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EPA recognizes Breckenridge for Smart Growth achievements
Release Date: 11/19/2002
Release Date: 11/19/2002
- Denver -- On Monday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman announced four winners of the first National Award for Smart Growth -- including the Breckenridge, CO Planning Department. The award recognizes state, local and regional governments for using innovative approaches to create healthy communities and strong economies. Smart growth is about deciding how and where growth should occur, while minimizing environmental impacts and maximizing public investments.
The Wellington Neighborhood in Breckenridge, Colorado provides affordable and market-rate housing on a site that was once home to contaminated mine waste. The project reuses land, creates housing for working families, provides a free transit shuttle to the nearby downtown, and helps the region avoid “mountain sprawl.” New homeowners include the town manager, government employees, shop owners, teachers and police officers.
The project was planned in two stages: first, the French Gulch Remediation Group (FROG), composed of citizens, property owners, the Colorado Department of Public Health, and EPA officials, worked for several years with the Keystone Center, a non-profit environmental mediation group, to prioritize clean-up actions and funding. Second, Breckenridge officials and residents, and developer David O'Neil worked together over four years to plan and design the neighborhood. The Breckenridge Planning Department encouraged Wellington’s traditional neighborhood design through flexible zoning for housing setbacks (closer to the street), road widths (narrower), and lot sizes (smaller).
Housing affordability is ensured through covenants that ensure homes remain affordable for future generations and purchaser qualification standards to facilitate transactions and reduce administrative requirements. The project was funded in part with public sector incentives worth more than $1 million, and a "Prospective Purchaser Agreement," entered into by U.S. EPA, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Mr. O'Neil that partially funded the ongoing mine site clean-up and provided for cleanup of various aspects of the project itself.by U.S. the
Using smart growth principles, Wellington has increased the supply of affordable housing, cleaned a contaminated site, and created a compact, walkable neighborhood with access to trails and open space. Eighty percent of homes are reserved for purchase by Summit County workers, at about one-third (or less) the cost of the median purchase price in Breckenridge.