What is “smart growth”?
In November, the Jeffco Planning Commission approved a revision to the North Plains Area Plan, designating over 1,000 acres of open land west of Highway 93 as a new “Urban Activity Center.” Although this didn’t constitute a rezoning of what is currently agricultural land, it means that a future request for urban-style rezoning would be justified as complying with the revised plan for that area.
I testified against the redesignation, and pointed out that promoting that kind of sprawl — the kind which has transformed the areas through which C-470 and E-470 pass — actually promotes blight in the older developed areas.
Creating more and more suburban opportunities for overbuilding merely promotes sprawl, but it also promotes continued abandonment of older areas. A “smart growth” strategy, in my opinion, would only open outer agricultural areas to development as a shortage of developable land is perceived in the inner urban areas.
By contract, the building of transit lines, such as TREX and FasTracks, promotes smart growth. I recently learned, for example, that there has been $6 billion of economic development along the TREX corridor since that transit line opened.