Regional Community Development News - Top Stories - July 7-10, 2011

 1. Webinar July 14: Applying for HUD Regional Planning Grants | Smart Growth America

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced an additional $67 million investment in stronger, more sustainable communities that connect housing to jobs while fostering local innovation and building a clean energy economy.

If you plan to apply for this year’s round of HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grants, join us for a webinar on Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:00 PM EDT. You will hear tips from past Partnership for Sustainable Communities grant recipients, receive advice from a firm that has written several successful applications, and learn the criteria that the Partnership uses to grade applications.

This event is hosted by Smart Growth America and the American Planning Association.

What: “Applying for HUD Regional Planning Grants”

When: Thursday, July 14, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Where: Webinar information will be sent to registrants

 2. Collaboration equals success | Vail Daily

We are not alone facing the regionalism vs. parochialism debate. Metropolitan Denver is currently struggling with the same exact regional vs. parochial issues (albeit on a much larger scale) related to a proposed Gaylord Resort property in Aurora. Downtown Denver supporters are scared it will drive business away, saying “regionalism and intergovernmental cooperation look great on a bumper sticker or in a speech, but actually we're all territorial animals” . Aurora officials are ecstatic about the opportunity ...

Stealing a line from Gov. Hickenlooper, “Wouldn't it be nice if regional collaboration becomes the new competition?”

What does this have to do with doing business in the Vail Valley?

Guests don't see political boundaries. Many locals don't see town boundaries, either. We might live in Eagle and work in Vail. Or vice versa. So at some level we're all in it together. And working together as one destination, as one regional business community, only makes sense.

 3. Valley long-term water needs OK | The News Leader

The Central Valley has plenty of water to meet its needs for the next three decades, a state-ordered study by the area's regional planning body found.

The study projects an 80 percent increase in demand for water in the region by 2040.

But the Central Shenandoah Regional Planning District Commission said there is enough water available in the area to meet its total needs — a piece of good fortune that not every part of Virginia shares.

The challenge, though, will be getting water from parts of the region where there's lots more water than people, to parts where the population is growing fast, the report said.

... first public airing ... Waynesboro's City Council ... will consider a drought ordinance recommended by the study.

That ordinance would allow the city to order restrictions on watering lawns, washing vehicles and filling swimming pools in times of drought.

Concerns about Virginia's long term water needs ... prompted the state to order such studies in 2005.

 4. SANDAG still has time to make meaningful change with its SB 375 plan. | Amanda Eaken's Blog

BREAKING NEWS: 60 years of government structures and polices that subsidize sprawl development have not been dismantled in nine short months by San Diego’s new regional plan! Like so many attention grabbing stories, Ethan Elkind’s blog post proclaiming California’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) a “dud” is a poorly informed piece that doesn’t do justice to the movement for sustainable, equitable communities.

Yes, San Diego County’s draft SCS, compiled by its regional agency SANDAG, needs significant improvement. But we never expected SB 375 to work overnight. With some additional changes that can be made to SANDAG’s SCS by October, as well as commitments we would like to see SANDAG make for policy change over the next few years, it is still possible for this first SCS under SB 375 to provide a critical pivot away from the continued paradigm of poorly planned, unaffordable, sprawl development. of SANDAG’s big constraints...40 year sales tax known as TransNet

 5. Palo Alto Online : Palo Alto challenges regional growth projections

A regional plan to promote "sustainable communities" is facing a chorus of opposition from Palo Alto and other cities, many of which would have to build thousands of houses to accommodate the latest vision for the Bay Area's future.

The debate over long-term growth and housing projections highlights the challenges facing regional agencies as they try to meet the goals of Senate Bill 375, a landmark 2008 bill that seeks to reduce green-house gas emissions by promoting development near transportation corridors. The scenario unveiled by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has the goal of reducing per-capita gas emissions by 7 percent by 2020 and by 15 percent by 2035.

... Council members and planning officials have consistently argued that the regional housing projections are highly overstated and that the agencies' methodology is fundamentally flawed.

 6. N.J. development sprawl has continued, study says |

Despite a decades-long attempt to head off exclusionary zoning and development sprawl, New Jersey is still struggling to provide a mix of affordable housing choices near jobs, researchers at Rowan University have found.

Development patterns in Monmouth and Somerset ...In a better economy, the two counties will continue adding to inventories of large-lot homes and commercial properties based on current zoning, leaving little room for cheaper high-density residential development,
“Large-lot subdivisions lock in a residential land-use pattern that excludes many New Jersey residents that can’t afford large single-family homes and often prevents those people from living near their jobs,” ...

Hasse said regional planning efforts are often thwarted by New Jersey’s affinity for home rule, with municipal land-use boards opting for large-lot housing or quick ratable grabs from industrial and highway development. Meanwhile, plans for apartments and townhouses ... get chilly receptions.

 7. Study: Gas drilling will hurt local tourism | Star-Gazette 

Widespread Marcellus Shale drilling in the Southern Tier could substantially damage the long-term growth of the local tourism industry, according to a study released by the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board.

Individual gas wells and drilling activity, while disruptive at the local scale, will likely have very little impact on the tourism sector, the study says. But increased traffic, air and noise pollution, industrial accidents, the decreased availability of hotel/motel rooms and seasonal lodging, disruptions to wildlife and hunting grounds, and other aspects associated with a large-scale drilling program "will change the pristine and rural character of the region to a gritty and industrial one."

... funded by a $7,000 Appalachian Commission Grant ... It focuses solely on Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties.

Marcia Weber, executive director of Southern Tier Central said the agency's goal was to create a balanced report.

Extra: Get ready for the North American gas shock - The Automatic Earth 

In this era of global bubble-blowing we have seen speculative fever flourish in relation to many different asset classes. ... We have been witnessing just such a dynamic playing out in the North American natural gas market in recent years, with a particular focus on the shale gas that is touted as being the key to energy independence. ... Thankfully there have been a few sober voices in the wilderness who were prepared to challenge the received wisdom, ...

 8. A huge step for regionalism: Chagrin Solon Sun editorial

Regionalism is the latest buzzword in Greater Cleveland, as communities try to figure out how to do more with less and cut costs wherever possible to save money and maintain the highest level of services possible. Partnering with neighboring communities to provide the same service at a lower cost is one way area cities are finding they can shave their budgets.

In the Chagrin Valley, regionalism is nothing new — we have been practicing this concept for decades and it works just fine. ...

Why the recent announcement about four local communities entering into a study to look at sharing more services is such a big story is because it takes regionalism to the next step and opens the door for a possible merger of the communities. This will be watched very closely throughout the region and will likely spur other communities to engage in similar talks.
We applaud ... this study and give serious consideration to all aspects of regionalism, including the possibility of a merger.

 9. Pioneering Green Legislation in New York a Model for Other States | Progressive States Network

... The new law, the Power NY Act of 2011 (AB 7006-A), establishes the first statewide “on-bill recovery” program — allowing charges for retrofitting a home or business to be included in a utility bill statement and paid over time, with monthly payments calibrated to include energy savings so that the loan doesn’t increase the bill. The passage of this bill is considered a next step to New York’s Green Jobs/Green NY Act, legislation that was enacted in 2009 to retrofit one million homes in five years and consequently create 14,250 full time jobs. The Power NY Act of 2011 comes at a time when most Americans believe that their government’s number one concern should be the creation of jobs.

Thanks to the 2009 law, New York homeowners now have access to convenient and safe loans for energy efficiency retrofits and are given over 15 years to pay back the cost of the retrofit. ...

10. Litchfield Hills council discusses advantages of shared services - and what's already in place - The Register Citizen

In the northwestern corner of Connecticut, following one of the heaviest snowfalls in recent memory, some towns are acting as a whole in assisting one another with costly road maintenance.
“Treated salt was our biggest saving this year,” said Torrington Mayor Ryan J. Bingham of one regional grant. “We’re saving $5 per ton, minimum — saving $100,000 for the region.

“That’s huge,” he added.

Regional planning organizations such as the Litchfield Hills Council of Elected Officials (LHCEO) have delved deeply into shared services recently, and through federal and state appropriated grants, some say they are coming out ahead of some tougher economical curves.

LHCEO — consisting of Barkhamsted, Colebrook, Goshen, Hartland, Harwinton, Litchfield, Morris, New Hartford, Norfolk, Torrington and Winchester — shares services from road maintenance with plows and highway signs to emergency personnel and educational outlets.

“We’re already semi-regionalized with schools,” ...

11. North Carolina, South Carolina collaborate on offshore wind energy projects - South Carolina

RALEIGH Representatives from South Carolina as well as North Carolina met in Charlotte in June to discuss opportunities for collaborating to accelerate a development of offshore wind appetite on a south Atlantic seaboard. The meeting is being heralded as a poignant first step towards regional collaboration for offshore wind in a Southeast.

The objective of a two-state meeting was to explore ways to leverage each states unique experience, knowledge, as well as resources to accelerate a deployment of offshore wind appetite in a way that is jointly beneficial to both states. Our states have been singly positioned with strengths as well as advantages that complement each other. said Elizabeth Colbert-Busch of a Clemson University Restoration Institute. Some of a initial opportunities that were discussed included enabling various research institutions to collaborate on future research projects as well as exploring a probability of an offshore wind appetite project along a NC/SC border.

12. Businesses net millions moving within Ohio metros -

Relocations that netted small- and medium-sized businesses at least $39 million in property tax breaks to move around within the Cleveland and Cincinnati regions largely sent jobs from areas of poverty into more affluent communities, according to a study released Thursday.

In "Paid to Sprawl: Subsidized Job Flight from Cleveland and Cincinnati," the Washington-based Good Jobs First nonprofit research center reviewed business relocations from 1995 to 2010 in the multi-county regions, finding data on 164 moves that involved an estimated 14,500 workers.

Report authors say the findings show that state officials should consider regional tax-revenue sharing and encourage regional economic-development cooperation to prevent "poaching" of companies between nearby communities. Such moves often transfer job opportunities from cities and areas with high minority populations to less diverse areas and often to sites inaccessible by public transportation, they say.

13. Dakota arts programs line up grants |

The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council recently awarded more $500,000 in grants for arts activities, including three grants in Dakota County.

A total of 57 arts organizations in the seven-county metro area received some of the $535,419 in grants. They were selected based on their artistic quality and community need.
The council is one of 11 regional arts councils in the state. It is funded through an appropriation from the state Legislature and by funds from the Legacy Amendment, as well as a grant from The McKnight Foundation.

14. New CivicAction video captures the spirit of city building - a preview to the Greater Toronto Summit 2011 Report - CIVICACTION

What does city building look like in action? Find out in the video unveiled today by CivicAction that captures highlights of its Greater Toronto Summit 2011.

The video, produced by the innovative youth-led Hightop Studios, captures the essence of CivicAction's city building mandate and the energy of CivicAction's 2011 Summit, where more than 1,000 city builders tackled the tough issues and big opportunities facing the Greater Toronto region.

The video features interviews with CivicAction Chair John Tory and CEO Julia Deans and Summit highlights including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi on embracing diversity, eco-entrepreneur Majora Carter on collaborating to further local economic development, Michael Littlejohn of IBM on building smarter cities, and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion on the need for regional collaboration.
To view the Social Media Release, click here:

15. Reaching Past Borders to Protect the Mediterranean : TreeHugger
Graduate students from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as well as Lebanon, Greece, Malta, Tunisia, Italy, and the United Kingdom, were among the participants in a two-week-long regional marine research project that took place in June off the coast of Italy. Organized by the Israel-based conservation group EcoOcean, the trip sought both to create bridges between the region's next generation of scientists and to research some of the threats to the Mediterranean, which is bordered by 21 different countries with wildly varying environmental laws and level of enforcement.

"Scientific cooperation between nations is imperative to successfully research, monitor, and manage the Mediterranean Sea, which has been invaluable in shaping the economic, technological, and cultural development of the nations surrounding it," said EcoOcean director Daniel Schaeffer, who came up with the idea for the workshop, titled "Environmental Impacts Know No Boundaries."

16. MCCI hails move to boost regional cooperation - Bangaladesh

The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) on Saturday welcomed the initiative taken by the present government to enhance regional cooperation.

Reiterating the MCCI's appreciation for the landmark visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Delhi in January 2011, the chamber said that the visit started the process of regional cooperation.

"Due to her sincere effort region cooperation will now be flourished", the President of the MCCI, Major General (retired) Amjad Khan Chowdhury said in a statement issued to the press.

The statement noted: "A number of dignitaries from our neighbouring country are visiting Bangladesh.


17. Port Strategy - UK development to rely on "volunteers"

The old Regional Development Agencies are being replaced by 36 voluntary organisations called Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – that are without any money of their own, having to bid for pots of money to win investment funds.

Doug Morrison, port director of Southampton ABP and chair of one of the new partnerships put it quite bluntly. At a recent event hosted by the Port of Southampton he said “If this LEP doesn't deliver what it needs to, businesses won't be involved in it for very long. We all have too much to do in our day jobs.”

Iain Shepherd chair of Marine South East said, “Everyone is on a limited timescale. If the LEPs can do something, and do it quickly, then we will be able to go forward. If we can't deliver, then they will die because businesses - who are the heart of this - simply won't think it worthwhile continuing to make the effort.”


18. What is regional policy? - Inforegio - EU Regional Policy

The purpose of EU regional policy is to reduce the significant economic, social and territorial disparities that still exist between Europe's regions. Leaving these disparities in place would undermine some of the cornerstones of the EU, including its large single market and its currency, the euro.

19. TRID - Transport Research International Documentation

TRID is a newly integrated database that combines the records from TRB's Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) Database and the OECD's Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database. TRID provides access to over 900,000 records of transportation research worldwide.

20. SLOWTH: Or why it is so very important (and so very easy) to slow down traffic in cities | World Streets: A New Mobility Agenda

It is the consistent position of this journal that much of what is wrong with our current transportation arrangements in cities could be greatly alleviated if we can find ways just to slow down. It is very powerful — and it’s just not that hard to do. Get comfortable and have a look.

The use of a strange not to say rather ugly word like “slowth” in an attempt to draw attention to the importance of slowing traffic in cities, and why it is such a very good idea, may be counterproductive. Only you, the reader, can make that decision. ... it would be great if you would take pen in hand and add to and improve what follows here on this important subject.
Slowth is a new mobility transport planning concept, usually deployed in congested urban environments, where transport is calibrated for lower top speeds, but the result is shorter overall travel times across the entire system. ...

Suzerainty  occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy.[1] The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a suzerain. The term suzerainty was originally used to describe the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its surrounding regions. It differs from sovereignty in that the tributary has only some (often limited) self-rule. A suzerain can also refer to a feudal lord, to whom vassals must pay tribute. Although it is a concept which has existed in a number of historical empires, it is a concept that is very difficult to describe using 20th- or 21st-century theories of international law, in which sovereignty either exists or does not. While a sovereign nation can agree by treaty to become a protectorate of a stronger power, modern international law

22. Jesse's Café Américain: Pictures From a Non-Farm Payrolls Report - There Is No Such Thing As 'Free Trade'

Here's one for those who favor giving tax breaks on offshore funds for multinationals who use accounting gimmicks and loopholes to realize their income in tax haven countries. The program allows corporations like GE to repatriate their stashed cash on the cheap, and pay it out in tax free dividends to wealthy shareholders and bonuses for their executives. 

It is a powerful incentive to send even more employment and economic activity offshore, and for countries to engage in state directed mercantilism.  There are no Porterian 'natural competitive advantages' involved, but there is a strong artificial disincentive to allow domestic consumption and advancement of the mercantilist's own middle class.  There is, at the end of the day, the least common denominator of the health and freedom of the many as the unifying corporate objective, and the principle of one world government.

Trickle down is a canard. Globalization and 'free trade' is a means of beating down all independent public policy and local sovereignty.  There is no purely objective macroeconomics without major policy assumptions as to the public 'good.'  Naturally efficient and rational markets are the economic equivalent of  Piltdown Man.

And there is no such thing as sustainable 'free trade' between independent political entities under fiat currency regimes, without assuming a perfectly rational system run by angels.   The game is rigged and the regulators and politicians are bought, always and everywhere, under this type of artificial construct, with a nationless oligarchy as its ultimate objective.

23. The magic button to "Make Everything OK" - just for fun

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