|Check out the Central Texas Greenprint!
Region now has four-county mapping tool to
identify and prioritize conservation areas and land suited for
We're excited to announce the release of The
Greenprint for Growth
(the "Greenprint"). The Greenprint is a tool for balancing
conservation goals with the infrastructure needs of our rapidly
region. Expanding on the Travis
County Greenprint completed during the fall of 2006, Envision Central
Texas, the Capital Area Council of Governments and the Trust for Public
Land worked with stakeholders in Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays Counties to
develop the Central Texas Greenprint. Stakeholder input about conservation goals and
priorities was combined with sophisticated mapping and modeling technology to produce "opportunity maps" that will help communities and decision makers address land conservation priorities, as well as development and
infrastructure strategies. Click here
to view the Central Texas Greenprint report or visit our Resources
page under Presentations and Publications to view the county-specific brochures. You can also view an online, interactive version of the Greenprint on CAPCOG's information clearinghouse website
The Greenprint also
provides an important foundation for ECT's focus in
2010, which is improving the coordination of regional infrastructure. ECT will host a series of forums to explore this issue. We will also continue to advocate for the policies, resources and tools needed to support the region's vision. Click here
to review a recap of ECT's 2010 Program of Work.
|ECT Elects New Board Leadership
Seton Executive Travis Froehlich is 2010 ECT Chairman
On November 18, the Envision Central Texas Board of
Directors elected Travis Froehlich
to serve as chairman in
2010. Shown are outgoing ECT Chairman Jim Walker
(left) and Travis Froehlich
(right), chief strategy
officer for the Seton Family of Hospitals. Travis has served on ECT's Board
of Directors since 2005 and its Executive Committee since 2007.
officers elected for 2010 include Immediate Past Chair Jim Walker
of sustainability at the University of
Texas at Austin;
Secretary Frederick "Fritz" Steiner
, dean of the UT School of Architecture;Treasurer Tom Yantis
, vice president and municipal
planning lead at BWR Corporation; and, Vice President-Private Sector Ward
, manager of U.S.
community affairs at Advanced Micro Devices.
elected to the ECT Board of Directors include Nikelle Mead
of Brown McCarroll
L.L.P. ; Oscar Fogle
, board member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority; Joe
, senior planning director at Knudson LP; and Carlos Lopez
engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, Austin District.
|Transportation Planning Moving Region Forward
CAMPO 2035 Planning Underway / Progress on Lone Star Rail District
Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO)
is currently mid-way through their 25-year transportation planning process. This effort forges a new direction for the region's transportation system. Rather than simply planning and building based on past trends, it will take a blended approach by incorporating some focus on mixed-use centers around the region. By targeting some investments and connecting land use and transportation priorities, this new approach will emphasize greater efficiency and increased transportation options. Visit the CAMPO website
to learn more and receive updates about the next public input phase of the process to begin next spring.
The newly branded Lone Star Rail District
is picking up momentum. After many years of steady effort toward creating a commuter rail line between San Antonio and Austin, the Lone Star Rail District is set to begin preliminary engineering and
environmental impact studies. These studies represent the final planning stage for the project. Once completed and approved, the district is authorized to begin final
design and construction.
Progress has also been made on funding, with the state legislature approving $91 million
per year in the state's current biennial budget for the Texas Rail
Relocation and Improvement Fund. The Lone Star Rail District is also included in the Texas application for
federal high-speed and intercity passenger rail grants under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus legislation. Check out the Lone Star Rail District's website
to learn more.
|Connecting Regions and Issues
Texas Triangle and Federal Government get serious about connecting transportation, land use and environment.
In September, Houston was the host of the inaugural "Megaregions and MetroProsperity"
conference. (Pictured at right are attendees Chris Holtkamp, Karen Walz, Matthew Moore, Travis Froehlich and Christy Muse.)
The event brought together leaders from across the Texas Triangle Megaregion, an area defined by the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, to discuss infrastructure challenges, economic strategies and how our futures are intertwined. The term megaregion
refers to large metropolitan areas with interlocking economic systems, shared natural resources and
ecosystems, and transportation systems that link these population
centers together. The Texas Triangle is one
of the fastest growing of the nation's emerging megaregions, encompassing nearly 80 percent of Texas'
population and an even larger share of its economy and population
growth. Envision Central Texas was one of the event partners and presenters, sharing our lessons learned about regional visioning and implementation. You can review presentations from the conference and even some videos, by clicking here
At the fed
eral level, there has also been a shift towards connecting transportation, housing, land use and environmental planning and policy. Earlier this year,the Department of Housing and Urban
Development, the Department of Transportation, and the
Environmental Protection Agency teamed up to launch the Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities
. They have defined a set of core
livability principles and are identifying barriers to coordination and
integration of federal programs in support of sustainable communities. Senator Christopher Dodd
introduced the Livable Communities Act
) which would support this shift by providing a multi-year authorization for sustainability planning
grants and a new sustainable communities office at HUD. Learn more at the American Planning Association website
Resource for County Land Use Planning
| CAPCOG releases report on county land use authority in Texas
In our fast-growing region, it is becoming ever more important for counties to have the have the tools they need to address growth challenges. In 2009, ECT explored this issue both through a working group (see position statement
) and at the ECT 81st Legislative Roundup
The Capital Area Council of Governments
(CAPCOG) has been working steadfastly on this issue and has just released the first of its two reports focused on county land use authority. Building on county land use workshops held by CAPCOG this past spring, this report highlights the current state of counties' ability to manage
growth, detailing the specific chapters in Texas Code that grant
counties the ability to regulate land use while pointing out
innovations that some counties have made in the exercise of their
CAPCOG report also analyzes the unique character of county land use
authority in Texas, especially the fact that only Texas excludes such
large areas of its territory from being allowed to exercise zoning and
comprehensive planning. This report also details the history
leading to the current situation and the structural barriers
that prevent land use authority as it is practiced in other states from
being adopted in Texas. CAPCOG plans to release a second report
covering strategies to provide counties experiencing rapid growth the
powers they need to promote quality development. Click here
to read CAPCOG's report, County Land Use Authority in Texas.
|2010 Community Stewardship Awards
Save the date for Fifth Annual Awards Luncheon - May 7, 2010
ECT will host its Fifth Annual Community Stewardship Awards Luncheon on May 7, 2010 from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Hilton Austin. Each year, hundreds of Central Texans come together at this premier regional event to celebrate the innovative ways that people and organizations are addressing growth challenges and helping realize the region's vision. We will be opening up the award application
process in January, so be thinking now about the kinds of
initiatives you would like to see recognized. And for those who want to get a jump on reserving tickets or sponsoring tables, you can click here to complete a registration form. To learn more about award recipients from previous year's visit the Resources page of our website under Presentations and Publications.
Happenings Around The Region
ECT has been busy this fall getting the word out about our work and initiatives like the Central Texas Greenprint for Growth
. Some of the event highlights include the FHWA's Context Sensitive Solutions Conference
in Austin and Texas State's Land Water People
Conference in San Marcos. Pictured above right is Congressman Lloyd Doggett
with ECT Assistant Director Diane Miller
at NatureFest i
n Bastrop. Below is Board Member Susan Merrick
of AT&T at the City of Austin's Green City Festival.
City of Austin Comprehensive
Planning process is underway and has been named "Imagine Austin
first round of community forums have taken place but there will be many
ways to get involved in the months ahead. You can sign up to receive
updates at the Imagine Austin website
.Austin Community College
is undertaking a host of initiatives to increase sustainability
campus wide. One exciting initiative for students and faculty is Green Pass
, a pilot project providing free Capital Metro passes for all students, faculty, and staff.
For those passionate about public spaces, you can get involved in the Great Public Spaces for Austin
initiative, which was inspired by conversations
begun during the Austin Congress for New Urbanism conference. The kick-off party for this initiative is Sunday, November 22 from 1 to 3 pm at the HOPE Austin Farmer's
at the corner of E. 5th and Waller St..
And for those passionate about land conservation, save the date for the2010 Statewide Land Conservation Conference
to take place in Austin April 28-30.
| Newest ECT Contributors
Central Texas Greenprint for Growth Funders (phase 2)
Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer Conservation District
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority