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Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier

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“Top Five Healthiest Cities in The United States?” I find the title of this article an oximoron. There is nothing healthy about any city, thus no city is healthy, period.

In 2012, Hackbelt entered into contracts to sell a portion of its property to developers to develop a mixed-use project. Hackbelt then filed an application with the City to change its property's zoning designation from agricultural to a “Planned Development district for mixed-use.” Hackbelt's application proposed a development divided into three lots. Lot 1 was designated as a hotel space, Lot 2 ·was designated for residential dwellings, and Lot 3 was designated for commercial uses, such as restaurants and offices. The City's Planning and Zoning Commission denied Hackbelt's zoning request. Hackbelt appealed the decision to the City Council, which remanded the application to the planning and zoning commission after giving comments to Hackbelt. The City Council was concerned, inter alia, that the development looked like three separate projects rather than an integrated mixed-use development; that the project was not sufficiently accessible to pedestrians; that the development did not have adequate parking to accommodate its residents and visitors; and that, as drafted, the separate projects could be split up and might not all be completed, leaving the City with multifamily housing unconnected to the retail, office, and hotel uses the City Council envisioned for a dynamic mixed-use development. City Council members noted that they were looking for a more holistic design for a mixed-use development, incorporating the retail and commercial uses within the residential units.

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  • The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan

    Seattle is the most sustainable big city in the nation, according to a compiled by , an NRDC project that looks at the progress American cities are making toward going green. Not surprisingly, San Francisco and Portland are the runners-up.

    Because the City denied Hackbelt's zoning request, Hackbelt had to terminate the contracts it had made with developers, resulting in $235,000 in termination fees. Hackbelt filed suit in state court, claiming the City's denial of its application violated its state and federal rights to substantive due process and equal protection and constituted a regulatory taking under the state constitution. The City removed the action to federal court, where the district court granted summary judgment for the City on all claims. Hackbelt timely appealed.