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January 2008
Volume 4, Number 1
NY Governor Creates Smart Growth Cabinet

Governor Eliot Spitzer recently created a New York Smart Growth Cabinet to review state agency spending and policies to determine how best to discourage sprawl and promote smart land use practices. Consisting of high-level policymakers from the Empire State Development Corporation and the departments of Environmental Conservation, Transportation, State, and Housing and Community Renewal, the Cabinet will coordinate cross-agency activities and develop “smart growth” policies that cater to New York’s unique regional needs.

Governor Spitzer has appointed several agency leaders with first-hand experience in smart growth: Transportation Commissioner Astrid C. Glynn implemented Massachusetts’s smart growth program; Upstate Economic Development Chair Dan Gundersen worked on smart growth initiatives in Pennsylvania and Maryland; Deputy Secretary of State for Local Governments Robert Elliott advanced smart growth initiatives in the Hudson Valley as Mayor of Croton-on-Hudson and President of the New York Planning Federation; and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis advocated smart growth and sustainable development as a lawmaker for three decades.

Beacon Embraces Transit-Oriented Development

The city of Beacon, located 60 miles north of New York City, continues with efforts to develop near its newly modernized rail station. On October 30, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) issued a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) for “Be in Beacon,” a transit-oriented development project at its Metro-North Railroad (MNR) station located on the Hudson riverfront. The MTA is looking for qualified developers interested in designing and building a mixed-use TOD on an 18-acre property currently used for commuter parking, MNR offices and commercial and light industrial buildings. This is the first ever TOD project undertaken by MNR. In mid-December the agency hosted representatives from more than 50 interested companies for an extensive tour of the site and surrounding community.

With a population of nearly 14,000, Beacon has experienced a revival in recent years as a result of concerted efforts by city officials and Metro-North. (See the July 2007 issue of Transit-Friendly Development Newsletter). To help move the project forward, the city recently rezoned the property for TOD. The RFEI will help the MTA formulate a Request for Proposal (RFP) that will be used to select a developer. Final responses to the RFEI are due to the MTA by February 7, 2008.

Click here for a pdf of the RFEI. A slide show from the Be In Beacon tour is also available.



Parking lot at the Metro-North Beacon
station which will be redeveloped
Courtesy of the PCAC


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