Category Housing and Urban Development


Подпись: Lacey, Washington Подпись: Portland, OregonEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSTypical parking areas in Lacey are built on a 6-inch subbase and a 2- inch crushed stone base. After conducting soil-bearing tests, the developer of The Park requested and received approval to construct parking areas with a 2-inch crushed stone base and a 2-inch asphalt cover.

Lacey standards also require concrete wheel stops to be located 2 feet in front of an asphalt curb. At The Park, the city approved use of wheel stops without curbs, thereby elimi­nating the need for 4,936 linear feet of curbing.

These modifications resulted in cost savings of $38,000, or $215 per unit.

Black Bull Enterprises, builder/developer of North Meadow Village, received permission to install parking bays along streets in lieu of driveways, thereby saving land that would have been required for full driveways.

At Lynton Place, the John Crosland Company revised their original cul – de-sac plans to provide off-street visitor parking in the center of the paved area.

Подпись: White Marsh, MarylandEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSThe developer of Lawrence Hill clustered homes in groups of four or five with common off-street parking provided for each cluster. This not only reduced the parking load on the street, but also enhanced the develop­ment’s aesthetics, provided large rear yards, and enabled existing trees to be saved.


Automobile parking poses a significant land use problem in subdivision planning. In the recent past, common practice provided for wide local streets, often capable of accommodating a row of parked cars on each side in addition to two lanes of moving traffic. Such parking space has often been provided where there are also private driveways and other off-street parking that can accommodate several cars. Good planning can reduce this heavy commitment of land to parking without sacrificing adequate accommodation of vehicles.

Following are guidelines for parking:

• Provide off-street parking areas whenever possible.

• Use common driveways. ‘

• Design paving thickness to meet actual parking load requirements rather than to general standards.

• Eliminate curbs and gutters in parking areas.

• If curbs must be built, use roll curbs or other alternatives to standard requirements.

• If street parking must be used, limit such parking to one side of the street.

• Use unpaved shoulders for parking to reduce road pavement width.

• Consider traditionally unused space, such as in a cul-de-sac or court, for parking.

Подпись: Off-Street ParkingPARKINGReduction of street width reduces both the direct costs of street construction and maintenance, and the indirect cost of unnecessary land use. Elimination of one or both parking lanes along as many streets as possible through off-street parking makes a major contribution to the achievement of these savings.

Off-street parking can be accom­modated by various types of common parking areas. Townhouses or clusters lend themselves well to these solutions.

Common off-street parking



Detached units can often share a driveway, eliminating additional curb cuts and their associated costs. The necessary width of a common driveway may vary according to the number of units being served, but should generally be no wider than the usual width of a single driveway.

Подпись: ConstructionTwo significant variables in the construction cost of parking areas are pavement thickness and require­ments for curbs and gutters. Although local requirements for pavement design and curb and gutter construction usually do not apply to private driveways, many do apply to common parking areas. ‘

Pavement thickness should be based on anticipated usage, both with regard to volume and to loadings. Standards that apply to roads and highways are rarely appropriate for residential parking areas.

Typical community standards for residential parking areas specify a minimum base of 4 to 6 inches. However, a 2-inch base of crushed stone is frequently adequate. As is discussed in the section on Streets, the nature and condition of the subsoil must be considered.

Another factor is the question of whether the parking area will be used by heavy vehicles, notably trash trucks. Placement of trash dumpsters and routes for heavier vehicles can be planned to minimize the amount of pavement that such vehicles will traverse, and that must be strength­ened to accommodate them.

Curbs and gutters can be eliminated in parking areas; stormwater can be diverted and drained off by sheet flows and swales. Where curb and gutter requirements exist, relatively inexpensive approaches such as roll curbs, extruded asphalt curbs, wheel stops, and integral curbs and sidewalks can be considered in place of more costly approaches. More detailed information is provided in the sections on Curbs and Gutters, and Stormwater Drainage.


Подпись: On-Street ParkingWhere it is not practical to accom­modate part or all of residential parking by off-street facilities, the street must be used. However, the need for street parking must be evaluated on an individual basis. Consideration shpuld be given to confining such parking to one side or to parking on road shoulders, reducing street pavement width.

The center of a court or bulb cul-de – sac can accommodate additional parking without increasing street dimensions. A cjuick and relatively simple method is to "stripe” or paint additional parking spaces in the center of the bulb.


Подпись: Knox County, TennesseeAt Woodpointe, the Knoxville/ Knox County Planning Commission approved modifications in right-of-way, road width, and road construction require­ments, as follows:

• The right-of-way width requirement was reduced from 50 feet to 35 feet on streets leading into cul-de – sacs, and from 50 feet to 30 feet on other streets.

• The street width requirement was reduced from 26 feet to 22 feet, with a further reduction to 20 feet on deadend streets where there was no possibility of future extension.

• The thickness requirement for the base layer of the roadway was reduced from 8 inches to 6 inches crushed stone, and the surface coarse was reduced from 2 inches to 11/4 inches.

Woodpointe employed two approaches to reducing the costs associated with traditional cul-de-sac construction.

In the first approach, cul-de-sac radius was reduced from 40 feet to 30 feet resulting in savings of 2,199 square feet of pavement and buildable land, or nearly half an additional lot per cul-de-sac. In the second approach, cul-de-sacs were replaced by island turnarounds with a 16-foot pavement width surrounding a 14-foot diameter island.

Costs for clearing and grading were reduced $13,267 due to reduction in ROW widths. Total savings in street construction at Woodpointe amounted to $38,267, or $705 per lot.

Comparison of right-of-way

Everett, At Sunridge, the city of Everett Washington permitted 60-foot and 50-foot right – of-way requirements to be reduced to 26 feet and 24 feet respectively.

The reduction from 60 feet to 26 feet increased the amount of available land by 3,400 square feet per 100 linear feet of street. Since the minimum lot size was 4,500 square feet, an additional lot could be gained for every 133 linear feet of 26-foot wide street.

In Woodland Hills, streets are privately owned and maintained by a homeown­ers’ association. In exchange for being relieved of street construction and maintenance cost, the city agreed to the following reductions in required widths for rights-of-way and streets:

Подпись: Oklahoma City, OklahomaEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSПодпись: Lacey, WashingtonCollector loops: Rights-of-way were reduced from 60 feet to 40 feet, and street widths were reduced from 32 feet to 24 feet.

• Side streets: Rights-of-way were reduced from 50 feet to 30 feet, and street widths were reduced from 26 feet to 18 feet.

The reduction in right-of-way require­ments added three acres of available land for building. An additional 29 lots were created from this design.

Standard street construction in Lacey involves a 6-inch subbase layer, a 2- inch crushed stone layer, and a 2-inch asphalt surface. Phillips Homes conducted soil bearing tests through­out the site of The Park. On the basis of the results of these tests and analysis of anticipated traffic, the city agreed to street construction that involved only 2 inches of crushed stone and a 2-inch asphalt surface. A cross section comparison of the standard Lacey street and streets in The Park, is shown earlier. Elimina­tion of the 6-inch subbase layer saved $74,820, or $425 per unit.

At Lakeview Meadow, the city of Boise permitted installation of 28-foot wide T-turnarounds in place of three 90-foot diameter cul-de-sacs. This saved 8,586 square feet of paving.

Подпись: Boise, IdahoПодпись: Lakeview Meadow turnaround Подпись:After construction was completed, tests of ingress and egress by city fire trucks were conducted. The equipment performed in the T-turnarounds to the satisfaction of the city’s fire officials.


Pavement width was also reduced in: Phoenix, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Christian County, Kentucky; Crittenden County, Arkansas; Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; White Marsh, Maryland; and Greensboro, North Carolina.

Rights-of-way were reduced in Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina.


Streets are an integral part of neighborhoods, and must be designed to provide adequate access to individual lots with minimal interference in the daily lives of residents. Wide pavements and rights-of-way occupy land which could be used to increase housing density or as open space. Following are guidelines for local streets:

• Limit right-of-way widths to the minimum necessary for street construction and maintenance.

• Use easements rather than rights-of-way for sidewalks and utilities.

• Design streets for their anticipated use.

• Coordinate street widths with the number of travel lanes and amount of parking necessary.

• Reduce pavement thickness, where possible, to match structural design with actual performance needs of subdivision streets.

• Reduce the traditional radius requirements for "bulb" cul-de-sacs, or substitute hammerheads, T-turnarounds, and islands.

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Typical right-of-way

Подпись: Rights-of-Way and EasementsRights-of-way are publicly-owned land on which streets, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters are built, and which often accommodate utilities such as water, sewer, and electrical service. The government body that owns the right – of-way grants the right of use and passage to the public, or to designated parties such as utilities, under conditions specified by the govern­ment. Right-of-way land is not on the property tax rolls and generates no tax income.

Easements are rights of passage and/or use on property that remains in private ownership. In residential situations, the owners of easement land are homeowners, and the holder of the easements is the utility company or municipality. The municipality prescribes types and conditions of use of easements, as it does for rights-of-way. The satne access to utilities is available as when utilities are installed in rights – of-way. Easement land is taxable.

STREETSПодпись: Advantages of Easement UsageUse of easements as an alternative to rights-of-way provides benefits to each of the parties involved in residential development.

The municipality gains:

• Additional land on the tax rolls

• Reduction in land for which it has responsibility of maintenance

The builder gains:

• More land to sell

• Increased design flexibility

The homeowner gains:

• More usable land

• Lower home costs

Jurisdictions routinely specify a minimum right-of-way width of 50 feet or greater, which comprises sufficient width for a roadway 30 to 36 feet wide, with broad margins for sidewalks and utilities. Such specifications reflect a past era of lower land values. In today’s environment, they should be subjected to rigorous review to reduce housing costs.

Подпись: Right-of-Way Width The basic facility that must be accommodated by a right-of-way is the roadway with its associated shoulders, curbs, and gutters. As discussed below, traditional designs often resulted in streets much wider than were necessary. This was done for two reasons:

• Detailed planning to relate road width to reasonable anticipated usage was usually not carried out.

• Substantial road capacity was routinely built to allow for unevaluated possibilities of "future growth."

The first step in reducing right-of-way width is substituting detailed traffic analysis and planning for general guidelines, and applying this planning to the width of residential roadways and connecting streets.


Street without sidewalks


Sidewalks located outside right-of-way

Other uses of rights-of-way, including sidewalks, placement of utilities, snow storage space, and planting strips, should be evaluated. One alternative is to accommodate uses other than roads with easements. If easements cannot be used for such applications, right-of-way requirements for them often can be reduced, as discussed in ensuing sections.

Several configurations are illustrated with different ROW limits. Each varies according to the pavement width, the sidewalk placement, utility strips, and other related items.

Подпись: Street DesignState highway standards often serve as a basis for local street standards. However, traffic characteristics, _ construction and maintenance require­ments, and performance needs of residential streets differ from those of highways. Reductions in cost and in land use can be achieved by

designing residential streets so as not to exceed these characteristics, requirements, and needs. This will often involve departure from es­tablished criteria and practices which are based on broad application of general rules rather than individual analysis.

Подпись: Pavement Width Local construction standards often specify a minimum pavement width of 30 to 36 feet, an excessive amount of space for most residential streets. Depending on such factors as speed limit, parking requirements, and lane width, street pavement widths can be reduced to as narrow as 18 feet.

Such narrower streets will effectively and safely accommodate the relatively low speed limits appropriate for subdivisions.

The number of lanes and their width are the primary factors upon which pavement width should be based. Eight feet is usually adequate for parking lanes, with moving lanes requiring 8 to 10 feet depending on individual conditions. Guidelines


published jointly by the National Association of Home Builders, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Urban Land Institute state that a street width of 24 feet is adequate for two parking lanes and one moving lane. On low volume, low speed streets typical in a residential neighborhood, it is not necessary to provide two unobstructed moving lanes. If two cars are parked directly across from each other, there is usually room for one moving vehicle to pull over and let the other pass. This is a minor inconvenience on a residential street and is outweighed by the savings in land, construction, and maintenance costs.

Pavement widths can be narrowed further by eliminating one or both parking lanes. Rural streets and collector streets that do not provide direct access to homes are not used for parking and do not require a pavement width greater than that which will allow two cars to pass. Pavement widths of 18 to 20 feet are adequate for such roads.

Подпись: LoopsLoop streets can reduce costs, especially if designed for one-way’ traffic. A 16- to 18-foot pavement on

a one-way loop will accommodate both moving traffic and a lane of parked cars, as illustrated.

The one-way loop provides two points of ingress and egress for fire equip­ment and other emergency vehicles.

Construction of a safe, durable roadway is a function of traffic volume, of the weight of vehicles expected to use the roadway, and of underlying soil conditions.

State highway departments generally prescribe minimum standards for state roads regarding the thickness of pavements and construction materials and methods. These standards are for roads that will ordinarily carry heavier vehicles and more traffic than expected on subdivision streets. However, many municipalities and local governments adopt standards for subdivision streets that reflect those for state roads. Significant cost savings can be realized by substituting analysis of the actual functional requirements of subdivision streets.

A minimum thickness of 8 to 12 inches for the base layer of crushed stone aggregate, or other material underlying the paved road surface, is not an uncommon requirement for residential streets. Consideration can be given to reducing the thickness of the base layer to match actual functional requirements, as was done in the Lacey, Washington, affordable housing project, as shown.

Подпись: Intermediate Asphalt Applications and Surface CoursesSTREETS
Local aggregates for the base layer are often available at lower cost than typical crushed stone bases. Such materials should be used when possible. ‘

Intermediate asphalt applications, usually a carry-over from highway construction practices, can be elimi­nated from most subdivision street designs. Because the major contribu­tion to pavement stability is provided by the underlying base layer and subgrade, a single 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch surface course, depending on the size of the aggregate in the asphalt, is usually adequate.

Подпись: Cul-de-sac 3ulb shaped cul-de-sac In addition to savings from adoption of functional construction criteria, other savings can be achieved through modification of certain features of layout and design.

Alternative designs for the traditional large "bulb-shaped" cul-de-sac can be cost effective. Many communities require that cul-de-sacs have a radius of 50 to 60 feet. However, 35 to 40 foot cul-de-sacs are adequate in most residential settings.

Large cul-de-sacs are often adopted at the urging of fire officials to assure an adequate turning radius for fire­fighting equipment. In some instances, requirements of this type have been in effect for substantial periods of time and reflect the time when fire trucks did not have reverse gears. However, 50 feet significantly exceeds the turning radius of modern compact fire trucks. Communities with very large trucks should consider more compact equipment at replacement time, both for direct savings and for additional savings through the adoption of more economical street designs.

Cul-de-sacs and deadend streets can be laid out "back to back" with a short intervening space between them over which the municipality has an easement for use as emergency access. The concept of emergency access can also be applied to deadend streets that have been narrowed as a cost saving measure. Property owners should not be permitted to install any type of fencing, planting, or landscaping that would form a serious barrier to emergency vehicles.

Подпись: Hammerheads, T-Turnarounds, Islands STREETS
Other cost-saving alternatives to the traditional bulb-shaped cul-de-sac include the hammerhead or T-turnaround, and islands. Both configurations require significantly less pavement than is required for bulb cul-de-sacs and a narrower right-of – way.


The accompanying illustrations show some site plans from demonstrations in the’Affordable Housing Program. The sites vary greatly in shape and in their physical characteristics.

However, each of the plans represents a creative relationship to the existing land. Densities vary from five units per acre for the least dense single – fam’ily detached homes to 17.4 units per acre for the most dense single­family attached homes.

Local land use restrictions, and the degree to which local officials were willing to waive or modify certain existing zoning or code restrictions as requested by the developer, varied with each site. However, in all the affordable housing demonstrations, public officials and developers worked together with a high degree of cooperation to achieve affordability.

Подпись: Phoenix, ArizonaThe Cimarron development is situated on a narrow 38-acre plot of land which Rnoell Homes had originally laid out for 149 detached single-family units. After joining the. Demonstration Program, Rnoell redesigned the _ development to add 106 units, bringing the total to 255.

Average lot size was reduced from 6,000 to 3,600 square feet and density was increased to 6.7 units per acre. The housing mix consists of 107 townhouses and 148 single-family units, ranging in initial (January, 1983) sale prices from $45,000 to $63,000. Reductions in widths of streets, rights-of-way, and sidewalks, subjects which are discussed more fully in an ensuing section, added about five acres to the land available for housing over the original plan.

More than seven acres are devoted to open space which includes retention ponds set in attractive landscaping on either side of the development entrance, other landscaped areas, utility rights-of-way, a jogging course, and common land.

EXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSThe original plan for The Park called for the construction of 153 detached and attached units on a 21.9-acre site of approximately triangular shape. This initial plan was both innovative and efficient in terms of land use. _ However, when Phillips Homes joined the Affordable Housing Program, the site was redesigned to increase the number of units to 176, increasing density from 7 to 8 units per acre.

Site plan (after)



Подпись: Loft homes in the natural park setting Подпись: Boise, IdahoThe housing mix consists of 64 "pinwheel" cottages, 10 zero-lot-line patio homes, 38 townhouses, and 64 quadplex units called "loft homes." Units range in size from 648 to 1,287 square feet. Many large trees were preserved, and a central clubhouse and swimming pool are located in a small park.

Lakewood Meadow, built by Triangle Development Company, is a 52-home project on a triangular 13.3-acre site. The project is part of a 263-acre planned residential community called Lakewood, situated in one of the most desirable residential areas in town.


Lakewood Meadow demonstrates the feasibility of creating an affordable housing segment in a development whose other homes are more luxurious and expensive. The Affordable Housing segment incorporates such features as smaller lots, narrower streets, sidewalks on one side of the street only, T-turnarounds instead of cul-de-sacs, and roll curbs.

These features enabled the developer to add five building lots to the Lakewood Meadow segment while retaining amenities and architectural style that characterize the substan­tially more costly homes in the balance of the Lakewood development.

Lots in Lakewood Meadow are approximately 6,000 square feet, and homes range from 1,100 to 1,700 square feet in living area.

Sunridge is built on a 20.4-acre site of which about 6 acres along a stream were dedicated to the city for a stormwater detention system, and another 2.4 acres is consigned to commonly-owned space spread through­out the development. Eighty-one units were built on the remaining 12.2 acres, providing a density of 6.6 homes per acre.


Подпись: McGILL AVENUE Подпись: Everett site plan

All of the homes have a southern exposure, and the house designs are oriented toward passive solar heating. All homes are zero-lot-line, and yards are fenced. Garages for all homes are sited at an angle to add interest to the streetscape.

Mature trees were preserved on the site wherever possible, and the development has been extensively landscaped. Three types of homes were built ranging from 1,076 to 1,624 feet in living area.

Подпись: Portland, OregonEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSNorth Meadow Village occupies a triangular 6-acre site. Density is 9.7 units per acre. Homes in the develop­ment are arranged in pinwheel clusters.

Подпись: Portland land plan
With the cooperation of municipal officials, the developer utilized reduced lot sizes, narrower streets and rights-of-way, smaller setbacks from the street, and common, covered off-street parking to make more land available for housing. Additional land was-freed for home construction through use of an innovative storm­water drainage system employing three on-site dry sumps.

Подпись: Tulsa, OklahomaEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSInnovare Park is constructed on a panhandle-shaped 7.98-acre site. The original site plan was for 34 detached units in a traditional grid pattern with straight-run streets. After joining the Affordable Housing Program, Hood Enterprises redesigned the site to accommodate 86 detached units.

The revised plan utilizes one collector street with short feeder streets ending in T-turnarounds. The smallest lots are 2,250 square feet, but most are 35×80 feet, or 2,800 square feet. Houses are placed close to the lot line with a minimum 5-foot clearance between units.




Revised site plan


Santa Fe, Fairway Village, built by Walton New Mexico Chapman Builders, is a 154-home project on 31 acres just outside the city limits in an area planned for future annexation. Homes are sited in a pinwheel arrangement rather than in traditional rows. Varying setbacks create interesting front yards and streetscapes.

The pinwheel siting creates a feeling of community and enhances outdoor privacy. A 1.5-acre park with recreational equipment provided by the builder completes the village.


Successful approaches to affordable housing require more efficient utilization of land than has often characterized American home building practices in the past.

In most of the demonstration projects, reducing land cost per housing unit was the biggest single factor in achieving affordability. Lower housing cost is therefore closely linked to greater density of land utilization per acre.

This, in turn, poses challenges in the design and aesthetics of housing and land use to maintain and even improve liveability in the context of increased density.

Following are guidelines for site planning:

• Encourage plans to increase density and maintain open space.

• Avoid development plans with wide streets in grid patterns, large lots, deep setbacks, and low density.

• Encourage open space and preservation of natural features in site plans.

• Support cluster plans which increase density and create open space, provide adequate parking, and design privacy landscaping.

• Reduce or eliminate setbacks from all four lot boundaries.

• Support "zero-lot-line" and "Z" lot configurations.

Подпись: Traditional ApproachesSITE PLANNINGTraditional housing development plans prevalent in the Post-World War II oeriod are characterized by a grid oattern of wide streets with houses on ‘arge lots with large setbacks.

Such plans were widely viewed as affording privacy and providing desirable residential environments. These views were reflected in local housing ordinances, which often restricted density per acre and specified large setbacks.

However, there is little reason to believe that this extravagant use of land made any meaningful contribution

to the goals of desirability and privacy. There is nothing intrinsic in the arrangement which promotes or increases privacy, and "desirable residential environments" often turned out to be urban sprawl. In many instances, little provision was made fon open or common land or for integration of common open space in the overall design of the development.

This type of development does not make efficient use of community seryices such as roads, and water and sewer systems because of the rela­tively low density. The cost of their wasted capacity is borne by both residents and the public sector.

Подпись: Innovative ApproachesThere are a number of ways in which well-planned higher density can contribute to, rather than detract from, beauty and liveability. For example, a greater amount of common open space and more possibilities for preservation of attractive natural features of the site are often easier rather than more difficult to incor­porate into good plans for higher – density occupancy.

Other potential problems of higher density can be overcome through innovative planning. Two such problems are privacy and parking. Privacy can be provided by coordi­nating arrangements of fences and/or planting. For attached units, sound conditioning can be incorporated into common walls.


Rear yards and front entry courts can be enclosed. Parking can be provided through placement of garages or carports within parking areas and by use of planted islands.



Подпись: ClusteringMany clustering arrangements have been successfully designed to combine higher density, beauty, and liveability. Clusters can be incorporated into site development plans to preserve open space for community use while reducing development costs.

In addition, it has been found that such arrangements can increase the sense of community among residents within each cluster and among adjacent and neighboring clusters. A cluster can become a psychologically identifiable "place" more easily than can rows of detached houses on rectangular lots. Groups of clusters can relate to each other through joint access to common land.

Clusters can be designed for siting single-family detached or attached homes, duplexes, quadplexes, etc.

Подпись: Reduction or Elimination of Setback RequirementsПодпись:Подпись: Zero lot line siting — larger, more useable side yard for outdoor living The traditional practice of using large setbacks from all four boundaries of the lot reduces the usability of land on both sides of the house, particu­larly on smaller lots. By placing the house directly on the lot line on one side, usable land on the other side is doubled.

This "zero-lot-line" approach is basically a detached version of the duplex home. That is, by moving one duplex unit away from the common wall to the other side of the lot, high density is maintained while creating a freestanding single-family detached subdivision. This approach combines two small unusable side yards into one large usable side yard. Usually, main living areas are oriented toward the side, taking advantage of the "court."

On the smaller lots that most often are used in affordable housing developments, this can make the difference between having or not having usable outdoor space.


Подпись: “Z” Lot ConfigurationAn adaptation of the zero-lot-line approach is an innovative concept called "Z" lots. Sometimes called "herringbone" or "sawtooth", these angled lots expand frontages and expose more of the home to the street. Because of the angle, garages don’t dominate the streetscape as much as in more traditional rectan­gular lot layouts, especially if garage door locations are alternated. The JVAH site in Everett, WA, included a variation on the "Z" lot approach with garages set at an angle with the homes and the street. ‘


Site planning and land development represent major areas of potential cost reduction for most builder/developers. These costs often increase in direct propor­tion to the complexity of local regulations, zoning requirements, and levels of required standards.

It is widely recognized that:

• One of the most rapidly increasing components of housing cost is the cost of land.

• Local governments have most of the control over land availability and use.

Land prices are sensitive to supply relative to demand. Where supply is limited and demand is heavy, the price of developable land rises rapidly. Local governments can affect the land supply for development by providing infrastructure, encouraging a balance between development and open space, allowing increased density through zoning, using surplus land, and examining its development-inhibiting regulatory structure. Of the major cost components of new housing—land, labor, materials, and capital — land cost is the most influenced by local government policies.


Attractive townhouse development

Higher density development, a method of making more land available for residences, is a public necessity. A recent NAHB survey showed home buyers are more willing to sacrifice land than to sacrifice quality or space inside the house. Most buyers will accept a smaller than standard lot to buy a home they can afford.

The number of dwelling units per acre is the primary development standard that effects the life style, economics, and environmental considerations of a residential development. Important factors relating to density follow:

LAND DEVELOPMENTAs net density increases, lot sizes become smaller and land needed for roads per housing unit decreases.

• Greater opportunities exist to preserve natural site features and open green space when lot sizes

. are decreased and houses clustered.

• Greater savings to the community, the builder/developer, and the home buyer can be achieved.

Most of the savings in development costs resulting from changes in development standards discussed in this manual can be attributed to


LAND DEVELOPMENTincreased density. Developers reported their biggest cost savings resulted from lower land and infra­structure improvement costs per unit due to the higher densities achieved by small lot development. Higher density allows land and improvement costs to be spread over a larger number of units. Reduced frontage and front yard setbacks allow for less pavement and sidewalk per unit, shorter utility runs, and reduced material costs. Wide streets and rights-of-way, although sometimes functionally justifiable, add to land development and, ultimately, housing costs.

This section will examine the major factors in planning and developing land for residential use:

• Site planning

• Streets

• Parking

• Sidewalks and walkways

• Curbs and gutters

• Storm drainage systems

• Sanitary sewers

• Water supply

• Utilities/Utility easements


Подпись: Lacey, Washington Most of the projects in the Affordable Housing Program received some form of fast-tracking processing. In many instances, the city used the program as a test for the improvement and expediting of procedures, and success­ful innovations were frequently adopted for general use.

When Phillips Homes joined the. Affordable Housing Program, a number of changes to the approved plans for their development, The Park, were recommended. Under existing city procedures, approval of the changes would have required a formal hearing by a hearing examiner, and then approval by the city council, with the two steps requiring about two months to complete.

The city manager proposed and the council accepted an alternate proce­dure in which a five-member site _ review committee, whose membership represented various interested groups, worked with Phillips to review the revised plans. When the committee’s work was completed, it reported its recommendations directly to the city council. The formal hearing was eliminated. When Phillips appeared before the council with requests for revisions that had already received approval of the site review committee, the council approved the requests. _

The process saved two months of time, resulting in savings of about $449 per unit in interest and overhead.

City officials remained involved in the development of The Park. The opening was attended by Mayor Brown; Gordon Walker, former HUD Under­secretary for Field Coordination; John Phillips; and Governor John Spellman.

Подпись: Tulsa, OklahomaEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSПодпись: Everett, WashingtonEXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSA Task Force, comprised of seven industry representatives and thirteen department heads working with Chairman Ray Greene, streamlined the Tulsa plan review and construction permitting process from a long process involving nine separate authorizing departments, to a one-stop system completed in days. Addition­ally, sequential inspections were replaced by concurrent inspections. Local architect J. L. Richardson commented, "This is the first time the Tulsa government and the private sector have gotten together to resolve mutual concerns. The city knows developers prefer to do business in areas with minimal red tape."

City and Federal officials participated in the Innovare grand opening.

Boyden Realty, Inc., sought city approval for PUD designation of a plot of land situated in a single­family, low-density area where it would otherwise not be possible to build housing in the affordable range. City officials supported the cost-saving goals of the plan submitted by Boyden, but required the developer to offer clear evidence in a public hearing of positive reaction to the PUD designa­tion on the part of the proposed project’s neighbors.

The land planner, Gary Wight, prepared detailed information on the project, including answers to an­ticipated fears and objections, and devoted substantial time and effort to conducting discussions with the proposed project’s neighbors. Using charts, maps, and drawings, the developer demonstrated that the natural features of the site would be maintained and even enhanced, and that the project would have a positive impact on the area. At the hearing, not one neighboring home owner objected to PUD designation.

Phoenix, Arizona

The designation was approved; the project, "Sunridge," was built; and surveys conducted after completion and occupancy show strong continuing positive reactions by the community.

The city of Phoenix used the oppor­tunity provided by Cimarron, the affordable housing project by Knoell Homes, to review and modernize its entire set of regulations and proce­dures for land use and home construc­tion. Under the revamped procedures, foioell Homes worked through a city Development Coordinating Office to schedule special staff meetings on various changes requested for the subdivision. The procedure saved three months of time, with, interest and overhead savings totalling $2,133 per unit. Features of Phoenix’s modernized regulatory arrangements are as follows:

(1) Assistance to developers prior to application

A Pre-Development Advisory Team, with members from the Planning, Streets and Traffic, and > Engineering Departments, provides information and assistance to _ developers before formal applica­tions are submitted.

(2) Expediting of reviews and approvals through a Development Coordination Office

This office, a Division of the Planning Department, staffed by senior personnel from three city departments, assists developers with zoning matters and site plan review.

(3) Use of administrative hearings in lieu of city council hearings

Many matters relating to develop­ment now come before a hearing

officer, leaving the city council free to deal with issues that involve policy. Administrative hearings are used for site plans, subdivision plats, lot divisions,, zoning adjustments, fee waivers, grading and drainage, floodplain problems, fire code variances, off­site improvement, and building code variances.

(4) Preparation of Policy Manuals

Several city departments have published policy manuals which are made available to builders as unified sources of information.

(5) Use of’’Over-the-Counter"


Virtually all small projects can be processed during a single visit by the developer or builder in the Building Safety, Planning, Streets and Traffic, Water and. Wastewater, and Engineering Departments. Some more substan­tial types of approvals, including _ model home permits and minor site amendments, can also be processed in this fashion.

(6) Use of Private Sector Consultants for Plan Review

The Engineering Department permits developers to contract with approved private-sector consulting engineers for review of development plans. Reviews by such consultants can typically be completed more rapidly than reviews conducted through the Engineering Department. The developer contracts for the consultant’s services, paying the consultant’s fee in exchange for the time gained.

(7) Подпись:Подпись:Interdepartmental Coordination for Complex Projects

A development services’ ad­ministrator in the city manager’s office can assist in expediting the approval process through inter­departmental coordination. Among other things, this official can request the release of building permits if time is critical and review processes appear to be lagging.

This city’s ordinances allow a sig­nificant degree of flexibility in a number of areas of the approval process. For example, the city engineer can use his discretion in approving proposals in various matters affecting land use, such as width of rights-of-way, street paving width, and manhole spacing. Specific performance capability, rather than general standards, serve as the approval criteria, and the procedure saves time that would otherwise be devoted to hearings and reviews.

The city permitted builder Phil Hamby to combine two of the three steps in the normal review process in securing approvals for his Woodpointe sub­division. The usual first step is to submit to two bodies, the Planning Commission and the County Commission, a "use on review" plan which is a concept plan showing the builder’s intentions without a sig­nificant amount of detail. The second step is submission to the same two groups of a composite design plan showing the proposed location of lots, streets, utilities, and drainage. Combining these two steps saved Hamby 45 days of processing time, resulting in savings of $443 per unit.

Подпись: Santa Fe, New MexicoПодпись: White Marsh, Maryland The New Mexico state inspector cooperated with Walton Chapman Builders by providing daily inspections of Fairway Village without being called. Each morning the inspector stopped at the project at the begin­ning of his daily rounds to inspect whatever was ready on that day. The City of Santa Fe rejected Chapman’s request for concurrent rather than sequential processing, but it made every effort to expedite its procedures.


Fairway Village is located just beyond the city limits in an area scheduled for annexation, making it necessary to satisfy the requirements of five entities – the city, the county, the state, the Extraterritorial Zone Commission, and private utility companies. Cooperation among the entities involved is particularly important in building affordable housing in areas that are subject to more than one level of government.

On July 16, 1984, the Zoning Commissioner of Baltimore County heard a request by Nottingham Properties (developers) to amend the original plan for Lawrence Hill to include cluster single-family homes, townhouses, and garden apartments. The cluster plan required variances

EXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSПодпись: Other Sitesregarding distances between homes. Protestors (neighbors) argued that the proposed cluster single-family detached homes would adversely affect their property values. The commissioner stated that the protestors presented no evidence that their property values would be reduced, and that…

"the proposed cluster design would not be detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare of the locality nor tend to create conges­tion in roads, streets, or alleys therein, nor be inconsistent with ‘the purposes of the property’s zoning classification, nor in any other way inconsistent with the spirit and intent of the Baltimore County Zoning Regulations."

The Commissioner accepted only facts, not unsubstantiated opinions, when hearing the request. The amendment was approved and the Lawrence Hill Project allowed to proceed.

Several cities allowed Affordable _ Housing Program developers to begin construction prior to granting of final plat approval. In Blaine,

Minnesota, this procedure allowed Good Value Homes to construct models for its Cloverleaf Farm development in time for the spring buying season. Normal processing time for the units was reduced by 54 days, saving $283 per unit. In Lincoln, Nebraska, the same procedure enabled Empire Homes to save three months on the construc­tion schedule for Parkside Village, with resulting savings of $1,116 per unit.

Affordable Housing Task Forces were active in Santa Fe, Phoenix, and Sioux Falls.


Подпись: Phoenix, Arizona Open-space in Cimarron PUD Подпись: Tulsa, Oklahoma A majority of the projects in the Joint Venture for Affordable Housing (JVAH) were developed under some version of Planned Unit Development zoning or subdivision regulations.

Knoell Homes, developer of Cimarron, the’JVAH Project in Phoenix, saved at least six months by utilizing the PUD approach instead of applying for rezoning under the standard sub – _ division ordinances. This time saving reduced interest cost by approximately $106,000 or about $415 per unit. The cost reduction was passed on to the home buyers.

Rick Counts, former Phoenix Planning Director, expressed his frustration that PUDs require Home Owners Associations (HOAs). Many builders do not want to involve themselves with HOAs, and avoid using PUDs for that reason.

Hood Enterprises, developer of Innovare Park, applied for and was granted residential multi-family zoning for the site. The developer then applied for and was granted a supplemental PUD zoning permit. Under this permit, Hood Enterprises negotiated a site plan with city officials that allowed all single­family construction. The density – 12 units per acre – exceeded allowable maximums under standard single-family zoning for the area, but reduced the density that would have been allowed in multi-family develop­ment. The arrangement satisfied city officials, who stated that the PUD

Подпись: Lacey, Washington Подпись:EXAMPLES FROM THE DEMONSTRATION PROJECTSapproach "provides a higher degree of regulation but permits the developer more flexibility in principal and accessory uses and of lot sizes than conventional zoning."

In developing "The Park", an afford­able housing demonstration in Lacey, Phillips Homes used a PRD authoriza­tion that allowed the developer to ‘ construct a mix of townhouses and detached units, and to make his own decisions regarding lot sizes. Phillips added 23 building lots to the 153 that were originally planned, bringing the total to 176.

The city of Birmingham rezoned Williamsburg Square, a project built by Malchus Construction Company, as a PRD, enabling Malchus to increase density from 40 to 111 units. The PRD designation also accelerated processing time from the normal 6 to 18 months to five months, saving $9,600 on the subdivision or $86 per unit, with the saving being passed on to the buyers.

Lincoln, Nebraska The City of Lincoln allowed Empire

Homes, Inc., to include its affordable housing project, "The Parkside Village," in an already-approved Community Unit Plan (CUP). This made it possible for the developer to increas’d the project’s density from 32 to 52 units.


Подпись: Portland, OregonBlack Bull Enterprises, Inc., developer of the affordable housing project "North Meadow Village," sought and secured from the city a number of innovative zoning modifications for the land parcel of which North Meadow Village forms one part. The parcel is situated in an area zoned for low-density, single-family construction at four units per acre. Black Bull requested establishment of a multi­family zone (22 units per acre) around a shopping center in the 150-acre tract located on a two-lane state highway, and a medium-density single­family strip (6.28 units per acre) separating the low-density single­family zone from the multi-family zone. In effect, he asked the Planning Bureau to trade higher densities in one portion of the tract for lower water and sewer usage in the commercial and retail area, with no net change in total water and sewer demand. The rezoning was approved by the city.

The city added PUD provision to its zoning regulations in 1980. Under this provision, Minchew Homes, developers and builders of "Forestwood II," were able to increase density from 2.9 to 5.8 units per acre.

Подпись: Valdosta, GeorgiaПодпись: Oklahoma City, OklahomaUnder this city’s PUD, Holland Land Company was able to cluster homes, increase open spaces, and mix single­family detached units, duplexes,, and quadplexes in "Woodland Hills," a subdivision of HUD-code manufactured homes.





Woodland Hills



Other JVAH demonstration projects developed and built under PUD-type ordinances include: Elkhart, Indiana; Knox County, Tennessee; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Housing developments are built on borrowed money on which the developer makes interest payments each month. Developers also incur an overhead cost each month. The more quickly the homes can be built and sold, the more the interest and overhead costs can be reduced. According to a study by the Los Angeles County Land Development Center, every month of delay adds, by conservative estimate, 2 percent to the purchase price of a new home. These savings can be passed on to home buyers. Local jurisdictions can therefore make a direct contribution to affordable housing by expediting theirprocedures regulating land use and housing construction.

“Most builders don’t know the true cost of delay. Everyone assumes that it’s only interest, but the true cost includes overhead, material and labor inflation, and the lost opportunity to make a profit.”—John Phillips

Housing is governed at the local level by an array of codes, rules, and procedures which have typically grown up over a substantial period of time, and which often do not repre­sent a coordinated system. A basic step that municipalities can take to promote affordable housing is to review the entire regulatory process from zoning through permitting as it is actually experienced by developers, to identify procedures that can be simplified, abbreviated, or improved.

“Concurrently with the Affordable Housing Demonstration project,” commented Jon Wendt, “Phoenix was pursuing an aggressive regulatory relief campaign under the leadership of Mayor Hance. Cimarron provided tangible evidence of the benefits to citizens of government deregulation. From the start, our primary interest in the project was to field tesj deregulation ideas to see if they worked, and, if they did, to incorporate them as permanent changes.”

Municipalities may wish to implement certain changes immediately. In other instances, changes that appear to be desirable can be used to expedite a specific affordable housing project as a test. The project can be evaluated, the changes modified if necessary, and support gained among agencies and officials who will have to implement them.

Task Force


A working group of public officials, builders and developers, representa­tives of community groups, and consultants should conduct such a review and make recommendations. This can achieve three goals.

1. ‘■ It gives the task the status of a

community effort in which diverse interests and views are represented.

2. It helps to consolidate community support for the recommendations •and the action that is taken to implement them.

3. It helps to broaden awareness and understanding of affordable housing and of the municipality’s support of it.



Mayor’s Task Force on




October 1983 Santa Fe New fVlexico


Review Areas



Areas recommended by the National

League of Cities for review include

the following:

• Length of the process from application to approval or issuance of a permit. A builder/developer should know how much time it will take before a decision is made on his or her proposal. For example, there should be a fixed review period for subdivision plans, at the end of which, if no action has been taken, the plan will be automat­ically approved.

• Number of permits, approvals, hearings, and administrative reviews necessary for construction, and the additional number necessary for occupancy.

• Number of agencies, departments, boards, and other groups that must review an application.

о Types of information and amount of detail necessary for the kinds of approvals that are required.

Techniques that can be used in such a review study include:

Подпись: Review Techniques Review of city records to ascertain the number of applications received and approved, the agency or agencies involved, and the length of time involved.

• Review of items in process during a specified current period, to learn how the system works in practice and where problems may exist.

Подпись: Application Process ReviewThe study should examine each of the three principal stages of the applica­tion process and make recommenda­tions for improving procedures at each stage, as follows:

1. The Pre-application Stage

In this stage, the developer should receive an overview of all that will be required during the regulatory process, including approvals needed, departments involved, and the best methods for moving through the system efficiently, and should be advised of the anticipated timeframe for approval.

2. The Staff Review Stage

Procedures can be reviewed for fast-tracking possibilities, ways to offer combiried or simultaneous reviews, mandatory deadlines, involvement of expediters or coordinators, elimination of duplication of review among Various agencies, concurrent reviews, and use of a management information system to track applications. Some local govern­ments have developed a plan* review checklist to guide devel­opers through the review proce­dures. If all steps on the

checklist are carefully followed, the review can be brief and relatively simple.

3. The Citizen Review Stage

Not all communities have ordi­nances that provide for citizen review procedures. Where such reviews are required, they target possible improvement in such areas as: convening of informal neighborhood meetings to dissemi­nate information and respond to concerns prior to finalization of designs or the holding of public hearings; improvement of public hearing procedures through adoption of fair and consistent rules on who is heard, when, for how long, and how decisions are made; combining hearings when the approval of more than one governmental body is required; shifting some responsibilities from the planning commission to a hearing official, staff, or other party or entity; and adoption of mediation procedures in lieu of resorting to the courts to resolve difficult cases.

Подпись: Inspections and PermitsCity staff responsible for inspection must respond to builder and developer requests in a timely and scheduled manner. Developers and builders have a responsibility to assure that the work for which inspection is requested has been completed and meets the relevant criteria. Cities are justified in requiring that their time and expertise are efficiently used.

Permit and inspection fees should bear a reasonable relationship to the actual cost of performing the inspec­tions and issuing the permits. It is inappropriate to use them as a form of indirect tax.



The Affordable Housing Demonstrations show that active participation by local government is essential in encouraging the production of housing at prices opening the market to those needing housing. In establishing a climate supporting the production of affordable housing, local government must:

• Support the concept and specific activities at the highest levels, including elected officials and the principal executives of the participating agencies. Only their active advocacy of the program concepts and their direction to subordinate staff will assure that the message gets to the people who actually administer the various affected programs.

• Reach out to the local home building community, and respond to any overtures from these builders to develop the mutual trust and activities needed to identify old problems, and resolve them.

• Establish contacts with the opinion makers of the community to keep them informed of the goals of affordable housing and the steps being taken to encourage its development.

• Commit itself for the long haul, and assure that there is continuity of interest and action, even through administration changes. Affordable. housing must be a community effort, not just a current "buzz word" to be discarded when fashions change.

• Be willing to evaluate the results of housing projects using affordable housing principles, and to make changes in codes, regulations, and proce­dures which are suggested by successful projects.

This Chapter will focus on two areas of local government involvement – zoning and subdivision ordinance requirements, and administrative procedures. Details of local government participation in such areas as site planning, streets and rights-of-way, utilities, and stormwater systems are provided in ensuing sections.

Подпись: ZONING AND SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE HIGHLIGHTSLand use is regulated through zoning and subdivision ordinances. In general, zoning ordinances create the broad outlines of such regulation, while more detailed matters are dealt with through subdivision ordinances. Exceptions to zoning ordinances usually require substantial formal procedures, including a public hearing process. By contrast, variances in

subdivision ordinances are often granted by less formal administrative procedures. The actual coverage of the two types of regulation varies from community to community, so that a matter covered in one community by its zoning ordinance may be consigned in another community to subdivision regulation.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTAFFORDABLE HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTLand values are a central component of housing cost. The relationship of zoning to land value and to housing cost is direct. A recent Urban Land Institute study of the relationship between zoning restrictions and average lot prices showed that in the ten cities rated most restrictive by the Institute in their zoning require­ments, the average lot price in 1980 was $24,037. In the ten cities rated least restrictive, the average lot price in 1980 was $14,688.

The reason for this relationship is clear. Restrictive zoning and/or subdivision practices reduce the total supply of land available for housing. When buildable land becomes scarce, one must pay inflated prices for it. Increasingly, persons of moderate means can no longer afford to buy at all.

A key finding that emerged from virtually every project in the JVAH program is that improved zoning and subdivision procedures promote affordable housing. The projects demonstrated conclusively that review and revision of zoning and/or sub­division ordinance requirements to make more effective use of land can bring the cost of housing down. Local governments should:

• Consider the Planned Unit Development (PUD) approach to residential zoning and/ or sub­division regulation described below. Identify specific sites throughout the jurisdiction for this designa­tion.





~7 ГГ 1 Г ГТТ П








• Revise zoning codes and/or sub­

division regulations to reduce the land area requirements for Planned Unit Developments, thereby fostering their use. ,

• Conduct a broad general review of zoning and/or subdivision require­ments, particularly those that have been in effect for a substantial period of time. Consider revisions that will allow for moderate increases in residential density to accommodate contemporary market conditions. Such modifications can be directed toward the provision of as much land as possible in various density categories, to minimize the impact of land shortage on land prices.

• When and where possible, employ performance standards rather than uniform or arbitrary measurements, as the criteria for zoning and/or subdivision requirements. Perform­ance standards are directed toward matching zoning with the best possible use of the site and its particular features, and employ flexible criteria to achieve this goal.

“The use of performance zoning, or a negotiated approach to land development, allows the most effective balancing of environmental quality against affordable residential construction,” according to state and local planners surveyed by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS).

• Adopt zoning-and/or subdivision regulations that provide an allowance for increased density in exchange for a developer’s commit­ment to provide open space, landscaping, and other amenities on the proposed development site.

• Increase zoning and/or subdivision flexibility for mixed use develop­ment, thereby allowing various _ types of housing, various densities, and in some instances a mixture of residential and light commercial use in areas now covered by less flexible criteria.

Подпись: Holland Development
Подпись: Oklahoma City demonstration project. Woodland Hills, part of mixed use development

Allow construction with little or no setback from property lines. Often called zero-lot-line zoning, this type of construction is described in an ensuing section on site planning. It allows the construction of houses on or very close to the property line on one or two sides of small lots, making the available land on such lots more attractive and usable.

• Give favorable consideration to density transfers, particularly on neighboring or contiguous parcels of land in which developers are allowed to exchange lower density rights on one tract for higher density rights on the other tract.

• Allow zoning and/or subdivision variances to build on lots that are currently below the specified minimum size for their locales, and to divide large lots that currently have excess space.

• Consider offering bonus points for affordability to builders who price quality homes below a specified cost that reflects median local prices of comparable housing. The bonus points could be applied to items such as higher density, elimination of sidewalks, reductions of setbacks, and other changes that will reduce the builders’ cost.

Подпись: Planned Unit DevelopmentIn the late 1950s and 1960s home builders and public officials began to use an approach to zoning and sub­division regulation called Planned Unit Development (PUD), also called Planned Residential Development (PRD), Comprehensive Residential Development (CRD), or Community Unit Plan (CUP). Projects developed under this concept usually incorporate a variety of housing types and land uses, higher density, and open space and common land managed by a community association.

PUD land use is characterized by flexibility, and encourages both public and private innovation to a greater extent than is true of more traditional zoning and subdivision controls. On one hand, this flexibility makes it possible for the developer to change long-term development plans to meet current market demands. On the other hand, it gives local authorities the latitude to negotiate with the developer, trading concessions on density, mixed use, and requirements for streets and utilities, for desired _ amenities, open space, and recreational facilities, for example.