South Bend’s Infill Plans Include Pre-Approved Multi-Family Designs

South Bend commits to infill development by pre-approving a suite of residential development options.

Read Time: 2 minutes

August 31, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A series of diagrams shows a variety of housing types pre-approved for construction in South Bend, Indiana.

City of South Bend / Build South Bend

The city of South Bend recently released the details of its New Neighborhood Homes Initiative, an ambitious plan first announced in June to lower development costs and build more infill housing. Included in the initiative is a set of pre-approved plans for multi-family infill housing developments. A statement announcing the launch of the “Build South Bend” program calls the pre-approved plans a “Sears Catalog” of housing options.

“Each plan has been vetted specifically for South Bend with careful consideration given to current zoning regulations, typical lot configurations, common construction techniques, and market conditions,” according to the announcement of the pre-approved plans.

The complete collection of pre-approved plans [pdf] includes small apartments, stacked duplexes, narrow houses, and carriage houses, and standard houses.

“There are many steps involved in [the City Neighborhood Initiative], but simply put, the goal is to build more homes that South Benders can afford,” reports Matt Gotsch for WNDU. City officials announced the Built South Bend program in the Near Northwest Neighborhood, where an estimated 400 vacant lots could see new development with the new city initiative.

“The policy changes will be made to the current System Development Charges (SDCs), which cover the utility’s cost of connecting new developments to water and sewer services. Under the revised policy, SDCs will not apply to infill housing of 5 or fewer units. They will also not apply to housing developments of more than 5 units if they are financed with low-income housing tax credits or are built by a non-profit,” according to a statement from South Bend Mayor James Mueller in June.

South Bend’s pre-approved housing plans expand on similar models developed recently in Seattle and Stockton to pre-approve accessory dwelling units to create incentives for that more limited form of infill development.

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