By Kay Wilson-Bolton
President, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS®
June 18, 2000
President Clinton’s Smart Growth program has value but few agree on the definition of smart growth, therefore few groups are working together on its merits.
During our recent trip to Sacramento, the leadership of our REALTOR® association had the opportunity to discuss Smart Growth with our elected representatives.
In 1999, the National Association of REALTORS® commissioned a Presidential Advisory Group on Smart Growth.
The committee was comprised of 19 prestigious REALTORS® from across the United States knowledgeable in housing, business, land use, environment, private property rights, taxation and budgeting.
The primary result was that Smart Growth meant something different to everyone on the committee, and to every group to whom the concept appeals.
The committee began to meet in April of 1999 in McLean, VA and meeting later in Chicago, San Diego, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Portland and Charlotte. The work concluded in September of 1999 with guiding principles, objectives and strategies.
Prior to WW II, most Americans lived in rural areas, with the remainder living in urban-city areas. The War changed life in America forever. As the women became responsible outside of the home, as well as inside, expansions became a way of life as did traffic jams, crime, deteriorating neighborhoods, overcrowded schools. A new set of issues began to emerge called “quality of life”. We began to worry about water, traffic, air quality, open space, public safety and recreation.
There was no word for it then, but Smart Growth began to shape the public thinking. It means that those who live near, in and around growth areas want the chance to shape how it happens in such a way that qualify of life issues remain at the center of the debate.
The debate will continue as more and more people wish to participate in the process. The lines of reason blur as more and more people who live further and further from the growth area demand input.
Smart Growth is a program whose time has likely come and Ventura County is no exception. Good judgment, sound advice and respect for property rights will be the delicate balance. REALTORS® will always be at the forefront of quality of life issues for we not only represent the home, we represent the communities in which they are located. REALTORS® may not agree on what quality of life is, but we do agree on what it is not.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is president of the Ventura County Coastal Association of REALTORS®. For more information, contact Kay Runnion, Interim CEO, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS® at 981.2100. Our website is http://www.vc-realtors.com