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Smart Growth

Waverly, Iowa Smart Planning Workshop: Policy Options and Project Designs

The city of Waverly, Iowa, is one of several Iowa communities selected by EPA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to receive technical assistance to recover from flooding in June 2008. The city’s goals were to recover from the floods, create economic opportunities for residents, attract development that provides housing and transportation choices, and achieve a development pattern that will be more resilient to future floods.

The city specifically asked for an audit of its policies and development regulations to assess whether they currently integrate smart growth concepts and approaches, green infrastructure strategies that could connect vacant lots in the city as part of a larger green infrastructure strategy, and options for infill and affordable, mixed-income housing strategies.

EPA and FEMA assembled a team of experts to analyze the city’s policies and development regulations, interview stakeholders, and develop options for green infrastructure and housing policies that the city could consider implementing. The team discussed these policy options with the community in a May 2010 workshop and used the community’s input to develop policy options and project design ideas that the city could consider incorporating into its comprehensive plan.

The policy options and designs in Waverly, Iowa Smart Planning Workshop: Policy Options and Project Designs (2009) could be useful to other communities that are interested in incorporating smart growth approaches to development into their policies and regulations and those that are interested in using smart growth approaches to recover from natural disasters such as floods.

The project in Waverly was a partnership between EPA, FEMA, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Rebuild Iowa Office, Iowa Department of Economic Development, Iowa Northland Region Council of Governments, and the city of Waverly. 

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