Smart Group Recognizes Oswego

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Community Development Office received news today (Nov. 10), that the Great Lakes Commission and NOAA Coastal Services Center have selected the Port City among three winners for the Smart Growth Coastal City Awards for 2008.

The winning communities were selected from 25 nominations, according to Mary Vanouse, Oswego’s community development director.

The Great Lakes Commission and NOAA Coastal Services Center will send a team to Oswego to develop case study examples of smart growth in the Great Lakes region.
The Great Lakes Commission and NOAA Coastal Services Center will send a team to Oswego to develop case study examples of smart growth in the Great Lakes region.

“Using the winners, they will develop case study examples of smart growth in the Great Lakes region,” Vanouse said.

The teams will likely visit Oswego in the spring, she said.

Besides Oswego, the winners are Porter County, Indiana (Lake Michigan) and Ashland, Wisconsin (Lake Superior).

These communities were selected based on the number of smart growth elements demonstrated by their programs and planning documents, Vanouse explained following Monday’s Common Council meeting.

“We were selected because we had plans in place that represented smart growth principles,” she said. “They are going to send a team here to look at what we’re doing and probably make some recommendations that we could implement, or other ways we could look at planning.”

The selected communities also represent diversity in lake basin and population size.

“This was a joint effort between the Great Lakes Commission and the NOAA Coastal Services Center to find coastal communities that exemplify waterfront and coastal smart growth elements in the Great Lakes region and develop case studies,” Becky Pearson, senior program specialist at the Great Lakes Commission, said in a press statement released through Vanouse’s office.

“The city of Oswego is at a critical juncture. The forces for economic development at our international port and mixed use waterfront residential development will need a balanced approach to preserve our coastal uses for the public while simultaneously safeguarding our historic port district,” Mayor Randy Bateman said. “We are honored to have been selected from the many coastal cities along the Great Lakes for this team of specialists to focus on the opportunities for ‘Smart Growth’ on Lake Ontario.”

“The city of Oswego was nominated because it has some real, on-the-ground waterfront revitalization projects,” Pearson said. “Mary Vanouse gave a presentation on Oswego’s revitalization and restoration efforts at the Great Lakes Commission New York Land Use Roundtable in 2007 that demonstrated how the principles of ‘Smart Growth’ were beginning to take shape in the community. Moreover, Oswego represents a community on the eastern Great Lakes.”

The smart growth elements include:

Mix land uses and ensure that working waterfronts and water-dependent uses remain a viable and stable part of this mix.

Take advantage of compact building design to optimize waterfront and water-based activities in targeted areas.

Provide a range of housing opportunities and choices to meet the ends of both seasonal and permanent residents.

Create walkable waterfronts and shoreline communities with visual and physical access to and along the waterfront for public use.

Foster distinctive, attractive, disaster-resilient communities with a strong sense of place while protecting, preserving, and enhancing waterfront and coastal heritage.

Preserve open space, natural beauty, coastal features and dynamic processes by protecting critical ecological systems.

Strengthen and direct development to existing communities and encourage suitable waterfront revitalization.

Provide a variety of transportation choices including ferries and other water-borne modes to compliment land-based options.

Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost-effective through consistent policies and coordinated permitting processes.

Promote community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions, including stakeholders who represent the public trust legacy of coastal waters.

Of those 10 elements, Oswego was cited for eight; one behind Porter County, and one ahead of Ashland.