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Project Summaries

Smart Growth Implemenation Assistance

On this page are summaries of the technical assistance projects conducted under the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program. The reports from each technical assistance visit will be added to this page as they are completed.

Click here for reports from the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for Coastal Communities, done in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island

In November 2005, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC) released The Aquidneck Island West Side Master Plan, which was the result of years of public meetings, discussions, and visioning exercises. The West Side Master Plan was produced by a broad stakeholder coalition and was meant to support important, common interests in shaping the future of the West Side. As one of the first steps to implement the vision laid out in the West Side Master Plan, the AIPC and Rhode Island Sea Grant applied to the SGIA program to help them develop options and tools. The EPA team's discussions with town and city planning staff, municipal board and commission members, and the AIPC staff resulted in a consensus that the most useful assistance under this project would be zoning options for mixed-use development and design review.

The EPA team developed approaches for mixed-use zoning standards, design guidelines, and review processes in three communities, including some options for future growth in specific sites in each community. The team also developed strategies to improve the West Main Road corridor, shared by all three communities. For each of the sites, and for development review in general, the team emphasized the importance of density, design, and a mix of uses to create the lively, compact village centers envisioned by the West Side Master Plan.

Site visits: Dec. 7-9, 2005 and Mar. 6-7, 2006
EPA project manager: Lynn Richards (202-566-2858, richards.lynn@epa.gov)

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Atlanta Regional Commission, Georgia

As the Atlanta region grows, older adults are becoming an ever-increasing segment of the population. The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer, a local organization working on growth and development issues, understands that the region needs to develop a land use strategy that accommodates the needs of older adults along with the general population. Part of this strategy includes compact, walkable neighborhoods where seniors can live near services and social opportunities in existing communities. Such neighborhoods will mean that seniors and other residents can drive less in their daily activities, which can help reduce air pollution from automobiles, and they also help preserve open space from development, which protects environmental resources and recreational areas. ARC requested SGIA assistance for a policy analysis to devise a housing-focused land use strategy that can provide additional opportunities for older adults. The city of Fayetteville and Fayetteville Senior Services will serve as the local model for this process.

Support and Partners: Local support during planning and implementation includes the Atlanta Regional Commission, the city of Fayetteville, and Fayetteville Senior Services. Other partners include the Fayetteville Downtown Development Authority and the Main Street Tourism Association.

Site visit: Jan. 10-17, 2009
EPA project manager: Brett Van Akkeren (202-566-2865, vanakkeren.brett@epa.gov)

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Billings, Montana

The city of Billings, Big Sky Economic Development Authority, and the Billings School District 2 have requested technical assistance to develop a model for collaborative planning that will incorporate school siting policies with planning for infill and revitalization, affordable housing, and increased transportation choice. The assistance will lead to a strategy that aligns the city's infill redevelopment efforts with school facility siting policies that support the revitalization of the core neighborhoods in Billings. This project provides a model for determining how the EPA Voluntary School Siting Guidelines can be implemented at the local level.

EPA project manager: Regina Langton (202-566-2178, langton.regina@epa.gov)

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California Department of Transportation

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) wants to help Californians get around more easily and cost effectively. Caltrans requested SGIA assistance to help develop a scorecard that would evaluate the transportation options available to urban, suburban, and rural residents. This guidebook creates a planning framework to help guide and assess how well plans, programs, and projects meet a definition of "smart mobility." Smart mobility principles include:

The goal is to ensure applicability of the framework for Caltrans as well as for partner agencies. It will be used to guide development of products as well as assess how well products meet smart mobility principles and criteria. Ideally, it should be able to be applied to various levels of plans, programs, or projects (e.g., Regional Transportation and Blueprint Plans, General Plans, corridor plans, specific development proposals, etc.) in all parts of the state (i.e., urban, suburban, and rural).

Support and Partners: Caltrans will work with staff of the state Housing and Community Development Department to coordinate distribution of funds according to the smart mobility scorecard.

Site visits: Sept. 17-18, 2008 and June 16, 2009
EPA project manager: John Thomas (202-566-1285, thomas.john@epa.gov)

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California Strategic Growth Council

The state of California and its local governments have long been on the forefront when it comes to implementing policies to support more sustainable communities. The state's landmark AB 32 legislation sets the bar even higher, creating ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets that affect both public and private sectors.
The state requested assistance through EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program to create a framework that will help local governments determine which combination of GHG reduction strategies, smart growth practices, and sustainability policies are best for their type of community. The final product from this project offers potential strategies, indicators to track progress, and resources for 10 community types ranging from major cities to rural communities. Communities of all sizes around the country can find helpful resources under their community type, and states could use the framework as a model for a similar tool that fits their context and needs.
Site visit: March 25-26, 2010.
EPA project manager: Megan Susman (202-566-2861, susman.megan@epa.gov)

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Capitol Region Council of Governments, Connecticut

In 2008, Connecticut's Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) recognized an opportunity to leverage state efforts to increase affordable housing with additional guidance to ensure that those investments result in sustainable, green development in the region's municipalities. Building on the state's Home Connecticut incentive housing program, CRCOG received technical support from EPA to develop guidance for communities to site, plan, and develop housing that incorporates smart growth approaches and green building techniques. The resulting Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Development and Design can be helpful to communities across the country. As part of the technical assistance, a community workshop was held to apply the guidelines to four model sites in urban, suburban, and rural contexts. This effort resulted in concept plans for mixed-use, mixed-income developments on a vacant shopping center site, an undeveloped rural parcel, and two other underperforming sites that both increase the stock of affordable housing and showcase the benefits of incorporating a more sustainable, green approach to growth and development.

Since the site visit in 2009, one of the four cities has moved ahead to implement the concept plan developed by the EPA team. The Manchester Redevelopment Agency Exit EPA Disclaimer has purchased the vacant shopping center site that was the focus of the EPA effort, demolished the buildings, removed hazardous materials, issued a Request for Qualifications for private development of the site, and adopted form-based codes for that parcel and other adjacent areas as part of the Broad Street Reconstruction Project. The project seeks to attract private investment on the site that upholds the community vision for a "revitalized, vibrant, mixed-use district along the Broad Street corridor."

Support and partners: Towns of Bloomfield, Manchester, South Windsor, and Tolland; Partnership for Strong Communities; University of Hartford; and American Farmland Trust

Site visit: May 14-16, 2009
EPA project manager: Danielle Arigoni (202-566-2859, arigoni.danielle@epa.go

Together We Can Grow Better: Smart Growth for a Sustainable Connecticut Capitol Region (PDF) (55 pp, 29.3MB, About PDF)
Appendix A: EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program (PDF) (1 pg, 36K, About PDF)
Appendix B: Zoning Analysis (PDF) (9 pp, 198K, About PDF)
Appendix C: Tolland Village Area (PDF) (3 pp, 4.2MB, About PDF)
Appendix D: Site Briefing Books (PDF) (35 pp, 16MB, About PDF)
Appendix E: Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design & Development
2010. Report on the EPA technical assistance project to help Connecticut's Capitol Region Council of Governments develop guidance for communities to site, plan, and develop housing that incorporates smart growth approaches and green building techniques.

In addition, EPA Region 1 worked with one of the four target communities, Manchester, to provide greater detail on how to integrate green infrastructure approaches into the concept plan for the redevelopment of the Parkade site. The publication, From Grey to Green: Sustainable Practices for Redeveloping a Vacant Shopping Center (PDF) (30 pp, 24.6MB, About PDF) walks users through the process of incorporating green roofs, stormwater detention systems, street trees, constructed wetlands, and parks into the mixed-use, mixed-income housing development that is presented in the CRCOG report. This publication quantifies the economic and environmental benefits of these approaches and demonstrates how they can improve residents' quality of life while protecting nearby waterways.

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Cheyenne, Wyoming

By 2030, the Cheyenne region could have 56,000 new residents. To make sure that growth benefits the entire community, Cheyenne residents have been working together to articulate a vision for growth and development. The result is PlanCheyenne Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer, a new comprehensive plan for the region that encourages growth in existing neighborhoods and downtown and promotes new neighborhoods that are built according to smart growth principles. The city requested assistance from EPA to: 1) identify policy options that would implement PlanCheyenne; and 2) illustrate development that would help to achieve the community's goals articulated in PlanCheyenne.

The city held a public design workshop to formulate a development plan consistent with PlanCheyenne and to identify policy options that the city could pursue to achieve its development goals. The resulting development plan envisioned a new neighborhood with a mix of housing types, a walkable and vibrant main street district, new parks and neighborhood schools, and bike paths and streets that are safe and comfortable for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. Workshop participants also identified possible changes to the city's development and transportation rules and processes that could make it easier and more economically viable for developers to build the kinds of places and neighborhoods that residents desire.

Site visit: May 2-4, 2006
EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846, kackar.adhir@epa.gov)

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College Park, Maryland

Residents and local leaders in College Park expressed a vision in the city's 2002 Sector Plan for development along U.S. Route 1 that is walkable and bikeable, lively and functional, that enables a range of businesses (new and existing) to complement one another, and that manages traffic while serving as a gateway to the community and the University of Maryland. However, after four years of implementation efforts, the vision is still not being realized. As part of its response to this situation, the city of College Park requested assistance to understand the disconnect between the vision for the Route 1 corridor and current development and to get the tools to address it.

In response to the city's request, and drawing on best practices from around the country, local data, and the expertise of local residents and professionals, the EPA assistance team worked with local partners to develop options for the city and county to help move the Route 1 corridor toward the vision. The team's report was approved by the city council. Many of the options were discussed with county officials, who have direct influence over site planning.

In the months following the report's approval, the city of College Park implemented two of the key options outlined in the report: preparing a form-based code to better direct the redevelopment of the commercial corridor, and undertaking a transportation demand management study to identify appropriate measures for reducing traffic congestion, including the feasibility of a Route 1 trolley. The city is exploring other elements, such as enhancements to the development process, with county officials.

Funding partners: City of College Park, Prince George's County

Site visit: Jan. 19-21, 2006
EPA project manager: Kevin Nelson (202-566-2835, nelson.kevin@epa.gov)

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Denver, Colorado

The city of Denver launched the Living Streets Initiative to transform arterials in the city into vibrant, active, pedestrian- and transit-friendly places. They asked for EPA's help to better understand how the concept of living streets could apply to commercial corridors throughout the city. They also requested assistance to identify policies and actions that would help the city better coordinate land use transportation planning and investments and implement the living streets effort. The EPA team's report presents three principles and design strategies to implement living streets along commercial corridors in the city and region: (1) reduce the number of lanes dedicated to cars; (2) create a pedestrian- and transit-friendly streetscape; and (3) relate development to the street.  The report also identifies policy actions that can support living streets in Denver.

Support and Partners: Mayor John Hickenlooper and managers of the city of Denver's Community Planning and Development & Public Works Departments.

Site visit: July 30-August 2, 2008

EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846, kackar.adhir@epa.gov)

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Driggs and Victor, Idaho

The cities of Driggs and Victor, two small communities in Idaho's Teton County, partnered with Valley Advocates for Responsible Development, a local nonprofit organization concerned about growth issues, to request an analysis of the barriers and opportunities for infill redevelopment. The consulting team conducted a market overview for Teton County and the cities of Victor and Driggs to ground the discussion of the regulatory barriers to infill development. Next, the team analyzed the existing policies, codes, ordinances, and design guidelines that provide the structure for new development and redevelopment. The team also looked at the policies and context related to the pedestrian environment, parking, and other transportation issues that influence land development patterns. Finally, the team conducted a visioning exercise for development in downtown Victor.

Funding partners: City of Driggs, City of Victor, Valley Advocates for Responsible Development

Site visit: Oct. 23-26, 2006
EPA project manager: Matthew Dalbey (202-566-2860, dalbey.matthew@epa.gov)

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Greensboro, North Carolina

Through its Greensboro Connections 2025 plan, the city of Greensboro has articulated a vision for future growth that makes best use of infill opportunities in its historic urban core. Greensboro's seven colleges and universities drive the city's economy and physical development, particularly in and around downtown. The public- and private-sector decisions on how best to serve these institutions and their staff, faculty, and students will have a dramatic effect on the type, pattern, and scale of investment in Greensboro's existing communities. The city asked EPA for assistance in engaging the colleges and universities in a collaborative effort to improve economic and community development.

The University Roundtable, led by Mayor Yvonne Johnson, grew out of this assistance. Presidents, chancellors, and deans from all seven institutions, along with representatives of economic development agencies, neighborhood groups, historic preservationists, and local government officials, participated in a one-day meeting to begin the collaboration. The roundtable workshop found consensus around five strategic approaches for Greensboro to better leverage its colleges and universities:

Since the site visit in 2008, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro has embraced the notion of an integrated, mixed-use approach to campus expansion. Working closely with residents of the Glenwood neighborhood to the south of the main campus, the university has begun construction of a mixed-use village that will provide several hundred housing units for students, community-serving retail, a recreation center, and a university police station. The project will expand the campus from 210 to 260 acres and is expected to contribute to the revitalization of the Glenwood area.

Funding partner: City of Greensboro

Site visit: May 2, 2008
EPA project manager: Danielle Arigoni (202-566-2859, arigoni.danielle@epa.gov)

Report: Collaborating on Greensboro's Future: The University Roundtable and Next Steps (PDF) (31 pp, 3MB, About PDF)
Report appendices (PDF) (96 pp, 8.3MB, About PDF)

Click here for more information and resources on how colleges and universities can work with communities on smart growth.

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Infrastructure Financing

This multi-community project worked toward two goals:

To develop these tools, which are intended to be replicable in communities across the country, the team worked with:

Report: Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development

For more information, email Melissa Kramer (202-564-8497, kramer.melissa@epa.gov).

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Kelso, Washington

The South Kelso neighborhood in Kelso, Washington, wants to redevelop and revitalize infill areas in ways that offer economic opportunity to the city’s ethnically diverse population. The neighborhood has experienced widespread poverty and disinvestment, and residents face challenging conditions—a high concentration of rundown, vacant, and boarded-up homes; high volumes of rail and truck traffic; industrial pollution; and high crime rates—all of which affect educational attainment, economic security, housing stability, and health outcomes. The Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments is requesting EPA technical assistance to develop a policy toolkit addressing land use, transportation, health, and economic and workforce development policies that will help steer infill development and redevelopment to existing communities, creating a diversified economic base. The toolkit will offer strategies that could translate these policies into initiatives that could be implemented in a cohesive fashion. Other communities across the country facing similar challenges could also find this toolkit helpful.

EPA project manager: Melissa Kramer (202-564-8497, kramer.melissa@epa.gov)

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Laconia, New Hampshire

A booming tourism industry and a strong market for vacation and retirement homes have put substantial growth pressures on the city of Laconia. At the same time, three existing neighborhood centers are in need of reinvestment and rejuvenation. In response, the city engaged the public in adopting a new master plan designed to protect water resources, create walkable neighborhoods, and strengthen the neighborhood centers. The city asked the EPA assistance team to generate a vision and supporting policy ideas for each of the three neighborhood centers. Laconia's goal is to encourage reinvestment in these neighborhoods while maintaining its small-town charm and keeping the new growth consistent with the goals of its master plan.

Funding partner: Main Street Laconia

Site visit: Dec. 11-13, 2006
EPA project manager: Tim Torma (202-566-2864, torma.tim@epa.gov)

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Las Cruces, New Mexico

The city of Las Cruces is committed to developing a robust public participation model that includes deliberative planning and visioning processes. The city requested assistance to develop a Public Involvement Plan and Toolkit that include strategies that invite and maintain the participation of all residents, especially ethnically diverse, low-income populations and others that have had limited to no previous involvement in community planning and design. Creative outreach and participation strategies that focus more on pictures than words were tested in two visioning workshops for the El Paseo corridor, a 1.7-mile corridor that extends southeast from Main Street in downtown Las Cruces to the New Mexico State University campus. The Public Involvement Plan and Toolkit summarize the process this project created and includes many, but not all, of the outreach and participation tools the project used to begin developing a vision for the El Paseo corridor. The plan and toolkit are intended to be used by city staff for all city efforts requiring public involvement.

With this document, the city intends to:

Support and partners: City of Las Cruces; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Department of Transportation.

Site visits: September 30 – October 2, 2010, and November 18 – 20, 2010

EPA project manager: Clark Wilson (202-566-2880, wilson.clark@epa.gov)

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Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville Metro is committed to accommodating growth and development that maintains the area's rural character and preserves its scenic and environmental benefits. Cornerstone 2020, the Louisville-Jefferson County comprehensive plan adopted in 2000, focuses on growth patterns that encourage mixed-use centers that create walkable, compact development while connecting new projects to existing development. Louisville Metro requested assistance through EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program to develop a public education campaign around its model for creating centers, the Centers Concept, that explains the benefits of this kind of development.

Along with HUD and DOT, EPA began work with the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Division of Planning and Design Services and the municipal planning organization in October 2009. The EPA team led a public workshop about the Centers Concept in spring 2010 to illustrate how the centers could benefit the community and improve access for residents and businesses. The workshop explored tools, techniques, and implementation strategies that dealt with smart growth, town centers, affordable housing, transportation, and balancing the demands of growth with rural and scenic character in this growing exurban area. No report will be issued for this project.

Site visits: November 2009 and spring 2010

For more information, email smartgrowth@epa.gov.

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Madison County, New York

Madison County is a rural area in upstate New York with a mix of small towns, large areas of farmland, and the small city of Oneida. The Madison County Department of Health, Planning Department, city of Oneida, and other partners have requested assistance to develop a tool that can be used to implement smart growth in a rural setting. The tool would adapt the document Putting Smart Growth to Work in Rural Communities for both Madison County and the city of Oneida. There is potential to expand lessons learned from this project and create a national rural smart growth code review tool.

For more information, email smartgrowth@epa.gov.

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McCall, Idaho

Concerned with growth pressures and the potential for development inconsistent with McCall's character along the new East-West Loop Road, the city applied to EPA for assistance in creating a vision for development at two sites along the road. Instead of allowing strip development along the loop road that would detract from the city's character and possibly clog the road with traffic, the city sought to plan for attractive and functional development that could serve the surrounding neighborhoods.

EPA assembled a team to work with city officials, local leaders, community representatives, and others to create a vision for the development at two sites along the road. As part of those meetings and consultations, the team prepared concept plans illustrating approaches that would help produce the results that McCall is seeking near the Loop Road. Community leaders decided to adopt designs from this workshop in their comprehensive plan.

Site visit: Oct. 24-27, 2005
For more information, email smartgrowth@epa.gov.

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Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Washington, D.C.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is the regional planning agency for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which includes 5 million people living in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural areas. It is composed of 21 jurisdictions in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. In January 2010, the MWCOG Board of Directors approved Region Forward, a visioning document that calls for the region to work together on a series of interconnected goals designed to ensure that regional growth creates housing and transportation opportunities, protects the environment, and supports a strong economy. As part of implementing Region Forward, MWCOG requested assistance with assessing climate change risks to the Washington, D.C., region, identifying smart growth strategies that would improve the region's capacity to adapt to climate change, and disseminating those strategies to local decision-makers.

With input from MWCOG’s stakeholders, the EPA team developed a guidebook to give local governments policy options to consider when preparing for future climate risks while also meeting other environmental, economic, and social goals. The guidebook describes smart growth approaches that can help communities prepare for current and projected risks to the land use, transportation, water, and buildings sectors; the approaches are grouped under three main strategies:

In July 2013, MWCOG released a complementary report, Summary of Potential Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation Strategies Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer, that is based on lessons it learned from its work on climate adaptation, which included the EPA technical assistance. For more information on MWCOG’s climate adaptation efforts, see its Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer page.

Site visits: September 2011 and March 2012

EPA project manager: Kevin Nelson (202-566-2835, nelson.kevin@epa.gov)

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Miami-Dade County, Florida

With growing concern about Miami's expansion into areas adjacent to Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County officials sought solutions to direct growth to already developed areas. The county requested EPA assistance for policy analysis regarding management and oversight of its Urban Development Boundary. In the past, the boundary has been amended to accommodate growth, but officials want to investigate how to use it more effectively to help guide development toward existing areas and protect sensitive environmental areas. This project provided a key test for understanding how to balance development and conservation goals through smart growth principles. Through a series of meetings with interested stakeholders and key staff, EPA presented some options for considering growth management focusing on policies inside and outside the Urban Development Boundary. The report focuses on local issues, but is universally applicable to any community grappling with growth management.

Support and partners: Florida Atlantic University, Biscayne National Park, Builders Association of South Florida, Trust for Public Land, Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, and the Agricultural Practices Studies Advisory Board

Site visit: Summer 2009, Fall 2010
EPA project manager: Kevin Nelson (202-566-2835, nelson.kevin@epa.gov)

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Mississippi County, Arkansas

Job opportunities are expanding in Mississippi County, Arkansas, but this growing workforce has few options for housing near their workplaces. Long commutes are common. With the announcement of plans for a new steel mill in Osceola, the East Arkansas Planning and Development District (EAPDD) and partners have a renewed interest in developing well-located, affordable, and desirable housing options. Mississippi County community representatives are especially interested in the potential for infill and redevelopment of property to capitalize on existing infrastructure and revitalize traditional neighborhoods. Compared with other cities in the region, Mississippi County cities have low population densities. At the request of Mississippi County leaders and EAPDD, the EPA team will work with community members, businesses, and local government representatives to develop expanded housing options and address the related challenge of encouraging young people to stay in Mississippi County. The work under this project will build on EAPDD’s regional planning efforts through a 2011 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

EPA project managers: Ed Fendley (202-566-9555, Fendley.ed@epa.gov) and Sarah Dale (202-564-6998, dale.sarah@epa.gov)

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Montgomery County, Maryland

Montgomery County has been a leader among local governments in implementing land use policies that support compact, transit-oriented development in suburban cores while protecting rural agricultural areas. By their very nature, these approaches mitigate against climate change by reducing vehicle miles travelled, preserving natural areas that serve to sequester carbon, and creating more compact, energy-efficient buildings. Yet the lack of a coordinated methodological approach at the county has prevented them from measuring the benefits of these approaches as steps towards meeting their climate protection goals.

The county requested assistance through EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program to develop such an approach -- one which would estimate the greenhouse gas reduction impacts of various land use alternatives, thereby supporting local decision makers' ability to approve projects that contribute to the community's climate protection goals. The resulting tool will serve as a model for other communities around the country as they develop their own climate protection strategies, and demonstrate the important role of land use in protecting the climate. The project will be completed by November 2010.

Site visits: TBD
EPA project manager: John Thomas (202-566-1285, Thomas.john@epa.gov)

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New York City, New York

New York City's vision for urban sustainability, PLANYC, creates a framework for advancing comprehensive green development in communities throughout the city. While the plan provides general guidelines for accomplishing smart growth and green building, the city is eager to develop specific criteria and guiding principles that will help residents, city staff, and entrepreneurs address the intersection between environmentally conscious and economically sound building principles. The Mayor's Office of Comprehensive Neighborhood Economic Development requested EPA assistance to identify ways to implement the sustainability strategies outlined in PLANYC in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Stakeholders anticipate the project will result in the identification of neighborhood-based, innovative practices and policy strategies that support green building techniques and smart growth approaches to the construction of affordable housing and community revitalization. The project will include public engagement through charrettes and a policy analysis component.

Support and partners: Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Pratt Area Community Council, Bridge Street Development Corporation, North East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation

Site visit: Summer 2009
EPA project managers: Matthew Dalbey (202-566-2860, dalbey.matthew@epa.gov)

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Rhode Island Division of Planning

Rhode Island recognizes the challenge of building resilience to climate change-related hazards into its economic planning. The state asked for EPA’s help in developing a framework to analyze major climate-related impacts on economic activity and bringing together stakeholders to identify and prioritize actions to build resilience for employers and economic assets. Using the coastal town of North Kingstown as a pilot, EPA will develop and test a framework that will help the town determine what kinds of economic activity are likely to be affected by natural hazards and climate change and the magnitude of the impacts. EPA also plans to work with stakeholders to explore and prioritize strategies to make economic activity more resilient. This framework can be a model to help other states and municipalities ensure that their economies can continue to thrive in the face of climate change.

EPA project manager: Megan Susman (202-566-2861, susman.megan@epa.gov)

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Rhode Island Housing

Rhode Island's KeepSpace Advisory Committee is the coordinating body for several of the state's government agencies and statewide nonprofits engaged in smart growth implementation. In 2010, Rhode Island's KeepSpace partners solicited help through EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program to develop a statewide approach to project funding. KeepSpace wanted a set of metrics for use in funding decisions to ensure that state dollars leverage investments across transportation, housing, and infrastructure and achieving statewide planning goals. EPA assisted by:

The team solicited feedback throughout the process from KeepSpace partners, other state agencies and nonprofits, and KeepSpace pilot communities. That feedback guided selection of the tool's assessment categories and helped develop a project selection tool that uses yes/no checklists, distance from services, and narrative responses to award points and calculate scores. A stakeholder workshop on June 13-14, 2011 included KeepSpace partners, other state agencies and nonprofits, and representatives from the KeepSpace pilot communities.

The project selection tool is based on the research described above and participant feedback from the workshop. The tool is intended to help funding agencies review different aspects of a proposed project across six categories that contribute to its sustainability and cost-effectiveness. Many of the categories and criteria are also based on evaluation of location-efficient sites that take advantage of existing infrastructure.

Site visit: November 2010

EPA project manager: Ted Cochin (202-566-2181, cochin.ted@epa.gov)

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Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw, Michigan, is a city in transition. During the last decade, the city has seen a decline in its population and an increase in the number of vacant and abandoned properties in city neighborhoods. City and county officials requested assistance from EPA to develop a land use and infrastructure strategy that stabilizes neighborhoods through the sustainable reuse of abandoned properties, supports redevelopment of abandoned properties as green infrastructure, and creates opportunities for long-term economic growth. This assistance identified policy options to help Saginaw -- and other cities and regions that are experiencing population loss and property abandonment -- develop in sustainable and economically resilient ways.

Site visit: July 18-July 20, 2011

EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846, kackar.adhir@epa.gov)

Report: Managing Vacant and Abandoned Property in the Green Zone of Saginaw, Michigan (PDF) (35 pp, 2 MB, About PDF)

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San Francisco, California

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) asked EPA for help to incorporate resilience to natural hazards and climate change into regional and local land use planning, decision-making, and implementation. EPA will provide input on a region-wide vulnerability assessment for high growth areas in the San Francisco Bay area, develop a list of strategies to reduce vulnerabilities to sea level rise and earthquakes in planned high growth areas, and compile the process for conducting vulnerability assessments and identifying strategies in a guidance document ABAG can use to assist other communities in the area.

Site visits: April 21, 2014; June 17, 2014

EPA project manager: Abby Hall (415-972-3384, hall.abby@epa.gov)

San Francisco, California has requested assistance from EPA to develop a citywide district energy plan with near-term pilot projects. EPA will help San Francisco develop a set of case studies on cities that have adopted district energy programs, including successful precedents of how to integrate energy planning into the urban development process, and how to devise a method for delivery and parcel selection. San Francisco has chosen two possible locations in downtown—the Transbay Transit Center and the Central Corridor area—that will be pilots as the city and its partners create an implementation strategy with policy options, a regulatory framework, and partnership plans.

Site visits: May 21-22, 2013

EPA project manager: Abby Hall (415-972-3384, hall.abby@epa.gov)

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Sanitation District No. 1, Northern Kentucky

Sanitation District No. 1 strives to find and use innovative practices for protecting and improving water quality. Faced with rapid growth pressures and a burdened combined sewer system that frequently overflows, the sanitation district has identified solutions that allow for sustained economic growth without exasperating overflows or harming water quality.

EPA assembled a team to create a green infrastructure handbook to help Northern Kentucky communities manage and reduce their stormwater runoff while still allowing the region to grow and prosper. The handbook includes land use policies and strategies that both address stormwater concerns and create attractive, walkable neighborhoods. The handbook also illustrates innovative site-level design strategies that reduce runoff from development and how they could be successfully applied in Northern Kentucky.

The strategies, policies, and designs illustrate the handbook's goal—to provide communities in Northern Kentucky environmentally responsible planning and design alternatives that can reduce water pollution, decrease runoff volume, protect aquatic habitat, and have the additional community benefit of creating more interesting places to live, work and play.

Funding partner: Sanitation District No. 1

Partners: City of Covington, Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission, Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers, Campbell County Fiscal Court, and Boone County Fiscal Court

Site visit: Mar. 31-Apr. 3, 2008
EPA project manager: Clark Wilson (202-566-2880, wilson.clark@epa.gov)

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Spokane, Washington

The city of Spokane adopted the University District Master Plan in August 2005. The plan focuses on creating greater bicycle and pedestrian opportunities, encouraging infill development, restoring the Spokane River, and improving accessibility within the district and to adjacent neighborhoods and downtown. The city requested assistance to identify market opportunities for smart growth development in the district, and present policy options that would implement the University District Master Plan.

EPA assembled a team to complete a market analysis of the University District and work with city officials, local leaders, community representatives, and others to explore development opportunities for the Riverpoint campus -- a key development opportunity site in the University District. The team's analysis revealed that there is significant market potential to develop the Riverpoint campus as an urban, pedestrian-friendly place. The team's final report presents the results of the market analysis and identifies policy options for a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly Riverpoint campus.

Funding partner: City of Spokane Economic Development

Site visit: Jan. 17-20, 2007
EPA project manager: Adhir Kackar (202-566-2846, kackar.adhir@epa.gov)

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Spokane Tribe of Indians, Washington

The Spokane Tribe of Indians in eastern Washington asked for EPA's assistance to create a comprehensive water infrastructure plan for sewer, waste, and drinking water. The project focused on water and sewer system challenges in the community of Wellpinit, including water shortages in summer, drinking water delivery, recurring pipe and pump failures, and design and maintenance of sewage management systems. EPA's assistance linked to a HUD Community Challenge Planning Grant the tribe received in 2010. The water plan forms the foundation for future housing, transportation, and economic development planning.

Site visit: October 10-12, 2012

EPA project manager: Abby Hall (415-972-3384, hall.abby@epa.gov)

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Taos, New Mexico

The town of Taos requested EPA assistance to help make development along New Mexico State Highway 68, the Paseo del Pueblo Sur commercial corridor, stronger economically and more attractive. Through meetings with residents, town staff and officials, property owners, and others, a vision for the corridor emerged. Residents were particularly concerned with preserving Taos' unique character and making it easier to get around town.

Based on the community's goals, the EPA team developed a number of steps the town can take to transform both the feel and the function of the corridor, including:

The town plans to use the EPA team's report to work with the New Mexico Department of Transportation on its scheduled redesign of part of the Paseo, to formalize neighborhood associations, to develop a green infrastructure plan, and to complete its Land Use Master Plan. In the meantime, the town uses the report to educate the community about growth and development issues.

Site visit: Dec. 7-9, 2005
EPA project manager: Megan Susman (202-566-2861, susman.megan@epa.gov)

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Valley Metro Transit with the cities of Phoenix and Mesa

The Phoenix metropolitan area is the eighth fastest-growing region in the country. Communities comprising the metropolitan area are responding to the growth by expanding transit service and enacting local ordinances promoting more compact, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development (TOD). Light rail opened in December 2008. It was built in the most densely populated areas of the Phoenix metropolitan area with the expectation that it would alleviate congestion on heavily traveled commuter corridors. This investment in rail will help to reduce the projected increased air pollution caused by automobile use as the region grows. The partnership requested SGIA assistance for policy analysis to provide options for encouraging TOD along the newly opened light rail and future extensions under Arizona law. EPA led a group of national experts to help the local team and its supporters identify and analyze appropriate non-regulatory and regulatory tools and incentives supported by elected officials that can be implemented by Phoenix and Mesa to promote TOD. Furthermore, this project illustrated the financial impact of implementing these tools in metropolitan Phoenix. The tools applied here are universal and have broad success and viability in communities around the country.

Support and Partners: Phil Gordon, Mayor of Phoenix; Ken Hawker, Mayor of the city of Mesa; Executive Director of METRO; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; the Sonoran Institute; the Urban Land Institute; the Arizona Planning Association; the Arizona Stardust Center; and others

Site visit: April 14-17, 2008
EPA project manager: Kevin Nelson (202-566-2835, nelson.kevin@epa.gov)

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Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

The state of Vermont experienced major damage to roads, houses, and businesses due to flood impacts from Hurricane Irene in fall 2011. Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development, along with the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Transportation, and the Mad River Valley Planning District, requested assistance with recovering from flood impacts and planning for long-term resilience to future disasters. This project focused on how to coordinate recovery across several small villages in the Mad River Valley, as well as help state agencies review their program structure and state policies to improve floodplain management and plan for more responsible future growth. The project resulted in the Flood Resilience Checklist and report listed below; learn more about these resources in an interview with Vermont Public Radio. Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Site visit: October 23-25, 2012

EPA project manager: Stephanie Bertaina (202-566-0157, bertaina.stephanie@epa.gov)

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