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Conroy: Smart Growth Initiatives Gaining Momentum in Alabama

March 13, 2004 -- "It's described differently as smart growth, sustainable development and long-range planning, but most call this week's actions taken by the Alabama House of Representatives as nothing more than good old fashioned common sense," said House Speaker Seth Hammett.

House Bill 309 by Representative Bill Dukes and House Bill 116 by Representative Terry Spicer were supported and passed this week in Montgomery.

"Both are considered smart growth initiatives as they encourage economic development while protecting the special places that Alabamians have come to love and appreciate," said Pete Conroy, director of Jacksonville State University's Environmental Policy and Information Center and chairman of Hammett's Smart Growth Working Group.

House Bill 309 makes long overdue, technical improvements to the state's municipal planning code. House Bill 116 allows for the cleanup and development of old industrial sites and other "brownfield" properties that might have been contaminated or abandoned.

"This legislation marks an important milestone in our State's understanding of smart growth," said Larry Watts, executive director of the Birmingham Planning Commission. "We now hope that the state Senate and governor will see these initiatives as tools that will help our communities to be as friendly and profitable as possible," he continued.

The Alabama Smart Growth Working Group has supported another legislative initiative that establishes a state mapping council. It assists counties, municipalities, business and conservation leaders to make coordinated decisions through the use of satellite based imagery and Global Positioning Systems.

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