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How do other communities prevent monotonous residential development?
We are looking for examples of zoning ordinances and design guidelines that assist in avoiding cookie cutter home developments and residential subdivisions.
There are a number of communities that have added specific provisions to their zoning codes aimed at preventing monotonous residential development, and others that use design guidelines to encourage compatible, but varied, designs.
In essence, these codes and guidelines require developers to vary the appearance of adjacent homes by altering floor plans, building orientations, roof lines, architectural features, or colors. Some communities have codified objective criteria for avoiding excessive similarity or monotony. Others list potential elements to vary but do not establish a bright-line test for monotonous development. Objective criteria provide certainty for developers and make administrative, rather than discretionary, design review processes possible.
While objective anti-monotony provisions are relatively common in a few select parts of the country, they haven't caught on nationally. Generally speaking, communities are more likely to adopt design standards or review criteria that encourage or require variation in building elevations or building materials without establishing bright-line tests for when a particular residential subdivision would be considered too monotonous.
As you can see from the examples below, the types of features that must be varied are pretty consistent from place to place, but the specific criteria are less consistent. You'll also notice that some communities afford more discretion to developers (and reviewers) than others.
- Bourbonnais (Illinois), Village of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Buildings and Building Regulations. Article I: In General. Section 7-31: Anti-monotony regulations. www.municode.com/library/il/bourbonnais/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH7BUBURE_ARTIINGE_S7-31ANNORE
- Byron (Illinois), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 16: Development Control Ordinance. Chapter 16.27: Anti-Monotony Code. www.municode.com/library/il/byron/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT16DECOOR_CH16.27ANNOCO
- Davie (Florida), City of. 2015.
Code of Ordinances. Chapter 12: Land Development Code. Article IX: Rural Lifestyle Regulations. Division 4: Site Design Regulations. Section 12-291: Anti-monotony.
- This city requires all single-family development in low-density single-family and rural districts to comply with objective anti-monotony standards.
- Elmhurst (Illinois), Village of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 24: Building Code. Article II: Building and Construction Requirements. Section 24.12: Architectural design and anti-monotony standards. www.municode.com/library/il/elmhurst/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CH24BUCO_ARTIIBUCORE_24.12ARDEANNOST
- Midwest City (Oklahoma), City of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Appendix A: Zoning Regulations. Section 5: Supplemental Regulations. Part 5.16: Single-Family Anti-Monotony Standards. www.municode.com/library/ok/midwest_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CO_APXAZORE_S5SURE_5.16SIMIANNOST
- New Lennox (Illinois), Village of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 18: Buildings and Building Regulations. Article XV: Anti-Monotony Code. www.municode.com/library/il/new_lenox/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=VICO_CH18BUBURE_ARTXVANNOCO
- Prairie Grove (Illinois), Village of. 2005. Residential Design Guidelines. www.prairiegrove.org/documents/PrairieGrove_IL_Residential_Design_Guidelines
- Round Lake Beach (Illinois), Village of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Appendix B: Subdivisions. Article VIII: Design Standards. Section 8.6: Anti-monotony construction standards. www.municode.com/library/il/round_lake_beach/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=SUHITA_APXBSU_ARTVIIIDEST_8.6ANNOCOST
- Royal Oak (Michigan), Township of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 32: Zoning. Article IV: Supplemental Regulations. Section 32-621: Residential design standards. www.municode.com/library/mi/royal_oak_charter_township,_%28oakland_co.
- St. John (Indiana), Town of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 24: Zoning. Article IV: Residential Districts. Division 2: R-1 District. Section 24-100: Design regulations. www.municode.com/library/in/st._john/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TOCO_CH24ZO_ARTIVREDI_DIV2DI_S24-100DERE
- Villa Park (Illinois), Village of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Appendix C: Basic Zoning Ordinance. Article 7: R-1 Residence District. Section 7.0: R-1 Residence District regulations. www.municode.com/library/il/villa_park/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=MUCO_APXCBAZOOR_ART7REDI
- Westminster (Colorado), City of. 2012. Single-Family Detached Residential Guidelines. www.ci.westminster.co.us/Portals/0/Repository/Documents/CityGovernment
Related PAS Products
- Kendig, Lane. 2004. Too Big, Boring, or Ugly: Planning and Design Tools to Combat Monotony, the Too-Big House, and Teardowns. PAS Report No. 528. Chicago: American Planning Association. www.planning.org/pas/reports/subscriber/archive/