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'Smart Growth' Bill Will Create More Jobs For APA Members'

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
I saw the article in the washington times (which give me away from the getgo)...

Now I have not read the bill yet, but have read the Growing Smart Summary on the APA web site.

I'll stop there. I am going to find the BILL.
 

adaptor

Member
Messages
123
Points
6
Consider the source

I took a look at the author's website (www.aaspo.org) which tells us the founder is a Washington DC lawyer and that, "AASPO’s members are entrepreneurs who favor lower taxes, reduced regulation and relief from litigation. To address current issues, AASPO functions through member committees on Tax Policy, Lead-Based Paint, Rent Control, Land Use and Zoning, Environmental Regulation, Nuisance/Seizure and Legal Reform.

Talk about having an axe to grind:

* no-growth (euphemistically called "smart growth")?

* (The) American Planning Association, a no-growth trade organization?

* This type of regulation invariably makes life so miserable for small property owners that they eventually give up. The result is abandoned buildings that give the city justification to come in and bulldoze the area, clearing the way for big developers to come in and put up high-density high-rises. Some would call this the "unintended consequence" of "smart growth."

Let's combine scare tactics, conspiracy theories with a dash of crying poor!

The motivation behind the article are obsure to me. Are parking lot owners threatened by pressures for construction? Will more neighborhood activity lead to greater scrutiny of property conditions? Is the threat to "takings" that great?

Maybe the more conservative leaning among us have some insights?
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
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1,046
Points
24
Let me back into this from a conservative perspective. The author of the article does appear to be a bit hysterical, but there is a inkling of truthful concerns therein.

I have read the Senate Bill and have read Summaries of the Growthing Smart Guidebook. I have not read the 2000 page document.

In my opinion the Bill is a good ole fashioned government spending bill. Essentially, the US Gov would dole out money to to local governments for planning initiatives who meet a set of state and federal criteria (can you say carrot and stick?). The criteria is based on nice smart growth catch phrases like "sustainable development" and "social equity." Ie., you can have the money, but you must first do x, y, and z.

And of course it is the x, y, and, z that we all enjoy debating these Cyburbia forums.

There is notdoubt that the bill is a Top Down approach to planning. That in and of itself is anethema to conservative's, especially conservative planners. The great former speaker of the House, Thomas (Tip) O'Neil said "All politics is local." So is planning.

I think we all can agree that the smart growth, sustainable development, new urbanist movements of today, do chip away at formerly held and cherished 5th amendment rights. And the folks at APA are leading the way.

It is the slippery slope that we fear most. Today, the reg's may say I have to do a tree survey, tomorrow is may say I must save 70% of the trees. Today I can build a residential development with both traditional and suburban street patterns. Tomorrow, i must build only rectilinear blocks.

So in the end the biggest concern may be that maybe its ok for the town, city or county and its citizens to dicate the above. But when the federal Government or State gov. does, it becomes a huge problem.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
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38
Growing Smart

My perspective, for what it's worth, is that Growing Smart is an effort to update state enabling legislation. Far too many states are still using the Standard State Enabling Acts from the Hoover Administration. Was that top down government?

What this will boil down to is whether or not states update their enabling statutes, and finally, whether local governments decide to change their ordinances and regulations. The final decision still lies with local government.

Other perspectives?
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
NHPlanner is right. Updating State enabling legislation is fine and likely necessary. But as we all know the devil is in the details.

From looking at some of the growing smart stuff, there are things that concern me such as support for mandatory compliance with State and Regional Plans; the creation of large State and regional Planning bureaucracies, convoluted appeals and administrative procedures (such as requiring a land owner to file multiple applications-after the initial denial-- to prove all options have been exhausted at the local level...

One of the fears as i understand from the development industry is that because the growing smart platform includes a bevy of "sample" ordinances, codes, etc...these cookie cutter rules, with a decided tilt away from the property owner--or towards the community if you want' to put it that way, will almost certainly usurp local planning control.

i admit, maybe I am being a little paranoid an do agree that better development oversight at the expense of the property owner is well within the rights of a community. But the question is "the toll on the property owner unlimited?"
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
This guy does sound a little like a paranoid fanatic. Perhaps he does have some points, but they are not served by his virulent attack. Let me see if I can sum them up a little less hostilely:
1. Smart/No growth - there are some people who use "Smart" Growth as a ploy to get to "no" growth. These are certainly a minority, and I would suggest an even smaller minority within the planning profession;
2. The APA Handbook - I would be surprised if the bill "enforced" the APA's guide. More likely, it will outline a handful of Smart Growth principles as guidance. It would be interesting to see the proposed language on this. From my experience, the APA Handbook (or anybody else's) is not a perfect fit or solution for any community.
3. Full-Employment Act for Planners - well, there have been a few more planning jobs opening up in Wisconsin since our Smart Growth legislation passed.
4. Top-down Planning - well, I agree that the major effort in planning has to be at the local level. But still, some minimum standards are needed. Face it, land use is more than just a "me and mine" issue. What one person does with a piece of land has an impact on neighbors, and potentially a much larger population. Let's be honest, federal programs already impact land use, from highways to tax incentives for affordable housing, etc.
5. Let's come to the real issue - does Smart Growth have a negative impact on small property owners? Hmmm... seems to me most of the advocates I know are small property owners. Is it hurting the downtown or neighborhood small business? Is Smart Growth hurting the farmer trying to make a living on his/her land? Is Smart Growth hurting the property owner who is subsidizing sprawl through escalating property taxes? I Smart Growth hurting the developer on the edge of town who wants the city to build a highway, build a school and extend infrastructure so he can convert farmland bought on speculation into the next subdivision and strip shopping mall. Oops, I guess maybe one of the above.

Look, I'm not anti-property. But is it wrong to ask that development be both socially and economically sound for the community?
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
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10,080
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34
This same thread is started under the Planetizen forum. Can the two be combined into one?
 

NHPlanner

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Michael Stumpf wrote:
This same thread is started under the Planetizen forum. Can the two be combined into one?
Done.
 

adaptor

Member
Messages
123
Points
6
The article "is it cheaper to house republicans than democrats" http://www.planetizen.com/news/item.php?id=5886
may explain some of the heavy rehtoric against legislating smart growth.

It essentially says that local land use controls in east and west coast communities keep the value of property up by limiting development density. If smart growth plans eliminated large lot zoning and other restrictions to save space, urban property values could drop. That wouldn't make urban real estate entrepreneurs happy.
 
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