When a city like St. George starts to attract attention, it can be challenging to manage demand and growth. For many cities, increased demand quickly leads to regret for allowing building projects to overshadow responsible land use.
A previous blog outlined some of the goals of St. George’s city leaders as they look toward 2040 and what the future can hold for St. George. As business owners and residents start to look at what it means to “grow responsibly,” it is time to look at the growth portion of the plan and how it will impact those who are planning to build in St. George.
Here’s a look at how the city’s leaders are defining responsible growth for the future of St. George.
Prioritzing water conservation
Water can be a challenge in Utah as a whole and St. George in particular. While the residents of St. George are not experiencing water shortages or quality issues, with a developing city, responsible water usage is essential.
The 2040 plan includes initiatives and incentives to help residents and business owners conserve water and treat sources responsibly. Currently, the plan also includes an education element to ensure that those who are looking to build in St. George understand the expectations and how to meet or exceed them.
Every city will have energy demands. As the city expands, those needs will increase. St. George is attempting a plan where the city is intentional about its increased needs to be more efficient.
As much as possible, the city is encouraging efforts to use renewable energy as much as possible. The 2040 plan also includes best practices and incentives for existing properties to increase energy efficiency.
There is also a 10-year master plan in place that intends to shift energy customers toward more renewable energy options. As of 2019, the city reduced its coal usage to 25 percent and wants to reduce that amount to zero by 2029.
Part of a growing city includes establishing housing for everyone. After all, the city cannot grow and thrive if no one can afford to live there.
St. George’s Moderate-Income Housing Plan includes a partnership with both public and private stakeholders to meet the city’s housing needs. The plan includes initiatives such as:
- Rezoning densities to create more attainable housing
- Modifying regulations in residential zones to meet needs
- Changing parking requirements to allow for residents who do not need parking
- Preserving low and moderate-income housing units
The St. George community can only continue growing if the city can meet the needs of many types of residents. Taking a holistic view of the needs of the city will allow people to stay and contribute to the development of the city.
Accessible commercial development
Developing a growing city must be done with care. Rather than focusing purely on the businesses of St. George, the 2040 plan promises to support both business and community so that every part of the city can feel successful.
The current plan includes an intentional approach to developing the city by allowing mixed-use properties and changes in the existing zones to allow for growth and development for both businesses and residents.
Intentional development means creating areas that are easy to access and bring people of the community together. Ideally, people can live, work and play in many areas of the city, allowing a supportive lifestyle among residents.
While it does not take much to create a space that people can use, when the city can take the time to design people-oriented spaces, they can cross the bridge from needing to use the space to wanting to use the space.
People-oriented neighborhoods mean prioritizing features, such as:
- Pedestrian access
- Street-facing development
- Usable open spaces
These people-oriented initiatives can support a city that people love to live in and that contributes to sustainable growth for the community.
Balancing growth and infrastructure
As they grow, cities often experience growing pains. While one area thrives, another area may struggle to support the needs of the people.
St. George’s plan includes finding ways to support every aspect of the city during its growth, including:
- Space for schools
- Low-impact food production
- Useful utilities for a growing population
- Transportation support, including public transit and trails
While there may still be areas that face challenges, having a plan in place will help city leaders know where to look for problems before challenges get out of hand.
Developing the future
St. George’s 2040 plan encompasses many areas of city development that can foster growth and a sustainable future for the city. As businesses and residents seek to build their future in St. George, they can create a community that establishes a positive lifestyle of growth and sustainability.