Smart growth news – October 31

San Jose’s updated general plan emphasizes ‘smart growth,’ healthier communities
San Jose Mercury (Calif.), October 31, 2011
Called Envision San Jose 2040, the city’s fourth general plan since the mid-1970s is the community’s land-use constitution. The report lays out a long-term vision for the amount, type and phasing of development needed to meet the city’s social, economic and environmental goals. … For many, he said, it’s not having to drive as much. Horwedel and other planners envision “urban villages” closer to where San Jose residents live that offer a variety of ways to live, work, shop and play all at one location.

Suburban plight for poor
The Buffalo News (N.Y.), October 30, 2011
Buffalo may be one of the poorest cities in America, but a majority of the region’s poor now live in suburbia. Of the 159,000 people in the region living below the poverty line, more than half — 52 percent — reside in the suburbs of Erie and Niagara counties, according to an analysis of 2010 census data by a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

What’s up downtown?
The Roanoke News (Va.), October 30, 2011
Downtown Roanoke has seen its population surge from fewer than 50 residents in 2000 to more than 600 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The arrival of new businesses and the expansion of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences show the need for more downtown living spaces, more retail and more office space, Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill said.

USC Has Big Plans for Retail at Mixed-Use Village Development (Calif.), October 28, 2011
Replacing the school’s dated University Village shopping complex, the mixed-use development is slated to include 2,500 units of student housing, a 150-room hotel and 400,000 square feet of office and academic space. Environmental study was completed this past summer, and the privately-funded project will soon head to City Council for planning approval.

Looking at future, planners ask, ‘What if?’
Hi-Desert Star (Calif.), October 29, 2011
The meeting’s facilitator is Stephanie Weigel, a regional land use planner. Using a series of maps and satellite images of the Basin, Weigel talks the group through a series of “what if” scenarios depicting the ramifications of different kinds of growth.

Lower Merion residents fear City Avenue urbanization from plan
Philadelphia Inquirer, October 29, 2011
Township leaders held two public meetings to answer questions on the rezoning ordinance, which seeks to make City Avenue more pedestrian-friendly and create mixed-use commercial and residential space, including indoor and outdoor recreational facilities. A sticking point for residents has been the proposal to allow building heights to reach 200 feet. In addition, the ordinance allows buildings to be closer to the curb, with retail in the bottom floors. While some residents fear urbanization, township officials envision a more-walkable corridor replacing the current vista of mid-rise buildings and surface parking lots.

Progress Being Made on Rhine River Development
The Missourian, October 29, 2011
Work on the first four-family unit townhouse in the Rhine River Development on West Front Street is nearing completion, according to developer Andy Unerstall. The townhouse is part of a larger $7.8 million project that, once completed, will include mixed-use development at the site of the old concrete plant just west of Olive Street and south of Front Street.

South suburb to serve as model for sustainable planning
The Times of Northwest Indiana, October 30, 2011
“We’re lucky. We start with a lot of good sustainability bones,” said Hildy Kingma, director of economic development and planning for the village of Park Forest. “But we need to bring in employment in the area so people can both live and work here.”

Coalition members in the news

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie must be willing to fight for new State Strategic Plan
The Star-Ledger (N.J.), October 28, 2011
For the better part of the past two decades, New Jersey has tried to figure out where it should be going — or, perhaps more accurately, where it should be growing — with the guidance of a document called the State Development and Redevelopment Plan. This plan essentially spelled out how the state should channel economic growth and development into areas where infrastructure already existed, and how it should discourage further sprawl into suburban and rural regions where open space, farmland and environmentally sensitive areas should be protected and preserved.

Opinion and Editorial

Carroll County stands up for sprawl
Baltimore Sun, October 31, 2011
Who among us believes that sprawl — that is, the destruction of farms, forests and other open spaces to accommodate far-flung development coupled with the neglect and abandonment of older neighborhoods and urban centers — is a cost-effect, environmental-friendly and ultimately sound strategy for future growth in Maryland?

Smart Growth reform about local control
Sheboygan Press (Wis.), October 30, 2011
Earlier this month, I teamed up with my colleague Mary Williams, R-Medford, to introduce legislation that will reform Wisconsin’s Smart Growth program. Our proposal, which is crucial to restoring local control and saving valuable taxpayer dollars, has sparked a healthy debate across Wisconsin.