What Can Pink Zoning Do For You?

APA Indiana Chapter


Friday, October 7, 2016
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. EDT

CM | 1.25

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Regulating for overcrowding is at the core of many universally applied zoning regulations, but in under-served and uncrowded places these regulations often create barriers to development where investment is needed most. Removing unnecessary regulations can result in revitalization and re-population-making red tape pinker. You will never think about zoning the same way again.

Minimum lot size and off-site parking requirements are pervasive in zoning codes across America. But are they really necessary anywhere other than in crowded cities? What we see, in fact, is that many of our current zoning practices stand directly in the way of our goals for places, walkability, innovation, job creation, and a place's ability to adapt to change. The good news is that this is a fixable problem. This session is about how.

This is particularly true in our region, the Midwest. Here we confront de-industrializing economies. emgiration of our children and immigrationof new people and immigrants who live differently than we have in the past. However, our codes are built to sequester an early 20th century that pure and simple does not exist anymore. Through the diligent revisiting of our zoning, we can allow for organic and dynamic growth in an uncertain future while protecting our general welfare the way codes are intended to do.

The presentation will look at both ways zoning in our region over reaches and techniques for effectively restructuring them. Take for example minimum lot sizes. The obvious purpose of regulating minimum lot size is to control density. Over time it has become a tool to control who gets to move in next dooe. Larger lots, coupled with minimum setback and open and green space requirements , are an efficient way to protect a community from overcrowding and ensure adequate access to light and air. But does your community really have a problem with overcrowding and a shortage of light and air? Outside of the most populated cities and college towns, is overcrowding a serious problem that justifies governmental intervention? Most importantly, are these regulations yielding the types of outcomes that we desire?

Another example is parking. Minimum off-site parking requirements ensure that the public realm is not overburdened by private parking needs. Most cities and towns have at least one area that may suffer from a lack of parking during certain times of the day and week. But, rarely does the entire town have a parking problem and, what is more, the way we move around our cities is changing rapidly. So, why do zoning regulations often impose blanket minimum off-site parking regulations on every use in every zone?

This session explores the fiction that forms the basis for certain zoning regulations where the reality may not support them. Fictional land use issues may ultimately result in impediments to development and eventual disinvestment. Zoning regulations are often carried forward through the years with little thought paid to their original purpose or intent- addressing issues of a bygone era or that were adopted in response to baseless fears of overcrowding. Communities can benefit greatly from reviewing their land use codes to verify that they address real and legitimate concerns and regulate only what is truly necessary to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare.

This session will explore these issues through case studies, data, and an outline of proposed strategies to overcome barriers presented by current zoning regimes by eliminating unnecessary zoning provisions that do little to protect the health, safety and welfare of our communities while inhibiting positive growth.



Joe Nickol

Invited Speaker

Joe leads urban design and development strategy efforts as a Senior Associate for Columbus-based MKSK. His focus is on the regeneration of our towns, cities and neighborhoods and using the lessons of those places inform the design of new districts and towns that are inherently highly adaptable and resilient. Joe ... Read More

Sean Suder

Invited Speaker

Sean is a Partner in the law firm of Graydon Head and is Managing Director of Graydon Land Use, the firm's affiliate zoning consultancy. He has a degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia School of Architecture and a J.D. from the University of ... Read More