- 3 per page
- 5 per page
- 10 per page
- view all
This tools highlights educational information, examples, and resources for riparian buffer restoration. A comprehensive, regional approach to how the Flint Hills landowners address the health of their riparian zones can result in enhanced water quality for the region. Utilizing existing programs through the Kansas Water Office, USDA and NRCS to establish buffer zones, stabilize banks, and increase the health of habitat that slows and cleans surface flow to the streams and rivers provides an important transition between the terristrial and aquatic environment with soils that are rich in nutrients and have the capacity to hold much water and recharge groundwater sources. Healthy riparian zones also provide protection from flooding. Encroaching on this ecosystem is harmful not only to the plant and animals but also to the quality and quantity of water available to people in the watershed.
Image from Soil Restoration Technologies website
Counties and cities across the country are protecting their valuable river and stream corridors by drafting model legislation for that calls for limiting construction and other damaging practices specific distances from riparian zones. Comprehensive strategies utilize in-field, edge-of-fieldd, and streamside buffers based on classification of water bodies and soils. Buffers are often considered one of the most important factors influencing non-point source pollutants entering surface water. In addition, buffers can stabilize stream banks, affect local fauna, moderate flooding, help recharge underground water supplies, and provide land owners with valuable biomass, timber, and nut crops.
Conservation easements can permanently conserve a valued landscape while maintaining private ownership. A conservation easement is agreed to on a voluntary basis. It is a legal agreement between a land owner and a government or land trust (a private land conservation organization). The landowner retains private ownership of land. Landowner participants typically have input into specific provisions tailored to their own circumstances. While the conservation easement may prohibit residential, commercial and industrial development, agreements can still allow the landowner to (a) continue operating the land for agricultural purposes; (b) retain control of who may access the property; and (c) sell or transfer ownership of the property. The conservation easement restrictions continue to apply to future owners of the property. In Kansas, land conserved with conservation easements remain subject to property taxes.
Local land use ordinances can have a big impact on conserving the tall grass prairie. Flint Hills model ordinances could be developed based on regionally sensitive best practices to maintain and enhance our natural areas. Examples include wetlands and riparian corridor setbacks, Transfer and Purchase of Development Rights programs, Scenic Corridor standards, or future land use and zoning ordinances. These ordinances would be adopted into the local city or county ordinances in order to control development and conserve the tall grass prairie.
Develop an educational tool for absentee landowners, as property owned by an absentee landowner does not have to sit unused and unmanaged. This tool would be used by the landowner to clearly provide the options if they are considering leasing to ensure best tenants and tenant practices for managing their land. This informational packet could then be implemented by realtors, extension agents, conservation organizations.
This strategy supports programs and research to control noxious and invasive species. Education and partnerships are key to this strategy and tools includes support for research agencies to analyze best practices, advocacy for best practices through regional networks, and support for land owners to implement control programs.
The purpose of this tool is to assist in controlling and/or eradicating invasive plants in the prairie, and other sensitive habitats, where they could cause harm to native vegetation and the ecosystem. The Kansas Noxious Weed Law requires every person, company, organization or agency to control, and eradicate those species declared by the legislature to be noxious.The type of invasive will likely determine the control method. Some control tools include biological, chemical applications, mechanical removal, cultural, or a mix of approaches. Education and partnerships with multiple stakeholders and knowledge bases, including state and local government are key to the success of this tool. Some of the considerations that require a wide body of knowledge to navigate include seasonal timing and pollination cycles, potential air pollution, potential water pollution, and unintended side effects to native species of plants and wildlife. Crafting a specific plan of action with your County Weed Director, is good place for a landowner to begin. The Association of County Directors can then connect multiple county's initiatives to make regional networks for greater impact.
Image of Sericea Lespedeza, a challenging invasive species in the Tallgrass Prairie (Image from Professor Summer's Web Garden website)
"Report a Weed" is a handy app that can be downloaded free of charge from Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System and start tracking the weeds for science and eradication. While the Department and the County Weed Directors are always on the lookout for new populations of noxious and invasive weeds they need the help of engaged citizens and landowners to report what your see and increase the accuracy of information for better control. Partnerships between research institutions and governmental agencies to customize this tool for Flint Hills communities could increase the monitoring and control of noxious and invasive plants region-wide and beyond.
A traditional high school education today prepares students for careers requiring a four-year college degree because most employers want employees with training and education beyond high school. However, many students are not ready or interested in post-secondary education. Career and technical training programs can offer valuable and relevant skill, help retain students that might otherwise drop out, and provide them with marketable certifications and starting jobs. These jobs often help fulfill an important skilled labor gap in the market place. It often happens that students who discover technical aptitudes eventually build confidence and purpose and find their way on a path to life-long-learning and advancement. This tool is about developing robust career and technical programs to teach skills that are in high demand in the 21st Century job market.
This tool encourages regional schools to develop educational exchange programs by offering an opportunity for students from around the world to experience rural farm and ranch life, prairie ecosystem, tribal culture and middle western culture. At the same time exchanging allows Kansas students to experience the wider world. For all involved exchange programs expand perspectives, foster understanding and diplomacy skills, improve life skills and maturity. These experiences help students find their unique career path and life path and probably help them to gain admittance to universities of their choosing.
CC BY-SA 2.0
In this age of social media it is easier than ever for groups of parents and concerned citizens to form networks of information to help watch how legislators are voting on issues important to education. In fact many networks already exist all across Kansas and could be expanded or used as a model for grassroots efforts to unite and inform. Information is power if enough concerned parents are paying attention to and holding their legislators accountable for policies that strengthens education for all children. This tool promotes the formation of local networks that help parents of all parties and affiliations to come together as informed and engaged citizens around educational issues that impact every aspect of economic prosperity and quality of life in the future. Any network that promotes informed dialog is an opportunity to raise awareness and create a culture of accountability among parents and citizens. Kansas Schools are only as good as those who are willing to stay informed, to vote responsibly, and to hold their leaders accountable to quality education.
CC BY SA 2.0
The challenges of providing healthcare services to a geographically widespread aging rural population are many. How can current health care providers extend their services without the heavy investment of new bricks and mortar facilities? Examples around the world of tele-medicine, mobile care providers, and home health services are changing the way service providers are able to provide for our communities and our continuum of care. Through creating a network of service providers for physical, mental, and social services from each of the major health and social service care providers in the region, the overall quality of life for all ages increases.
from article “Rural Healthcare advances in Telemedicine”
Creating an organized community-based use of the Kansas Health Matters tool (http://www.kansashealthmatters.org/) could provide trackable local data on the health and well-being of Flint Hills communities. “Community dashboards” and the local networks created through collecting this information generate new opportunities to drive local programming and projects that proactively address local needs.
From www.kansashealthmatters.org website
The Flint Hills Nature Trail (Kanza Rails – Trails Conservancy), the Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area, and the Kansas River National Water Trail are outstanding programs to connect people with the unique habitat of the Flint Hills Tallgrass Region and the prairie of central and eastern Kansas. Growing these programs to connect more easements of land and water, can increase the investment in and general awareness and appreciation of this important natural resource. (See Natural Resources – Encourage Productive Conservation Programs, NS2.0; See Cultural Systems – Develop Tribal Cultural Assets, CS3.0)
A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) is someone who understands the aging-in-place home remodeling market and the technology, tools and resources that are available for seniors to age in place. Individuals with this designation are trained in the needs of the aging population, common remodeling projects and expenditures, codes and standards, product ideas and resources. CAPS professionals are trained by the National Association of Home Builders. While many people who undergo the training are members of the building profession, other interested professionals, such as occupational therapists and other health care professionals as well as those involved in planning and land use are encouraged to seek CAPS certification.
Photo from commercial website:
Mapping natural, cultural, and historical assets together on one map and on an interactive website will increase local awareness of these assets and help visitors passing through to discover reasons to stay in the area longer and come back often to explore. A comprehensive map of the area attractions is easy to distribute wherever visitor information is already distributed. It makes sense to centralize in the information on the Travel Kansas website.
Map of Wisconsin park, forest , recreaional area or trail
Map of Public Parks, Natural Areas and Access Sites near Elk Rapids, Michigan
This tool investigates regional partnerships between large private land holders and parks and recreation facilities and services. Like the Walk-in Hunting Access Program developed by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, a Kansas Walk-in Adventures program could allow hikers, bikers and school children on certain private land under specified times and conditions. This partnership could open new avenues for education, commerce, tourism and adventure along trails that link people in new ways to the ecosystem. Private trails can help to link regional destinations as well as state and national trail ways and recreational land. With new technologies at the ready, an App could link or record registered users to access lands and give property owners assurance of accountability and responsibility in practice. The program could help land owners involved in restoration projects with modest funding, will providing an opportunity for young science students to learn about the unique prairie ecosystem in their own back yard.
Image 1 Needs Citation
A regional arts institution working hand in hand with statewide cultural organizations that would provide arts education for both individuals and institutional or company teams to enhance big picture insights as well as enhancing specific professional and technical skills. The format can include custom training, workshops, talks, conferences, regular networking events to share ideas, and special events. All classes and workshops are co-taught by highly qualified teaching artists and business strategists familiar with the local economic challenges and relevant applications.
This tool involves the creation of a region-wide set of programs and spaces for artists, arts educators, and community outreach. Through working hand in hand with existing regional arts and culture organizations as well as schools, the non-profit organization leading this endeavor appropriates existing structures in communities where the need is greatest for studio space, exhibit space, classes for all ages, and community workshop and meeting space. These incubators are centers for creation and interaction.
This tool creates outdoor recreation and education opportunities for all ages and backgrounds around the history of the Plains Indian tribes of the region. Partnerships and collaboration between state and tribal governments, and state-wide cultural agencies will allow more resources to be allotted to expand existing trail programs to include tribal information (history, cultural traditions, language, environmental education). This tool works best when it is combined with the Develop National Recreation/Cultural Destinations tools.
Develop an exhibit that could travel or be open to visitors on the military base that shares the role that Fort Riley has had in preserving the prairie, regional culture, and history.
Image credit: Woody Hibbard
There are already many tourism programs in the Flint Hills with an agricultural theme from dude ranches, walk-in hunting, produce and meat markets, rural bed and breakfasts, prairie burning or prairie chicken viewing, and petting zoos. Some of these businesses have an on-line presence to help attract visitors to participate in a unique Flint Hills farm and ranch experience and others spread by word of mouth. Many of these programs are linked to websites like www.TravelKS.com which offer listings for lodging and ranch experiences, but many cannot be found in these directories. Building upon this directory to make it easy and affordable for small agritourism businesses to be listed and further linking the Kansas directory to other national directories is a way to broaden the access for tourists seeking an authentic rural experience in the unique and endangered ecosystem of the Flint Hills Prairie.
Image by K. Latham, 2008 cc: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Many of the best directories of agricultural tourism opportunities attract people to them because there is something for everyone and many diverse activities to explore over time. A robust, comprehensive and diverse group of agricultural tourism opportunities helps the region to appeal to a broader base of visitors and resident participants. These may be dude ranches, walk-in hunting programs, produce and meat markets, rural bed and breakfasts, prairie burning or prairie chicken supervised viewing, U-pick farms and petting zoos. There are many adventure and agricultural experiences that are uniquely Flint Hills that may be operating in isolation and could benefit from better connections to other regional opportunities. Synergies may be found between neighbors offering similar services that could be mutually supportive. And, where there are gaps in what is being offered there is an opportunity for a new business or service to be offered that will complement other things happening within the region.
The Kaw Valley Tours are one example of a successful farm tour located north and south of the Kansas River.
Coordinated tourism events are beneficial for individual farms and ranches and for the community and tourism within the region. Local and regional events can attract visitors, encourage repeat visitation and heighten regional awareness. They celebrate local treasures and build a cultural identity. Establishing tourism events can also lead to increased development to support the event improving the overall economy.
CC BY 2.0
Photo by Ruth Hartnup, 2014 CC BY 2.0
This tool is about recognizing and promoting all of the innovative farming and ranching practices happening regionally that result in conservation of energy, water and the land’s natural resources. There is no one-size fits all solution, so having a toolbox of ideas to consider is helpful. Working with existing organizations with a conservation mission, it is important to link these resources and strategies together as an educational resource. Creating a network of farmers and ranchers to discover what works both in terms of protecting the land, and the economics of farm and ranch businesses. Developing a robust dialog regionally about what works and what implementation challenges are to overcome is an important aspect of this tool.
This tool considers strategies such as:
- Utilize conservation easements and the transfer of development rights as legal tools for innovative land management practices that support conservation
- Establish and support innovative agricultural practices that conserve energy and water use
- Support older and absentee land owners in land management practices to encourage continued agriculture and conservation
- Support education and research about the impacts of rotational grazing techniques
- Promote burning cooperatives that educate, train, and supply needed resources to support rotational and “patch” burning techniques and the implementation of flint hills smoke management plan
- Support programs that help control invasive species
- Support and network the farmers and ranchers who participate in such programs
The Flint Hills is the last stand of the tall grass prairie, holding rich ties to the cattle culture and tribal heritage of the West. Products from this region could be certified and branded to protect their authenticity and more importantly to protect the way in which prairie resources are maintained as a part of their production. The Flint Hill Brand might come to symbolize a profound responsibility to the land and its people.
The American Grassfed Association and other certification standards exist, including the USDA's Organic certification, yet support or development of criteria that would promote the integrity of the beef or livestock grown in the Flint Hills could set a new standard and fill a new niche in this quickly expanding market. The research, investigation and institution of certification procedures could open new avenues for local producers, distributors and marketers of Flint Hills beef products.
Farm incubators are typically one or more parcels of land that are set aside in a trust or easement specifically dedicated to controlled-lease operations that encourage small-scale and innovative agricultural practices that might otherwise be discouraged by large scale farm economics. Often one or more new farmers will farm and market products under their own farm business enterprise, often with access to training programs and technical assistance opportunities about farm business and production practices. These farmers gain access to the land in exchange for some form of “rent” that may also take the form of fresh farm products or other services donated to communities in need.
Image Credit: Dwight Sipler
Description of Tool
Access to affordable high speed internet is necessary infrastructure in today’s connected world. Residents need high speed internet to access employment opportunities, goods and services, health care, and educational resources. Rural towns need access to broadband internet to attract businesses and jobs. Businesses need internet to compete and to collaborate. When the infrastructure for broadband does not extend into more rural areas, State and local government can adopt policies and initiate public-private partnerships to bring broadband networks to rural areas.
Municipalities can construct their own fiber networks or facilitate a nonprofit or corporation in development of a network through a variety of policies and projects. For example some communities develop a ‘dig-once’ policy that require installation of fiber optic conduits whenever a public construction project requires digging in the right of way. Others work with utility pole owners (usually phone or electric companies) to develop access agreements and to make the poles ready to receive cable. Anything a local municipality can do to facilitate the construction process through expedited access to GIS information or by documenting where there is need or fiber ready access will help to make the construction process more efficient and appealing to providers. Some municipalities make codes or incentives for developers to include pathways for cable in their projects. In some cases, simply collaborating with local fiber optic cable providers to understand their needs and schedules is enough to discover the best ways to facilitate the process and reduce the cost of installing infrastructure. Joining a support network, such as Next Century Cities can help towns and cities learn from each other about what is working. Because a broadband network is a significant cost, private-public partnerships and collaborations are becoming an increasingly popular approach to broadband projects.
The State Broadband Initiative (SBI) can help communities develop the much needed "last mile" of infrastructure to support a 21st Century Economy. Currently, Kansas ranks last in funding under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and SBI, with just over $7 Million awarded through the two programs.
The State Broadband Initiative grantees support the efficient and creative use of broadband technology to improve competition. Some assist small businesses and community institutions in using the technology more effectively.
The public needs access to information on the internet regardless of income, age or education. Libraries provide computer labs to the public and so could other public institutions and communities of faith. Opening school computer labs to the public and expanding the hours of the computer lab could expand the usefulness of this resource and provide access to more people. Connecting public computers into a searchable directory could allow those with limited access to find location with free computer and internet use available. Programs for recycling donated computers and refurbishing them for public access is an important skill and local employment opportunity within communities that also supplies public institutions with low cost equipment. Providing more computer literacy training programs in public places paired with programs for purchasing computers that have been recycled at low cost is a strategy for leveling the playing field.
There are many examples across the US and UK where communities, community partnerships with Universities, organizations or companies have organized to provide city-wide, downtown district or localized Wi-Fi cloud zones for free or fee-service to attract businesses and improve community convenience.
There are already localized versions across the Flint Hills of Wi-Fi clouds in public and private sites, ranging from the single coffee spot to downtown districts, such as Wamego. In certain regions, these Wi-Fi clouds operate by membership or a fee structure paid for by venders or individual users. In other locations, they operate free, through public or public-private partnerships to provide the service as a community benefit and to attract business in a certain development area.
With the global economy becoming more and more dependent on the internet, accessible wife will be more central to a thriving economy.
Many communities are providing affordable and flexible office spaces for a new class of entrepreneurs who need inexpensive overhead while launching new ideas and small businesses. Most incubators are non-profit organizations, some are public, and a few are private for-profit ventures. Some business incubators specialize in certain industries so that entrepreneurs can benefit from some level of collaboration. Others provide general studio and office space for a wide variety of businesses to get a foothold. Often there are services offered to provide training and education to young entrepreneurs developing business and marketing skills.
The advantage for businesses is that owners get access to low cost space, shared resources, mentorship and training. Sometimes potential capital sources from investors pay attention to businesses in the incubator. State government, or economic development organizations also take an interest in these home-grown businesses lending support. Most Incubators operate under a mission to have a positive effect on the local economy by maximizing the success of emerging businesses.
Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg 2015 (CC-BY 2.0)
Hacking Culture Bootcamp @ Waag Society
Many smaller rural communities across Kansas face growing difficulties in procuring the necessary capital to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs the platform for growth. Revolving loan programs can offer gap financing at below market interest rates to help these businesses get started. Revolving loans are often managed by local main street programs or business incubators. These loans grow over time as they are repaid and have an increasing impact of the local economy over time.
Many revolving loans have a focus, such as launching downtown retail and service oriented businesses, high tech startups, or food and restaurant entrepreneurs, for example. Revolving loan funds are often paired with the kind of mentoring that business incubators can offer.
photo by US Department of Agriculture, Hunkpati Investment 2012 (CC BY 2.0)
Place-based initiatives that provide an umbrella for goods or services grown, produced or developed in a region are now commonplace, yet can provide a canvas for economic development and growth opportunities for areas as diverse as arts, tourism and value-added agricultural endeavors.
Regional transit demand may continue to grow as the urban centers within the Flint Hills continue to grow, become denser, and economic connections between urban areas continue to strengthen. Residents and employees may look for alternative ways to get between destinations and between home and work. Transit can be a viable option that saves users money and increases productivity during long commutes while providing a catalyst for community revitalization and improved air quality. It can also be a valuable amenity for people that are not able to drive.
A regional transit study and plan would help the region identify common transportation needs and enable individual jurisdictions to make transit investments that align with the overall region. Regional transit planning generally starts with defining a vision, assessing the current conditions, identifying opportunities, setting goals and objectives, and formulating an implementation and financing plan.
The Flint Hills can encourage cycling by making improvements to regional roadway facilities designed to enhance bicycle safety and comfort. Widening shoulders, posting bicycle signage, and painting bike lanes are potential strategies for improving bicycle facilities on regional roadways. Planning that maps out where there are opportunities to both improve connectivity in and at the same time improve safety conditions will become the highest priority in a long term plan to improve bicycle infrastructure.
The Kansas River, also known as the Kaw, was designated as a National River Trail in 2012, which enables the National Park Service to work with state and local government to improve access to the River and encourage public use. Improvements include better signage along the river for paddlers, additional and better maintained and publicized access points, and greater publicity overall about the recreational opportunities the River affords.
As the river becomes a more popular destination, there is an opportunity for additional outfitters to rent canoes and kayaks and provide services such as transportation to and from River access points.
Photo by Patrick Emerson, 2009 (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2010 (CC BY ND 2.0)
Rails to Trails is a program that converts unused railway corridors into multi-use paths for biking, walking, and, in some cases, horseback riding. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is a national nonprofit that is a leader in advocating for rails to trails and is supported by many local organizations, such as the Kanza Rail-Trails Conservancy in the Flint Hills.
Supporting the Rails-to-Trails program can include several actions, such as identifying potential trail projects, advocate for policies to support and fund rails to trails projects at the local, state, and federal level, promoting trails, and organizing volunteers to building and maintain trails.
Photo by MoBikeFed, 2003 (CC BY 2.0)
Photo by Nicolas Henderson, 2012 (CC BY 2.0)
Improve Transportation Infrastructure
Conduct a Trucking and Rail Logistics Study
The historic downtowns of cities and towns throughout the Flint Hills are community treasures and a powerful draw for visitors to the area. Many downtowns suffer from vacancies, aging infrastructure, and competition from newer areas of town. Downtown master planning organizes a community around a common vision and goals for their downtown. By engaging in a planning process, a community identifies physical investments and policy changes that can improve a downtown and make it more attractive for tourism, more viable for locally owned businesses, and a more vibrant center for community life. Planning requires a robust community engagement process that encourages citizens to identify the existing treasures within their downtown and share their desires for change over time. A plan includes recommendations that support locally owned businesses, encourage new businesses to locate downtown, and serve the needs of local residents and visitors. Downtowns are a center of both business and community life. Creating a master plan can enhance both business and community life because it creates an opportunity for many diverse perspectives to focus on what is best for the whole.
Downtown Cottonwood Falls is a great example of historic downtown in the Flint Hills
One of the biggest hurdles to improving downtown is a lack of funding to do so. Cities are hard pressed to dedicate money to providing enhanced services in downtown areas. Forming a community improvement district or a business improvement district (C/BID) provides a mechanism for downtown businesses and property owners to leverage resources and pay for physical improvements and clean and safe initiatives themselves. Property owners can decide to form a C/BID in order to collect addition property or sales tax within the district to pay for improvements that benefit the district. The State of Kansas approved the Community Improvement Act in 2009 enabling the creation of these districts. Community Improvement Districts are a way for businesses and property owners to voluntarily tax themselves in order to provide shared services and improvements beyond the standard city services in a targeted way. It enables neighborhoods or districts to pool their resources for mutual gain.
Community Improvement Districts can pay for landscaping and "clean and safe" initiatives in addition to physical improvements.
Preserving Historic buildings supports the goal of revitalizing existing downtowns in the Flint Hills Region. Both the State and Federal Government provide resources for redeveloping historic buildings. The federal historic tax credits are available for income producing properties that are certified historic structures, and the state tax credit is available for income producing properties and private residences. This program is not competitive and is available for all historic buildings. Property owners typically sell their tax credits to investors through a syndication group to raise capital to pay for the project at the outset. Historic tax credits are an effective tool for saving significant buildings and a key tool for downtown “placemaking” strategies.
Buildings in the Council Grove Historic District are an example of properties that are eligible for historic rehabilitation tax credits.
Providing affordable housing for working families is a priority, especially where growth and development is raising housing prices. Affordable housing should be integrated with market rate housing and near employment centers to avoid concentration of affordable units. Most affordable rental housing in the U.S. is created using Low Income Housing Tax Credits. These credits are awarded on a competitive, state-wide basis. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit provides individual private an incentive to set aside a portion of the housing units is a development as affordable units. This program provides housing for moderate income families that make up to 60% of Area Median Income.
Image credit: Payton Chung
A comprehensive plan is a citywide or countywide policy document that guides decision making for the local jurisdiction. Successful comprehensive plans engage the community through a consensus process to create a vision and goals for the future of the city or county. From this vision, comprehensive plans make more detailed recommendations involving future land use, transportation, public facilities, major capital improvements, conservation of natural resources, and other topics related to development of the area. The comprehensive plan form the basis for decisions ranging from zoning changes to capital improvement projects.
A comprehensive plan provides an opportunity for a community to come together and define a common vision for the future.
A Housing Needs Assessment collect and analyzes housing information to determine the need for affordable housing in a community. Issues include rental housing, affordable homeownership, senior housing, special needs housing, blight, foreclosure, and seasonal housing. The needs assessment identifies gaps in the current housing stock where certain demographics may have a hard time finding appropriate housing. A housing needs assessment identifies these needs and acts as a jumping off point to develop strategies to address these needs or a framework for evaluating development proposals to see if their address the needs in the community.
Allowing accessory dwelling units, sometimes known as "granny flats," is another strategy to diversify housing options. This option allows small detached housing units on the same lot as a single family house, and this arrangement is especially beneficial more households take on caretaking responsibilities for aging parents. In addition to responding to changing family needs, accessory dwelling units are a more efficient use of the existing housing stock in the community. Accessory dwelling units create new housing while preserving the look and scale of single-family detached neighborhoods.
Image Credit: Brett VA, Some Rights Reserved
Zoning channels development into the places that are specifically appropriate for it. Rural zoning ensures orderly and managed use of land outside of the municipal boundaries. One advantage of rural zoning is that it protects property owners in rural areas from harmful or undesirable land uses. Another advantage is that it preserves open space and natural and cultural resources. Rural can include, but is not limited to the following: sliding scale zoning wherein larger parcels have much lower development densities than small tracts, smaller minimum lot sizes, rural residential clusters, and mixed use agricultural or rural zones that permit professional, business, commercial uses within limits of scale and impact.
Image credit: Evan Leeson
Cities have the ability to regulate development within their boundaries through development standards. Including requirements for high quality materials and architectural design, site design that enhances the public realm, and landscaping requirements to a City's development code enhances the quality of new development and renovations and over time leads to a more beautiful city. Development standards are consistent with a “placemaking” strategy; they ensure that individual property owners develop in a coordinated way that results in an interesting and attractive place. Development standards can be implemented through a zoning code and can be geographically targeted. For example, property facing main street may have more specific requirements on materials, building orientation, or landscaping than property in an industrial area.
Landscaping standards can improve the appearance of the community and reduce runoff
Development around military installation can create conflicts for both the base and the community surrounding it. Development can deplete water resources, drive endangered species onto the fort, cause interference with communication frequencies, and create light pollution that interferes with nighttime training. The fort can cause light and noise pollution, increase risk to citizens from accidents.
Local governments around Fort Riley are using zoning and land use ordinances to protect the Fort from encroachment. Riley County, Geary County, the City of Manhattan, and the City of Junction City should continue to work together to ensure that local ordinances are coordinated and adequate to protect the Fort today and for potential future needs.
Improve energy and water efficiency of buildings
Increased energy efficiency can be accomplished by creating policies related to government facilities. For example, a community might pass a policy that all government buildings must achieve a set standard for energy efficiency. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has established a rating system known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) that is widely used across the nation. The rating system has difference levels, which are certified, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. These different levels related to increasing building performance. Other rating systems include EnergyStar, living building challenge, and one planet communities.
Some communities have gone a step beyond ensuring public buildings are energy efficient and have passed policies that buildings receiving public incentives are also built to a standard for energy efficiency. By tying incentives to building performance, a community can have a larger impact on overall energy efficiency.
Image credit: J. Stephen
No results found