Smart growth news – December 30, 2011

Backtracking U.S. Lawmakers Expand Federal Role in Mortgages
Bloomberg News via BusinessWeek, December 30, 2011
Washington lawmakers, who began 2011 with sweeping plans to shrink the U.S. government’s role in mortgage finance, are heading into 2012 after enacting policies that expand it.

Smart growth funds running out
Commonwealth Magazine (Mass.), December 29, 2011
The account that funds the state’s smart growth law is running out of cash, raising the prospect that the state’s first major effort at using incentives to promote housing construction could grind to a halt before it really gets rolling.

Darker Nights as Some Cities Turn Off the Lights
New York Times, December 29, 2011
Cities around the nation, grappling with what is expected to be a fifth consecutive year of declining revenues and having exhausted the predictable budget trims, are increasingly considering something that would once have been untouchable: the lights.

Sync City and Transportation Planning for Sustainability
Triple Pundit, December 30, 2011
Looking for a good how-to book on sustainable transportation planning? An excellent place to start is with Jeffrey Tumlin’s new book which provides a comprehensive, entertaining and profusely illustrated guide to “creating vibrant, healthy and resilient communities.”

International: Building lives around transit
Ottawa Citizen (Canada), December 30, 2011
The city is about to move into high gear on redevelopment plans for the neighbourhoods around three stations in the eastern stretch of the planned lightrail line, with major rezonings to come at four more neighbourhoods within a couple of years.

Coalition news

Middle Tennessee planning group offers Speakers Bureau
The Tennessean, December 29, 2011
Cumberland Region Tomorrow, a nonprofit that assists with economic development and regional planning in Middle Tennessee, announced a new service Wednesday that will provide presentations to local civic and business groups.

Local news

Funds Now in Place for City to Turn Brownfield Into Park
Peabody Patch (Mass.), December 29, 2011
City officials were glad to announce recently that the money is now all in place to finally turn a long vacant lot, a brownfield, downtown into a neighborhood park.

Planned renovations will make Detroit gems sparkle
Detroit News (Mich.), December 29, 2011
The long-empty David Whitney Building in Grand Circus Park is expected to undergo an $82 million renovation and development that may turn a four-story rotunda, with white terra cotta columns, marble floors and a glass roof, into one the city’s trendiest spots.

Meeting to examine N. Gwinnett transportation, land use, urban design, December 30, 2011
The Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District (CID) plans an open house next month on its Gwinnett Livable Centers Initiative (LCI).

County begins land-use code work
Durango Herald (Colo.), December 29, 2011
Controversy killed La Plata County’s proposed comprehensive plan earlier this month, but that hasn’t stopped county officials from attempting to develop a new set of land-use regulations.

Leesburg Town Plan Update Begins Review
Leesburg Today (Va.), December 29, 2011
Both the Leesburg Planning Commission and Town Council will have an opportunity to make any tweaks to the Town Plan, and the public is invited to have its say, too.