Brownfields live, smart growth dies on Election Day
Two smart-growth initiatives in two Western states bit the dust Nov. 7, but a constitutional amendment providing funds for brownfield revitalization passed in Ohio.
The Ohio amendment will help turn brownfields to greenfields and authorizes the state to issue up to $400 million in bonds and other obligations through two $200 million funds for environmental conservation and revitalization projects. The conservation fund will be used to preserve open space, maintain local watersheds and develop bike paths and other recreational trails, while the revitalization fund will support brownfields cleanup and redevelopment as well as urban renewal.
To the chagrin of environmental groups, Arizona voters defeated Proposition 202, the Citizens Growth Management Initiative. The law would have required counties and municipalities of more than 2,500 people to draw "urban growth boundaries" for planned urbanization for up to 10 years.
Development and municipal services would have been restricted outside the urban growth boundaries; inside, new development regulations would impose more controlled growth.
The proposition met significant opposition from contractors and real estate developers. Developers would have been required to pay the full cost of new development, including all charges for roads, sewers and other infrastructure.
In Colorado, another smart-growth law, a constitutional amendment called Citizen Management of Growth, bit the dust. That proposal would have required local governments with more than 10,000 in population to submit growth plans for approval by popular vote.
The amendment created strange bedfellows. The Colorado Wildlife Commission opposed the proposal for its effect on Colorado's wildlife, putting that body in company with contractor and developer associations who back development.
On the other hand, Denver-based Coloradans for Responsible Growth stumped for the measure.