Grow Smart Rhode Island
Smart Growth e-Briefs
  News and Tools for People Making a Difference December 2003  

This Month

Tax credit ruling expected to boost investment in preservation

Carcieri economic strategy has Smart Growth elements

Governors near and far embracing Smart Growth

Municipal workshops for affordable housing draw big turn-outs

GIS: A Tool for Improving Community Planning, Livability

Smart Stuff

Cities Count issues report, sets goals


Free legal resources available for environmental protection

Have a growing interest in Smart Growth?

e-brief index now available

Grow Smart Board of Directors

Michael F. Ryan
Chairman of the Board

Susan Arnold
William Baldwin
S. James Busam
Joseph Caffey
Robert L. Carothers
Arnold Chace
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Peter Damon
Louise Durfee
Stephen J. Farrell
Thomas E. Freeman
J. Joseph Garrahy
John R. Gowell, Jr.
Stephen Hamblett
Robert Harding
Michael S. Hudner
Stanley J. Kanter
Howard M. Kilguss
Thomas A. Lawson
Dennis Langley
James Leach
Frederick Lippitt
Roger Mandle
Rev. James C. Miller
George Nee
B. Michael Rauh, Jr.
Gary Sasse
Richard Schartner
Deming Sherman
Merrill Sherman
Curt Spalding
James F. Twaddell
Sandra Whitehouse
Frederick C. Williamson
W. Edward Wood

Board Listing with Affiliation (pdf)


Scott Wolf
Executive Director

Sheila Brush
Director of Programs

John Flaherty
Director of Research & Communications

Lynn Burns
Office Manager / Executive Assistant

Dorothy Dauray
Office Assistant

Linsey Cameron
Research Assistant

About Us

Grow Smart Rhode Island is a statewide public policy group representing a broad coalition of partners fighting sprawl and promoting innovative policies and programs to revitalize city and town centers, preserve cultural and natural resources and expand economic opportunity throughout Rhode Island.

If you Appreciate our Work....

... please make a contribution. Grow Smart depends on tax-deductible contributions from concerned individuals and organizations to lead the charge for better-managed growth, a strong, sustainable economy, a healthy environment and a just society for all Rhode Islanders. Simply click on the credit card below to make a donation.
Thank you.

Or, download our printed form and mail in

See who else is contributing to Grow Smart (pdf)

What is Smart Growth?

   Dear John,

Welcome to the December issue of "Smart Growth e-Briefs", a monthly update of the latest happenings in the smart growth movement from Grow Smart Rhode Island.

  • Tax credit ruling expected to boost investment in preservation
  •   A new federal tax ruling could increase the value of state commercial historic tax credits in Rhode Island by as much as 40%. According to local developers Cornish Associates and Ranne P. Warner who requested the ruling, the move is expected to create extra capital for developers to rehabilitate old mills and other historic buildings.

    As part of the ruling, the IRS concluded that Rhode Island's historic tax credits can be deducted from federal income tax. Although private letter rulings apply only to the taxpayer who requested it, local tax experts agree that the ruling will be used as guidance for investors and that they will begin making business decisions based on this ruling. The commercial historic tax credit program was established in 2002 after a major advocacy effort by Grow Smart and others.

    Read the article in Providence Business News - 11/24
    More on the commercial historic tax credit program - RIHPHC

  • Carcieri economic strategy has Smart Growth elements

    Governor Don Carcieri and Gilbane CEO Paul Choquette, Co-Chairs of the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council have reaffirmed a set of guiding principles to chart a course for economic expansion in a way that protects and enhances Rhode Island's distinct character and quality of place.

    Among the 19 metrics, or performance indicators, that will be monitored are goals for increasing the state's share of high-wage jobs, retaining a larger share of college graduates to help drive innovation and growth, increasing historic preservation and decreasing the rate of land consumption.

    View the Mission, Goals and Metrics
    Providence Journal - 11/21

  • Governors near and far embracing Smart Growth

    Schwarzenegger becomes latest Republican Governor to Embrace Smart Growth
    SACRAMENTO (AP) -- Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger could become the nation's newest Republican governor to try and curb suburban sprawl in favor of rebuilding existing cities, experts say...

    New Hampshire's Republican Gov. Benson launches Smart Growth Initiative
    The Governor's Smart Growth Initiative will be lead by an advisory committee, which will support the work of the Office of Energy and Planning. Steven Lewis, a land use planner and builder of affordable housing, will chair the committee. Other members include...

    Vermont's Republican Gov. Douglas says smart growth "is not left of center, nor is it right of center - it is the center."
    Having said in his January inaugural address that ''the choice we face today is not a choice between jobs and the environment,'' but ''between both and neither,'' Republican Governor Jim Douglas expanded his...

  • Municipal workshops for affordable housing draw big turn-outs
  •   Presented by Grow Smart in partnership with RI Housing and the RI Statewide Planning Program and with financial support from Fleet Bank, the new municipal training workshop on affordable housing is drawing large numbers of participants. The program is designed to help communities better understand the need for affordable housing, municipal rights and responsibilities under the Low & Moderate Income Housing Act, and to provide guidance in developing housing elements for local comprehensive plans.

    Since the workshop series was launched in early November, 84 members of town councils and zoning & planning boards have participated from 10 communities. The next workshop is scheduled in South County December 4th. Local officials from Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond, Westerly and West Greenwich are reminded that advance registration is due today, December 1st.

    Download brochure (pdf)
    Download registration form (pdf)

  • GIS: A Tool for Improving Community Planning, Livability
  •    This fact sheet from Local Government Commission contains examples of how communities have used Geographic information systems (GIS) to improve the livability of their communities.

    GIS software can help policy makers and stakeholders make better informed and more effective decisions by relating data with place. GIS can take an overwhelming amount of information -- tabular, spatial, or graphic -- and display it in a way that makes it meaningful to local government staff, policy makers and the public. By displaying information in layers -- each layer with a particular issue -- it is easier to understand how issues interrelate.

    Download the factsheet (pdf)

  • Smart Stuff

    Each month Grow Smart highlights a sampling of policy developments or other creative smart growth initiatives being implemented around Rhode Island.
    Do you have a story to tell? (click here)

    South Kingstown
    Newport Collaborative Architects leading innovative community-based feasibility analysis for re-use of Palisades Mill Complex in the village of Peace Dale

    Town takes creative approach to affordable housing - offers former school building for $1

    Mayor invites residents to help shape neighborhood investment, planning and zoning initiatives

    Farm Viability ordinance helps local farmers, protects open space and curbs sprawl

  • Cities Count issues report, sets goals

    A joint initiative of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and the Rhode Island Foundation, the Cities Count project published a report this month establishing social and economic benchmarks to monitor trends in the state's cities and set goals for improvement.

    The Urban Indicators Report along with other research is intended to prompt decision-makers to focus on the condition of cities, home to nearly 60 percent of Rhode Islanders and two-thirds of the state's jobs. The underlying idea is that healthy cities are critical to the entire state's future prosperity. A broad-based strategic advisory committee, that includes Grow Smart, provides input to the Cities Count project.

    Providence Journal 11/3
    RIPEC - Urban Indicators Report Link

  •    Thursday, December 4
    What's New in Downcity - groundbreaking, building tours and reception - 5:30 - 8:00 pm
    Cornish Associates
    236 Westminster Street - Providence

    Thursday, December 4
    Housing Task Force Meeting - 3:00 pm
    RI Housing Resources Commission
    William Hall Library - Cranston

    Tuesday, December 9
    Tax Myths & Realities: State & Local Taxes - 12 Noon (Free)
    Lincoln Institute of Land Policy - Lecture Series
    Robert Tannenwald, Assist. V.P. and Economist - Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
    Cambridge, MA

    Saturday, December 13
    Providence Walkable, Bikable Audit - 11:00 am - Noon
    Sierra Club of Rhode Island
    Meet at Olga's Cup & Saucer - Providence

    Submit a "January Event" for next month's e-brief

  • Free legal resources available for Environmental Protection

    The American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources has initiated a new pilot program that offers free legal assistance to support community-based environmental protection efforts. The program offers a network of volunteer attorneys willing to lend assistance to communities exploring innovative place-based approaches to environmental protection.

    Participants in this pilot may include community groups, non-profit organizations, government agencies, academic institutions and others working collaboratively on community-based environmental protection efforts.

    Click here for more information


  • Have a GROWING interest in Smart Growth?

    You're in good company...
    Rhode Islanders have been paying a lot more attention to issues affecting how our state grows and develops in the years ahead - 41% more to be exact. That's the percentage increase in the number of visits to Grow Smart's website in the last six months, now averaging almost 1,400 visits per month.

    Grow Smart will continue building broader support for its advocacy of smart growth policy reform, municipal training programs, research and promotion of best practices in an effort to further strengthen city and town centers, protect open space and create more opportunity for all Rhode Islanders.

  • e-brief index now available

    Since June, Grow Smart has been bringing news, trends and tools from the smart growth movement to Rhode Island citizens, opinion leaders, policy makers, municipal and business professionals. If you've missed an issue or simply want to refer back to a previous article, they're just a mouse-click away. All previous e-briefs are now indexed on Grow Smart's website. Below is a summary of select articles.

    Urban & Town Center Conference Draws 200
    Affordable Housing Takes Center Stage
    Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation
    Is your City or Town Building a School?

    Grow Smart Earns Major Grant
    New Fire Rules Shouldn't Weaken Rehab Code
    Smart City Radio Available on Public Radio
    Brownfield Clean-up Fund Gets $3 Million Grant
    Smart Growth Zoning Codes

    Historic Tax Credit Program Paying Big Dividends in RI
    Grow Smart & Partners Announce Training Programs
    Grants Available to Aid Affordable Housing Plans
    Density: Myth & Reality
    National Vacant Property Campaign Launched
    Realtors See Improving Market for Smart Growth
    How Walkable is Your Community?

    Study Links Sprawl with Obesity
    Legislative Wrap-up
    Smart Growth to be Topic at Leadership Blackstone Valley
    Local Milk Campaign Aims to Save R.I. Farmland
    Land-Use Planning Images Available

    RI's New Economic Strategy has Smart Growth Appeal
    Americans Want Smarter Growth
    Panel to Recommend Changes in Low/Mod Houising Act
    Follow-up on "Health Effects of Sprawl" Report
    On-Line Tool Helps Communities Prevent Sprawl
    Video Available from Grow Smart "Library"

    Grow Smart, Partners Regognized for Training Program
    Tough Economic Times Reinforce Need for Smarter Growth
    Growth Planning Council Takes Up "Growth Centers"
    Brownfield News
    George Nee Joins Grow Smart Board of Directors
    Carcieri to Propose Open Space Bond Vote in 2004
    Sierra Club Calls for Commission to Study Transit Service


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