Friday, March 18, 2011


Amy Owsley

We are now going over what we cherish about the Eastern Shore. Everyone agrees on the fact that the community and environment are very special to us.

There are many challenges presented to us in the future. Growth need to occur where it belongs. Jobs also need to be created. We need to chart a new path for economic development both vibrant and local.

Regional cooperation is very important for the Eastern Shore's future. Towns need to bring their visions together for a more vibrant future.

Articulating Aspirations: Refining the Vision

The towns on the Eastern Shore draw us in for many different reasons. The natural beauty inspires us to take a profound interest in the environment. We also love our communities and the people in them.

Some changes need to be made to preserve our towns. Some examples are strong rural protection and economic development integrated with land use planning.

Aspirations for our town in the future are retaining a rural character, keep farmers farming, and stopping sprawl. We need to make our towns attractive to the future generations living within them.

Aspirational Statements:
  • How do you tell between good growth and bad growth?
  • Ordinances
  • Comprehensive Plan
  • Transparency or more information
  • Fiscal/Economic Development Statements
  • Walkable Towns
  • Communities grow with the understanding of natural capital
  • Regional Transportation
  • Communities attract and support quality employment
  • Instill a culture geared towards sustainability
  • Self-Sufficient
  • Any growth should conform to the principles of the small town
  • Provide flexible economic settings
  • Self-sustained communities that adopt innovative new technologies in alternative energy
  • Role-models of where development has been done right
  • Regional Cooperation

Charles Marohn: Strong Towns

Curbside Chat

The mission of Strong Towns is to support a model for growth that allows America's towns to become financially strong and resilient.

With foreclosures at record highs competition is high and housing values low. A certain amount of people's income goes to paying for housing. The proportion from their total pay goes up and down. In 2000 houses were 214% above the value that they should have been.

Between 1990 and 2005, consumer spending per capita rose 14%(inflation adjusted), yet retail space per capita rose 100%. We have six times the retail space per capita of any European country. Vacant retail space is up 42% since 2006.

Can we change our current development pattern? In the modern area "Mechanisms of Growth" have included government transfer payments, Federal/State transportation Spending, Debt (both private and public), the Growth Ponzi scheme.

The government transfer payments has not been sustainable. Our priorities have not included infrastructure and community development.

Federal Transportation Spending went into a deficit in 2008. In Minnesota a study was done on a projection on what needs to done to current transportation in the next 20 years. The results were $65 billion was needed and there was only $15 in projected revenue. This means that $50 billion is needed.

Private Sector Debt dwarfs our public sector debt. When General Motors went out of business they lost money making cars but made money financing cars.

Growth Ponzi Scheme induces new growth that solves existing problems. The initial cost to the public for new growth is minimal in respect to the benefit to the public budget for new growth. Either growth continues at ever accelerating rates or the pattern of development ultimately generates more revenue than it costs to maintain.

Mar. Marohn is now going into technical examples including Leewood Lane Street Project. The neighborhood will cost the local government $6,600 per lot. It would take a substantial amount of time to be paid off. Another example, The Afton Hills Road Rehabilitation road maintenance project would be paid off in 79 YEARS. The North Sleuter Road Project to break even in this case they would have to raise property taxes by 25%. An Industrial Park Investment cost $1.9 million for 25 lots served. These are all examples of unsustainable development projects.

More Examples:
An urban industrial park development was built in the mid 1990s it cost $2.1 million inflation adjusted to make the improvements needed.

Backus Wastewater System sewr rehab project would cost the a family the same as their median household income.

Implications for the future:
  • The "Mechanisms of Growth" we have become accustomed to are waning
  • Local governments are going to be force to absorb the local cost of the current development pattern.
  • This can't be done in the current pattern of development without large tax increases and/or large cuts in service.
New Economy: Emphasis on building resiliency

How do local communities create return on investment for infrastructure?
  • Concentrate on High Amenity Areas
A strong town need age diversity to be sustainable.

Big Concepts:
  • The current path cities are on is not financially stable.
  • The future for most cities is not going to resemble the recent past.
  • The main determinant of future prosperity for cities will be the ability of local leaders to transform their communities.

1. How does rail service would factor in to the way of life that is discussed?
  • We need the rails for future transit. Our trend of building rails to trails might actually hurt our ability to develop the rail system. Small cities are hurt by the lack of rail transportation.
2. What do you think about the small towns ability to cope with the rising population?
  • It is important for infill development to slow down the rate of annexation of small towns. We have lost our concept of growth.
3. Give some examples of community leaders transforming communities.
  • We do not need to grow, we need to build resiliency. Check It Out

Amy Owsley: Where do we want to go with our towns?

Focus Exercise

1. Do you feel there is a vibrant future for your and other Eastern Shore towns? What are the strongest forces influencing?
  • Expansion of local businesses draw people in
  • Larger size attract mores new people, has infrastructure and a vibrant future
  • Planning efforts is one of the strongest forces influencing vibrant towns
  • A growing awareness of growth control and getting the right people elected with a strong downtown are strong forces influencing the vibrant future of the Eastern Shore
  • Strong downtowns are defined by no empty stores with diverse stores that cater with a range of affordability
  • Vibrancy is not sprawl, it is what brings the community together
  • Long term Sustainability
  • Home ownership is a strong force on a vibrant future
2. What characteristics define our Eastern Shore towns and make them unique from other places?
  • Connection to landscape
  • people
  • life style
  • community events
  • architecture
  • scale
  • water
  • natural history
  • Being Local
  • artistic community
  • friendliness
  • historic buildings
  • safety
  • wildlife
  • diversity
  • recreational opportunities
  • economic diversity
  • isolation
  • mom and pop stores
  • resource based economy
  • farming
3. Solutions for Vibrant towns
  • strong preservation ordinances
  • regional vision
  • Diversifying farms
  • consistency in vision
  • Educate outsiders on the principles of the community
  • Building a New Economy
  • focusing on assets and building on them
  • more political weight
  • people need to know how to get involved
  • leadership with vision
  • Engage the public

Mr. Kaid Benfield

Sustainable Communities: Where, Why, When, How

The Eastern shore is special. Having vibrant small towns and a successful natural landscape gives the Eastern Shore a large advantage. The population of the Eastern Shore is expected to grow by 37% from 2005 to 2030. An increase in housing by 43%. There will be a reduction in forest and farms by 96,000 acres. How will we manage this Growth?

In the next 25 years there will be an additional 70 million people in the U.S.

Developed land has been growing over twice as fast as population. Mr. Benfield shows a map of if the different land use cover between 2002 & 2030 produced by the Maryland Department of Planning.

Car dependency in the U.S. must change because of rising gas prices, destruction of the environment, climate change, and sea level rise. Sea Level rise is a big deal on the Eastern Shore.

U.S. citizens are not walking as much as they did before. There is a serious obesity problem in this county from inactivity.

Disinvestment is hurting not only large cities like Detroit but also the small towns of America.

The key to sustainability is to reduce the amount of land for development. We also need to make these lands great. An example of a city reducign the amount of land that can be developed is Ontario. They have a well established greenbelt.

Should the Eastern Shore have a regional planning authority? We do have PFAs (Priority Funding Areas) but these can be seen as weak.

Reneweable energy development should be an initiative throughout the whole Eastern Shore.

"Putting Smart Growth to Work" Check it for smart growth applications in small towns.

When living downtown your per capita carbon footprint is much lower than living in car dependent suburbs.

The Character of Neighborhoods

Higher Density = Less Driving

Per capita Storm Water Runoff sharply decreases in increases in Density.

"Doubling nearby jobs increases walking 19%" Research does show urban design does have an effect on obesity levels. Urban Design should be characterized by connected grid like streets. Public green space is very important to Urban Design it reduces the need for large backyards. A green roof brings amenities to the neighborhood. It absords storm water and provides natural cooling.

The market is ready for Smart Growth. The demand for housing has changed. 75% of the market is for more compact style homes.

Highland Garden Village in Denver, Colorado is a good example of working landscapes within out communities in an efficient and sustainable way.

Artist have become involved in the community and have helped upgrade housing with led to many affordable attractive houses.

Sunrise Trailer Court was invovative in how they laid out the park by allowing green space. Go watch the transformation of neighborhoods.

On the Eastern Shore we need to build on what we have now. We have a unique natural landscape.

Questions and Comments from the Audience:
How do we accommodate all the need growth? The annexation laws within the state of Maryland allowing towns to grow as much as they want. What restrictions should we do to keep our foot print small? There are many political issues that must be considered.

Americans love their SUVs and Big yards what we will do in the future to change their opinions. We need to show them the attractive Urban Villages.

Research has shown that LEED deisgn will increase building costs by 2.5%. We need to be careful in imposing the regulations within town because it could be harmful to economic growth.

Smart Growth and Historical Preservation: They are tied into each other because Smart Growth emphasizes the use of current development.

Robert J. Etgen

Mr. Etgen has taken the podium to begin the conference. The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has protected 50,000 acres through hard work and dedication from exemplary efforts from the ESLC staff.

Growth management is working on the Eastern Shore. There are many forces acting on what has controlled growth. The Eastern Shore is expected to grow by 37% in the next 20 years.

Mr. Etgen is now introducing Kaid Benfield.

Eastern Shore Land Conserancy "Vibrant Towns" Conference

Vibrant Towns
12th Annual Planning Conference