Madison County was announced as 1 of only 5 places in the country selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in March 2012 for the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program, worth $65,000. Through this program, EPA provides technical assistance from private-sector experts to help communities find the best tools and resources to plan for growth in ways that sustain environmental and economic progress and create a high quality of life.
Specifically, the grant was used to fund the development of a Smart Growth Audit Tool to provide rural local governments with well-informed recommendations to update codes and policies used in both comprehensive planning and land use ordinances.
As part of the technical assistance, the U.S. EPA and chosen consultant, Renaissance Planning Group, came to Madison County for a three day site visit, from February 25 to 27 2013, to pilot the draft version of the Smart Growth Audit Tool in three communities:
Over the course of the site visit, the team met with Town Supervisors, Mayors, Planning and Zoning Board members from these communities to run their codes, design guidelines, and comprehensive plans through the Smart Growth Audit Tool. This feedback was used to finalize the audit tool.