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What is Smart Growth and who gets to decide what it is?

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Presentation on theme: "What is Smart Growth and who gets to decide what it is?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Smart Growth and who gets to decide what it is?

2 What is Smart Growth? (Variety of sources)  Smart growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that concentrates growth in the center of a city to avoid urban sprawl; and advocates...  Well-planned development that protects open space and farmland, revitalizes communities, keeps housing affordable and provides more transportation...  A perspective, method, and goal for managing the growth of a community. It focuses on the long-term implications of growth and how it may affect the community, instead of viewing growth as an end in itself....  A pro-growth approach to guiding development into more convenient patterns and into areas where infrastructure allows growth to be sustained over...  Environmentally-sensitive land development with the goals of minimizing dependence on auto transportation, reducing air pollution, and making...  "Smart growth" covers a range of development and conservation strategies that help protect our natural environment and make our communities more attractive, economically stronger and more socially diverse....  Development in or near cities intended to lessen or reverse suburban sprawl, decrease the use of automobiles, and shorten daily travel. Smart Growth occurs in or near existing transportation centers, such as subway stations....  an oxymoronic political slogan used mostly by Democratic Party officials who wish to construct more overdevelopment while placating constituencies...  Policies, legislation, regulations, procedures and strategies that attempt to achieve more compact, efficient, mixed-use development, tied to existing infrastructure and facilities by using such techniques as transfer of development rights (TDR) growth boundaries, targeted public and private...

3 Real answer: Ultimately We ALL do! However, in the meantime here’s what the CGS says.

4 Substitute House Bill No. 6467 (As Amended), Section 1 (1)  "Smart Growth" means economic, social and environmental development that  (A) promotes, through financial and other incentives, economic competitiveness in the state while preserving natural resources, and  (B) utilizes a collaborative approach to planning, decision-making and evaluation between and among all levels of government and the communities and the constituents they serve; and

5 Substitute House Bill No. 6467 (As Amended), Section 1(2)  "Principles of smart growth" means standards and objectives that support and encourage smart growth when used to guide actions and decisions, including, but not limited to, standards and criteria for

6 Substitute House Bill No. 6467 (As Amended), Section 1(2) (cont'd)  (A) integrated planning or investment that coordinates tax, transportation, housing, environmental and economic development policies at the state, regional and local level,  (B) the reduction of reliance on the property tax by municipalities by creating efficiencies and coordination of services on the regional level while reducing interlocal competition for grand list growth,  (C) the redevelopment of existing infrastructure and resources, including, but not limited to brownfields and historic places,  (D) transportation choices that provide alternatives to automobiles, including rail, public transit, bikeways and walking, while reducing energy consumption,

7 Substitute House Bill No. 6467 (As Amended), Section 1(2) (cont'd)  (E) the development or preservation of housing affordable to households of varying income in locations proximate to transportation or employment centers or locations compatible with smart growth,  (F) concentrated, mixed-use, mixed income development proximate to transit nodes and civic, employment or cultural centers, and  (G) the conservation and protection of natural resources by  (i) preserving open space, water resources, farmland, environmentally sensitive areas and historic properties, and  (ii) furthering energy efficiency.

8 Smart Growth sounds a lot like sustainability… What is sustainability?

9 One representation of Sustainability* (*Brundtland Commission UN 1987) Social Environment Economic Bearable Viable Equitable sustainable

10 Simsbury’s Smart Growth & Sustainable Vision One technique used by Simsbury in an attempt to create a sustainable vision for the Town’s future is a charrette. Charrettes have been around for many years, so how do they apply to the relatively new concept of sustainability as it applies to local and regional government planning?

11 First of all, what is a “charrette” ?  A charrette is a multiple-day design and planning workshop held on-site and inclusive of all affected stakeholders.  The term is derived from Old French. Professors at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, 19 th century collected architecture students’ final drawings in a cart for jury critiques while students frantically put finishing touches on their work.

12 Why would you as a public official or a member of the public want to do a charrette?  Reinstills lost or damaged faith in the land use process.  Creates transparency in the eyes of the public, especially the skeptical.  Creates consensus and public buy-in to the land use process.  Quiets NIMBYism significantly.  If done well, promotes sound, smart growth.

13 Critical elements of a charrette  Charrette manager. The selection of this person is absolutely critical! Experience, management expertise and “invisible” process control is essential.  Advertise: News articles, flyers, posters, town website, blog, facebook, banners Community TV, others.  Stakeholder Identification and invitation.  Schedules; community, charrette team, commissions.  Food, timing and many other elements.

14 What was done in Simsbury in the past.  Typical POCDs with little follow up.  Dated (at best) Subdivision Regulations.  “Use based” Zoning Regulations (outdated… at best).  Design Review Board established 1988 as advisory to Zoning and Planning Commisisons

15 Also done in the past… (turning the corner)  1998 a 3 day Vision Plan Charrette was held. Good plan. No real follow up. No reg produced.  2006 complete Zoning Regulation revision initiated and still underway.  2007 POCD completed after 4 year process. Recommended Form Based Code.  2007 Public independent polling effort conducted re various development issues.

16 What have we done for Simsbury lately?  In the past 2 years the Town of Simsbury has:  Interviewed 8 nationally known, experienced code consultants.  Found small amounts of grant money (not enough).  Established a BOS Charrette subcommittee with all land use and BOF and DRB chairs. (key coord.)  Continued the regulation revision process with monthly workshops for Zoning Commission.  Conducted the pre-charrette process and the actual charrette process. AS FOLLOWS:


18 Some of Simsbury’s Sustainable Efforts Major Focus Issues:  Land Use Initiatives including Town Center Planning Charrette, 9/09.  Incentive Housing Zone study currently under way looking at 7 highly varied sites for possible location of IHZ overlay zones for higher density housing. (OPM)  Historical Structures Survey (CTHP)  LID study with application to new urbanist type development. (DEP)

19 Charrette Study Area


21 One of several religious institutions in Town Center

22 A Town Center Office Building (Bank, Art Gallery)

23 Town Center Historic Hotel (Eno, Pinchot, Olmstead)

24 Town Center Charrette September 11-16, 2009  Activities: (Consultant Team, Staff and Volunteers)  Create “Illustrative Plan” for sustainable buildout of Town Center. (40 year plan)  Build Public Consensus for possible “form- based” code/zoning regulation.  Draft a new code for Town Center which contains a sustainable vision for the Town Center, 12/09.  Adopt new zoning code, 1/10.

25 Issues addressed at Charrette sessions:  Housing (Cross coordination with IHZ effort).  Preservation of Town character (varies throughout study area).  Crossings and Connections for pedestrians, bikes and vehicles.  Slow down vehicles on Route 10. Reclaim road as a real “Main Street.”  Activity in Town Center, more people and mix of uses.  Better signage, wayfinding for retail and recreational users.  Rethink large parking lot usage for the future.

26 Charrette Products: Creation of significant infill development which:  Increases residential opportunities downtown,  Respects historic structures,  Observes environmental constraints,  Improves pedestrian circulation and promotes walkability and increased recreational opportunities,  Improves local business opportunities based on public input, for office and retail in scale with center.  Restores public confidence in the public process.

27 Charrette Process; Full House


29 A section of new Town Center.


31 Existing Conditions:

32 Partial Buildout; Pilot project

33 A buildout possibility

34 Another possibility, Same location

35 Now for the final steps:  Present new FBC Zoning Code to Zoning Commission, January 2010.  Hold public hearing as required by CGS.  Adopt new Town Center Zoning Code, in January 2010.

36 Incentive Housing Zones Home Connecticut Legislation (CGS Chapter 124b, Sec. 8- 13m to Sec.8-13x.  Simsbury was one of the first 11 towns in CT to apply for IHZ grant.  Consultant selected, work underway to be completed 12/09.  Wide Variety of potential IHZ sites being examined:  Rehabed Mill building in Tariffville for possible live- work units.  Town center sites for townhouse or multifamily units, fairly dense.  Town center area site for small lot subdivision, near school.  Rehabed grist mill building and IHZ units as part of a mixed use complex.  Greenfield site with mix of SF homes, town houses bordering natural area and possible transit stop.

37 Some possible Incentive Housing Zone sites

38 Incentive Housing Zones are widespread and varied  IHZ sites represent a variety of sites and thus present a wide variety of potential new housing options.  Incentives from the State may or may not be available, but regulation will still be considered as required by IHZ contract.  IHZ sites represent true niches for needed housing in Simsbury.



41 “Simsbury’s Sustainable Conclusions” 1. The Charrette process is an excellent process for building public consensus. 2. It has great promise for helping build a sustainable town center. 3. The IHZ process appears to also have significant potential for creating housing as part of sustainable environment. 4. Both of these vehicles are excellent aids in helping Simsbury plan for a more sustainable future using Smart Growth principles.

42 Sustainable Visions: Not the end, but the beginning!

43 Thank you.

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