Practice Guides

Our Practice Guides provide practical advice and support to policy makers and organizations on environmental policy issues. These guide books serve as resources for technical assistance, best practices and financing mechanisms to maintain or improve environmental conditions.

38. Establishing the Use of SNAP at Farmer's Markets (2016)
Everyone should have access to local food.  Farmer's markets are popular places to purchase local food.  However, these locations may not be accessible to low-income individuals using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funds due to a number of barriers.  Farmers' markets can become a catalyst for bridging the gap between SNAP users and local food, by creating SNAP redemption programs.  These programs can improve health, the local economy, and community engagement.  However, barriers exist such as transportation, advertising, making shopping equitable, building partnerships, and designing the program to benefits farmers and market managers as well as customers.  This practice guide introduces the benefits of enabling SNAP programs as an option for purchasing food at farmers' markets: while also providing suggestions for implementation, examining barriers and suggesting paths to overcoming them, while including case example/best practices.

37. Establishing Successful Recycling Programs in Multi-family Developments (2016)
Establishing successful recycling programs for multi-family dwellings has its challenges. These recycling programs manifest themselves quite differently than residential recycling programs for single-family properties. This practice guide and collection of tips is focused to inform those municipalities initiating new programs or seeking to improve existing efforts for multi-family dwelling recycling programs while also addressing some of the issues faced when implementing a recycling program in multi-family dwellings. In addition to the links and references to the various published resources, the guide provides a small sample of municipal case studies to offer insight into how different municipalities confront their challenges to implement recycling programs for multi-family dwelling sites.

36. Implementing Environmental Psychology to Improve Community Design (2015)
Environmental psychology is the study of how humans interact with their natural and built environments and at its heart are evaluations of how the physical elements of the space, as well as individual social factors and biological responses influence the end-user. Even though it is, as a discipline, user-friendly with applications to all levels of project design and reevaluation, little has been done to ensure that the knowledge of the discipline is made accessible to community members who could best implement it in their community improvement efforts. This practice guide attempts to address this oversight through an explanation of the specialty, case studies that illustrate the application of core principles in the field to overcome existing challenges, and suggestions for funding sources to put ideas into action.

35. Urban Transportation and the Benefits of Public Transit (2014)
The private automobile has had a significant impact on the layout of the city and the health of city residents. Driving, while fast and convenient on uncongested roads, is slow and frustrating in rush hour traffic. An over-dedication of space for vehicular parking leaves little space for more desirable and beneficial land uses. Driving, for even short trips, obviates use of other forms of transportation and the benefits that come along with alternative transportation. A gradual realization of these and numerous other issues is at the heart of the trends across the nation toward providing commuters with transportation choices other than using a private automobile.

34. Using Principles of Environmental Sustainability to Improve Student Health (2014)
The rising obesity rate among children under 18 is a critical public health issue and has led to illnesses normally associated with adults being detected among school-age children. Poor eating habits and lack of exercise are the two biggest contributors to this epidemic. This practice guide offers suggestions on how principles of environmental sustainability—such as walkable streets, civic agriculture, and environmental justice—can also help improve the health of our nation’s children by increasing access to healthy food and opportunities for exercise in both our schools and communities.

33. Communities, Trains, and Trainyards: Exploring Policy Options for Affected Municipalities (2013)
This practice guide addresses how communities can work with rail carriers and regulators to improve community well-being and enact appropriate regulations to preemptively protect community health and well-being. State and federal regulations, idling, whistles and train noise, chemical leaks, transload facilities, and rail safety are discussed in a problem-solution format.

32. Sustainable Water Management on Brownfields Sites (2013)
Managing stormwater is a central concern for municipalities struggling with more intense weather events and increased pressure to develop land that would have previously accommodated stormwater through infiltration. Green infrastructure, which creates an infrastructure through engineered and natural components that act as a living infrastructure for stormwater management, and low-impact development that manages stormwater close to the source in a way that replicates the pre-development management of water on a site, are proven methods to manage stormwater more efficiently. This practice guide makes the case for using green infrastructure on brownfield sites as a way to offer an environmentally friendly amenity while also meeting cleanup requirements. It includes a brief history of brownfields, a description of cleanup practices, examples of potential uses of green infrastructure and low-impact development on brownfield sites, a summary of current sources of funding for including green infrastructure and low-impact development on a site, followed by case studies of developments that successfully included green infrastructure or low-impact development.

31. Planning for Transparency through E-governance (2012)
Urban planners and planning departments have increasingly turned towards the use of technology, commonly referred to as e-government, to enhance planning processes in a variety of ways. While e-government is not without its critics and pitfalls, it has the potential to engage citizens and other stakeholders more quickly and cheaply relative to traditional means. The capability for transparency has never been greater, even for local governments and groups operating in a scarce resource environment. Information and communication technologies are also capable of bringing voices to planning processes and discussions that would be unable or strongly unlikely to participate otherwise. This practice guide serves as a general introduction and focuses on both the design and technological elements to e-governance; it covers the reasoning and benefits of the dissemination of information, how community participation is enhanced with e-governance, explores current related technologies, and explains the implementation process. Legal requirements for e-governance are also cited.

30. The Public Urban Forest: Planning and Managing a City's Tree Resource (2012)

This practice guide focuses on urban forest management from a municipal perspective and is meant to provide decision-makers, such as city arborists, public works officials, public policy makers, city managers, local non-profits, and park managers, with information to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs of improving and managing their public urban forest. The guide is divided into sections that give a broad overview of planning, planting, maintaining, and managing the urban forest resource. Case studies that illustrate some of these concepts in action are included, as well as an extensive list of tree-related resources.

29. Growing a Farmers' Market in Your Neighborhood: Recommendations for Success (2012)
Many communities throughout the region are seeking to establish or improve a farmers’ market in order to secure a fresh, local source of food and to support local farmers. This practice guide offers recommendations on market management, from finding a location and market manager to establishing market rules. In addition, issues such as finding farmers to provide produce and developing a market base are also addressed. This guide presents common problems that markets face and additional ideas to enhance a community farmers’ market. The role that markets can play in “food deserts” is also addressed with suggestions for making markets accessible to residents of low-income neighborhoods.

28. Safe Container Gardening (2011)
This practice guide examines and summarizes the research on the safe use of raised beds and container gardening for agricultural and other uses. The purpose of the guide is to 1) help organizations establish a policy for safe container gardening; and 2) inform individuals who seek to build a container garden or simply learn more about the practice of safe container gardening. This is particularly useful for organizations seeking to develop guidelines or policies for safe container and raised bed gardening, including school districts that promote or require raised beds, community gardens, or other organizations that regulate or construct container or raised bed gardens.

27. Establishing Urban Agriculture in Your Community: What You Need to Know Before You Get Your Hands Dirty (2010)
This practice guide discusses the socio-economic and environmental impacts of urban agriculture as well as general obstacles encountered when developing an urban agriculture program. The constraints to urban agriculture as well as the factors that reinforce those constraints are dealt with and solutions are presented to help overcome these obstacles. In addition, this practice guide discusses who can effect change and how they can be of help in establishing urban agriculture.

26. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: What Are the Potential Community Costs? (2010)
This practice guide is intended for individuals who wish to better understand concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), specifically swine operations. The guide provides a brief history of CAFOs; discusses the difference between CAFOs, Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs), and Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs); and describes the potential community costs associated with these operations. This guide is useful for rural planners, city officials, community members, and livestock farmers as a means of addressing potential community costs associated with larger livestock operations.

25. Urban Agriculture and Soil Contamination: An Introduction to Urban Gardening (2009)
This practice guide is written as a primer for those interested in urban gardening*individual gardeners as well as community groups*and speaks directly to the issue of soil contamination. Several important aspects of soil contamination are addressed, including the dangers of gardening in contaminated soil, potential sources of contamination, acceptable levels of contamination, how to test soil for contamination and evaluate the results, costs of soil testing, as well as various options for addressing these issues. Also included are appendices identifying urban agriculture best practices and additional electronic and print resources for urban gardeners.

24B. Sustainable Construction Policies in EPA Region IV - Appendix - Case Studies (2009)


24A. Sustainable Construction Policies in EPA Region IV (2009)
This Practice Guide is meant for any person interested in promoting sustainable construction; it will be particularly useful for those who are working within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 4. The Guide is organized into three sections, plus the appendix, and readers can read them in any order or combination. The Guide begins with an overview of the construction industry and its economic and environmental impacts. The second section considers the national and regional contexts for state and sub-state policies; the Obama administration will likely impact this arena and policymakers who can respond swiftly will reap the benefits. The Guide concludes with suggestions for crafting policies and instituting practices. These recommendations are based on a survey of current sustainable construction regulations and practices in the EPA Region 4. Detailed case studies of the policies and practices of governmental, private, and educational sectors of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia are included in the appendix. All information is current through 2008 and, because rapid change is expected in this area, the CEPM hopes to provide updates as often as possible.

23. Water Pricing and Rates Dashboard (2009)
This practice guide is intended to be used as a resource for local government and water utility officials who are exploring ‘best practices’ for managing a water utility, especially as it relates to setting and regulating water rates. This guide is broken down into four sections. The first section focuses on considerations and objectives when setting water rates; the second takes a brief look at the concept of interactive dashboards which can be used to convey complex financial data to the public and elected officials; the third part is an overview of a ‘Rates Dashboard’ designed specifically for water utilities. Lastly, case studies provide anecdotal evidence of how water utilities have benefited from the use of these Rates Dashboards.

22. Integrating Green Practice into Your Building Management Strategy (2008)
This practice guide discusses some of the many ways that building management can explore and implement green management strategies, and offers a wealth of resources for facility owners, managers, and tenants. In addition, it focuses on changes that fall within the realm of building management’s responsibilities, thus creating little need for extensive tenant buy-in before moving forward.

21. Financing Energy Efficiency Improvements (2008)
Energy efficient buildings are simply better buildings—better for business and better for the environment and society. Undertaking projects to improve energy performance can provide significant savings on building operating costs, reduce environmental impact, and create a healthier and more productive work environment. There is a wide range of financing mechanisms, both familiar and unconventional, available to organizations interested in enhancing their energy performance. The purpose of this practice guide is to introduce building managers and owners how to improve the energy efficiency in existing buildings in a cost-effective manner. Five common financing mechanisms are presented and described, including: internal financing, debt financing, lease and lease-purchase agreements, energy performance contracts, and utility incentives. Following the initial description of finance mechanisms, there are discussions of how to choose the best possible financing option and potential funding opportunities. Also included are two appendices, a financial resource directory for EPA Region 4 states and a collection of informational websites related to energy efficiency.

20C. Energy Efficiency as a Public Priority - Matrix of Energy Efficient Incentives (2008)

20B. Energy Efficiency as a Public Priority (Executive Summary) (2008)
(Executive Summary) This practice guide illustrates some of the ways that public entities can encourage energy efficiency within their jurisdictions. The guide begins with a review of what many states are currently doing to promote energy efficiency, then moves on to show how public entities can serve as guiding examples to consumers, and finally, concludes with some examples of simple calculations of the benefits of adopting incentive programs directed at encouraging energy efficiency.

20A. Energy Efficiency as a Public Priority (2008)
This practice guide illustrates some of the ways that public entities can encourage energy efficiency within their jurisdictions. The guide begins with a review of what many states are currently doing to promote energy efficiency, then moves on to show how public entities can serve as guiding examples to consumers, and finally, concludes with some examples of simple calculations of the benefits of adopting incentive programs directed at encouraging energy efficiency.

19. Green Conferences (2007)
This guide is intended for use by individuals and organizations who are interested in reducing the environmental footprint of conference events. While it draws broadly from the existing literature and has wide applicability and utility, it pays particular attention to the needs of academic conference planners and organizers. The goal is to address common concerns including the economic feasibility of environmentally-friendly planning and procurement, and the administrative burden of and rationale for organizational change. The guide identifies commercial and governmental resources and mechanisms that can support the adoption and implementation of an environmentally sustainable meeting policy.

18. Sustainable Hazards Mitigation (2007)
The cultivation of communities that are both livable and sustainable has increasingly become an objective of state and local officials. As urban growth and development increase in hazardous areas, reducing vulnerability to natural disasters is an essential component of achieving sustainability. It is necessary for planners and policy makers to make the critical link between hazards mitigation and sustainable development. This practice guide is designed to help community planners and leaders enhance the livability of their communities by incorporating the principles of sustainable development into hazards mitigation. It begins with an introduction to the concepts of sustainability and the practices of hazards mitigation, followed by a discussion of how to link the two in application. The guide describes the planning process and most common techniques used by communities to implement sustainable hazards mitigation and reviews several federal programs that provide technical and financial assistance.

17. Development Impact Fees as Planning Tools and Revenue Generators (2007)
Development Impact Fees are a commonly proposed method of raising revenue to help pay for the added costs of new infrastructure and services required as a result of new growth in a community. This practice guide discusses the overarching issues associated with the use of impact fees. Specifically impact fees are discussed in their role as a revenue generator and a planning tool. Furthermore, some of the problems associated with the use of impact fees, unanticipated consequence potentials resulting from the use of impact fees, and examples of the real world use of impact fees are also included in this practice guide.

16. Farmland Preservation: The Benefits of Saving our Agricultural Land and Resources (2006)
The loss of farmland in the United States due to urban expansion has been accelerating at alarming rates. Prime farmland directly benefits both the rural and urban communities and farmland preservation policies can be enacted in order to protect farmland from development. This practice guide begins by providing a brief history and evolution of farmland preservation in the U.S. and then describes programs and strategies used in some states to alleviate the farmland preservation dilemma. In order for preservation of farmland to reach its full potential, the proper preservation tools must be combined. These tools, or techniques, are the culmination of strategies and methods conceived by both public and private organizations at the local, regional, and state levels. Within the past decade, the federal government has also demonstrated an increased interest in the farmland preservation cause by making funds available to fund farmland preservation programs throughout the country. Concentrated success occurs when a combination of tools are used in conjunction with the collaboration between governmental and non-governmental entities. This combination of tools and organizations is vital for a farmland preservation program to be successful.

15. Military Base Sustainable Best Practices: Energy Conservation Systems That Save Municipalities Money (2006)
This practice guide will aid municipalities in making the transition to energy conservation by providing case studies from military bases that engage in sustainable best practices. It will also list alternative financing mechanisms used by military bases to fund energy conservation technology. Additionally, this guide will discuss the social and environmental benefits of energy conservation.

14B. Do You Want Utilities With That? Avoiding the Unintended Consequences of Poorly Planned Growth on the Provision of Water and Sewer Service (without photo illustrations) (2006)
This practice guide considers the economic costs of poorly planned growth on the provision of linear utilities (including electricity, natural gas, telephone, cable and drainage), but focuses on water and sewer service because they are most likely to be key to project approval. Written for utility managers and regulators, municipal officials, and planning commissioners—and the consumers and voters whom they serve–this Practice Guide aims to improve awareness, facilitate communication and promote better resolution of the challenges they face together as they try to manage growth.

14A. Do You Want Utilities With That? Avoiding the Unintended Consequences of Poorly Planned Growth on the Provision of Water and Sewer Service (with photo illustrations) (2007)
This practice guide considers the economic costs of poorly planned growth on the provision of linear utilities (including electricity, natural gas, telephone, cable and drainage), but focuses on water and sewer service because they are most likely to be key to project approval. Written for utility managers and regulators, municipal officials, and planning commissioners—and the consumers and voters whom they serve–this Practice Guide aims to improve awareness, facilitate communication and promote better resolution of the challenges they face together as they try to manage growth.

13. Developing New Uses for Low-to-No-Market Brownfields: The Affordable Housing Solution (2005)
An adequate supply of housing for very low-, low-, and middle-income persons is a challenge that faces each community across the entire country. While housing costs have outpaced household incomes, the number of people and families whose household incomes are not sufficient enough to afford decent housing is increasing. Simultaneously, the lack of decent housing contributes to the decline of neighborhoods, many of which are located in older urban neighborhoods. The redevelopment of brownfields in these older neighborhoods can be a tool for revitalization. Many of these sites are in areas that require little investment in infrastructure since utilities, roads, and sidewalks are often already in place. Additionally, investment dollars in a neighborhood or community may serve as a catalyst to attract more development. This practice guide serves as a tool for local government officials and affordable housing advocates and developers. It includes data that illustrate the need for affordable housing choices and approaches infill development as a viable location for residential units. Case studies are provided to illustrate how some affordable housing/brownfield developments were funded and how working partnerships between the public and private sectors are essential for their success. A listing of federal, state, and local funding sources is found in an appendix to this Practice Guide.

12. Public Involvement: How Active Participation in Environmental Issues and Decisions Makes Economic Sense and Broadens the Knowledge Base (2005)
Many public organizations, both federal and state, as well as non-profits, have within their agency mission statement or as part of their mandate references regarding involving the public and encouraging community participation. Citizen, public, and community involvement has established its place within most plans, whether these come from federal, state, or regional agencies or from the private sector. Increasingly, citizens are demanding a voice in planning issues, especially environmental ones. This guide provides a brief summary of the benefits and costs of public involvement for environmental programs or plans and agencies involved. Key points to consider when initiating public involvement are listed and illustrated with several case studies. A list of useful resources, including books and websites, is given at the end.

11. Brownfields Program Placement in Local Governments (2005)
The process of creating a local brownfields program requires that city officials make decisions on the placement of that program within their governmental structure. Recognizing the fact that creating a new bureaucracy is both time and resource consuming, localities usually opt to place their brownfields program within an existing structure. However, what most local governments do not recognize, or account for, is that the organization of their local government and the structure of their existing bureaucracies can have significant influence on the outcomes of their local brownfields program. Existing bureaucracies have embedded cultures, missions, and goals which will all dictate how the programs they control will be handled. In addition to the embedded facets of existing bureaucracies, relationships with other local agencies will also contribute to the success or failure of a local brownfields program. This practice guide will help local officials answer the question “Where do I put my brownfields program?” by offering some insights into the impact that the placement of a program can have on that program and by outlining some examples of placements that have had successes and failures. If a city makes the decision to create a brownfields program, it is imperative that local officials understand the impacts organizational placement can have.

10. Brownfield Redevelopment: Make it Possible! (2005)
Individuals, businesses, or government entities that are interested in the remediation and redevelopment of a brownfield property will find a number of programs available at the federal, the state, and occasionally the local level to deal with liability issues, technical assistance, and financial support. The scope, quality, and comprehensiveness of specific brownfield programs vary widely across states and localities. However, what many individuals interested in brownfield redevelopment do not realize is that many non-brownfield specific financing mechanisms are available to accomplish a redevelopment project. This practice guide offers some insights into non-brownfield specific financing mechanisms and examples where these have been successfully used.

9. Contaminated Properties: History, Regulations, and Resources for Community Members (2005)
Environmentally contaminated properties represent both an opportunity and a burden for many communities. Many sites with perceived or real contamination are located in urbanized areas with access to public transportation or other centrally located amenities, often providing good development options. Regardless of where they are located, when a property suffers from real or perceived contamination – or is simply underused or idle – its full potential and benefits to a community are not being realized. Sites that are either contaminated or perceived as contaminated are called brownfields. Addressing these sites through successful redevelopment efforts can lead to increased land values, new economic activity, potential aesthetic or other area-wide benefits, in addition to reducing risks to human health and the environment. The guidelines concerning cleanup and redevelopment can often be overwhelming. Different types of pollution may require specific responses under different federal and state laws or regulations. The various rules may, however, become useful tools when an individual knows how to navigate through them. This guide offers a background history on federal and state laws and regulations. The guide also explains how these laws and regulations can be used to promote re-development and how would-be redevelopers can work with the requirements. Our objective is to demonstrate to individuals, businesses, communities, and public officials the net economic benefits than can be gained from redeveloping these contaminated properties.

8. Brownfields: Historic Preservation as a Redevelopment Option (2005)
Historic Preservation is a useful approach when redeveloping brownfields and one that offers sound economic benefits. Often brownfield sites contain one or more buildings that can be reused for commercial and/or residential purposes. Even though a developer or economic development official might be inclined to raze the existing structures and build the development from the ground up, preserving the buildings and restoring them to their former appearance may, in fact, contribute to strengthening the neighborhood, the community, and the economy by placing an emphasis on the history and culture of the place. This practice guide is intended to be used as a resource when the future use of a brownfield site that contains older and historically significant structures is being determined. The guide explores reasons for historic preservation and funding sources that are available at the federal, state, and local levels for a brownfield/historic preservation redevelopment project. Case studies of successful rehabilitation and renovation projects are provided.

7. Construction & Demolition Debris Recycling for Environmental and Economic Development (2006)
Construction and demolition (C&D) waste makes up 25-45% of the waste that ends up in our landfills. This amount significantly contributes to the increased environmental impact of landfills across the country. C&D debris comes from both the construction of new structures and the demolition of existing structures. Reusing and recycling this waste has enormous positive impact by significantly reducing the need for landfills, as well as reducing the need to extract and use raw materials. Money and resources are saved, which in turn promotes economic development. The debris itself is a valuable resource. Recycling and reusing C&D waste can support jobs and generate significant revenue in sales. This guide defines C&D wastes, identifies barriers and opportunities for recycling and reusing these, and provides easy to understand information about how to assess construction and demolition waste streams, current trends in reuse and recycling C&D debris, as well as innovative trends in recycled products with potential markets. Interventions for local governments to promote C&D reuse and recycling are reviewed. Resources such as federal and state programs supporting C&D recycling, publications, and relevant associations are provided. A Best Practices Appendix, which can be downloaded separately, highlights how some communities have taken these concepts and used them to promote economic development through business creation and employment generation.

6. Greyfields: The New Horizons for Infill and Higher Density Regeneration (2004)
One central component of smart growth in many areas has been the redevelopment of potentially contaminated brownfields sites. Among those sites, one group of relatively large parcels of land has received less attention than deserved: greyfield sites. Greyfields are generally defined as obsolete shopping malls or commercial strips that are typical in many inner-suburban and urban neighborhoods. Unlike brownfields, typically greyfields are not routinely associated with environmental liability or cleanup costs. (Both these issues, however, may be relevant, especially for greyfields that housed service stations or dry cleaners.) Even without contamination, greyfields contribute to blight and are a visual signal of neighborhood deterioration. They tend to be located on busy roads and are, therefore, well suited for reuse. In fact, a major advantage of greyfields is their proximity to bus lines. In addition, greyfields tend to be large enough to support a variety of retail, commercial, and residential uses. This guide looks at greyfields as a special class of abandoned areas for which "best practices" in regeneration and re-densification efforts can be followed. Using land which has been used previously saves undeveloped land which is out farther from the urban core from development. Several barriers to reuse, such as typical local zoning and land use, are identified. Lessons from greyfields that are getting attention from developers and local governments are examined. These lessons can be applied to other sites and areas that are also prospects for more infill activity and higher density regeneration. Both infill (reusing previously developed land) and higher density regeneration (helping to revitalize urban cores) can be tools to prevent sprawl.

5. Dealing with Growth: Alternatives to Large Lot Zoning on the Urban Edge (2003)
Many rural governmental units and counties on the edge of urban areas are experiencing significant population growth. Often these areas have agricultural roots and are uncomfortable with this growth, or, at least, with the prospect of uncontrolled future growth. There is a pervasive myth that zoning for large lots can hold urbanization at bay in rural area which are near metropolitan centers. In addition, the myth is that zoning for large lots can reduce pressures for new, and often unfunded, infrastructure in rural areas which are feeling suburbanization pressures. One common approach to slowing the growth of population has been to use subdivision, land development, or zoning ordinances to set large minimum lot sizes for new development. The usual argument is that by setting the minimum size of the building lot at one, three, or even ten acres, the municipality will assure that the only growth which occurs will be of a high quality suburban or ex-urban (not quite rural and not quite suburban yet) nature. Practice Guide #5 reviews the evidence that large lot subdivisions, whether imposed by regulation or by preference, have unintended consequences of which the average municipal official is unaware. Such developments may lead to more rapid rural sprawl and actually contribute to the loss of productive farmland. Most importantly, these developments lead to higher taxes for the existing population due to the higher costs of providing infrastructure, such as emergency services, transportation, and even education. The Guide examines the current literature on the subject and presents a case against large lot sub-divisions in easily understandable terms. Alternative land use policies, such as clustering and designated growth areas, are suggested. These alternatives may generate the desired low overall density at a lower cost and with greater societal benefit, while not undermining developers’ capability to build new high quality housing.

4. Utilizing Environmental Insurance for Brownfield Redevelopment (2003)
Practice Guide #4 provides a briefing for state and local development officials to guide their deliberations about whether or not to pursue insurance coverage as part of their approach to reuse of brownfield sites. In the event that officials decide to pursue coverage, the Guide offers guidance on how to assure that the appropriate tools are obtained from the insurance industry. The environmental insurance industry has developed largely in response to the needs of private investors and their financiers, who wanted to manage the particular risks associated with the uncertainties inherent in brownfields redevelopment. While the use of insurance may be a cost-effective approach for public and public-private economic development organizations, the insurance industry had been oriented toward private firms and, therefore, had not developed products specifically for public uses. In the past, the insurance industry may not have been able to provide exactly what was needed for brownfields development. However, this is changing. Local and state government personnel need to understand the risk management potentials and pitfalls of environmental insurance, even if they are only doing deals with individual private developers and not designing state, municipal, or county risk transfer programs to stimulate brownfield reuse. The Guide reviews the major types of insurance and risk transfer that may be available and the different roles each can play in making it easier to redevelop brownfield sites. Next, it describes the stages of a brownfield redevelopment project and discusses specific coverages which could help move a project along at each step. Factors for individual projects that can affect cost and availability of coverages are addressed, as is the value that a risk transfer through insurance can provide. Current market trends in environmental insurance availability and the factors that might affect cost and availability in the future are covered. The Guide closes with information on how best to solicit and obtain the insurance advisory services (such as from a broker) needed to use the tools in a cost-effective manner. A glossary of insurance terms and a list of resource materials are provided.

3. Closing the Brownfield Information Gap: Some Practical Methods for Identifying Brownfields (2002)
Communities have had a difficult time determining the scope and breadth of their brownfield situation. Brownfields are properties which either are contaminated or are perceived as contaminated from past uses, such as gas stations or drycleaners or numerous other uses. There is often a lack of information, often due to property owner reluctance to reveal contamination potential because they fear liability problems. This creates a vicious cycle of fear and stigma which decreases chances for redevelopment. Developers and potential homeowners avoid properties and entire neighborhoods due to suspected but unknown contamination potential. This Guide presents a method for communities to address the brownfield information gap, allowing them to bypass individual property owner objections through a creative combination of existing formal and informal government records. Using assumptions based on the United States EPA’s official definition of a brownfield, environmental, land use, and property tax information can be collected on an individual property basis. This allows communities to develop a comprehensive brownfields profile that will help reduce the stigma effect of suspected brownfields and will further community-wide redevelopment efforts.

2. Managing Growth with Fairness: The Regulatory Takings Test of Smart Growth Policies (2002)
Controlling or managing urban sprawl is fast becoming the primary concern for local government and has captured the interest of residents, media, and elected officials. Residents are concerned with urban sprawl, fearing that if sprawl is left unchecked, quality of life will decrease. Communities address urban sprawl in many different ways, one of which is smart growth. Smart growth is the phrase most often used in the struggle to balance development pressures with quality of life concerns for residents. While government officials, developers, and residents accept the fact that growth issues must be addressed, many are concerned that smart growth policies could affect property owners’ rights by restricting their ability to use land to its fullest economic potential. The central issue raised by takings law and growth management regulation is one of fair distribution of private and public costs. Takings law, which states that private property shall not be taken for public use without fair compensation, is intended to protect private property owners. Growth management regulation, on the other hand, is intended to protect the public from excessive costs of cumulative private actions, such as unchecked urban sprawl. The intended effect of most land use controls and growth management efforts is to protect and increase the value of private property. This Guide offers a review of current Takings Law as it affects growth management and smart growth policies. Offering a state-by-state look at both takings and planning legislation, the Guide applies the regulatory takings test to the current growth situation in EPA Region IV and offers suggestions for how to develop land use policies that address both sprawl and regulatory fairness. The Guide is a tool for local governments within Region IV, including planners, but also planning commissioners and county officials, to increase familiarity with land use planning tools and takings law, especially in view of the often adversarial presentation of property rights and planning conflicts represented in the media.

1. Public Strategies for Cost Effective Community Brownfield Redevelopment (2002)
Brownfields, land that is either contaminated or perceived as having some sort of contamination, are an increasingly important focus for economic redevelopment. This Guide will assist economic development organizations, developers, and municipal agencies in understanding the brownfield development process. The Guide demystifies the tangle of legal, technical, and financial issues involved. Workable approaches for development are identified, as well as best practices which lead to successful projects.