A National Survey of Development Standards and the Impact on Housing Affordability

Zoning Practice — February 2008

By Terry Moore, FAICP, Robert Parker, AICP, Elizabeth Goodman, Gerrit Knaap


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Reports and journal articles about the relationship between regulation and housing costs leave many questions unanswered. What regulations have the biggest impact on housing costs? Which are most prevalent in U.S. cities? Are there differences in regulations between urban and rural jurisdictions or between regions of the U.S.?

A cornerstone of local policy for land use is the belief that regulation can improve the efficiency of land development and use by reducing the negative effects of these activities. Even though planners and policy makers acknowledge that the proper scope of such regulation is empirical and that regulations can go "too far," the number and scope of regulations consistently grows.

This issue of Zoning Practice shares findings of an investigation into the impacts of specific zoning and subdivision requirements, such as setbacks and open space provision, on housing costs.


Page Count
Date Published
Feb. 1, 2008
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American Planning Association

About the Authors

Terry Moore, FAICP
Terry Moore, FAICP, is a founder of ECONorthwest, a consulting firm in planning and economics. He has managed over 600 projects in transportation and land-use planning, economic development, growth management, and policy analysis. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru in 1986–1987, among the recipients of APA's 1996 Current Topic Award for Transportation Planning, and a visiting scholar at the National Center for Smart Growth in 2009–2010. Moore's articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Land Use Policy, Urban Land, and the Journal of Urban Planning and Development. He has contributed to books published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy: Land Market Monitoring (2001), Engaging the Future: Forecasts, Scenarios, Plans, and Projects (2007), and Planning Support Systems (2008). He was principal author for books published by the American Planning Association: Economic Development Toolbox (2006), a second edition of The Transportation/Land Use Connection (1994; 2007), and Zoning as a Barrier to Multifamily Housing Development (2007). He co-authored a chapter on fiscal impacts for the Oxford Handbook of Urban Economics and Planning (2011). He has consulted and presented on planning issues in Central and South America, Europe, New Zealand, China, and Africa.

Robert Parker, AICP
Bob Parker AICP, is Executive Director of the Community Service Center (CSC), Program Director of the Community Planning Workshop, and Principal of the UO Economic Development Administration University Center at the University of Oregon. Over the last 25 years, Bob has managed an average of 10 policy and planning analysis projects per year with communities and state officials throughout Oregon. Community Planning Workshop is known widely throughout Oregon as one of the state's critical policy analysis resources, connecting expertise of University faculty and students with communities and agencies. As Principal of the EDA University Center, Bob has decades of experience related to economic development – including preparation of economic development strategies, market and feasibility studies, and business plans. Bob is also a senior project director with ECONorthwest, a Portland-based economics and planning consulting firm.

Elizabeth Goodman

Gerrit Knaap
Gerrit-Jan Knaap is Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Executive Director of the National Center for Smart Growth Research at the University of Maryland. Knaap earned his B.S. from Willamette University, his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon, and received post-doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in economics. Knaap’s research interests include the interactions between housing markets and policy, the economics and politics of land use planning, the efficacy of economic development instruments, and the impacts of environmental policy. On these subjects, Knaap has authored or coauthored over 65 articles in peer refereed journals, and coauthored or co-edited nine books. He received the Chester Rapkin award for the best paper published in Volume 10 of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, with Greg Lindsey, he received the 1998 best of ACSP award, and in 2006 he received the Outstanding Planner Award from the Maryland Chapter of the American Planning Association. Funding for his research has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Town Creek foundation, and numerous other federal, state, and local government agencies. He currently serves on the State of Maryland’s Smart Growth Subcabinet, Sustainable Growth Commission, Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel, and the Mitigation and Science workgroups of the Climate Commission.