Smart Scorecard for Development Projects

Smart Scorecard For Development Projects January 2002
2
“Growth is inevitable, growth is necessary, but how growth is accommodated can
be good or bad. In setting the framework for land development and redevelopment,
we must focus on practices that are environmentally sound, economically vital, and
that encourage livable communities – in other words, smart growth.”
Jim Chaffin, ULI Chairman opening the Smart Growth Conference, Baltimore,
1998
PREMISE
There is a growing call for new planning tools that can help local, regional and state jurisdictions
deal with the impacts caused by new development – increased traffic congestion, lack of close-by
affordable housing for workers, loss of working agriculture farms, and a reduced sense of
community identity. For those communities experiencing significant population and job growth,
there is an urgent need to respond to major development proposals that are scheduled for approval
in the coming 1-3 years. Most planning regulations such as comprehensive plans and zoning
codes are silent about how new projects can be developed in a way that reduces the impacts for
neighbors and improves the quality of life for the larger community.
The purpose of a Smart Project Scorecard (SPS) is to assist elected local officials,
developers, investors, neighborhood groups and designers make better project-level
decisions that achieve the Smart Growth objectives. The SPS is a tool that can help
evaluate whether a particular project is advancing the long-term viability of a community or creating
more impacts with little overall benefit to existing and new citizens. It could also be used to help a
developer decide where to best locate particular uses, or to determine what uses are most
appropriate over the long term for a particular parcel of land.
As presented here, the primary function is to foster more effective communication about what the
community and developer have as common objectives. The key objective is to find the
intersection that integrates the community’s goals, the site’s opportunities, and
the developer’s economic viability. The use of a checklist or point system can provide
explicit direction if the comprehensive plan and district plans provide sufficient structure and
community consensus. If the backbone planning work has not been completed, then the Scorecard
can become the basis of an ongoing conversation leading to a development agreement which
includes several benchmarks as common objectives.
CONTEXT
Over the past 15 years, unwise land use patterns have exponentially expanded virtually every major
metropolitan area in the United States. The forces underlying sprawl – market
Will Fleissig is a partner and co-founder in Continuum Partners LLC, a Denver based development
company specializing in mixed-use projects. He is an advisor to the Real Estate Center at the
University of Colorado, Boulder, and was the former Planning Director in Boulder. Vickie
Jacobsen is a transportation planner cutrrently performing research on transportation and land use
in Bayreuth, Germany. We acknowledge the continued support by the Congress for New
Urbanism and the EPA, which allowed us to refine the document first presented at the 1998 Smart
Growth Conference in Austin.
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