New Report on Climate Change

River with bridge in fallThe Institute for Public Administration, with financial assistance from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, recently completed work with the City of Milford, Delaware to create a new “climate-conscious” comprehensive development plan that considers climate change impacts (sea level rise, flooding, higher temperatures) and recommends appropriate strategies to reduce vulnerability, build community resiliency, and enhance long-term sustainability.

This project represents the first time a Delaware municipality has fully assessed and integrated climate impacts into its comprehensive development plan. Following the work with Milford, IPA’s project team produced a report to communicate to local decision makers, urban planners, and concerned citizens the strategies and methods used in Milford’s planning process.

All Delaware municipalities are vulnerable to climate impacts, and the example set in Milford provides a model for other towns and cities to follow as they seek to adapt to a changing climate. Read the report here.

Upcoming Events in IPA’s Planning Education Training Program

Delaware’s municipalities are increasingly being asked to focus much of their attention on the state’s expected new growth and development. Municipalities must make difficult decisions that can have long-lasting impacts on the community’s character, economy, and quality.

The Delaware Planning Education Program is a voluntary certificate program comprising an organized series of educational courses designed to meet the responsibilities of municipalities as partners in planning Delaware’s future. The program is offered in partnership with the Office of State Planning Coordination and the Delaware Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Advanced Land-Use and Development Administration

“Planning 203” is a new hands-on course designed to provide participants with table-top exercises to build their skills for administering and interpreting land-use regulations.

March 24, 2017 | 9 a.m. to noon | University of Delaware Paradee Center | Dover, Del.
Cost: $50 | Instructors: Linda Raab, AICP, and Ann Marie Townshend, AICP

Register now | download workshop flyerPDF icon | Registration deadline: March 23

Developing Your Strategy for Economic Development

Whether a formal report adopted by council or a back-of-the-envelope exercise worked out on-the-fly, an economic development strategy can work to guide municipal decision-making and encourage private investment in your community. “Planning 213” is a new session that advances concepts and principles for scoping, developing, and implementing your community’s economic development strategy.

April 28, 2017 | 9 a.m. to noon | University of Delaware Paradee Center | Dover, Del.
Cost: $50 | Instructors: Troy Mix, AICP; Maureen Feeney Roser; and Ann Marie Townshend, AICP

Register now | download workshop flyerPDF icon | Registration deadline: April 27

Creating a Flood Ready Community

This popular course returns for the fourth year. “Planning 201” reviews the multiple sources of flood risks to Delaware communities that can be addressed and mitigated through planning, codes, and ordinances. It covers floodplain requirements for municipalities and tools for adapting to flood risk. Sources of funding and technical assistance will also be presented. Catered lunch and networking session will immediately follow the training, from noon–1 p.m.

May 19, 2017 | 9 a.m. to noon | University of Delaware Paradee Center | Dover, Del.
Cost: $50 | Instructors: Phil Barnes, PhD; Danielle Swallow; and Greg Williams

Register now | download workshop flyerPDF icon | Registration deadline: May 18

A limited number of registration fee waivers are available for municipal officials, based on financial need. Fees will be covered by the Delaware Coastal Training Program. To request a fee waiver, please email Kelly Valencik, Coastal Training Program Coordinator at kelly.valencik@state.de.us.

Highlights from the Downtown Development Districts Program

Enacted by the Delaware General Assembly in 2014, the purposes of the Downtown Development Districts Act (the Act), are to:

  • Spur private capital investments in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods;
  • Stimulate job growth and improve the commercial vitality of districts and neighborhoods;
  • Help build a stable community of long-term residents by improving housing opportunities; and,
  • Assist municipalities in strengthening neighborhoods while harnessing the attraction that vibrant downtowns hold for talented people, innovative small businesses, and residents from all walks of life.

Local governments can take advantage of the program by identifying an area in their downtowns as being desirable for revitalization and then developing a district plan and incentives to support revitalization of the area in accordance with the goals of the Act. The application process for designation as a Downtown Development District (DDD or District) is facilitated by the Office of State Planning Coordination. The applications are then evaluated by the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues according to three criteria, as specified in the Act: the need and impact (50%), the quality of the district plan (30%), and the local incentives (20%). The Cabinet Committee then makes recommendations to the Governor who makes the final designation. According to the legislation, the number of districts is limited to 15 at any one time. So far, there are a total of eight designated Districts.

Three DDDs were designated in January 2015, including:

  • City of Dover
  • City of Seaford
  • City of Wilmington

Three DDDs were designated in August 2016, including:

  • Town of Georgetown
  • City of Harrington
  • Town of Laurel
  • City of Milford
  • City of Smyrna

For additional information on the DDD program, including District Plans and Maps for each of the designated Districts, please visit the Office of State Planning website.

Check out this GIS Story Map, which highlights the first year of the DDD program and benefits.

GIS Story Map and http://arcg.is/208FjmV

Benefits of Downtown Development Districts

The Downtown Development Districts Program seeks to revitalize the downtown “Central Business District” in selected city, town, and county areas through the use of economic incentives.

Downtown Development Districts aim to spur capital investments, stimulate job growth and improve commercial vitality, improve housing opportunities, and strengthen neighborhoods. The Delaware Annual Report on Downtown Development Districts is available on the Delaware State Housing Authority’s website.

Visit the Downtown Development Districts section of the toolbox to learn more about how these districts align with complete-community planning principles.

Story Map Development

This story map is produced as part of the Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox with funding support from the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center-Region 3 University Transportation Center.

The story map was developed by Savannah Edwards, Public Administration Fellow, University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration (IPA) under the direction of IPA Policy Scientist Marcia Scott.

Special thanks to Connie Holland (Office of State Planning Coordination, OSPC), David Edgell (OSPC), Miriam Pomilio (OSPC), and Karen Horton (Delaware State Housing Authority) for featured content and assistance.

How to Utilize Story Maps in Your Community

Visit the GIS Story Maps section of the toolbox to learn more about how you can use this tool to promote local government initiatives to support market-ready (re)development in your community.

Contact IPA’s GIS Specialist Nicole Minni, at nminni@udel.edu, to obtain information on contracting her services to develop story maps.

 

Creating ADA-Accessible Communities

This video, entitled Creating ADA-Accessible Communities, highlights Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility issues within pedestrian environments. The video features DelDOT ADA Title II Coordinator John McNeal using a Go-Pro camera to record, from his perspective, common ADA challenges navigating pedestrian facilities in an urban setting.

Under ADA Title II, public entities (including state and local governments) are required to ensure accessible design, construction, and maintenance of all transportation projects—including pedestrian facilities. Pedestrian facilities include public sidewalks, shared-use paths, curb ramps, crosswalks, pedestrian islands, pedestrian signals, transit stops, and other pedestrian features within the public right-of-way. However, persons with disabilities often face accessibility barriers caused by physical obstructions, improper design, or insufficient maintenance of pedestrian infrastructure.

Jurisdictions must address these issues to ensure that access for persons with disabilities is provided wherever a pedestrian facility is newly built or altered. To comply with ADA, the same degree of convenience, connection, and safety afforded the public must also be available to pedestrians with disabilities. Ultimately, pedestrian facilities must be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

For more information on ADA Title II requirements, the role of local governments, and steps to achieve compliance, please visit the ADA section of the toolbox.

Highlights from the Downtown Development Districts Program

On June 27, Governor Jack Markell and the Delaware State Housing Authority announced  that Wilmington, Dover, and Seaford will receive $4.5 million in grant funding for 11 downtown revitalization projects at part of Delaware’s Downtown Development Districts program.

Check out this GIS Story Map, which highlights the history and success of the program thus far.

Screen shot of GIS Story Map featuring Downtown Development Districts

Benefits of Downtown Development Districts

The Downtown Development Districts Program seeks to revitalize the downtown “Central Business District” in selected city, town, and county areas through the use of economic incentives.

Downtown Development Districts aim to spur capital investments, stimulate job growth and improve commercial vitality, improve housing opportunities, and strengthen neighborhoods. The Delaware Annual Report on Downtown Development Districts is available on the Delaware State Housing Authority’s website.

Visit the Downtown Development Districts section of the toolbox to learn more about how these districts align with complete-community planning principles.

Story Map Development

This story map is produced as part of the Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox with funding support from the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability Center-Region 3 University Transportation Center.

The story map was developed by Savannah Edwards, Public Administration Fellow, University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration (IPA) under the direction of IPA Policy Scientist Marcia Scott.

Special thanks to Connie Holland (Office of State Planning Coordination, OSPC), David Edgell (OSPC), Miriam Pomilio (OSPC), and Karen Horton (Delaware State Housing Authority) for featured content and assistance.

How to Utilize Story Maps in Your Community

Visit the GIS Story Maps section of the toolbox to learn more about how you can use this tool to promote local government initiatives to support market-ready (re)development in your community.

Contact IPA’s GIS Specialist Nicole Minni, at nminni@udel.edu, to obtain information on contracting her services to develop story maps.

Searchable List of Funding Resources for Community Resiliency

Screenshot of the Delaware Database for Funding Resilient CommunitiesThe Institute for Public Administration (IPA) at the University of Delaware, with support from Delaware Coastal Programs, conducted an extensive search of financial assistance programs that support the implementation of resiliency-building plans and projects in Delaware and compiled the findings into an accessible and intuitive online searchable database. While planning and technical assistance programs were identified and included, IPA’s search prioritized financial assistance programs that support the implementation of high-cost activities such as infrastructure improvements, facility retrofitting, construction, and land acquisition.

Use the sorting feature to quickly and easily filter programs by four categories:

  • Type of assistance offered (grant, loan, etc.)
  • Project scope (land acquisition, energy efficiency retrofits, etc.)
  • Amount of financial assistance available
  • Whether or not matching funds are required

After making these selections, a list of search results will appear. Then click on the program title to reveal more in-depth information.

Visit www.sppa.udel.edu/research-public-service/ddfrc to utilize the database.

“States throughout [the Mid-Atlantic region] should view this effort in Delaware as a best practice and look for opportunities to form partnerships and compile resources for resiliency projects that are specific for their states,” officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in their winter 2017 resilience report on innovative strategies to improve community resiliency for the Mid-Atlantic region.

“Navigating the abundance of grant programs can be challenging, and many communities may be unaware of every program available to them,” wrote FEMA in the report. “This user-friendly web tool inventories resources that support resilient community development, including funding programs for disaster preparedness, disaster recovery, education, planning, property acquisition, stormwater management, and storm-proofing projects.”


This project was prepared for the Delaware Coastal Management Program using federal funds under award NA14NOS4190123 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NOAA or the DOC.

How bikeable is your community?

Use the newly developed Low-Stress Bicycling Assessment Tool to find out!

Planning for Complete Communities in Delaware: The Low-Stress Bikeability Assessment Tool  is a resource for Delaware local governments that are considering ways to improve the low-stress bikeability for areas within their community. It is designed to guide local governments in evaluating the extent to which average bicycle riders can easily access low-stress areas, and in developing strategies to leverage state investments to improve local cycling networks and bicycle infrastructure. The Low-Stress Bicycling Assessment Tool should be used in combination with DelDOT’s maps to help communities target high-priority locations to plan for infrastructure improvements, bridge network connectivity gaps, and enhance low-stress conditions for the average bicyclist.

Learn more about low-stress cycling and how to use the assessment in this new section of the Toolbox.

 

Three Steps Toward a Flood-Ready Community

Delaware Local Government Planning Framework: Flood-Ready Communities

Resilient communities leverage the strengths and capacities of individuals, families, businesses, schools, and hospitals to “bounce back” after flood events, rather than merely react to impacts.

The new “Flood-Ready Communities” section of the Toolbox provides for a planning framework to equip Delaware communities with the tools necessary to transform communities into flood-ready, resilient places.

This topic area highlights a process and tools for Delaware communities to evaluate risks, plan to adapt, and execute actions to address the impacts of flooding.

This section also features a GIS StoryMap showcasing “freeboard” as a tool to achieve a sustainable and resilient community. When adopted as part of a floodplain management strategy, freeboard can create flood-ready communities that are prepared to protect and preserve properties and lives.

Visit the new “Flood-Ready Communities” section of the Toolbox today!

Get Started with the Toolbox: Watch These Videos

The Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox is growing! If you’re not sure where to start, watch these two videos for an overview of Complete Communities planning approaches and how to navigate the toolbox.

Introduction to the Complete Communities Planning Toolbox

This video provides an overview of the Planning for Complete Communities in Delaware project. It explains the five elements of a complete community and how Delaware local governments may use this framework and resources within the online Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox to create attractive, inclusive, efficient, healthy, & resilient places.

Navigating the Complete Communities Toolbox

This video briefly describes how to best utilize the Toolbox to discover complete communities planning approaches, community design tools, and public engagement strategies. Navigate through the toolbox to explore documents, images, presentations, and videos that aim to define the core concepts and describe the benefits of complete communities.