smart growth e-briefs
News and Tools For People Shaping Our Communities June 2007

Image of the Month

Bourne Again in Tiverton

Closed in 1961, the Bourne Mill is being readied for a $50 million makeover that would include 290 residential units, commercial space and a destination restaurant.

The project, made possible by Rhode Island's Historic Tax Credit program, will also result in the environmental remediation of the contaminated site.


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Susan Arnold
William Baldwin
Rebecca G. Barnes
Samuel J. Bradner
Kenneth Burnett
Joseph Caffey
Robert L. Carothers
Jen Cookke
Trudy Coxe
Dennis DiPrete
Stephen Durkee
Stephen J. Farrell
John R. Gowell, Jr.
Akhil C. Gupta
Michael S. Hudner
Stanley J. Kanter
Howard M. Kilguss
Dennis Langley
James Leach
Roger Mandle
The Rev. James C. Miller
Thomas V. Moses
George Nee
William M. Pratt
B. Michael Rauh, Jr.
Gary Sasse
Richard Schartner
Pamela M. Sherrill
Curt Spalding
James F. Twaddell
Ranne Warner

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Arnold "Buff" Chace

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J. Joseph Garrahy
Michael F. Ryan
Frederick C. Williamson
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Dear John,

You're among the 3,305 civic leaders, state & local officials, development professionals, journalists and visionary citizens getting the latest news, happenings and trends in the smart growth movement from Grow Smart Rhode Island.

  • Budget before House contains no cuts to
       State Historic Tax Credit Program
  • THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL file photo / John Freidah

    The House of Representatives will begin debating the State FY '08 Budget today (6/15) at 2 PM and could go well into the night. Although many amendments are expected to be proposed, only a small number are likely to be passed before going to the Senate. Quick Senate action is likely to follow so the Budget could be transmitted to the Governor by early next week.

    The collective efforts of the Coalition for Neighborhood & Economic Renewal (CNER) to demonstrate the significant economic, social and environmental benefits of the State Historic Preservation Investment Tax Credit are apparently having an impact - at least with the Governor's budget and that recently adopted by the House Finance Committee.

    The state budget proposal approved by the House Finance Committee on June 8, 2007 proposes no cuts to the State Historic Tax Credit Program. Although this is a good development, advocates need to remain vigilant and proactive because the credit could still be altered through floor amendments to the budget or through separate last minute legislative proposals.

    Help defend our nationally acclaimed model program that's moving Rhode Island's economy and neighborhoods forward!

    Take Action

    - More Details

  • Historic Tax Credit program resulting in
       significant environmental clean-up
  • With few state incentives for brownfield redevelopment, the State Historic Tax Credit program is demonstrating yet another major benefit to Rhode Island

    New research compiled by Grow Smart reveals that 65% of the $1.6 billion total investment in completed and proposed Historic Tax Credit projects is resulting in brownfield clean-up and redevelopment. Contaminated sites are being recycled and returned to productive use in 15 Rhode Island communities - urban, suburban and rural. Click HERE to see the list.

    Historic Tax Credit projects now in 23 Rhode Island communities

    Let's not slam the door on communities outside of Providence just as the full benefits of the program are starting to reach them. With the tax credit program in place for 5 years, many of these communities are just starting to see the benefit of its economic development incentives. From Woonsocket to Westerly, communities with state historic tax credit projects represent 23 of Rhode Island's cities and towns containing three quarters of Rhode Island's population.

    Find the projects in your community

  • Coalition for Water Security advocating a
       sound water management policy for RI
  • Grow Smart is one of 17 environmental and economic organizations in the Coalition for Water Security which are campaigning for a sound water management policy in Rhode Island.

    Already, our waterways like the Hunt River are showing signs of stress because too much water is being withdrawn for excessive lawn watering. Meanwhile businesses like Amgen have gone to the General Assembly to get a commitment that they will have enough water to operate.

    Rhode Island will soon find that drowning our lawns could dry up our rivers and economy if decisive steps are not taken to control and prioritize our use of water. The Coalition's platform contains four key goals for the protection of Rhode Island's water resources, including:

    1. Protecting our natural resources by setting standards that keep enough water in our rivers and protect the land set aside to safeguard our water supplies.
    2. Establishing a system to live within our water budget by developing a plan to authorize water used for our priority needs: public safety, basic needs, economic development, and agriculture.
    3. Reducing non-essential summer water use through economic incentives and plans to promote greater efficiency and conservation.
    4. Creating an efficient, well-maintained water supply system with adequate reserve capacity and reliable back up supplies by creating effective rate structures and investments in infrastrucure.

    The Senate has introduced the Water Supply Development Planning and Protection Act of 2007 (S-1098) The House is expected to introduce comprehensive legislation very soon. The Coalition for Water Security will be working into the last days of the session to ensure that Rhode Island will begin to take steps this year to achieve the Coalition's goals.

    Click HERE to learn more about the Coalition for Water Security and its Coalition Partners.

  • Smith Hill Watch
  • 2007 General Assembly could adjourn as early as June 22nd.

    Below is a status report on a number of issues related to Grow Smart's 2007 Statewide Policy & Legislative Agenda as of 6/15.

    Land Conservation

    H-5990 - Establishment of a state rural conservation district exempt from state affordable housing requirements. Read Grow Smart's written testimony in OPPOSITION to this bill.

    Status: House Environment and Natural Resources is holding for further study

    S-209A/H-5505 - Protects conservation land from adverse possession.

    Read Grow Smart's letter of SUPPORT.
    Status: Senate passed 5/15. House Judiciary holding for further study

    S-901/H-6117 - Reduces estate taxes on working farms.

    Read Grow Smart's letter of SUPPORT.
    Status: Senate referred to Finance Committee; House holding for further study

    S-564A/H-5483A - Requiring notification of conservation easement holders before any proposed development.

    Status: 5483 - House passed Sub A 5/22, Senate passed Sub B on 6/12; 564 - Senate passed Sub A 5/9, House passed Sub A in concurrence 6/5. Before transmission to Governor, House will need to pass 5483 Sub B.

    Budget Article proposal to sell Camp Pastore in Charlestown.

    Read Grow Smart's letter of OPPOSITION.
    Status: Uncertain. Representative Walsh is expected to file a budget amendment to remove language pertaining to the sale of Camp Pastore.


    S-414/ H-5416 - Excludes RIPTA commuting expenses from taxable income for state employees.

    Read Grow Smart's written testimony in SUPPORT.
    Status: Unanimously passed Senate 5/30. Transmitted to House 5/31

    SR 1055 - Senate Resolution regarding efforts to address overcrowding on RIPTA busses.

    Status: Passed

    S-456/H-5918 - Requires all state colleges to enroll in RIPTA

    U-PASS program.
    Status: Senate referred to Housing and Municipal Government Committee; House referred to Finance Committee

    Affordable Housing

    H-5426 - Extends the life of the Housing Act Implementation Commission.

    Status: House passed 4/30. Senate passed in concurrence 5/31. Transmitted to Governor 6/12

    S-572/H-5723 - Continues funding for Neighborhood Opportunities Program (NOP).

    Status: Bills referred to House and Senate Finance Committees, but funding for NOP is included in the FY '08 budget recently approved by the House Finance Committee.

    S-424/H-5838 - Capacity-building fund for nonprofit developers of affordable housing.

    Status: Heard by House Finance Committee, Referred to Senate Finance Committee

    S-668/H-5711 - Requires additional communities to prepare affordable housing plans.

    Status: House Corporations Committee holding for further study; Heard by Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government

  • Schools and healthy community design
  • New "Issue Brief" from the National Governors' Association Center for Best Practices

    The National Governor's Association (NGA) has prepared this Issue Brief that examines state policies on school siting, school construction financing, and Safe Routes to School programs focusing on how policies can benefit communities, improve children's health, and reduce the need for infrastructure expansion.

    Download the 9-page brief

    Rhode Island is now among the states with school siting guidelines that reflect smart growth principles. Click HERE to review it.

    Safe Routes to School grant application period ends July 12th

    The Rhode Island Division of Planning is still accepting applications for the 100% federally funded 'no-match' grant program to help school districts improve the safety of kids walking or biking to school.

    Learn More

  • Visual Tools for Planners
  • Visual Tools for Planners is a website developed for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy by a team led by Lew Hopkins, Professor at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign.

    Visual Tools grew out of a desire to provide planners with an expanded set of tools for communicating planning ideas. The examples emphasize visual representation of planning information.

    The tools are indexed by subject and by scope in time and space. They are also indexed in the context of planning processes and tasks.

    Read More

  • Smart Growth in higher demand
  • Photo: <i>Your Smithfield</i> magazine

    Longer commutes, clogged streets, endless traffic delays -- Americans want alternatives to the daily transportation grind.

    "If You Build It They Will Come" is a two-page fact sheet from The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that describes how smart growth land-use strategies place a premium on what Americans value: shorter trips to and from the office and other destinations, opportunities to travel conveniently without having to drive, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, and amenities like restaurants, shops, and libraries within walking distance of individuals' homes.

    Read More

  • 'Growth & Development' in the news
  • Send us Your News We want to know what's happening in your community.


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