Density, Affordability, and Walkability through Smart Growth (40R)

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Angus Jennings, AICP
A.G. Jennings, LLC

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Density, Affordability, and Walkability through Smart Growth (40R)

  1. 1. Density, Affordability, and Walkability through Smart Growth Zoning (40R) in Massachusetts Angus Jennings, AICP Principal Source: Kevin Lynch, Image of the City
  2. 2. Learning from Julie Campoli’s “Made for Walking” “Many urban areas owe their revival to location. Given our car-based culture, it is difficult to create a truly walkable, human-scaled environment from scratch.. Greenfield sites, with their large, empty parcels, pose fewer restrictions. As space is allocated, the perceived demand for parking often trumps density and proximity.” Source: Julie Campoli, Made for Walking, Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, 2012
  3. 3. Downtown Maynard A “walkable” destination 1/4 mile 1/4 mile 1/3 mile
  4. 4. Incentive-based zoning • Structural and perpetuating housing affordability problem due to shortage of land appropriately zoned for higher density residential; supply lagging – and misplaced • Concept: economic incentives for communities to voluntarily adopt higher density zoning in smart growth locations • Creation of “zoned land” resulting in market-driven site selection among smart growth / incentive housing zones • Out-migration of young professionals was a driving concern leading to new legislation
  5. 5. Smart Growth Zoning: An Overview • Smart Growth Location • As-of-right permitting, subject to Design Standards • Infrastructure Certification (may be conditioned on agreed improvements) • State (DHCD) approval required before Town Meeting vote T
  6. 6. Smart Growth Zoning: An Overview • Smart Growth Location • As-of-right permitting, subject to Design Standards • Infrastructure Certification (may be conditioned on agreed improvements) • State (DHCD) approval required before Town Meeting vote
  7. 7. Smart Growth Zoning: An Overview • Smart Growth Location • As-of-right permitting, subject to Design Standards • Infrastructure Certification (may be conditioned on agreed improvements) • State (DHCD) approval required before Town Meeting vote
  8. 8. Smart Growth Zoning: An Overview • Smart Growth Location • As-of-right permitting, subject to Design Standards • Infrastructure Certification (may be conditioned on agreed improvements) • State (DHCD) approval required before Town Meeting vote
  9. 9. The Zoning Amendment process in Massachusetts relies upon a substantial public process to build consensus and achieve the required 2/3 vote.
  10. 10. Practical aspects: Tips for Scoping the Work • Key aspects of work: • Conceptual planning - consensus based vision for where we’re hoping to get • Mapping - district and sub- district boundaries • Density calculations • Zoning and Design Standards • Process to secure approval by DHCD • Infrastructure evaluation; planning for potential public improvements, including strategies for financing • Where applicable, execution of development agreements • Several successful Smart Growth Districts in Massachusetts have relied upon private investment for some or all of required steps
  11. 11. Recommendations for local zoning reform • Subdistricts: customize allowed uses, densities, design standards • Developable Area: Exclusion of drainage or road R.O.W. from developable area • Non-residential sub-districts • Proactive planning • Design drives regulation: Using design concepts, create excitement for project design before talking about the zoning itself. • Careful site selection
  12. 12. Recommendations for local zoning reform • Subdistricts: customize allowed uses, densities, design standards • Developable Area: Exclusion of drainage or road R.O.W. from developable area • Non-residential sub-districts • Proactive planning • Design drives regulation: Using design concepts, create excitement for project design before talking about the zoning itself. • Careful site selection
  13. 13. Recommendations for local zoning reform • Subdistricts: customize allowed uses, densities, design standards • Developable Area: Exclusion of drainage or road R.O.W. from developable area • Non-residential sub-districts • Proactive planning • Design drives regulation: Using design concepts, create excitement for project design before talking about the zoning itself. • Careful site selection
  14. 14. Recommendations for local zoning reform • Subdistricts: customize allowed uses, densities, design standards • Developable Area: Exclusion of drainage or road R.O.W. from developable area • Non-residential sub-districts • Proactive planning • Design drives regulation: Using design concepts, create excitement for project design before talking about the zoning itself. • Careful site selection Source: Russ Preston, Principle Places
  15. 15. Recommendations for local zoning reform • Subdistricts: customize allowed uses, densities, design standards • Developable Area: Exclusion of drainage or road R.O.W. from developable area • Non-residential sub-districts • Proactive planning • Design drives regulation: Using design concepts, create excitement for project design before talking about the zoning itself. • Careful site selection
  16. 16. Recommendations for local zoning reform • Subdistricts: customize allowed uses, densities, design standards • Developable Area: Exclusion of drainage or road R.O.W. from developable area • Non-residential sub-districts • Proactive planning • Design drives regulation: Using design concepts, create excitement for project design before talking about the zoning itself. • Careful site selection
  17. 17. Design Standards Flexible, but lock in key elements
  18. 18. Grassroots processes have - in many cases - led to local reforms. Day 1 opponents sometimes became advocates. Prime mover sometimes Town, sometimes landowner or developer, sometimes residents... Successful initiatives included a clear statement of policy intent, and regulations to achieve it.
  19. 19. Closing • Massachusetts Town Meeting voters have enacted Smart Growth Zoning - by a 2/3 vote - in many locations • Many more innovative zoning amendments intended to foster investment in village centers, through home rule, are also on the books • Local motivations range from proactive to strategic / defensive; but regardless of initial motivation, intent is to influence private investment patterns • Favorable zoning aligns a developer’s interest in predictability with the public interest of advancing a publicly endorsed vision for the future Angus Jennings, AICP Principal 128 Belknap Street, Concord, MA www.agjennings.com agjennings@icloud.com

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