Require state facilities to be located within designated growth areas and downtowns
It is important for states to lead by example. One way of doing this is for the Governor to establish a policy that requires all state offices to be located within existing and designated growth areas, such as downtowns, main street areas, and transit oriented developments, unless there is a justifiable reason for an exception. By locating state offices — both owned and leased — in existing and designated growth centers, or by not moving them out of those locations to begin with, the Governor can send a powerful signal about the importance of in-town locations and contribute to the resurgence of existing communities. Locating state offices within existing communities creates jobs, increases street activity, supports local businesses and can create a demand for in-town living. State investments in existing communities often trigger additional public and private investment.
ProcessThe Governor could issue an executive order or convince the legislature to pass legislation establishing requirements and guidelines for the location of state facilities. These guidelines should:
- define which types of properties need to be included (because of their function, some state facilities may need to be excluded);
- identify areas where buildings should be sited (i.e., in downtowns, urban areas, town or community centers, areas with diverse transportation options, within a street network that supports walking and is safe for pedestrians, areas targeted by local/regional/or state plans for higher density or mixed-use development); and
- include language that allows for the siting of facilities in targeted areas that lack pedestrian infrastructure and transportation options, if it is determined that putting the facilities there would accelerate the full development of that area consistent with smart growth goals or policies.
Once established, guidelines should be integrated into the site selection process, including the evaluation of potential sites.
- Oregon's Facility Siting Policy
In 1994, Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts issued Executive Order 94-07, "Siting State Offices in Oregon's Community Centers." To implement the order, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services developed a facility siting policy manual. The Department of Administrative services maps areas of the state that meet location criteria established under the executive order, including locations that are highly accessible by multiple travel modes, pedestrian friendly, have high-quality transit service, and are designated as urban centers by local or regional plans. These locations receive priority in siting decisions.
— Oregon's Facility Siting Policy Manual
- Pennsylvania's Downtown Location Law
Pennsylvania's Downtown Location Law was passed in 2000. Under guidelines that implement the law, state agencies are required to consider downtown location as a factor in location decisions. They are encouraged to consider rehabilitation or reuse of existing structures or new construction on available land in existing downtowns when making facility decisions.
— Pennsylvania's Downtown Location Law