December 19, 2004January 23, 2005Meeting Report

January 7, 2005

Mark Dempsey

Smart Growth

Mark DempseyMark Dempsey is a citizen activist with the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS). He is also a former real estate broker. He gave a PDF-based presentation of charts, drawings and photographs that showed the likely growth patterns in the greater Sacramento area and his suggestions for responsibly handling that growth. He spoke on the efforts of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) to update its general plan to accommodate the one million people expected to move here in the next 30 years. We shall have to change our development patterns if we are to have a sustainable society. Current development involves sprawl and dependence on oil. We have large residential-only neighborhoods with layouts that make it difficult, if not impossible, for one to conduct normal activities without the use of an automobile.

There are economic effects of the current system of development. Developers may purchase farmland for $2000/acre (about $5000/ha), get it rezoned for residential use, and sell it for $40,000 and up per acre ($100,000/ha). Somebody pockets that money. However, building fees and property taxes usually do not pay the full public costs of development. This will force cities and counties to look for other revenue sources or skimp on services.

Mr. Dempsey favors mixed-use neighborhoods and infill development, with adequate consideration for the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists. This should reduce the need for automobile travel, but maintain a high quality of life. He recommended reading the book, "Suburban Nation," by Andres Duany.

—Report prepared by Wayne Luney, Recorder

Viewing the Presentation

You can view or download Mark's complete PDF version of Smart Growth, which has 66 slides, by clicking on the link below. Note that left clicking will open it in a new browser window; right clicking will allow you to download it for subsequent opening. It's just over six megabytes in size, so the download time for a dial-up connection will be a few minutes. After opening the document (which will be in full-screen mode), use the left mouse button, the right arrow key, or the space bar to advance through the slides. Use the left arrow key or right mouse button to move in the reverse direction. To leave full-screen mode (to allow you to exit), press Ctrl+L.

Smart Growth

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