regulatory framework: overview » introduction

On its own, no single policy or program will address all of the challenges associated with creating a healthy, walkable neighborhood with a mix of uses and housing opportunities for families at all income levels. Other sections in this guide cover strategies to set the stage for sustainable and equitable development through land use policies and value capture mechanisms. This section describes a series of regulatory reforms that help to remove obstacles to the development of location-efficient affordable homes.

Click on the links below to learn more about tools to:

Allow mixed-use development as-of-right
"As-of-right" development may proceed without the need to gain additional approvals or zoning variances, helping to streamline processes for developers.

6 NorthReduce parking requirements
An over-generous supply of parking can make it more difficult to build on infill sites, provide on-site amenities, and deliver affordable homes.

Revise impact fee structures for infill development

Impact fees help to cover the cost of infrastructure required to serve new residents. Existing neighborhoods may already have adequate sewers, roadways, and public facilities to meet the projected demand.

Facilitate development with expedited permitting and review processes

The time and "soft costs" associated with permitting and reviewing processes can make it difficult for nonprofit and mission-drive developers to deliver affordable homes. Some communities expedite these processes for projects that meet certain criteria.

An additional regulatory reform -- increasing residential density in appropriate places and appropriate ways -- is covered in a separate section.

Revise Rehab Codes to Ease the Redevelopment Process

In addition to the strategies discussed in this section, local communities may wish to revisit the portion of the building code that addresses rehabilitation of older buildings. The requirements in the code may call for additional renovations that do not contribute substantially to resident safety but significantly increase costs, creating a disincentive to the restoration of modernization of existing structures. In some cases, restrictive rehab codes may result in the loss of existing affordable homes, as older properties are left to deteriorate and eventually become uninhabitable. With a balanced rehab code in place, however, local jurisdictions will be better-positioned to promote redevelopment in existing urban areas, including neighborhoods adjacent to public transit. Learn more about rehab codes.