Smart Growth

I believe the City should implement sustainable “Smart Growth” and Ahwahnee Principles, which the City adopted in 2006. If elected, I will work hard to see these principles enacted in policies in the 2009 Land Use and Circulation Element Updates.

What is Smart Growth? As I use that term, it means policies which encourage a compact community footprint and reject pave-and-sprawl development based on fantasies of cheap oil and energy abundance, an infinite supply of land and unlimited natural resources. Smart Growth, by contrast, is based on energy efficiency, alternate transportation and renewable resources. Smart Growth is downtown and neighborhood-friendly, and transit, bicycle and pedestrian oriented. It promotes a mix of housing, commercial and retail uses. It preserves open space, wildlife habitats, historical properties, scenic views, and parkland and values public as well as private property. Smart Growth avoids what the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) calls “Significant Unavoidable Impacts” when better alternatives are possible.

While it encourages “infill” rather than sprawl, Smart Growth protects existing residential neighborhoods, promotes a well planned Downtown and does not overtax existing infrastructure. Smart Growth is not about turning our Downtown into a mini-Manhattan, but about allowing it to become more dense without causing traffic problems, environmental damage or loss of historical character. Smart Growth compensates for increased downtown density by preserving and developing parks, squares, and a greenbelt around cities. Smart Growth is not “no growth,” but sustainably paced growth which respects and enhances our quality of life.