Smart growth news – June 30, 2011

Christie to annul Council on Affordable Housing
Asbury Park Press (N.J.), Wednesday June 30, 2011
As part of the other changes, the Department of State would become the home of the State Planning Commission and Office of Smart Growth, both now part of DCA, and the Business Retention and Attraction Division, now at the Economic Development Authority. All have connections with economic growth, which has become one of the primary responsibilities of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who is also the secretary of state.

Cool factor lures the young, artsy to Detroit
Detroit News (Mich.), June 29, 2011
Detroit, city of 100,719 vacant parcels and three Starbucks, has discovered its marketing niche: land of the young, daring and bohemian. And more businesses, foundations and city leaders are investing in the idea.

Are McMansions Coming Back in Style?
Wall Street Journal Developments Blog, June 29, 2011
In January, we reported that the average size of a new single-family home shrunk to 2,377 square feet last year, down 3 percent from 2009, according to the National Association of Home Builders. And it’s not clear that younger buyers will embrace the McMansion in the same way their parents did. Presenters at the annual NAHB convention in Orlando told Developments in January that large, cookie-cutter suburban homes wouldn’t appeal to the younger generation of home buyers.

The Best Public Transportation Systems In The World
Business Insider, June 29, 2011
Thanks to the climbing price of gas, driving is quickly turning into a pastime for the rich and famous. So unless you’re ready to re-mortgage your house, you may have to leave your car at home and hop on a subway, bus or light rail to get to work. Not sure what to expect? We’ve put together a top 10 list of public transportation systems in the world to give you an idea of what cities have the best mass transit available to the working public.

U.S. Lags Behind China, Colombia in Bus Rapid Transit
ClimateWire via New York Times, June 28, 2011
When it’s done properly, bus rapid transit — known as BRT — ranks among the cheapest and quickest ways to cut CO2 emissions from transportation. But it is not often done properly — least of all in the United States, according to a new report.

Smart growth around the country

Florida: DOT Head: Transit Projects Like SunRail Could Hurt “Traditional” Transportation
Transportation Nation, June 29, 2011
Prasad said other badly needed transportation projects in Central Florida will be hurt if local governments have to pay for SunRail’s operating deficits. “I just want to make sure the local governments, the mayors and commissioners understand that, and the local citizens understand, that they are making a choice,” he warned. “They are making a choice to go towards mass transit at the expense of other traditional transportation projects.”

California: Downtown arena economic impact study to be released
Sacramento Bee (Calif.), June 29, 2011
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s arena study committee will be presented a report tomorrow on the expected economic impacts of a downtown facility for the Sacramento Kings, concerts, and other community events.

North Carolina: Towns consider move to ‘smart growth’ models
The Cary News (N.C.), June 28, 2011
In an effort to guide future growth, a number of local towns are redoing their building codes, streamlining development processes and using technology to make applications more efficient.

New Jersey: Indifference, skepticism for zoning change
Shore News (N.J.), June 29, 2011
The plan comes from the state Office of Smart Growth’s plan to concentrate development in town centers, which proponents say makes for better planning for towns and for better preservation of the less developed areas outside the centers.

California: Carmel condominium rezoning opposed by planners
Monterey County Herald (Calif.), June 30, 2011
The commission unanimously decided to hold off on considering the project until a final decision is made on the rezoning proposal.

Massachusetts: Recessions hits transit budgets despite rising need
Associated Press via The Daily Citizen (Ga.), June 29, 2011
Cash-strapped and debt-ridden systems have put off new equipment purchases and other upgrades as they struggle to maintain daily operations. The Federal Transit Administration has pointed to tens of billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, a problem particularly acute for older urban systems.

Pennsylvania: City council vote all but dooms Pittsburgh arena
Associated Press via The Times Leader (Penn.), June 30, 2011
“It’s been a long process, but one in which, ultimately, City County came up with the right decision,” said Travis Williams, chief operating officer of the Penguins, who want to build 1,200 units of housing as part of a mixed-use development that will also include retail and office space. The team and authority officials have said the project could create 3,000 jobs and add millions’ worth of new real estate to the cash-strapped city’s tax rolls.

Opinions

Carroll commissioners need to look to the county’s future, not focus on the past
Baltimore Sun (Md.), June 30, 2011
My gripe with the current Carroll County commissioners is their rejection of “smart growth” policies (“Carroll commissioners break with past on growth, housing, transit,” June 23). There has been important support for smart growth in the county. The commissioners should recognize their lack of wisdom and relent.

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