Regional Community Development News - June 16-18, 2011

1. Editorial: It's imperative for Florida officials to keep funding unchanged for state's 11 regional planning councils » TCPalm

The 2011 Legislature essentially dismantled state oversight of growth planning issues — and Gov. Rick Scott is wasting no time formalizing lawmakers' dubious handiwork.
There are three levels of government — local, regional and state — that planned growth projects must clear on their way to becoming actual developments. (In some cases, depending on the project, federal approvals also may be required.)

The Legislature and the governor may have eviscerated state oversight of growth planning issues, but at least they're leaving intact the next link in the chain of authority: regional planners.

Well, not really.

Florida lawmakers can restore funding for the regional planning councils by overriding Scott's decision with a two-thirds vote. This is the proper, logical course of action.

In the absence of adequate state oversight of growth planning issues, the regional component becomes more — not less — important.

2. $200,000 available for collaborative development efforts | The Tidewater News

When it comes to economic development, state officials believe it’s better to work together.

Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development officials will award money for economic development to localities or regions that team up and come up with the best economic development proposal, said Chris Thompson, program manager.

The General Assembly has budgeted $200,000 for the Building Collaborative Communities program, which will entice localities to use regional assets to attract business.

“You can end up losing out on opportunities when localities go against each other,” Thompson said. “The ultimate aim is to make regions more competitive and focus on regional collaboration.”

Teams have until July 27 to submit proposals to the state, Thompson said. The money will go to the top two or three regions. The department is open to proposals based on several factors including strategic planning, capacity building and organizational building.


3.  Supes refuse to participate in regional study | Mountain Democrat

A 3-2 vote Tuesday kept El Dorado County out of the process of formally supporting study projects proposed by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. ...

Many people in the audience had attended the May supervisors’ meeting and expressed grave concerns at that time about the county getting any more involved with regional entities. Some were members of local Tea Party groups; others spoke for themselves. And their comments were heavily weighted toward fears that participation in regional issues is part of an insidious United Nations effort to create a “one world government” that ultimately would destroy American freedoms and private property.

....Agenda 21 developed by the U.N. the foundation of sustainable development — also called “smart growth.”

Supervisor Ron Briggs, who ... voted against the MOU, said, “We’re losing our identity to regionalization. Ultimately this board is going to be neutered out of the planning process for ourselves.”

4. Downtown Development is a Regional Priority - GTR Newspapers 

Time and again, research tells us that a community must have a vibrant, thriving core in order for the entire region to grow. Downtown Tulsa must be a “destination place” in order for Northeast Oklahoma to reach its potential.

It is not enough just to “keep up with the Joneses.” Our peer cities and regions are also focusing on their downtowns, making it critical for Tulsa to successfully revitalize, develop and create one of the nation’s preeminent business improvement districts.

The Tulsa Metro Chamber enlisted the assistance of an economic development consulting firm in 2008 to examine the Chamber’s economic development plan, Tulsa’s Future. The results showed that a more comprehensive, holistic approach must be adopted and must include community development – specifically that of downtown and the Arkansas River.

The Tulsa’s Future Oversight Committee identified two primary goals for the plan’s five-year period 2011-2015. The first goal is to create 10,000 primary, high-value jobs

5.  Biz Beat: Local foods distribution center in the works in Dane County

The appetite for locally-produced foods, especially in places like Madison, appears insatiable....

But getting more local products into the mainstream grocery supply chain has remained a challenge. It's one thing to sell tomatoes or spinach off the back of a truck versus getting them ready for the shelves at Roundy's.

Now, an effort is quietly moving forward in Dane County to develop a commercial-scale processing facility for local food items.

Plans call for a 15,000-square foot refrigerated "packing house" where fresh produce can be delivered, sorted, washed and prepared for distribution on a wider scale to large institutional buyers or retailers. .

.. the idea for a local food processing facility really started to take shape after the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) last fall landed a $2 million Sustainable Community Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

One project identified in the grant is preparing a business plan for "an aggregation, storage and distribution facility that connects growers in the Capitol Region with wholesale buyers in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois for the purpose of preserving, strengthening and promoting local Wisconsin agriculture and improving food access in underserved communities."

6. Nevada sets 2015 deadline to withdraw from state agreement created to protect Lake Tahoe

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval on Friday signed legislation, SB271, that poses harm for the decades-long effort to protect and restore Lake Tahoe.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known as "Keep Tahoe Blue," is calling on Sandoval to now work closely with leaders in Nevada and California to ensure the bi-state agreement that protects Lake Tahoe's environment remains intact.

"This legislation undermines the movement to protect Lake Tahoe just at a time when environmental threats facing the Lake are the greatest," said Rochelle Nason, League executive director. "Climate change, urban runoff, invasive species, and catastrophic wildfire are all immediate threats to the Lake's sensitive ecosystem. This legislation threatens the cooperation needed to restore the Lake's environment, and ignores the will of citizens who love Lake Tahoe and want it protected."


7. Storm surge could threaten the local area -

A new report ... says that Gloucester, York, Hampton and Poquoson would be especially vulnerable to storm surge from a major hurricane.

Projected rises in sea level may only make the problem worse, according to the study by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission. More than 1 million people could be affected if southeastern Virginia is struck by a Category 4 storm and local roads are crippled.

"While its location along the Mid-Atlantic coast protects it from the brunt of many tropical storms, when storms strike the area the effects can be quite damaging and incapacitating. Sea level rise will increase the threat from storm-induced flooding in addition to permanently inundating some areas. Accelerated rates of sea level rise due to climate change pose an even greater threat to the region," the report said.

In the past 100 years, sea levels have risen between 1 and 2 feet in much of the area. That is expected to continue into the future, regardless of climate change.

8. Road trips strike right chord for leadership - The Nashville Ledger

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce...conducts leadership study missions in which various community leaders embark upon a pilgrimage to a different city in order to observe and understand defined practices and policies of these communities.

Certainly each mission yields its own fruits, but few have been as productive as the visit to Denver two years and three cities ago. It was there that Mayor Dean was exposed to regional cooperation shared among the different municipalities in the Denver and the structure of the regional partnership. As a result of the trip, Mayor Dean formed the Regional Caucus of Mayors, an initiative lauded by the leadership of Nashville’s surrounding counties.

Additionally, the delegation was educated as to the value that a convention center can bring to a city. Obviously that presentation did not fall on deaf ears. And we have the cranes to prove it, although negotiations were well under way.

Foremost, many were curious about Denver’s mass transit.

10. State Helps Plan Countywide Health Coalition / iBerkshires - Berkshire County

The effort to create a countywide health coalition received a boost Friday with the announcement of a $29,000 planning grant.

Local boards of health have been discussing sharing services for years and now they can map out how the coalition would operate with the help of state funds.

"It's basically an organizational planning grant," Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Nathaniel Karns said Friday. "Over the years public health board have been given more responsibility and most of our boards are volunteers."

The idea is basically for the smaller of the county towns to pool their resources together to handle inspections and administer programs. The local boards would still be in charge of setting policy while providing shared services for the whole county.

"What we're envisioning is an ala carte menu," Karns said. "I would expect there would be contractors or paid staff hired to do specific things."

11. Wilmington transforms into mountain bike mecca - NCPR News

The town of Wilmington in the Adirondacks is gearing up for a major mountain bike race this weekend.

The Wilmington/Whiteface 100K will serve as one of three qualifiers for the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race - one of the largest and most prestigious mountain bike competitions in North America.

Jon Lundin, spokesman for the Olympic Regional Development Authority, said, "To have the Wilmington/Whiteface race be the first of the three races, it’s huge for the region and it not only brings tremendous exposure about mountain biking to the area, but it brings world-class athletes back to Lake Placid and it’s another super biking event for the region.”
Jim McKenna, president of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, said the Leadville qualifier will provide an economic boost for Wilmington and the Olympic region. He also said there’s room for the event to grow.

12. Transportation Department announces Interstate 69 website » Corpus Christi Caller-Times

The Texas Department of Transportation has announced the start of a website and citizen outreach efforts for the proposed Interstate 69 project.

The website is

The proposed I-69 corridor runs from the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley to northeast Texas.

A group of regional planning committees has proposed using parts of existing highways for Interstate 69 development. They include U.S. Highways 59, 77, 84, and 281; and State Highway 44.

13. Maple Ridge News - Some thaw in chilly talks with Metro growth plan holdouts

There is softening but no breakthrough yet in the impasse between Metro Vancouver and Coquitlam council over the proposed regional growth strategy after two days of dispute resolution talks.

Coquitlam is the sole holdout city after every other municipality agreed to sign the master plan governing growth in the region for decades to come.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart warned smaller cities may be locked in with no way out, despite a requirement the Metro board consider reviewing the plan every five years.

Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby together hold a majority of Metro board votes and could block a review indefinitely, he said during Thursday's meeting with Metro reps.

Coquitlam's proposed solution is to lower the bar for a review to a one-third vote of the Metro board, which Stewart said would allow 15 smaller cities representing a million-plus residents to force a rethink of the strategy.

"It's a 30-year document," Stewart said. "We've got a serious concern with that."

14. Getting real with regionalism in Parma and Parma Heights: Parma Sun Post editorial 

The mayors of Parma and Parma Heights agreed Monday to take a step toward a more regionalized approach to providing services to their residents by sharing some police resources. Parma Mayor Dean DePiero and Parma Heights Mayor Mike Byrne have worked out an agreement to handle the housing of jail prisoners in the case of overcrowding, borrow officers in investigative work, share investigation equipment and cooperate on the use of auxiliary units.

They are to be commended for taking these concrete steps at a time when local governments must do something for themselves in the face of the state’s budget crunch and declining tax revenues. Cities will have less money to work with. Cuts in local budgets are simply not enough to cover these shortfalls.

While this agreement is not monumental in scope, it is a good example of taking this concept of regionalism and putting it into a simple, first-step action plan to, it is hoped, save some money and some jobs in both administrations. ...

15. Montgomery County commissioners hear plans on airfield at Willow Grove Naval Air Station - Public Spirit Willow Grove Guide - Montgomery News

Claims that a regional airport would stimulate the local economy fell on deaf ears Wednesday, as residents living near the Willow Grove Naval Air Station let it be known they are against having any kind of airport as a neighbor.

A crowd packed ... meeting room for a public hearing on the corporate airport proposal, where opponents raised the specter of plane crashes and round-the-clock noise from air traffic.

The Bucks County Airport Authority, which first brought the airport proposal to the commissioners in May, envision an aviation facility that would handle corporate jets and private planes. It was suggested the proposed facility be operated by a joint authority made up of Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Former Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission official Roger Moog said Willow Grove would be an excellent location for a regional airfield and claimed corporate jets that would use the runway are “very much quieter aircraft” than military and commercial planes.

16. Development officials urge localities to think regionally | The News Leader 

Regional and other local economic development officials also talked excitedly about upcoming projects in the region.

Robin Sullenberger, CEO of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, said the agency is teaming up with the New River Valley Partnership and the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership to market Instate 81 for development between Interstates 66 and 77. He said the partnership also hopes to bring more science, technology and engineering industries to the region.

17. L.A. Gridlock, Air Pollution Can Be Cut Significantly With Proven Solutions in Visionary Plan

Angelenos soon could enjoy clearer roads, easier access to jobs, clearer skies and an improved quality of life through the deployment and implementation of strategies set forth in a transportation plan released today by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

"Vision Los Angeles: Accessing Los Angeles" is a consensus action plan designed to improve transportation access and mobility, and make housing and transportation more affordable, while improving air quality and reducing green house gas pollution. Nearly all of the 15 strategies in the plan are being used successfully somewhere in the world and build upon existing regional plans, including L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa's America Fast Forward initiative (formerly known as 30/10) whose goal is to complete 30 years of transit projects in 10 years.

By deploying the Vision Los Angeles strategies, the region can create tens of thousands of jobs in the construction sector. ...

18. Worcester Telegram & Gazette - - Planners see transportation as continuing concern for MetroWest

Planning officials studying future development in MetroWest are still working to identify priorities, but as the region continues to grow, they said, transportation will remain a major concern.

“We can no longer continue to serve all our transit needs with cars,” Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council said last night.

The Boston-based planning council, the Worcester-based Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, state and local officials and the 495/MetroWest Partnership are working together to draft a shared framework for future growth in the MetroWest region.

The goal of the 495/MetroWest Development Compact is to identify regional priority areas for development, preservation and infrastructure improvements.


19. Derek Popp: Mineral Point Road area lacks regional planning - Madison, WI

Regarding last Saturday’s article, I understand the plight of Steve’s Liquor losing its store location. But the real culprit is poor planning and oversight of West Madison development.

Currently there are a lot of complaints about regional planning. In the case of the West Side, the Madison City Council, Dane County Board and several towns all approved developments with little consideration of the traffic these developments would cause.

Look at outgoing Mineral Point Road. These government units approved housing for thousands, and those residents are all commuting through that one intersection as well as on the roads leading there.

As the development progressed, the infrastructure to handle the increased traffic should have been put into place, such as upgrading the roads to four lanes and getting rid of the at-grade intersection, especially once the mall went in. Or the housing and mall should have been planned with additional roads to carry the traffic load.

20. Royalties for Regions adverts slammed | Perth Now

Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls has revealed the government plans to launch an advertising campaign for its Royalties for Regions program.

Under the program, 25 per cent of WA's royalties are used to fund projects, infrastructure and community services in the state's regions.

Mr Grylls said as well as an imminent start to the advertising campaign, the Department of Regional Development had conducted opinion polling about the program.

``The reason that they're planning that is that in the budget announced at the end of last month, there is a $75 million fund to go out in contestable grants for the regional community,'' he said.

But opposition regional development spokesman Mark McGowan said the advertising was blatantly political.

21. Mid West Super Towns - ABC Perth - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

With the Western Australian population expected to double over the next forty years, the Super Towns project is about developing regional communities and preparing them for this growth.

The Minister for Regional Development ... says the Pilbara Cities initiative has shown "that with proper planning you can get the investment decisions right and attract private sector investments."

"We want to make sure that spreads across all communities in WA."

..., CEO of the Wheatbelt Development Commission, says the group have been working closely with five Mid West towns preparing applications in terms of their "importance to the region and their delivery of key services in the region."

She also notes that Commission will continue to work with the towns that miss out on Super Town status.

"Super Towns is just one of the programs across a range of Royalties for Regions programs and we will continue to work with the communities to make sure they are well placed to maximise their opportunities."

22. Creating a better Midlands business future - News - Business - Articles - Westmeath Independent

... business leaders representing key players in renewable technology, tourism, arts and crafts, technology and food came together ... in Tullamore to develop their plans for a new Midlands economy, based on co-operation and innovation.

The event was facilitated by regional development agency Atlantic Corridor and Bord na Mona, a company which has a large presence and long history in the Midlands region of Ireland. Focusing on how companies in the region can work together to create new opportunities that will generate enterprise and employment, the workshop was characterised by lively group discussions and debate.

... CEO of Bord na Mona "Having attended many workshops and think-ins on enterprise, this event was truly different. All the opportunities identified were identified by those in business themselves in food, arts and crafts, technology and so on. These people know their businesses better than anyone and what is needed to support and grow their businesses in the Midlands.

23. Emda abolition was wrong, says Cowcher : Midlands : Insider News : Insider Media Ltd

Despite holding a seat on the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire (D2N2) local enterprise partnership (LEP) board, George Cowcher has told Insider he thought it was "the wrong decision" to abolish predecessor, East Midlands Development Agency (Emda). The chief executive of the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce said the axing of the regional development agency "will leave a large hole".

"We felt that it was the wrong decision to abolish the RDAs," said Cowcher. "Emda in particular has done a lot to assist businesses in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and its closure will leave a large hole."

D2N2 is one of the biggest LEPs in the country and has secured one of the government's first 11 enterprise zone locations.

"The East Midlands has a lot to shout about but there hasn’t always been a unity across the region, ...

24. Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency unveils Imagine 2030 - Local - News - The Cape Breton Post

Billed as a place to work, grow, live and play, Imagine 2030 has been a project the Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency has been working on for more than a year. On Wednesday, the RDA held an open house for the public to show both the immediate and strategic long-term goals in an attempt to bolster the region’s population and create a feeling of pride among people living in the town.

Several conceptual drawings were unveiled with several key priorities as a starting point for the ambitious project.

Three immediate goals are a pride of place campaign involving a community cleanup and branding the town’s image, a storefront facade program for the business park, streetscape improvements along Reeves Street and a signage program.

As well, there will be the development of a newcomer retention strategy, which is an essential part of the overall Imagine 2030 concept, said Amanda Mombourquette, the RDA’s senior innovations and skills facilitator.

25. Business : Kerala firm bags contract for Gwalior magnet area

A Kerala-based company has been awarded the consultancy contract to build a counter magnet to ease the pressure on the national capital of New Delhi, the world’s largest urban agglomeration after Tokyo.

Cochin-based Mir Projects and Consultants has been awarded the consultancy for the master plan preparation and development of Gwalior Counter Magnet, which is the first among five such cities.

The counter magnet areas were mooted after Delhi and the National Capital Region, or NCR, witnessed massive migration of population from neighbouring areas because of employment opportunities and well-developed infrastructure.

They are aimed at attracting people to these areas and thereby assisting in the decongestion of the NCR, ...

Kota (Rajasthan), Hissar (Haryana), Patiala (Punjab) and Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh) are other counter magnet cities aside from the recent additions of Kanpur, Ambala and Dehradun.
The region is expected to attract large-scale investment ...

26. Boost for townships on cities’ outskirts in state - Hindustan Times

Determined to make its plans to develop new townships on the fringes of cities and areas such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region a reality, the state government has decided to amend the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act, 1966, next week. The amendment aims at encouraging townships by providing all infrastructure to private lands pooled by landowners.

The bill will be on the lines of an amendment carried out by the Gujarat government in 1999. It is likely to be tabled before the state legislature in the coming monsoon session.

The scheme is being looked upon as an alternative to private townships promoted by developers, where there is no guarantee of infrastructure development or revenue generation for the government.

Planning authorities such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) will take up the job of creating such townships.

27. World Bank to assist ECOWAS deepen regional cooperation

The World Bank has expressed its willingness to deepen cooperation with ECOWAS to promote its regional integration in the sub-region. A report by ECOWAS quoted the bank’s Vice President, African Region, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, as saying that “ECOWAS is one of the bank’s important partners” and commended its initiatives to promote economic development in the sub-region.

The report stated that Ezekwesili made the remark in Washington when she received a delegation from ECOWAS, led by Dr Ada Okwuosa, the Commissioner for Administration and Finance.

She said that such partnership would fast-track ECOWAS new Regional Strategic Plan aimed at reviewing its existing institutional structure.

The bank also gave recommendations to ECOWAS for effectively running its operations, including the establishment of a task force on strategic planning, human resources, community computer centre and external relations communications.

28. Environmentalists seeks ways of preventing desertification

Stakeholders in the environmental sector on Thursday deliberated at a forum on issues which are at the root of sustainable development of people living in fragile ecosystem, plagued by the threat of desertification.

The participants described ways in which the threat of desertification and effects of drought in places like the Upper West Region could be reversed to promote socioeconomic development.
Alhaji Issaku Salia, Upper West Regional Minister, said that the search for sustainable solutions to the threat of desertification in the region should be a source of great concern to everyone.

He noted that persistent bushfires, unsustainable farming practises, indiscriminate fuel and wood harvesting, and over grazing among others were contributing towards degradation of the Savannah ecosystem and eroding the natural resource of socioeconomic development in the Region.

29. Bulgaria: Bulgarian Govt Moves to Found Mega-Structure for Infrastructure - - Sofia News Agency

Bulgaria's government is certain to set up a state-owned mega-company to be in charge of large-scale infrastructure projects, a somewhat controversial brainchild of Regional Development Minister Rosen Plevneliev.

The new infrastructure company will be called State Company "Strategic Infrastructure Projects". It is to be established as on Thursday, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted amendments to the Road Traffic Act, which include provisions for its setting up.

The mega-structure will be place in charge of "strategic infrastructure projects", namely the Struma Highway (running from Sofia to the border with Greece; expected completion date - 2014), the Hemus Highway (running from Sofia to Varna through Northern Bulgaria; expected completion date unknown), or the Cherno More (i.e. Black Sea) Highway (running between Varna and Burgas on the Black Sea coast; expected completion date unknown).

More "region, regions, regional" resources tagged "re:*" with global geocodes:

Regional Communities - "Think Local Planet, Act Regionally."