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The Planning & Zoning Resource Company
1300 South Meridian Avenue, Suite 400, Oklahoma City, OK 73108
Call Toll-Free: (800) 344-2944
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Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes

Local authorities are always searching for ways to create communities that attract new businesses, create jobs and are great (safe, healthy) places for people to live and work. However, technology and consumer trends are changing very fast today. New businesses are being created, and for local authorities it is often overwhelming or impossible to keep up with evolving growth and changes. For such counties and cities zoning ordinances are old and get in the way of achieving these goals. Many jurisdictions do not have the resources nor expertise to make the necessary regulatory changes that will make their communities attractive for new businesses and people.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has created a model or a set of rules, which local counties can look at (as a starting point) Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes is intended to spark a conversation about the tools and information local governments need to revise their land development regulations. Here are the 11 points in the above mentioned guide:
  1. Allow or Require Mixed-Use Zones
  2. Use Urban Dimensions in Urban Places
  3. Rein In and Reform the Use of Planned Unit Developments
  4. Fix Parking Requirements
  5. Increase Density and Intensity in Centers
  6. Modernize Street Standards
  7. Enact Standards to Foster Walkable Places
  8. Designate and Support Preferred Growth Areas and Development Sites
  9. Use Green Infrastructure to Manage Stormwater
  10. Adopt Smart Annexation Policies
  11. Encourage Appropriate Development Densities on The Edge

1 | Allow or Require Mixed-Use Zones

Municipalities generally create zoning districts, which regulate what activities are permitted in different parts of the city. The most common are

  • Residence Districts(Single-family, Two-family and Multiple-family
  • District)
  • Office Residence Districts (Neighborhood Office, High Density Office, etc)
  • Commercial Districts
  • Downtown Districts
  • Industrial Districts
The report mentions that "This separation has made community development patterns inefficient, forcing residents to drive longer distances to get to their jobs, schools, shops, and services, which increases traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions." Mixed land use is a possible solution, which integrates offices, retail and residences so that vehicular trips can be minimized.
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The Planning & Zoning Resource Company
America's Leading Zoning Consultant
1300 South Meridian Avenue, Suite 400, Oklahoma City, OK 73108
Call Toll-Free: (800) 344-2944
Canada: (405) 840-4344 x4475
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