploiting racial and city-suburb divisions by setting up roadblocks to a Milwaukee County light rail system.

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A new publication from Scenic America, Power to the People: Strategies for Reducing the Visual Impact of Overhead Utilities gives communities the tools and information they need to prepare a comprehensive utility relocation plan, including options for reducing the visual impact of utilities, such as underground burial, wire relocation, and utility camouflaging, as well as the pros and cons of each option. Power to the People also examines federal, state, and local funding sources for utility relocation projects and uses case studies from around the country to illustrate various utility relocation strategies. The publication is available from Scenic America for $8.00 plus shipping and handling by calling (202) 543-6200, or by visiting Scenic America's secure online bookstore at

The American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) annual campaign “Try Transit Week” promotes the many benefits a community experiences when more people use public transportation – whether bus, train, carpool or vanpool.  “Try Transit Week” is September 9-15. For more information and a variety of ideas please link to:

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Scenic America and EDAW, Inc., co-hosts of the national conference, “Scenic Summit: Action for America’s Communities, Countryside and Public Lands”, on April 21-24, 2002, announced that they have cancelled their contract with the conference hotel, the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Denver, CO and have postponed the conference until 2003. The cancellation is necessitated by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) nationwide boycott of all Adam’s Mark hotels based on charges of racial discrimination at the Adam’s Mark in Daytona Beach. For more information on the Scenic Summit: Action for America’s Communities, Countryside and Public Lands see

Sprawl Watch
Volume 3, Number 32- September 5, 2001

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Affordable Housing
For the first time in over a decade, Illinois has created a new state resource for affordable housing development. Governor Ryan signed the Affordable Housing Donations Tax Credit into law in late August. It will provide a fifty-cent tax credit for each dollar donated to Illinois nonprofit, affordable housing projects. Up to $13 million annually in foregone state revenue will leverage another $13 million in private funding for a total of $26 million for affordable housing development. The Illinois Housing Development Authority(IHDA) has been charged with adopting rules for issuing the tax credits. For more information see

Under the Economic Development and Housing Challenge program Minnesota businesses invest in affordable housing for workers.

South Carolina
Affordable housing program under way in Beaufort County. The County Council committee will set up a non-profit corporation to run the program.,1954,290894,00.html

Ballot Initiative 
Southern California environmental coalition will propose initiative for November ballot that will designate 30% of the state's share of vehicle sales-tax revenue for projects to relieve traffic congestion.

Seeking to energize downtown Los Angeles, city officials voted 13 to 0 to rezone the Staples Center area to allow the $1-billion project to move forward. Community members praised the Staples expansion as a crucial step in revitalizing the city's core while forming a strong coalition with area residents and union leaders.

New Hampshire
A New Hampshire forest program to be unveiled this fall will help cities and towns fight sprawl and protect open space.

New upscale mall in Tampa, FL does not accommodate bus routes.  Elitism said to be factor.

Transportation planners see at least five more TRAX spurs, two new freeways and one commuter rail line in the Wasatch Front's future the next three decades. The projects are part of the Wasatch Front Regional Council's new 30-year plan. Planners say that every mode of transportation must be bolstered because the combined population of Salt Lake, Davis and Weber counties is expected to mushroom to 2.15 million by 2030, a 60 percent jump.

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A recent study in the journal Science shows that auto pollution kills more than traffic crashes.  Fossil fuels such as gasoline and coal create air pollutants such as ozone, airborne particles, and carbon dioxide. These pollutants are inhaled and can cause premature death from asthma, breathing disorders and heart disease. The study sends the message that there can be “real and immediate health benefits in reducing greenhouse gases.”

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A new study released by Tufts University strongly suggests that the affordable housing crisis in Massachusetts could be made even worse by further restrictions on development.

A new report from the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, Moving Up, Filtering Down: Metropolitan Housing Dynamics and Public Policy argues that there is an important, almost inevitable, housing dynamic that shapes many major metropolitan areas, particularly those in the Midwest. As households accumulate wealth, they tend to buy bigger and more expensive homes, and these homes are often located farther out at the edges of metropolitan areas. This pull to the suburbs creates housing vacancies or less investment in homes located in central cities and older suburbs, which in turn, can further erode existing neighborhoods and push more families outward. The paper examines this homebuying and housing cycle in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Ohio metropolitan areas and offers a number of strategies that state and local leaders should take to help stem some of the negative effects of this pattern.

National Neighborhood Coalition releases Smart Growth for Neighborhoods: Affordable Housing and Regional Vision. This report scans smart growth and housing literature, examining the findings and policy recommendations of researchers and practitioners addressing the effects of smart growth on affordable housing. NNC finds that while smart growth is not bad for affordability, neither do smart growth and more compact development guarantee availability of affordable housing. Specific steps can be taken to ensure that housing needs are addressed as part of a comprehensive approach to growth. Ultimately, the research suggests that careful planning and regional approaches to affordable housing must be a fundamental component of smart growth. For a copy of the report, contact the National Neighborhood Coalition at (202) 408-8553, or email A copy of the report is also available online in PDF format at

PolicyLink releases a new report Sharing the Wealth: Resident Ownership Mechanism. The study cofunded by the Fannie Mae Foundation and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD)describes models for 
equitable development- tools that insure that community residents benefit from local economic development. Twenty models of innovative economic activity in rural and urban areas around the US are featured.  Beginning September 6, copies will be available on the web at

The Sierra Club has launched a website called “I Want My MPG” which helps car owners determine their annual fuel costs and savings if the miles per gallon (MPG) standards are raised. The website is similar to a blue book and has mpg information on almost every make and model of car.  The website is at