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EPA Honors Communities, Tribes for Balancing Growth, Environment, Quality of Life

Release Date: 11/17/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: Dave Ryan 202-564-7827 / ryan.dave@epa.gov

(11/17/04) In Washington, D.C. today, EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt presented the agency’s 2004 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement to five communities in three states for innovative approaches to development that strengthen community identity and protect the environment. Smart Growth is development that serves the economy, public health and the environment. Communities can use Smart Growth to help them grow in ways that protect and enhance their natural environments and create prosperity. 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. The award categories and winners are:
    Overall Excellence: Town of Davidson, N.C., Planning Department received the award for superior implementation of their planning ordinance and land plan. Davidson is setting a high standard for creating healthy and 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 residents, along with a variety of lot sizes and housing types, including affordable housing.
    Built Projects: City of Greensboro, N.C., Department of Housing and Community Development received the award for the Southside Neighborhood, located just one-and-a-half blocks from Greensboro’s historic main street. New development and revitalization of existing structures transformed this blighted area into a thriving, attractive district.
    Policies and Regulations: City of Santa Cruz, Calif., Department of Housing and Community Development received the award for its Accessory Dwelling Unit Program. Santa Cruz, south of San Jose, is increasing and diversifying housing choices by making 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: Sacramento Area Council of Governments received the award for its Sacramento Region Blueprint: Transportation/Land Use Study. The blueprint study changed how the Sacramento region approaches growth. It brought together more than 5,000 citizens, 30 agencies, and private businesses to help plan how and where the region will grow. Over the course of two years, participants tried out and debated explored various land use, housing, and transportation choices, then evaluated and voted on four proposed scenarios. The chosen scenario became the basis for a regional plan that extends until 2050.
    Small Communities: The Office of the Governor of the San Juan Pueblo Tribe, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, received the award for a Master Land Use Plan that honors Native American heritage while encouraging economic growth and providing needed housing. 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. Now in its third year, the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement has recognized an impressive array of projects, policies, and programs that promote healthy, vibrant communities. 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 and special interest participation or partnership. For more information about the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and this year’s winners, visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm .

For more information on EPA’s Smart Growth program in general, visit: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/index.htm .