The Washington city reformed its zoning code to support more multifamily development and a diversity of housing types to meet the needs of its growing population.
With their town surrounded by valuable agricultural land, officials in Walla Walla, Washington are particularly attuned to the need to rein in sprawl and encourage smart growth as the population grows. As Patrick Sisson explains in Planning Magazine, when it came time to update the city’s comprehensive plan, the city’s planners worked to reform and streamline complicated, outdated zoning codes and support more density and multifamily development.
“The answer was Neighborhood Residential (RN), a near-universal residential zoning designation that allows builders to go as dense as 75 units per acre, given that they still meet existing standards like landscaping, height, setbacks, parking, and lot coverage.” The city also updated regulations for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), eliminating owner-occupied restrictions and raising the size limit.
Sisson’s article details the changes, the process of getting them approved, and the positive reactions from many residents and builders. While Sisson admits that “So far, the numbers aren't showing a dramatic change,” due to the pandemic, there is some progress, and “developers have begun investing in new types of projects, including apartment complexes and conversions of motels into affordable housing.” According to Sisson, the city is also considering expanding a tax incentive for multifamily housing and creating a community land trust.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans
Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.
Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16
State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.
Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year
Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.