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Monday, December 12, 2016

West Texas Small Towns



Pecos and Marfa

Pecos is located between Dallas and El Paso. It is renowned for its cantaloupes, historic heritage and Texas Folk Hero Pecos Bill. The town’s main attraction is its rodeo, the world’s first and a yearly event.




Marfa is a well-known art community in the West Texas desert. Art installations are by Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, among others as well as modern art galleries and fine dining. At night, visitors can view the “Marfa Lights,” a natural phenomenon. Marfa has several hotels, but some visitors preferring the quaint bohemian El Cosmico trailer park.






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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Streams Lakes Rivers and Tidal Waters Quality Planning



Your Community Water Quality Plan should list all of the waters significant enough to have a name and their quality condition expressed as: 
Excellent waters are fit for all human uses and can support sensitive fish and other aquatic creatures; 
Good waters can support a high number of game fish but not highly-sensitive organisms;
Fair waters support few game fish and are not suitable for swimming;
Poor quality waters support only the most pollution-tolerant organisms. 
Quality Considerations are based on Fish and other Biological Samplings
Watershed Land Use can be related to quality issues such as: forest covered watersheds are usually of excellent quality; a mix of forest and farms with good soil-water conservation practices produces good quality waters; a mix of farms, forest and suburban development yields fair quality waters; intense suburban-urban development usually results in poor water quality.

Watershed Percentage covered by buildings, streets, parking lots and other impervious surfaces also relates to aquatic resource quality as: excellent less than 5% impervious area; good less than 10% impervious area; fair less than 15% impervious area; and poor greater than 15% impervious area.
In addition to current quality, your plan should show how the health of named streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and tidal waters will change with anticipated growth. This can be determined by estimating how watershed impervious area changes with future growth.
Development Driven Aquatic Resource Damage can be prevented if the runoff from all new impervious surfaces drains with effective best management practices BMP. Waters degraded by past development can be restored if existing impervious areas are redeveloped with highly effective BMPs. The plan should describe the steps taken to ensure that all future development will fully utilize these highly-effective BMPs or explain why not. It must also set forth actions that restore fair or poor quality waters to a good condition.
Actions may include: retrofitting existing impervious surfaces with highly-effective BMPs, upgrading wastewater treatment plants and fixing sewers prone to overflows.  Only after these three steps are taken should in-stream restoration or tree planting be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions does the plan provide:
criteria for assessing the impact of past and anticipated growth
current quality of all named waters within the planning area
the quality of all named waters with anticipated growth
recommended actions for poor or fair quality waters in terms of:
restoring the waters to a good condition and the factual basis for the effectiveness of each action
the quality of named waters with anticipated growth
If all named waters are of good to excellent quality both presently and with anticipated growth then the score for this quality of life factor is 5 or A.
A New Plan for Your Area if your current plan is about to expire or rates poorly based on the Quality of Life Growth Management system, we can assist you in carrying out the outlined steps and/or conduct a community workshop and assist you in formulating a planning strategy for your community.




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Saturday, November 12, 2016

School Planning Solutions for Your Community



Design Capacity is a formula to determine the number of students that can be accommodated in a school. For example, in states like Maryland, Kindergarten classrooms have a design capacity of 22 pupils and 23 for Grade 1 to 5 students. In North Carolina, the focus is on class size; state policy calls for no more than 17 second or third grade students per teacher. 
The Education Commission of the 50 States provides state-by-state comparisons of teacher-student ratios and other school variables.  For grading a plan purposes, reference will be made to either the enrollment-capacity ratio or the teacher-student ratio as Percent Utilization
Exceeding 100% Utilization is Overcrowding
Your School Plan shows present and future Percent Utilization of all public schools.  While exceeding the ratios by a few percentage points does not necessarily mean that education quality will decline, a continued rise in overcrowding can only make it more likely. 
A New Plan for Your Area if your current plan is about to expire or rates poorly based on the Quality of Life Growth Management system, we can assist you in carrying out the outlined steps and/or conduct a community workshop and assist you in formulating a planning strategy for your community.
School Overcrowding Solutions options include existing school buildings expansion, new school construction, magnet programs and incentives to attract students to schools with excess capacity. More extreme solutions include temporary portable classrooms, a moratorium on adding students to already excessively crowded schools and redistricting.
Suggested Criteria student enrollment as a percent of school capacity; or teacher-student ratios that compare with established standards or regional and statewide norms.
Frequently Asked Questions does your plan have
criteria for assessing the impact of past and anticipated growth;
current percent utilization for each public school in the planning area;
anticipated growth percent utilization for each school.
For schools projecting greater than 100 percent utilization, what are your recommendations for resolving overcrowding backed by the research confirming the effectiveness of each action.
A Quality of Life factor of 5 or A is scored if all your public schools are at or below 100 percent utilization presently and with anticipated growth.
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