Smart Growth Awards Honor Eco-Friendly Development
Five communities in three states have been awarded the 2004 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Smart growth development practices help protect the environment by preserving open space and parkland, protecting critical habitat, improving transportation choices to reduce emissions from automobiles, cleaning up and reusing brownfields, and reducing paved surfaces to minimize polluted run-off.
EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt presented the honors for:
–Overall Excellence to the Town of Davidson, North Carolina, Planning Department for creating vibrant neighborhoods in an historic setting. The town is revitalizing existing buildings, and has issued design guidelines that preserve its small town atmosphere. New neighborhoods feature parks within a five minute walk of homes, along with a variety of lot sizes and housing types, including affordable housing.
–Built Projects to the City of Greensboro, North Carolina, Department of Housing and Community Development for the Southside Neighborhood, located close to Greensboros historic main street. New development and revitalization of existing structures transformed this blighted area into a thriving, attractive district.
–Policies and Regulations to the City of Santa Cruz, California, Department of Housing and Community Development for its Accessory Dwelling Unit Program which makes it easier to build accessory units, which are separate residences that are created by converting all or part of a garage or by building new structures on a homeowner’s property.
–Community Outreach and Education to the Sacramento, California Area Council of Governments for its Sacramento Region Blueprint: Transportation/Land Use Study. The blueprint study brought together 5,000 citizens, 30 agencies, and private businesses to plan how and where the region will grow. Over two years, participants explored land use, housing, and transportation choices, then evaluated and voted on four proposals. The chosen scenario became the basis for a regional plan that extends until 2050.
–Small Communities to the The Office of the Governor of the San Juan Pueblo Tribe, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a Master Land Use Plan that honors Native American heritage. The first of its kind for a Native American community, the plan and process by which it was developed are a valuable model for tribes and communities around the country. In 2003, a 40 unit, mixed income, rental housing project was completed, exhibiting a culturally appropriate, affordable design.
The 2004 call for entries drew 98 applications from 32 states and the District of Columbia. Winners were selected based on how effectively they advanced Smart Growth, how easily their projects could be replicated, and how well they engaged citizens and fostered partnerships.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.