Smart Growth Checklist

PSG's Smart Growth Checklist, compiled by Jane Koontz and adopted by PSG in 2010, provides a framework to evaluate a proposed or existing development.  

The word “it” always means the proposed or reviewed development in the following questions.

  1.  Is it infill, the reuse of obsolete or underutilized buildings and sites, or does it consume undeveloped land?

  2.  Does it leapfrog across acres of open space? 

  3.  Does it use existing buildings, parking lots, or partially developed land, or will these items be demolished and new structures built?

  4.  Is it near an urban center, accessible to core services (e.g., core services, schools, shops, community centers, libraries, recreation facilities, etc.)?

 5.  Is it walkable and pedestrian-friendly?  Does it include sidewalks and/or bicycle/pedestrian trails?

  6.  Is it near public transit?

  7.  How many car trips per day will it generate for local roadways?

  8.  Will existing infrastructure support it or will it require new roads, schools, water/sewer lines, etc.?

  9. Are streets or roads in grid design, connected to other streets, main thoroughfares, and to nearby communities?  Or is access limited by cul-de-sacs and “pipe-stem” lots? Are alleys included for parking and garbage collection?

 10. Is it a mixed use development by including structures for workplace, shopping, recreational, and institutional uses as well as residential?

  11. Is it a mixed income development, including a wide range of housing types and housing prices?

  12.  If this is a new development, is “clustering” used to obtain density (in order to protect open spaces for parks, community common areas, or recreation areas)?

 13.  Is form-based code zoning used to blend the new development into existing streetscapes and neighborhoods?  Is an architectural theme used to enhance and blend with community character?

 14. Has the developer included major stakeholders (i.e., neighbors, community leaders, nearby businesses) in the planning process?  Charettes?  Community meetings?  Is the developer open to community input?

 15. Have sensitive environmental or conservation areas been identified and protected?  Have significant historic sites been identified and protected?  Have significant view-sheds been identified and protected?

  16.  How much will the natural landscape be altered or lost to grading and vegetation removal to accommodate new construction or paving?  If trees are removed, does the landscaping plan include planting new trees?

 17 . Will low impact development principles be used in construction (i.e., green building materials and energy efficient buildings; stormwater managed by using porous paving materials, rain gardens, and grass swales in lieu of curbs and gutters and asphalt)?  LEED certification?

  18.  If the development is urban mixed use, will the buildings be built “up” (multistoried) and not “out” (single-storied)?

  19. Will it generate tax revenue for the local government or will it consume more community services than the taxes collected from it can accommodate?

  20.  Does it comply with the local government’s current Master or Comprehensive Plan?  If the plan includes an urban growth boundary or greenline, is it within the boundary?

PSGSmartGrowthChecklist.pdf92.18 KB