Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What codes?

The 8-home subdivision has yet to come to the DRC for approval - USC has not see any land use case number for this portion of the development - yet.  Having seen a sketch of the entire 16-unit development, local streets and access to the lots is a looming problem.  Will access be provided by real streets or "goat paths"? 

  • Will streets leading the the subdivision (Bickner,St.) be wide enough for 8 homes?   See CDC 42.03.050 and 42.03.055 (and others?)
  • If Bickner St. were widened, would the development lose a lot or two?  
  • Will the developers be responsible for improving local streets and intersections impacted but their development? 
  • Is the road to the 8-lots considered a private lane, a city street, or a flag lot access lane?  Is it a half street, a cul-de-sac, or what?  
  • Are the 8 lots flag lots or a standard subdivision?   Compare site planning to the 9-lot subdivision planned for Carmen Road.
  • How will surface drainage from the new subdivision be handled?  

The land use plan for 850 Cedar St. has not been made public, so we don't know the answer to these questions.  If these are a collection of flag lots and not a subdivision, how does that work?  Other property developed with 4 or more houses has to comply with more stringent planned subdivision rules.   Maybe our codes have more holes than we thought - BIG ones.
Neighbors: Plans to build 16 homes violate zoning codes

Some say Lake Oswego’s Hallinan neighborhood can't handle new 

development plans

KOIN TV,  August 29, 2014  Tim Becker

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Some neighbors in Lake Oswego are fighting development plans that would bring 16 new homes to a neighborhood.

Residents in the Lake Oswego’s Hallinan neighborhood claim the area can’t handle the new houses without improvements to the infrastructure, including wider roads and access.

“They’re built on lots that are platted lots, which aren’t really legal. They’re legal in Lake Oswego, but they’re illegal by state law since 1992,” said neighbor Liz Martin.
Those against the plans also said the city is ignoring its own zoning code. they wonder how the project is possible when the developer wants to build on 4,000 or 5,000 square foot lots on an area zoned for 7,500 square foot lots.
Legally non-conforming is what the city calls the lots in question.
According to Lake Oswego’s city council, the area is zoned for 7,500 square foot lots, which has led to some of the neighbors’ complaints when they said they heard the homes will go on lots no larger than 5,000 square feet.
“Those lots were grandfathered in, and so they were platted before our current zoning regulations,” explained City Planner Jessica Numanoglu.
According to Numanoglu, the platted, or buildable lot sizes, are different than 7,500 square foot tax lots.
“It’s the developers that come in with that knowledge and exploit it and then the city allows them to get by, in our case, calling this a ministerial decision,” said Lake Oswego resident Wendy McLennan.
Lot line adjustments and zoning codes aside, neighbors admitted they just don’t have room up here for 16 more houses.
Still, the city doesn’t see it that way.

“It isn’t a density increase because they’re all existing lots of record,” said Numanoglu.

Wizer Block Appeal

The DRC DENIED the Kessi group's development proposal for the Wizer Block, and as expected, they are appealing the decision to the City Council.  

ONLY those who testified at the DRC hearing either in person or in writing have standing to testify at the City Council Appeal Hearing.  

Likewise, ONLY the people who testify at the City Council Appeal Hearing will be able to testify at an appeal hearing before LUBA, the state Land Use Board of Appeals, where this case is expected to wind up.   -

If you approve the findings of the DRC, you should consider sending in written testimony or speaking at the hearing in favor of the denial of the project.  The City Council needs to hear citizens' arguments and reasons for denial of the Wizer Block development permit application.  

If you find some portion of the Findings and Conclusions are troubling or incorrect and you would like to appeal, you must file your appeal with the city by Tuesday, September 2 before offices close.  This date is crucial since city offices are closed on Monday, September 1.  

If you have questions about what to do or what to include in your testimony, please consult a reliable land use expert. This is a legal proceeding and care must be taken to handle the details correctly!  This is a complicated process for the layman.  No matter who tells you what, get any advice in writing so you can double check the information.  

Countdown to hearing: 22, 21, 20, 19, 18... 


Project Background/Summary

The applicant has filed an appeal of the Development Review Commission's decision denying this application.

Click here to go to the Notice of Intent to Appeal

Project Background and Summary Information
At its meeting on August 18, the Commission adopted its Findings, Conclusion and Order denying LU 13-0046. Appeals of Commission decisions are heard by City Council. The Appeal Period for this project ends September 2, 2014.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

EPA targets private pond

The horrors and hubris of government regulation is moving the country into tyranny.  Luckily, a few are fighting back.  Unfortunately, too few even know there's a war going on.  
EPA: CWA: Waters of the U.S.
Scary words.

Believers and heathen alike now fear the zealous fervor and bureaucratic overreach of government regulators who, at one time, protected us from the evils of pollution.  But now, having completed their principal mission, have set their sights on regular citizens instead.    

      "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and  
                government to gain ground."    -- Thomas Jefferson

The EPA doesn't comprehend or respect private property ownership or property rights.  More and more the Federal government is taking control of individuals' property, even when no environmental degredation has occurred, and even when individuals improve the quality of the environment on their land.  

EPA targets couple's private pond in Wyoming, threatens huge fines. 

Fox News Outlet, May 28, 2014. By Kelly David Burke,
The Johnson case is troubling to those who see a proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act as a threat to small private landowners. Critics worry that the attempt to "re-define" what counts as U.S. waterways could broaden the reach of the EPA. 
"The Clean Water Act that was passed (in 1972) was 88 pages long," Pendley points out. "The EPA has just issued several hundred pages to re-define what 'waters of the United States' mean and it has incredible impact." 
In a follow up letter to the EPA on April 1, [U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana] and his colleagues in Wyoming's congressional delegation also voiced concern about the proposed rule. 
"If ... the [Johnson] Compliance Order stands as an example of how EPA intends to operate after completing its ... rulemaking, it should give pause to each and every landowner throughout the country." the letter said.  
"In one month's time a landowner could be liable for more than $5.5 million in penalties. EPA could easily use the proposed rule to bankrupt small landowners for something as simple as building a pond or ditch anywhere near a wetland or stream," the letter said.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Of youth and idealism and carbon

And adult irresponsibility.

Natural Law

Kelsey Juliana and Julia Olson are among dozens of teenagers and their attorneys across the country who are putting UO law professor Mary Cjristina 
Wood's theory of atmospheric trust litigation into practice, demanding a judicial remedy to a climate in crisis.  

Does the public trust doctrine that protects air, water, and endangered species apply to climate? We’re going to find out.
Oregon Quarterly, Autumn 2014 By Mary Democker
It’s January 16, 2014, and the Duncan Campbell Auditorium at the University of Oregon law school isn’t just a classroom—it’s a battleground. On one side is the Oregon state government, on the other are two teenagers whose suit demanding the state protect the climate was dismissed by a lower court. Three Oregon Court of Appeals judges have journeyed from Salem to hear the teenagers’ appeal in UO classrooms, giving law students the opportunity to witness an appeals court hearing right on campus. TV cameras in the rear of the packed, makeshift court pan from the young plaintiffs and their mothers—coplaintiffs in the suit—to the teenagers’ dozens of friends who are skipping history class today in favor of partaking in the real thing, and finally to Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, in attendance to support the teens. But the UO law professor sitting quietly next to the mayor is the reason anyone is gathered here at all. It is, after all, Mary Christina Wood’s pioneering atmospheric trust litigation that enabled these kids to sue their government. 

In nine lawsuits or petitions currently making their way through state and federal courts as well as courts overseas, Wood's innovative legal theory is shaping new precedent in environmental law.  ...it calls government, as trustee, to restorative duty, which means not just preventing future damage, but repairing past harms scientists now identify as threatening to current and future generations.  Hence the relief demanded by the children: an order requiring the governor and the legislature to use the best available scientific methods to create and implement a plan to reduce carbon emission by 6% per year until at least 2050.  

USC Note:  At this rate, in 35 years, carbon emissions would be reduced by 90% to 10% of 2013 levels.  

Wood decided to propose something no one else had: application of the public trust doctrine to the climat crisis.  ...Sich inclusion would open the door for Wood to mastermind the groundbreaking legal framework she called atmospheric trust litigation (ATL).  "I took the concepts from the leading public trust cases and wove them together so they could be useful as a full paradigm shift."

Answering the rhetorical question, does the public trust doctrine that protects air, water, and endangered species apply to climate? 
No.  The judicial branch of government is not and cannot act as scientific mediators without expert knowledge of data underlying the debate over climate change.  
Leading climate scientist do not agree on the causes and results of anthropogenic climate change.  How can unknown science be related to action take in the name of "public trust" and "climate recovery"?

On July 28, 2014, the Eugene City Council adopted the nation's first Climate Recovery Oreinance. Promoted by local youths with the help of Our Children's Trust, the ordinance legally commits Eugene to a host of internal carbon-neutral goals, city-wide targets, etc.  
"It was awesome!" exclaimed 10-year-old Zealand Bell, one of the young people who testified.  "I'm glad that the City of Eugene is helping us to stop climate change."

res ipsa loquitur

"The thing itself speaks."

Sometimes it's not what you say, it's what you write that speaks.

The Comprehensive Plan was debated and rewritten multiple times, and in the end, the City Council affirmed the reality that Lake Oswegans want and need their cars to get around and do business in the city.  The Council was definite in its requirement that the Comp Plan not leave out automobiles as a transportation mode.  Besides including cars in all references to modes of travel, the Council threw out wording that required "adequate but not excessive" parking, leaving instead just "adequate."   The current fashion to place a maximum on parking regulations is not a behavioral change Lake Oswegans want.

The Comprehensive Plan is the basis for land use in the city and Community Development Codes must be consistent with the Plan.  If there are changes in the Plan, CDCs must be changed to be in compliance.  

But that hasn't happened.  

During the public hearing at the DRC for the Wizer Block development, many people testified that the parking was not adequate. (See blog post "Parking" July 30, for more about parking.)  

The development codes regarding parking do not allow for "adequate" parking. Despite the updated Comp Plan, the CDCs still contain the phrase, "adequate but not excessive" parking.  

Adequate parking is defined in the development codes in a table with a number of parking spaces for each land use.  These minimum standards represent "adequate" parking needs, but not what Smart a Growth advocates want.  

The CDCs allow for parking reductions based on distance to "transit."  If a building is close enough to bus stop, the required "adequate" spaces can be reduced.  Why?  Are people in apartments and condos expected to give up ownership of their cars?   Are shoppers expected to do their shopping by bus or by riding bicycles?  By pushing parking for developments such as the proposed Wizer Block onto the street, the city is asking the public to underwrite the responsibility of the developer to supply space for their own parking needs.  This section of the development codes needs to be deleted.  

Parking reductions don't comply with City Council policy and Comprehensive Plan requirements for "adequate" parking.  By delaying needed code changes, the current situation invites developers to continue using non-compliant codes, regardless of their validity and legality, and posing the threat of lawsuits and liability for the city.  

When will the Planning Department get around to changing the development code to match the changes in the Comprehensive Plan?  For whatever reason, code changes have not been made. The City Manager and the planning staff he supervises must be responsive to City Council policies   The people have a right to demand that this error be corrected. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wizer plan not Lake Oswego vision

What goes on at City Hall when the meetings are over and the public is gone?  

"Assembler" By Kosmur

DRC was right: Wizer plan doesn't comply 
with code or meet vision for downtown LO

Lake Oswego Review, August 28, 2014  By Jim Bolland  

On Aug. 18, the Development Review Commission adopted findings denying developer Patrick Kessi’s application for a four-story, 207-unit apartment structure. In denying the application, the DRC affirmed the legal position presented by the attorney for Lake View Village and Save Our Village — and supported by the Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition, the Evergreen and Hallinan neighborhoods and countless Lake Oswego residents — that the revised development application for Block 137 does not comply with Lake Oswego code or the vision for downtown.
The DRC found that the revised proposal that reduces the current commercial use of the property by over 50 percent and consists of over 80 percent residential apartments is not consistent with Lake Oswego’s Urban Design Plan or East End Development Plan, which designate Block 137 as part of a “Compact Shopping District” and require retail/commercial development on that block.
Further, the DRC found that the definition of “village character” set forth in the Downtown Redevelopment District is a legal requirement and provides that proposed structures must be “small-scale structures” to maintain the village character of downtown. The three proposed buildings, each longer than a football field and none of which would fit on a downtown Portland block, are not “small-scale structures,” are too massive and do not meet the definition of “village character.” The DRC stated that before you “dress” proposed structures, they first must meet the legal definition of “village character,” and this proposal did not.
At last February’s DRC hearing, commissioners told Kessi to break up the buildings into smaller structures to meet massing and “village character” requirements. Rather than actually redesign the project, Kessi apparently decided that the legal definition of “village character” didn’t matter and that the Urban Design and East End Development plans were irrelevant. The DRC found otherwise.
The city’s processing of the application for Block 137 became rather surreal. Barry Cain, the developer of Lake View Village, said during the hearing that he felt city staff was holding Kessi to a lesser standard than Cain and others were held to for past developments. As past chair of the First Addition neighborhood, I agree with Cain’s assessment. The proof is obvious by viewing other downtown projects. City staff sacrificed their objectivity when they became advocates for this project. Ultimately, they damaged their credibility through questionable actions by the city attorney and by producing findings after the DRC’s denial that didn’t accurately reflect commissioners’ statements from July 30. On Aug. 18, DRC commissioners had to break for over an hour to rewrite critical sections of the findings themselves.
At the August 2013 City Council hearing for the Design Development Agreement for this proposal, Mayor Kent Studebaker told an already alarmed public that they would have their opportunity to argue against this project at future DRC meetings. Mayor, the public has spoken, the legal arguments have been made and the DRC has affirmed that this application does not meet the legal requirements for “village character” or the “Compact Shopping District.” It would be a legal misstep for the council to consider overturning the DRC denial, no matter how much they may wish to see the project happen, because, to be real here, you cannot argue that these three buildings, each longer than a football field, meet the legal definition of “village character.” Can you?
Jim Bolland is a Lake Oswego resident, co-chair of the Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition and past chair of the First Addition/Forest Hills Neighborhood Association.

Oregon MPOs

Organizations you never see
It never ceases to amaze me about the number of organizations there are that represent every level and every facet of government:  Governors (NGA), Western Governors (WGA), Republican Governors (RPA), American Planning Association (APA), Oregon APA, City Mayors for U.S. and international - plus sub-groups (NLC), Oregon Cities (OLC), Oregon Mayors (OMA), Democrat Mayors (NCDM), Black Mayors (NCBM),attorney's General, Public Administrators (NAPA and ASPA).... the list seems endless. Add NGOs that try to influence government entities and the list alone would fill a book with more being added every day.  The section on Green/Eco/Environmental groups would take up half the book.

 What citizens don't know is the extent to which each of these organizations influence their members and their actions and beliefs which in turn affect their constituent parties - us.  In all cases, public money from local jurisdictions funds the organizations, their staff, research, conferences, lobbying, etc.  In some cases, NGOs, the federal government and international groups may fund the organizations.  Beyond the obvious money machine that is easily known and understood, who is influencing our elected representatives?

Oregon MPOs
Here is one more entity to add to the list:  Oregon Metropolitan Planning Organization Consortium
http://www.ompoc.org. I have no idea how influential his organization is - my gut tells me that Metro is the gorilla in any room of Oregon MPOs.  The map shows what other MPOs exist in the state.

Welcome to the Oregon Metropolitan Planning Organization Consortium (OMPOC) website. This site provides information on OMPOC meetings, the Consortium's Bylaws, information on each of the member agencies, and products developed by the Consortium in pursuit of its mission:

  • To provide a forum for Oregon's MPOs to address common needs, issues and solutions to transportation and land use challenges facing Oregon's metropolitan regions and surrounding areas.
  • To provide recommendations for individual action of Oregon MPOs on issues of common interest.
  • To advocate for Oregon MPO policy, regulatory and funding interests at the state and federal level.

OMPOC’s Greater Regions ProjectOver the past several years, OMPOC has worked to create a new definition of Oregon’s metropolitan areas that is based on travelsheds, not simply political boundaries. This approach helps frame the economic and travel relationships that define our regions, and often span formal boundaries, including urban growth boundaries. The purpose of the Greater Regions project is to bring more voices to the conversation as we work to plan the future of Oregon’s metropolitan areas.

The following materials describe OMPOC’s Greater Regions work for four major subareas:

  • North Willamette Valley, which includes the Portland and Salem regions
  • Southern Willamette Valley, which extends from Corvallis and Albany to the Eugene-Springfield region
  • Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon, extending from Ashland to Grants Pass
  • Central Oregon area extending from Bend to Madras

Federal Metropolitan Planning Organizations

METRO's links to Federal Regional Governance

Metropolitan planning organization (Wikipedia)

metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is a federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization in the United States that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities. The United States Congress passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area (UZA) with a population greater than 50,000. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this planning process. Congress created MPOs in order to ensure that existing and future expenditures of governmental funds for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (“3‑C”) planning process. Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by federal law (23 U.S.C. §§ 134135). Transparency through public access to participation in the planning process andelectronic publication of plans now is required by federal law. As of 2012, there are 342 MPOs in the United States.

USC Note:  See Wikipedia "Metropolitan planning organizations" for more information.  Follow the links provided for definitions and further reading on the subject

... the federal government wished to see federal transportation funds spent in a manner that has a basis in metropolitan region-wide plans developed through intergovernmental collaboration, rational analysis, and consensus-based decision making.

Typically, an MPO governance structure includes a variety of committees as well as a professional staff. The “policy committee” is the top-level decision-making body for the planning organization. In most MPOs, the policy committee comprises: (JPACT)
The technical committee typically comprises staff-level officials of local, state, and federal agencies. In addition, a technical committee may include representatives of interest groups, various transportation modes, and local citizens. 

Evolving Role
The enactment of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) ushered in a “renaissance” for MPOs. After a decade or more of being consigned to a minimal role in transportation planning, ISTEA directed additional federal funding to MPOs, expanded their authority to select projects, and mandated new metropolitan planning initiatives. For the first time, state transportation officials were required to consult seriously with local representatives on MPO governing boards regarding matters of project prioritization and decision-making. These changes had their roots in the need to address increasingly difficult transportation problems—in particular, the more complicated patterns of traffic congestionthat arose with the suburban development boom in the previous decades. Many recognized that the problems could only be addressed effectively through a stronger federal commitment to regional planning.
The legislation that emerged, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), was signed into federal law by President George H. W. Bush in December 1991. It focused on improving transportation, not as an end in itself, but as the means to achieve important national goals including economic progress, cleaner airenergy conservation, and social equity. ISTEA promoted a transportation system in which different modes and facilities—highway, transit, pedestrianbicycleaviation, and marine—were integrated to allow a "seamless" movement of both goods and people. New funding programs provided greater flexibility in the use of funds, particularly regarding using previously restricted highway funds for transit development, improved "intermodal" connections, and emphasized upgrades to existing facilities over building new capacity—particularly roadway capacity.

Standard federal regions

Federal agencies administer programs, regulations and grant money through regional governmental divisions.  There are 10 regions in the U.S. As shown on the map and in the list below from
See Wikipedia for an explanation of  Standard Federal Regions

Standard federal regions

Standard federal regions
The ten standard federal regions were established by OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Circular A-105, "Standard Federal Regions," in April, 1974, and required for all executive agencies. In recent years, some agencies have tailored their field structures to meet program needs and facilitate interaction with local, state and regional counterparts. However, the OMB must still approve any departures.

  • Region I:     Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont
  • Region II:    New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
  • Region III:   Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West 
  • Region IV:   Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South.    
                       Carolina, Tennessee
  • Region V:    Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin
  • Region VI:   Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
  • Region VII:  Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
  • Region VIII: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
  • Region IX:   Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada (American Samoa, Guam, Northern
                       Mariana Islands, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands)
  • Region X:    Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

    Standard Federal Regions and Federal Executive Boards

Standard Federal Regions

Standard Federal administrative regions were established to achieve more
uniformity in the location and geographic jurisdiction of Federal field
offices. Standard regions are a basis for promoting more systematic  coordination among agencies and    Federal, State, and local governments and
for securing management improvements and economies through greater
interagency and intergovernmental cooperation. OMB Circular A-105,
Standard Federal Regions, provides further guidance on the policies and
requirements governing standard administrative regions. Boundaries were
drawn and regional office locations designated for 10 regions, and
agencies are required to adopt the uniform system when changes are made or
new offices established. A map showing the standard boundaries is printed
on the following page.    
Federal Executive Boards

Federal Executive Boards (FEB's) were established by Presidential
directive (a memorandum for heads of Federal departments and agencies
dated November 13, 1961) to improve internal Federal management practices
and to provide a central focus for Federal pa rticipation in civic affairs
in major metropolitan centers of Federal activity. They carry out their
functions under the supervision and control   of the Office of Personnel
Management (OPM).      
Federal Executive Boards are composed of heads of Federal field offices in
the metropolitan area. A Chairman is elected annually from among the
membership to provide overall leadership to the Board's operations.
Committees and task forces carry out intera gency projects consistent with
the Board's missions.     
Federal Executive Boards serve as a means for disseminating information
within the Federal Government and for promoting discussion of Federal
policies and activities of importance to all Federal executives in the
Currently, Federal Executive Boards are located in 28 metropolitan areas
that are important centers of Federal activity. These areas are:
Albuquerque-Santa Fe, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago,
Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit,
Honolulu-Pacific, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans,
New York, Newark, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, St.
Louis, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle, and the Twin Cities
(Minneapolis-St. Paul).      
Federal Executive Associations, Councils, or Committees have been locally
organized in over 100 other metropolitan areas to perform functions
similar to the Federal Executive Boards but on a lesser scale of
organization and activity. 
 For further information, contact the Assistant for Regional Operations,
Office of Personnel Management, Room 5H22L, 1900 E Street NW., Washington,
DC 20415-0001. Phone, 202-606-1001.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

November council election begins

This will be a veery important race for Lake Oswego, and each of the candidates know this.  Find out where each stands on density, protections for neighborhood and city character, infill, transportation issues, capital projects and budgeting, adherence to Metro demands, and personal agendas.  Ask hard questions and demand truthful answers.

Five candidates vie for seats on the Lake Oswego City Council 
The Oregonian, August 27, 2014  By Michael Bamesberger

With the filing deadline now passed, the slate of candidates vying for three seats on the Lake Oswego City Council has been solidified.

Council President Jeff Gudman has filed to seek reelection, while councilors Donna Jordan and Lauren Hughes have not.

Four newcomers are also seeking seats of the board: Ed Brockman, Joe Buck, Matthew Keenen and Jackie Manz.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

To "coerce people out of their cars"

The Myth of the Compact City 
Why Compact Development Is Not the Way to 
Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions

by Randal O’Toole

Proponents of compact development argue that rebuilding American urban areas to higher densities is vital for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Compact city policies call for reducing driving by housing a higher percentage of people in multi-family and mixed-use developments, reducing the average lot sizes of single-family homes, redesigning streets and neighborhoods to be more pedestrian friendly, concentrating jobs in selected areas, and spending more on mass transit and less on highways.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan have agreed to require metropolitan areas to adopt compact-development policies or risk losing federal transportation and housing funds. LaHood has admitted that the goal of this program is to “coerce people out of their cars.”

As such, compact-development policies represent a huge intrusion on private property rights, personal freedom, and mobility. They are also fraught with risks. Urban planners and economists are far from unanimous about whether such policies will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some even raise the possibility that compact city policies could increase emissions by increasing roadway congestion.

Such reductions are insignificant compared with the huge costs that compact development would impose on the nation. These costs include reduced worker productivity, less affordable housing, increased traffic congestion, higher taxes or reduced urban services, and higher consumer costs. Those who believe we must reduce carbon emissions should reject compact development as expensive, risky, and distracting from tools, such as carbon taxes, that can have greater, more immediate, and more easily monitored effects on greenhouse gas emissions. 

Read the Full Policy Analysis by clicking on the link above. 

It's hot out there

Is it time to rethink the urbanization craze?  Maybe suburbanites know something city dwellers don't - if left alone, the suburbs are a cool place to live!  

Las Vegas 
Which U.S. cities have the worst urban heat islands?
USA Today, August 21, 2014  By Doyle Rice

Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Denver lead the list of U.S. cities with the most intense urban heat islands, according to a report released this week by research organization Climate Central, which is based in Princeton, N.J. 
"Urban heat islands have hotter days, far hotter nights, and more extremely hot days each summer than adjacent rural areas," said Alyson Kenward, lead author of the report and senior scientist with Climate Central.
Hotter summer temperatures have been correlated with higher ozone pollution, and the hottest days of the year often had ozone levels exceed the safe standard established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Additionally, independent studies have found that urban heat islands don't bias global warming measurements, ruling out the possibility that rising global temperatures have been caused by urbanization alone.
Based on data from 2004-13, the top 10 U.S. cities with the most intense urban heat islands -- measured as the greatest difference in average temperatures between urban and rural areas over the entire summer -- were:
Las Vegas (7.3°F)  Albuquerque (5.9°F) 
Denver (4.9°F)  
Portland (4.8°F) 
Louisville (4.8°F)  Washington, D.C. (4.7°F)  Kansas City (4.6°F)  Columbus (4.4°F)  Minneapolis (4.3°F)  
Seattle (4.1°F)F)  F)