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National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2002 Winners Presentation

On November 18 four winners were announced for the 2002 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. This Award recognizes outstanding achievement in smart growth by state, local or regional governments in four categories: Built Projects, Policies and Regulation, Community Outreach and Education, and Overall Excellence in Smart Growth.

The winners are:

Overall Excellence in Smart Growth: Arlington County, Virginia
Built Projects: Town of Breckenridge, Colorado Planning Department
Policies and Regulations: City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, California
Community Outreach and Education: Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

For information about each winner, click on the organization's name above.

National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement

EPA has also published a document with a brief case study of each winner and other information about the awards program. Click here to download the complete 2002 Awards publication (PDF) (16 pp, 1.4 MB, About PDF).


Arlington County, Virginia - National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2002 Winners Presentation

Category: Overall Excellence in Smart Growth
Project: Rosslyn-Ballston Metro Corridor

Overall Excellence in Smart Growth Winner

Arlington's planning approach places dense, mixed-use, infill development at five Metro stations and tapers it down to residential neighborhoods. The result? Over 21 million square feet of office/retail/commercial space, 3,000+ hotel rooms, and 22,500 residential units creating vibrant "urban villages" where people live, shop,work and play using transit, pedestrian walkways, bicycles or cars.

Arlington

This aerial photo demonstrates the effectiveness of Arlington's approach around the Rosslyn and Court House stations. It also shows that smart growth results in a wide range of housing types from apartments and condos to townhouses and single-family detached homes.

Arlington County uses smart growth principles to generate residential, retail and recreational development around the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor of Metro stations. The corridor includes five stations: Rosslyn, Court House, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston. Arlington adopted a General Land Use Plan (GLUP) to concentrate dense, mixed-use development at the stations and developed sector plans to ensure that each station maintained a distinct sense of community. Incentive zoning is used to attract private sector transit-oriented development.

The sector plans set goals for type of use, open space, infrastructure and design. Each plan focuses growth within a walkable radius of the stations, and preserves established neighborhoods and natural areas. Arlington's urban villages emphasize pedestrian access and safety, and incorporate public art, "pocket" parks, wide sidewalks with restaurant seating, bike lanes, street trees, traffic calming, and street-level retail. A site plan review links goals in the GLUP with details of each proposed project.

Metro station locations and the GLUP continue to guide development. Between 1999 and 2002, the corridor gained 2,500 apartments and condos, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 379,000 square feet of retail space, and five miles of bike lanes. The corridor is so popular that preserving affordable housing is a challenge. In 2001, Arlington adopted an expanded bonus density provision for development of affordable housing, allowing up to 25 percent more density.

The transit successes and corresponding environmental performance are impressive. Metro ridership doubled in the corridor between 1991 and 2002. Nearly 50 percent of corridor residents use transit to commute. As of the end of 2001, the corridor has over 18.3 million square feet of office space, 3.4 million square feet of retail/commercial space, over 3,000 hotel rooms, and 22,500 residential units - with much more under construction. Creating this development at typical suburban densities could consume over 14 square miles of open space compared to the roughly two square mile Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

Highlights

The Corridor as a Model
Many of Arlington's policies and procedures could be implemented in other communities. Planning density around Metro stops is a model for directing growth to new or existing transit corridors while protecting older neighborhoods and natural areas. When residents are involved in developing plans, they are more likely to support density at the stations and the amenities it can provide for the neighborhood.

Developing Community
Community partnerships such as the Ballston Partnership, Clarendon Alliance, and Rosslyn Renaissance ensure full and active participation by citizens and businesses in nearly all public and private development and policy decisions. The County solicits citizen input through over 40 Board-appointed County Commissions and nearly 60 neighborhood civic associations. Arlington uses a comprehensive site plan review process including public meetings with staff, citizens, County Commissions, and developers.

"Arlington County has maintained its political and economic commitment to transit-oriented redevelopment for three decades. Residents support the smart growth program because they participate in developing plans and reviewing projects, pay low taxes thanks to the strong commercial tax base, and enjoy the convenient shops, services and transit."
- Carrie Johnson, Member of Arlington County Planning Commission and long-time resident

Stuart Park

Stuart Park, located across the street from the Ballston Metro Station and flanked by offices and apartment buildings with street level retail, is popular with area residents and employees.

For More Information
Robert Brosman (Rbrosman@co.arlington.va.us)
Planning Director
Arlington County
Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development
Tel: 703-228-3516

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Town of Breckenridge, Colorado Planning Department - National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2002 Winners Presentation

Category: Built Projects
Project: Wellington Neighborhood

Built Projects Winner

The Wellington Neighborhood in Breckenridge, Colorado provides affordable and market-rate housing on a site that was once dredge-mined. The project recycles land, creates housing for working families, provides a free transit shuttle to the nearby downtown, and helps the region avoid "mountain sprawl."

Wellington 1  - Caption Below

Wellington's houses are clustered together in groups of ten and feature front porches and rear alleys. Clustering of homes allows the neighborhood to preserve public open space and trails.

Locals who work in the historic resort town of Breckenridge were being squeezed out of the area by median costs of $725,000 for a single-family home. For many workers, the American Dream was only available across Hoosier Pass, a 45- minute commute over treacherous mountain roads. Meanwhile, an 85-acre site in French Gulch on the town's outskirts sat amid hundreds of acres spoiled by mining, and the zoning allowed only four homes.

Breckenridge has reclaimed 22 acres of this brownfield site to develop the Wellington Neighborhood, a compact community built in the style of traditional neighborhoods with attractive and affordable homes. Fifty-eight of 122 approved homes have been constructed. Another 20 acres is preserved as open space or community parks. The project was planned in two stages: first, the French Gulch Remediation Opportunities Group (FROG), composed of citizens, property owners, the Colorado Department of Public Health, and EPA officials, worked for several years with the Keystone Center, a non-profit environ-mental mediation group, to prioritize clean-up actions and funding. Second, Breckenridge officials and residents worked together over four years to plan and design the neighborhood.

The Breckenridge Planning Department encouraged Wellington's traditional neighborhood design through flexible zoning for housing setbacks (closer to the street), road widths (narrower), and lot sizes (smaller). Housing affordability is ensured through covenants to keep homes affordable for future generations. Streamlined purchaser qualification standards facilitate transactions and reduce administrative requirements. The project was funded in part with public sector incentives worth more than $1 million, as well as a U.S. EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment "Prospective Purchaser Agreement" that partially funded the clean-up and wetland reclamation.

Using smart growth principles, Wellington has increased the supply of affordable housing, cleaned a contaminated site, and created a compact, walkable neighborhood with access to trails and open space. Eighty percent of homes are reserved for purchase by people who work in Summit County, at about one-third (or less) the cost of the median purchase price in Breckenridge. Wellington's location near downtown Breckenridge places housing near job centers, reducing commute times and related emissions. New homeowners include the town manager, government employees, shop owners, teachers and police officers.

Highlights

A Good Model
The Wellington Neighborhood serves as a model for design, planning, development, construction, and community participation. This project has particular relevance to communities in resort or "gateway" towns where affordable housing for permanent residents is scarce. Wellington's design/planning team also used this model for a low-income housing community in Boulder and hopes to expand the concept into other mountain communities in Colorado.

Community and Access
Wellington residents enjoy the strong community that has developed in a short time. Fostering this sense of place is architecture that complements both human scale and historic setting. Wellington's compact plan includes public greens and connections that create a safe and appealing environment for outdoor play, bicycling, and pedestrians. Free public transportation links Wellington to downtown and ski areas. Residents enjoy easy access to trails and thousands of acres of open space.

"You've got to find ways to keep the police officers, the teachers, the managers in the community..These people are both the economic engine and the soul of the town. There's nothing else like the Wellington Neighborhood in the county and not much else like it in the whole country."
- Sam Mamula, Mayor of Breckenridge

Wellington 2 - Caption Below

The Wellington Neighborhood sits atop land reclaimed from the Wellington-Oro Mine, which produced gold, silver, and lead until 1972. The site contained 30-foot high piles of river rock.

For More Information
Peter Grosshuesch (peterg@ci.breckenridge.co.us)
Planning Director
Town of Breckenridge
Tel: 970-453-3162

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City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County - National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2002 Winners Presentation

Category: Policies and Regulations
Project: Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Incentive Program

Policies and Regulations Winner

San Mateo's TOD Incentive Program uses transportation funds to help communities that build more housing near rail stations. It spurs construction of needed housing and creates environmental benefits by giving people the option of commuting and running errands by rail. This program directly links land use with efficient use of the existing transportation system.

San Mateo - Caption Below

Construction underway on Phase 1 of the Franklin Street project, which will provide 206 residential units at the Redwood City Caltrain Station.

In California and in local governments across the country, land use decisions often focus on maximizing sales tax revenue to balance budgets. This creates a greater incentive to build office and retail space but creates a disincentive to construct housing. As jobs and housing spread out, the transportation system can become overburdened. Modeling showed that San Mateo County could reduce congestion by locating more housing near transit stations, giving people easy access to rail.

To address a housing shortfall, reduce congestion, and improve environmental quality, the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) provides incentives for land use agencies (20 constituent cities as well as the county) to create housing near transit stations. C/CAG allocates up to 10 percent of State Transportation Improvement Program funds for the San Mateo County TOD Incentive Program. The program provides a financial incentive for local land use authorities to develop housing near transit stations.

Under the program, a jurisdiction receives incentive funds based on the number of bedrooms in the housing units. Typically, eligible projects receive up to $2,000 per bedroom. In order to be eligible for the program, housing must be within one-third of a mile of a rail transit station, and density must be at least 40 units per acre. In the event that the program is oversubscribed, C/CAG may reduce the funding per bedroom or provide additional funding to the program. Land use agencies only get the funding once the units are built or are under construction. Funds are then used to support improvements either on- or off-site as determined by the land use agency. In addition to direct transportation improvements, some general improvements such as landscaping, lighting, sidewalks, plazas, and recreational projects are allowed.

For the first cycle, October 1999 to September 2001, C/CAG programmed $2.3 million to the TOD Incentive Program to support development of 1,282 bedrooms in five projects. The second cycle, February 2002 to February 2004, has programmed over $2.9 million for 10 projects to facilitate the creation of 2,407 bedrooms.

Highlights

Interest from Other Jurisdictions
The success of C/CAG's TOD Incentive Program has encouraged other jurisdictions to implement similar programs. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the metropolitan planning organization for the San Francisco Bay Area, adopted a Housing Incentive Program based on C/CAG's model. Legislation being considered at the state level would create a similar pro-gram. Sacramento, Fresno, and Monterey Counties (in California) are also considering similar programs.

Integration with Transportation Planning
The TOD Incentive Program recognizes that coordinating land use and transportation is critical to achieving an efficient transportation system and making the best use of tax dollars. C/CAG's approach is an innovative use of transportation funds that provides incentives to land use decision-makers to achieve transit-oriented development.

" Redwood City is proud to have received the first-ever TOD Incentive grant from C/CAG for Franklin Project Phase I. This project has been well received by the community and will provide 206 new residential units, including 31 affordable units, and convenient retail - all within walking distance to the Caltrain Station and Downtown District employment/services. "
- Maureen Riordan, Senior Planner, City of Redwood City

San Mateo 2 - Caption Below

Phase 1 of the Franklin Street Project, near completion. The project received $1.2 million in TOD Incentive Program funds.

For More Information
Richard Napier (rnapier@co.sanmateo.ca.us)
Executive Director
City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County
Tel: 650-599-1420

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Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs - National Award for Smart Growth Achievement - 2002 Winners Presentation

Category: Community Outreach and Education
Project: Community Preservation Initiative

Community Outreach and Education Winner

The Massachusetts Community Preservation Initiative is a statewide smart growth program that helps municipal officials and community leaders understand the potential effects of future growth. It provides tools, technical assistance and outreach to encourage informed and balanced growth decisions.

Massachusetts 2 - Caption Below

This buildout map shows development constraints on Martha's Vineyard. Under the CPI, buildout maps were created for all 351 communities in the state.

The Community Preservation Initiative (CPI) was developed by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs to create a constituency of residents and elected officials who support and implement smart growth. CPI's philosophy is that planning is not just for professionals and that all residents should play a role in shaping their collective future. CPI encourages communities to grow where infrastructure already exists, redevelop urban areas, and utilize density to offset pressures on open space.

Under CPI, the state provides tools to help communities see the effects of growth and make more informed choices. CPI created 351 buildout maps, one for each community in the state, to illustrate how a community is currently zoned and the quantity and location of land available for development. CPI has presented buildout maps in three venues: to every community's Board of Selectmen or City Council; at 20 Summits of up to 150 people from up to 20 communities, and at six "SuperSummits" of up to 300 people each. The buildout maps have inspired many communities to change their bylaws and zoning to better support the type of growth they want in their communities and to enhance environmental protection.

An innovative aspect of CPI is the release of two software tools to help communities make informed choices. The Fiscal Impact Tool analyzes financial implications of development scenarios and the Alternative Futures Tool enables a user to analyze a variety of buildout scenarios by altering zoning. Other high-lights of CPI's outreach efforts include making over 120 presentations about the state-wide Community Preservation Act (CPA), under which communities can adopt a surcharge on local property levies and receive up to a 100 percent state match, and creating a high quality web site.

Partners in CPI include about 60 organizations representing affordable housing, historic preservation and open space interests, who help educate the public about the CPA through workshops, conferences, and the web. CPI also partners with state agencies, including the Department of Housing and Community Development, Executive Office of Transportation and Construction, and Department of Economic Development.

Highlights

Academic Partnership Reaches New Leaders
In collaboration with the University of Massachusetts, CPI created the Community Preservation Institute to teach community leaders more about implementing community preservation efforts. The Institute has grown from one to five campuses in 18 months. More than 125 graduates have passed through the nine-week program, creating a growing network of empowered community leaders.

Education, Not Regulation
The Community Preservation Initiative emphasizes education, not regulation. For example, in concert with other state agency partners, CPI grants up to $30,000 in planning assistance to communities seeking to establish and develop Community Development Planning Programs, based on the content of the buildout project. So far, 200 communities have signed up to utilize these grants to develop plans for community growth, to update master plans, or begin plan implementation.

For More Information
John Hultgren (john.hultgren@state.ma.us)
Deputy Director of Community Preservation
Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
Tel: 617-626-1153

Massachusetts 1 - Caption Below

Melrose residents at a community summit discuss preservation and growth. Such summits allow residents and stakeholders to exchange ideas about the community and develop a common vision for its future.

Massachusetts 3 - Caption Below

CPI tools and programs help towns plan for future growth and preservation of community assets. The Old Town Hall in Bedford will be preserved thanks to funding made available through the Community Preservation Act.

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