Smart growth news – August 2

State land bank law will help Newburgh, officials say
Times Herald-Record (N.Y.), August 1, 2011
Officials in the City of Newburgh were already creating a land bank for residential properties, but the new law will allow them to bank commercial foreclosures, too. “We’re thrilled,” city fire Chief Michael Vatter said of the state law. “This gives us a lot of options to do stuff on Broadway or work with other commercial properties.”

Rural Schools Vs. Smart Growth In King County
KUPOW (Wash.), August 1, 2011
King County may close a loophole in its growth management planning for rural school construction. Smart growth advocates support the change to limit sprawl, but some rural districts are opposed because it could cost them more in construction costs. We’ll hear two perspectives.

Army aviation’s $400M home
El Paso Inc. (Texas), August 1, 2011
[Under second subheadline “Army ‘smart growth’”] In its effort to push smart growth principals the City of El Paso has an unlikely companion. A 15-year veteran of the Army, Wilson says she has never seen the Army build the way it is at Fort Bliss, putting so much care into the design and arrangement of its buildings.

Carless in Calhoun County: A reporter’s attempt to use public transportation and his bicycle to get to work
The Anniston Star (Ala.), July 31, 2011
Hitting the snooze button. Drinking six cups of coffee. Wolfing down a snack bar while running out the door. Riding halfway across the county on a bicycle to catch a bus that makes one stop every 55 minutes. What, that last one isn’t part of your daily commute to work?

Town on the Rise: Small Businesses Find New Life in Belfast
Preservation Magazine, July 20, 2011
Belfast, a small coastal town with a population of 6,381, just became a Main Street Community in June of this year. However, over the past year and a half, Havey and a network of dedicated volunteers and board members have been working to fill the city’s numerous empty storefronts. “It was a convergence of many entities saying, ‘We want business here, what can we do?’” says Havey.

New life for longtime eyesore
San Antonio Express News (Texas), August 1, 2011
The mixed-use project, which has an industrial urban style, will be released in five phases, and the first four are expected to be on line by October, said David Adelman, a principal at Cross & Co., which controls a partnership that owns the property.

Wildfire Threat Grows with Housing Sprawl
CNBC’s Stormy Weather blog, August 1, 2011
Compounding the problem is the fact that suburbs and exurbs in many Western states increasingly stretch into regions the U.S. Forest Service calls the wildland-urban interface or WUI (colloquially called Whoo-Ee).

Opinion

A five-story Netflix campus will be good for Los Gatos and the region
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), July 31, 2011
Directing jobs and housing growth to areas that are already developed places less burden on the overall environment. Recent changes to state law require a regional approach to land use planning to help reduce greenhouse gases and ensure better alignment of infrastructure investment with growth and development. In essence, do not spend public dollars on a BART line while passing policies that push housing production to the Central Valley — far away from transit — forcing long commutes and the associated air pollution.

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