Principles and concepts for a more sustainable Kansas City region

 

Sustainability Principles

The seven sustainability principles are simple, broad concepts that describe characteristics of a sustainable community. Each principle corresponds to several sustainability concepts, which represent more specific means of achieving the principles. One concept can correspond to multiple principles.

Corridors and Activity Centers

Vibrant corridors and activity centers with housing, employment, and commercial development, improve development opportunities, increase lifestyle choices and make efficient public and private investments.

 

Design for Healthier Lifestyles

Places designed for active lifestyles with access to healthy foods can improve the health of residents, reduce health-care costs and contribute to vibrant neighborhoods.

Housing Choice

Housing choices for all ages, lifestyles and income levels help support diverse communities and a healthy housing industry.

Reinvestment

Reinvesting in existing communities and neighborhoods ensures they remain or become vibrant, connected, green places.

Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency

Sustainable places conserve resources for future generations while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing economic and fiscal efficiency.

Transportation Choices

Varied transportation options help reduce family travel costs, reduce air pollution, and connect families to jobs and services.

Unique Community Characteristics

Distinctive communities and historical, cultural and natural assets increase the vibrancy of a region and contribute to its overall economic health.


Sustainability Concepts

Access to Healthy Foods

The design of our communities impacts how we access and distribute food and what we eat. Better integrating a range of different food production and distribution options into our communities can increase our public health, strengthen our local economy and make better use of our landscapes.

  • Strengthen local farmers and rural economies with better farm to market connections.
  • Reduce the “food miles” traveled for food we consume.
  • Improve nutrition and health with easier access to fresh, affordable produce.
  • Activate underutilized spaces for food production.
  • Refine “agriculture” land use definitions based on scale and intensity.
  • Consider specific types of food production uses that are appropriate on small lots and in urban conditions.
  • Develop standards for a wide range of food distribution for different contexts, including roadside stands, sidewalk vendors, food trucks, corner stores, small grocery and farmers markets.
  • Reduce barriers to edible landscapes and streetscapes.
  • Improve the “food environment” around certain uses such as schools or recreation centers through specific use standards.

Active Living / Active Transportation

Making walking and bicycling a safe, fun and convenient way to reach our daily needs improves public health. Active modes of transportation offer a combination of recreation, exercise, and transportation. Incorporating more social and physical activity into daily routines increases our quality-of-life and reduces environmental impacts of our lifestyle and transportation choices.
  • Improve safety of our transportation systems and encourage physical activity.
  • Increase the vibrancy of our public realm by filling it with more active people.
  • Elevate quality-of-life by integrating recreation opportunities into community design.
  • Promote affordable, healthy travel options.
  • Preserve mobility for populations that do not drive.
  • Leverage small public realm investments to improve neighborhoods.
  • Emphasize pedestrian and bicycle facilities on street design standards; prioritize these street types on certain routes in the network.
  • Require trail connections – either on- or off-street, between neighborhoods and common bicycle or pedestrian destinations.
  • Require parks, natural, or civic open spaces within walking and bicycling distance of most homes.
  • Use planning criteria to ensure the proximity and relationship of mixed-density neighborhoods, compact walkable centers and transit-ready corridors.
  • Promote the Optimize Parking strategies to ensure that access for all modes of transportation are balanced and access for cars does not undermine bicycle and pedestrian access.

Aging in Place

Age-in-place communities allow people to live where they want despite changes in their housing needs. Diverse housing options allow people to remain in their neighborhoods, stay engaged in familiar environments and established relationships, and contribute to the broader community.

  • Increase the resiliency of life-long neighborhoods.
  • Create vibrant neighborhoods, with active populations at varying times throughout the day.
  • Improve public health with active living and active transportation opportunities for aging populations.

    Improve the social connections by being closer to diverse populations and activities.

  • Increase the range and marketability of neighborhoods to meet demographic and market demands.

    Improve the quality-of-life for non-driving populations with housing options near services.

  • Allow accessory dwelling units in specific neighborhoods or districts, or according to specific location criteria.
  • Reduce barriers to “multi-generational houses.” Remove regulations that may inhibit rehabilitation, additions and “visitability” improvements.
  • Develop standards for a range of small-scale, senior housing types that integrate better into existing neighborhoods or activity centers.
  • Regulate residential uses by building types rather than density.
  • Target areas with the greatest transportation choices, including on-demand services if necessary, for the widest range of housing options.

Compact Walkable Centers

Concentrating more small-scale and diverse uses in compact patterns allows people to walk to shopping, school, jobs and entertainment. Arranging a greater mix of uses around a well-connected, pedestrian-scaled public realm builds valuable and enduring places, and it improves the overall economic and environmental performance of development.

  • Improve the image of the community.
  • Create better access to more destinations using different modes of transportation.
  • Increase property values, aesthetics and development opportunities on abutting property.
  • Improve public health through more walking and biking.
  • Improve safety by moderating driver behavior.
  • Reduced per capita vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality.
  • Attract sustained economic activity.
  • Create lively activity centers.
  • Require connected street networks and pedestrian-scaled public realms; on larger parcels without a small block structure implement internal circulation to mimic public streetscapes and connections.
  • Regulate by building type rather than use; emphasize reuse of existing buildings.
  • Emphasize a diversity of small scale uses and limit or prohibit large scale uses.
  • Promote active street level uses on key streets and create standards for pedestrian-scale building frontages.
  • Specify limits to the area and application of certain zoning categories, and create criteria for transitions to other, complimentary categories.
  • Create formulas for the range and degree of the mix of uses in “mixed-use districts” – either as planning criteria or requirements.
  • Maximize on-street parking, manage parking supply on a district level, and ensure flexible site parking standards.
  • Create stormwater regulations that specifically promote compact development.

Complete Street Design

Well-designed streets provide a setting for commerce, a place for social interaction and offer a variety of transportation options. Streets and rights-of-way are one of our most valuable assets and one of the largest single landholdings in most communities. Designing these spaces to meet as many needs as possible and to better support abutting property will maximize the value to our communities.

  • Support commercial corridors and activity centers with close, accessible and diverse markets.
  • Allow better connections to and transitions between neighborhoods and activity centers or corridors.
  • Increase the range and marketability of neighborhoods to meet to meet demographic and market demands.
  • Add choices to the type, size, and cost ranges for housing.
  • Provide housing with affordable transportation options.
  • Maintain a supply of affordable, market-rate and workforce housing.
  • Improve density at strategic locations with appropriate scaled housing options.
  • Regulate residential uses by building types rather than density.
  • Create criteria and intent statements to locate higher density zoning districts relative to other complementary uses.
  • Avoid standards that internalize higher-density housing formats into “pods” or large-scale developments, and then address compatibility through buffers and separation.
  • Implement minimum density requirements near transit stops or activity centers.
  • Develop appropriate parking strategies for the neighborhood context to promote the correct balance of density and walkability.

Connected Street Networks

Connected street networks improve our access to daily needs and establish more valuable and efficient development patterns.  Greater connections provide more direct routes, allow options for different routes, and make our communities more adaptable to long-range change.

  • Improve options for different transportation choices and reduce transportation costs.
  • Reduce per capita vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality.
  • Reduce congestion and increase capacity by diffusing traffic through a street network.
  • Enable a wide range of street design types to better support abutting development.
  • Enlarge the capture area and expand the impacts of transportation investments.
  • Improve emergency response times and expand the service area of public safety investments.
  • Accommodate walkable and transit supportive land use policies.
  • Require street connectivity based on planning context using maximum block perimeters or minimum intersection density.
  • Keep average block sizes small – typically 2.5 to 4 acres for activity centers and 4 to 6 acres for adjacent neighborhoods.
  • Provide as direct of connections as possible; where connections are impractical, consider alternate or limited mode connections (i.e. pedestrian passages, bike trail, etc.)
  • Balance vehicle “level of service” standards with pedestrian and bicycle levels of service.
  • Designate certain routes within the network for different transportation priorities and urban design strategies.
  • Provide mid-block and inter-block connections, especially for bikes or pedestrians, in the limited cases where over-sized blocks (6 to 10+ acres) are justified.
  • Concentrate pedestrian spaces at key points where different modes of transportation connect.

Context Appropriate Streets

Context appropriate streets fit the physical setting and better support our distinct places. Varying street designs, even on a block-by-block basis, to account for different environmental conditions, different urban design goals, and different development patterns improves transportation choices.

  • Reinforce or establish distinct places and character in the community.
  • Preserve unique and valuable natural features.
  • Improve flexibility and design innovation while ensuring the function and safety of our transportation system.
  • Improve the cost-effectiveness and maintenance of infrastructure investments.
  • Better coordinate infrastructure design with economic development opportunities and projections.
  • Use street design to be a defining feature of different neighborhoods and districts.
  • Create design options within single street classifications.
  • Build a menu of streetscape elements, including lane widths, parking, landscape/amenity, sidewalks, bike facilities, and access spacing.
  • Implement variation in street designs along different block segments to support the context and development goals.
  • Develop criteria to apply different street design types within the network based upon planning context, development patterns, block frontages or building types, and land uses.

Diverse Housing Types

A greater range of housing types makes our neighborhoods more stable and resilient to outside influences. Increasing the variety of housing options can better meet the changing housing demands of our population and supplies the broad range of housing needed for more complete communities.

  • Improve the image of the community.
  • Create better access to more destinations using different modes of transportation.
  • Increase property values, aesthetics and development opportunities on abutting property.
  • Improve public health through more walking and biking.
  • Improve safety by moderating driver behavior.
  • Reduced per capita vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality.
  • Attract sustained economic activity.
  • Create lively activity centers.
  • Require connected street networks and pedestrian-scaled public realms; on larger parcels without a small block structure implement internal circulation to mimic public streetscapes and connections.
  • Regulate by building type rather than use; emphasize reuse of existing buildings.
  • Emphasize a diversity of small scale uses and limit or prohibit large scale uses.
  • Promote active street level uses on key streets and create standards for pedestrian-scale building frontages.
  • Specify limits to the area and application of certain zoning categories, and create criteria for transitions to other, complimentary categories.
  • Create formulas for the range and degree of the mix of uses in “mixed-use districts” – either as planning criteria or requirements.
  • Maximize on-street parking, manage parking supply on a district level, and ensure flexible site parking standards.
  • Create stormwater regulations that specifically promote compact development.

Energy Efficient Buildings and Sites

More efficient building and site designs can improve environmental performance, increase our health, and reduce the lifecycle costs of property investments.  Building orientation and siting, landscape and site design, material selection, operation and maintenance practices, and the adaptability of our buildings and sites to future reuse all impact how much resources and energy we consume.

  • Improve the image of the community.
  • Create better access to more destinations using different modes of transportation.
  • Increase property values, aesthetics and development opportunities on abutting property.
  • Improve public health through more walking and biking.
  • Improve safety by moderating driver behavior.
  • Reduced per capita vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality.
  • Attract sustained economic activity.
  • Create lively activity centers.
  • Create generous sidewalks and limit the interruptions in sidewalks (5’ to 8’ in neighborhoods and on side streets; 8' to 12' on commercial or mixed use streets; and 12’ to 20’ on key streets with civic amenities in activity centers and corridors).
  • Specify lane widths based on desired vehicle speeds (9’-10’ on slow streets, 10’ – 11’ for moderate speeds, and 11’-12’ for high speeds; 12’ or more should be reserved only for highway speeds).
  • Use tall shade trees on all streets to help frame the public realm, to slow and infiltrate stormwater, and to create comfortable environments.
  • Incorporate on-street parking to improve access to abutting land uses and to manage traffic speeds.
  • Integrate bicycle facilities on specified routes; base the facility type on the speed differentials between bicycles and desired vehicle speeds.
  • Separate sidewalks from moving vehicle lanes by at least 6' to 12' - either with on-street parking or a landscape tree lawn.
  • Integrate transit facilities into street design on transit routes; prioritize pedestrian improvements around transit stops.
  • Carefully design and strategically locate interruptions in sidewalks (driveways, alleys or street intersections) to prioritize pedestrian movements.
  • Apply complete street policies throughout a network and avoid one-size-fits-all "complete streets" that generically accommodate every mode but work well for none.

Green Infrastructure

Using natural systems to serve development and designing development to incorporate natural systems can reduce costs and increase environmental performance of our communities. Green infrastructure preserves valuable ecological functions of our landscapes and emphasizes distinct characteristics of our communities.

  • Align stormwater strategies with development policies.
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Manage stormwater and reduce flooding.
  • Reduce impacts on structural storm water systems.
  • Maximize the use of existing natural assets to serve development with ecosystem services.
  • Reduce use of potable water for irrigation.
  • Improve the aesthetics of sites and buildings, and increase access to recreation opportunities.
  • Integrate all scales of stormwater management systems - from the site to the block, to the neighborhood, to the sub-basin or watershed.
  • Create flexibility in stormwater BMPs to account for watershed, sub-basin, or district solutions.
  • Discourage site-by-site fragmented strategies and allow off-site and shared mitigation - particularly to accommodate compact, walkable development.
  • Treat rainwater close to where it falls.
  • Prioritize natural or infiltration management strategies.
  • Reduce impervious surfaces on a watershed and per capita basis.
  • Use streetscapes to infiltrate stormwater.
  • Limit unproductive impervious surfaces, and use porous surfaces wherever possible.
  • Create absorbent landscapes in a variety of contexts.

Historic Preservation

Preserving significant structures connects a community to its past. Historic preservation laws and practices enable a community to walk amidst its past while often continuing to use the structures for current needs, such as residences and offices.

  • Potentially increased property values in areas with historic districts.
  • Increased economic benefits in tourism.
  • Less resources used in construction due to reuse of existing buildings.
  • Maintenance of an area’s character.
  • Reuse of structures for today’s needs.
  • Establish the value of the community’s historic structures in official planning documents.
  • Do planning work on economic growth surrounding the community’s historic structures and resources.
  • Educate property owners and other citizens about the community’s historic resources.
  • Make financial resources available to owners of historically significant properties for their upkeep and rehabilitation.
  • Historic preservation overlays (via ordinances) with clear design guidelines.

Infill Housing Developments

Infill development and rehabilitation of existing buildings helps find space for new homes within our established communities. Designing infill developments in ways that work well with their surroundings and retool property for productive use and modern needs keeps our neighborhoods, corridors and activity centers strong.

  • Use existing utilities and infrastructure, rather than building more infrastructure that the city is liable for maintaining.
  • Space used within the city is more efficiently served by city services.
  • When redevelopment happens within the city and not on the edge of the city, natural habitat, green space, and farmland is preserved.
  • Stagger the deterioration of housing in a neighborhood so that a neighborhood does not decline all at once.
  • Can serve new needs in an existing neighborhood or community.
  • Allow accessory dwelling units on single-family residential lots.
  • Fill in vacant lots with housing if they are not being used for urban agriculture or community green space.
  • Evaluate zoning requirements to see if they allow the needed housing, including housing referred to as the “missing middle,” such as duplexes, bungalow courts, and townhouses.
  • Comprehensively re-evaluate development codes comprehensively and interdepartmentally to account for the limited land availability of infill housing.
  • Identify cost barriers to developers seeking to take on infill projects and shift them to local government, if appropriate (area-wide environmental reviews, rebuilding of infrastructure).
  • Consider changes to application processes that are beneficial to innovative infill housing developments.
  • Understand the market demand in infill areas.

Integrated Trail Systems

Trail systems connect our communities and natural areas, enhance our transportation networks and promote recreational systems.  Integrating trail systems into our development patterns makes us more active and more engaged in our community.

  • Improve recreation and exercise opportunities close to home and within neighborhoods.
  • Expand the transportation system beyond street networks, enhancing active transportation options.
  • Create a linked system of parks, trails and natural areas.
  • Support the community identity through active, prominent trail networks.
  • Establish trail systems as part of the infrastructure to be accounted for in subdivisions.
  • Organize trails for pedestrian and bicycles along stream systems and create a linked system of parks and natural areas.
  • Interconnect street networks and block structures with trail and stream systems.
  • Prioritize connections between common walking and bicycling destinations – neighborhoods, schools, parks and recreation destinations.
  • Locate new schools, parks, community centers, libraries or other public facilities close to trail systems that are integrated within population centers.

Mixed Density Neighborhoods

A wide variety of housing types within the same neighborhood strengthens community diversity and increases the number of amenities available to residents. Integrating a range of similar scale of lots, building footprints, heights and frontages allows different housing types to mix compatibly despite wide ranges of density, and establishes the distinct characteristics of our neighborhoods.

  • Create vibrant neighborhoods, with active populations at varying times throughout the day.
  • Support activity centers and corridors with close and diverse markets.
  • Allow better connections to and transitions between neighborhoods and activity centers or corridors.
  • Increase the range and marketability of neighborhoods to meet demographic and market demands.
  • Add choices to the type, size, and cost ranges for housing. 
  • Provide housing with affordable transportation options.

    Improve infrastructure return-on-investment with more efficient development patterns and more valuable and resilient neighborhoods.

  • Regulate residential uses by building types rather than density.
  • Allow a mix of housing types within certain districts or neighborhoods, or develop specific location criteria for smaller-scale multi-unit residential buildings.
  • Allow accessory dwelling units in specific neighborhoods or districts, or according to specific location criteria.
  • Improve density at strategic locations with appropriate-scaled housing options.
  • Develop appropriate parking strategies for the neighborhood context to promote the correct balance of density and neighborhood walkability.
  • Make pedestrian-scale streetscapes the focal point of neighborhoods, and blend a compatible range of building types/frontages along neighborhood streets.

Natural Resource Protection

Parks, open spaces and natural areas are defining features of our communities. Arranging our built environment in ways that emphasize valuable natural landscapes as a focal point of development enriches our communities and builds distinct, desirable places.

  • Preserve unique natural features as a focal point of communities.
  • Improve air and water quality.
  • Provide easy access to open and natural spaces.
  • Integrate “green infrastructure” into development patterns and reduce the costs of "grey infrastructure."
  • Protect functioning ecosystems and sensitive habitats.
  • Create a linked system of parks, trails and natural areas promoting healthier lifestyles.
  • Organize trails for pedestrian and bicycles along stream systems and create a linked system of parks and natural areas.
  • Interconnect street networks and block structures with trail and stream systems.

  • Use natural systems to bound and protect neighborhoods.
  • Preserve high performing ecological assets and make them a focal point of the community – within the public realm and with development fronting on it rather than backing to it.
  • Use natural systems as productive infrastructure for watershed management.

Optimize Parking

Optimal parking solutions respond to the context and development patterns to improve access for people. Too much parking can be as big of a detriment to quality development as too little. When we mandate parking requirements, but fail to balance this with similar mandates that ensure access for people on foot, bicycles or transit, we limit choices.

  • Create better access to more destinations using different modes of transportation.
  • Limit the impact of redundant and underutilized surface parking areas on adjacent sites.

    Minimize runoff from unproductive impervious surfaces.

    Allow better site utilization and higher returns on infrastructure investment.

  • Support walkable development patterns (access on foot, by transit, or park-once-and-walk.)
  • Promote the urban design goals for blocks and districts through better parking design.
  • Create vibrant places with active, people-friendly sites oriented to streets.
  • Maximize on-street parking.
  • Manage parking at the largest scale possible - ideally at the block or district scale.
  • Allow flexibility and reductions from any required site parking.
  • Emphasize the design, location, access, and impact of parking instead of simply the quantity.
  • Promote shared parking arrangements – both location sharing (consolidated lots) and peak time sharing (reduce cumulative spaces).
  • Reduce or eliminate parking requirements near transit or in compact, walkable centers and neighborhoods.
  • Provide bicycle parking on all sites - particularly for uses in bicycle accessible locations and common bicycle destinations.
  • Reduce parking minimums, particularly for small scale uses.
  • Create parking maximums, or limits that require additional mitigating design strategies.
  • Consider a fee-en-lieu of parking allowance or "unbundled" parking that is managed at market rates

Pedestrian-Oriented Public Realm

A public realm designed for people establishes our most memorable and enduring community characteristics.  The design of our rights-of-way and civic spaces, and the relationships of buildings to these spaces, shapes how we experience and perceive our communities.

    Increase the vibrancy of our public realm by filling it with more active people.

    Leverage small public realm investments to improve neighborhoods, corridors and activity centers.

    Improve options for different transportation choices and reduce transportation costs.

    Reduce per capita vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality. 

    Improve public health through more walking and biking. 

    Strengthen local business opportunities with diverse and distinct destinations.

    Support the community identity and provide inviting gathering places.

  • Plan active street-level uses.
  • Develop permeable building facades with frequent entrances, and create more interaction between public rights-of-way and private frontages.
  • Create interesting pedestrian scale details within streetscapes and at street level of buildings.
  • Locate civic gathering spaces at frequent intervals along the streetscape.
  • Design for frequent public seating – formal and informal, intended and improvised.
  • Use landscape elements to provide comfort and interesting, attractive spaces.
  • Require street trees on all streets and specify sufficient planting areas for species and size (at least 6' for small and medium shade trees and 7' to 8'+ for large shade trees).
  • Add landmarks or meeting points at distinct locations in and along the public realm.
  • Minimize pedestrians’ exposure to moving vehicles.
  • Avoid designing intersections that prioritize vehicle turning movements, and that increase turning speeds and crossing distances; pay special attention to improving crosswalks and reducing curb radii at intersections in activity centers and neighborhoods.

Renewable Energy

Development patterns and policies of our cities impact both our sources of energy and our use of energy.  Retooling our cities for renewable energy – from the regional scale to the site scale – helps reduce our energy demand, increase our energy supply and efficiency, and make our communities more resilient, affordable and healthy.

  • Maximize the use of existing natural assets to serve development with ecosystem services and energy sources.
  • Improve building and site performance and lower energy costs.
  • Reduce the use of fossil fuels.
  • Lower energy waste and locate sources closer to users.
  • Use solar panels for water and building heat.
  • Use ground source heat exchange to heat and cool buildings.
  • Allow small solar and wind generated energy systems as part of site design.
  • Permit district energy systems and facilities at the block or neighborhood scale.

Repair Strip Corridors

Strategic investments and better land use transitions can restore value to our corridors. Car-oriented corridors reach a point of diminishing returns as each additional business competes for the visibility, access, and space needed to capture traffic and accommodate cars on high-volume streets. Coordinating public and private investments to create places for people, and connecting these places to supporting land uses can repair our declining corridors.

  • Increase infrastructure return-on-investment with more compact development patterns.

    Build value through incremental investments.

  • Enhance economic development through stronger land use relationships, as opposed to capturing traffic.
  • Improve transitions and connections to abutting neighborhoods.
  • Diversify land uses and create distinct destinations along corridors.
  • Reduce the impact of redundant, underutilized surface parking lots.
  • Avoid unproductive, high-volume arterial roads and limit their negative impact on land values.
  • Avoid bisecting centers with high-speed arterial roads.
  • Connect adjacent neighborhoods with new streets, through redesign of existing streets, or with trails and pedestrian passages.
  • Implement multi-modal streetscapes and require street designs to transition to better support abutting development.
  • Concentrate a variety of small-scale retail and service uses into centers and create ""park once and walk"" destinations.
  • Limit vehicle access to key points along a block, use shared internal circulation systems, and use side street and alley access.

  • Reorient buildings (new or additions) to the street.
  • Reorganize from linear to nodal patterns at strategic and favorable locations.
  • Support centers with complementary uses along the corridor.
  • Correct over-zoned retail areas and target investment more in line with market demand.
  • Organize new development in a small block structure, allowing incremental investment and new buildings over time.
  • Locate small civic gathering spaces at prominent locations.
  • Improve density at strategic locations with appropriate-scaled housing options.
  • Coordinate public and private improvements in priority segments of the corridor for maximum impact.

Retail/Rooftop Relationships

A strong, well-connected and accessible market makes retail more successful.  Improving the proximity and relationship between neighborhoods and the amount and types of commercial development they demand makes our corridors and activity centers vital and worthy of long-lasting investments.

  • Support corridors and activity centers with close and diverse markets.
  • Connect commercial development to stable markets that encourage long-lasting, higher-quality retail investments.
  • Reduce vehicle miles traveled through more connections and better proximity between retail uses and the markets they serve.
  • Reduce our reliance on high-traffic corridors for commercial markets, and limit the diminishing returns of strip corridor development patterns.
  • Improve residents’ access to daily services and goods.
  • Capitalize on more efficient development patterns and greater returns on infrastructure investment.
  • Diversify economic development opportunities and create more stable investment environments.
  • Create a hierarchy of activity centers of different size, scale and target markets.
  • Create criteria and intent statements to locate higher density zoning districts relative to other complementary uses.
  • Implement development patterns and street networks that better connect target markets to centers.
  • Identify different scales of use and/or building types for the different scales of activity centers.
  • Implement minimum density requirements near activity centers.
  • Develop criteria for the location, size, and spacing of activity centers.
  • Specify appropriate supporting and transition zoning districts for areas abutting activity centers.

Strong Suburban Downtown

Strong downtowns attract investment, create a community identity, and provide a place for people to gather and walk.  A vibrant and connected downtown increases the resiliency of our communities and adds diversity to our economy.

  • Provide a distinct community identity.
  • Diversify economic development opportunities.
  • Provide a framework for resilient and incremental investment.
  • Enable more options for small and local businesses.
  • Preserve our built heritage and keep older structures viable.
  • Create places to walk and opportunities for civic engagement.
  • Capitalize on existing infrastructure and efficient development patterns.
  • Reinforce a well-connected street network.
  • Regulate by building type rather than use; emphasize reuse of existing buildings.
  • Emphasize a diversity of small-scale uses and limit or prohibit large-scale uses.
  • Promote active street level uses on key streets and create standards for pedestrian-scale building frontages.
  • Implement standards for pedestrian-scaled public realm including public streetscapes, civic spaces and private open spaces.
  • Maximize on-street parking, manage parking supply on a district level, and ensure flexible site parking standards.
  • Integrate a wide range of small-scale, multi-unit residential buildings, particularly at transitions to neighborhoods.

Transit-Ready Corridors

Connecting our most common trip origins and destinations along strategic corridors will better support local and regional transit lines.  More housing choices, increased employment options, and direct connections to more walkable places prepare our corridors for better transit service.

  • Improve mobility with better integrated transit, walking and biking.
  • Create options for different transportation modes and reduce transportation costs.
  • Increase economic development near transit stops.
  • Reduce per capita vehicle miles traveled and improve air quality. 
  • Improve the quality-of-life for non-driving populations with services and amenities and housing choices that are accessible by transit.
  • Improve infrastructure return-on-investment with more efficient development patterns near transit investments.
  • Identify the most transit supportive zoning districts (compact, higher density/intensity) and target near transit investments or planned transit corridors.
  • Require street connectivity based on planning context using maximum block perimeters or minimum intersection density.
  • Implement minimum density / intensity (i.e. dwellings per acre or employees per acre) near transit stops.
  • Require pedestrian-oriented site designs and streetscapes in transit corridors.
  • Reduce or eliminate parking standards in transit corridors and/or give parking credits for transit-supportive development and site designs.
  • Integrate transit facilities into streetscape designs or as criteria for site design in areas with constrained rights-of-way.

Tree Preservation

Maintaining our well- established trees and planting the right tree in the right place builds long-term value in our communities. The urban forest does more than make our streets, parks and neighborhoods pretty; it provides valuable ecosystem services that reduce energy use, clean our air and water, and keep our communities vibrant, comfortable and healthy.

  • Make unique, attractive, and comfortable streetscapes
  • Increase property values by using long-lasting tree species in the right-of-way and on private property.
  • Intercept rainwater to reduce runoff and flooding.
  • Provide cooling to limit urban heat islands and lower building energy demand and costs.

    Improve air and water quality.

  • Improve privacy and screening.
  • Enhance people’s connection to nature in a variety of settings.
  • Require street trees on all streets and specific sufficient planting areas for species and size (at least 6' for small and medium shade trees, and 7' to 8'+ for large shade trees).
  • Require an existing tree inventory as part of the site plan and development plan process.
  • Develop a locally appropriate tree species list for landscape standards; incorporate the list by reference in the ordinance and allow for easy and periodic administrative updates to the list.
  • Establish planting specifications for new trees to ensure long-term survival; include maintenance and replacement provisions.
  • Integrate green infrastructure standards and tree preservation as critical stormwater strategies.
  • Give credits for preserving existing established trees in development and landscape plans and prioritize preservation of certain types of trees.
  • Establish minimum tree canopy requirements for different locations and contexts in the community.