MODULE-6 Smart Growth Opportunities

Introduction

To ensure the protection of drinking water supplies, we need to carefully plan for growth within identified protection areas. This style of planning is sometimes referred to as smart growth and has been effectively applied to communities in Washington State and across the nation. Smart growth encompasses a range of design, regulatory, and management techniques that enable communities to achieve sustainable economic growth and ecological health.

In its broadest sense, smart growth seeks to redirect growth to higher-density, mixed use developments in urban growth areas or village centers, and to preserve and protect critical open space. Studies show that higher-density development with the appropriate infrastructure can reduce stormwater run off by as much as 30 percent, curb water consumption by approximately 83 percent, and provide cost-effective wastewater treatment systems. By condensing growth in designated areas, the preservation of open space land within wellhead protection areas also becomes viable.

Well planned smart growth also reduces environmental impacts that generally result from conventional development, referred to as "sprawl". These impacts can include increases in impervious surfaces, stormwater pollution, atmospheric pollution from longer commutes, loss of natural communities, and nitrogen loading from septic systems. Additionally, re-focusing development into village centers stimulates economic growth, vitality, and encourages a sense of community.

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