Fostering Mixed-Use Development

Ways Local Governments Can Foster Implementation of Mixed-Use Development

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Mixed-use development is a useful tool for encouraging compact development in designated growth areas, innovative land use management, efficient multimodal transportation systems. Several strategies should be considered to effectively implement mixed-use development.

Strategies to Consider

  • Identify opportunities for infill and redevelopment to take advantage of existing infrastructure and minimize the need for new facilities.
  • Identify provisions within zoning, subdivision, development, and other regulatory codes that prohibit mixed-use development.
  • Target development opportunities to nearby, compatible land uses to shorten trips and facilitate alternative modes of transportation, such as walking, bicycling and public transit.
  • Adopt form-based codes that provide a set of design regulations that give form to features of the built environment and foster pedestrian access, safety, and comfort.
  • Assess the real estate market and consider the viability of mixed-use development in a specific region, community, or district.
  • Prepare a market analysis to estimate market demand and supply for new or expanded residential, commercial (e.g., retail and service business categories), and industrial business opportunities
  • Provide a combination of financial and regulatory incentives to mixed-use developers, such as permit fee reductions, tax abatements, expedited development approval processes, and providing density and building height or floor area bonuses.
  • Consider incentives for mixed-use development projects that are located near transit stations or hubs, areas that are targeted for market-ready (re)development, and/or are located within Downtown Development Districts.
  • Provide regulatory flexibility with regard to building height, housing density, floor area, lot coverage, yard setback, landscaping, and other zoning provisions for mixed-use developments in key areas targeted for growth (e.g. downtowns, main streets, town centers, and other core areas).
  • Consider modern approaches to parking management as outlined by an APA Parking Solutions brief. These approaches include reducing parking requirements through strategies such as shared parking, maximum parking standards, fee-in-lieu programs for downtown districts, shared vehicles, proximity to transit, valet parking, and bicycle parking.

Addressing Regulatory Barriers to Mixed-Use Development

Local governments can foster mixed-use development by preparing for market-ready (re)development opportunities. A report by IPA suggests that local governments review zoning codes, subdivision regulations, land development regulations, and fire and building codes to address regulatory barriers. In addition, the efficiency of local permitting processes should be reviewed and streamlined. Zoning, permitting, financing, environmental, and political barriers to mixed-use development should be evaluated and addressed.

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