Land Development Regulations
What are Land Development Regulations (LDRs)?
LDRs include a wide variety of procedures and standards for the subdivision, development and use of land. The development regulations in your community today will shape the viability of your community for decades and sometimes centuries to come, so their consistency with comprehensive plans is essential. Let Michael Lauer Planning help you review and adjust your regulations to help you ensure that development in your community will be a long-term asset that helps you achieve your community’s goals.
All development regulations should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that the procedures and standards facilitate the development patterns most desired by the community. Too often, development regulations inhibit or prohibit development patterns that create more livable, vital and sustainable communities, while fostering homogenous, cookie-cutter subdivisions and buildings with relatively short shelf-lives.
Subdivision regulations govern the division of land into lots as well as the location, design and sometimes the funding public utilities (roads, water, sewer, stormwater management, electricity, gas and telecommunications). Depending on state law and local preferences, subdivision regulations may address the provision of infrastructure and/or funding for parks, recreation, libraries, public safety facilities and other community services. Subdivision procedures vary widely by location, but should address plat submittal requirements, notice and hearing requirements, phased developments, timing of installation and maintenance requirements for public improvements, development agreements, resubdivisions and amendments, review criteria, approval responsibilities and the duration of approvals. Finally, subdivision regulations implement zoning ordinances standards for lots, blocks, street connectivity and other elements affecting neighborhood character and mobility.
Zoning regulations typically address the use and design of lots and parcels of land. Depending on location, they may address a wide variety of site and building development standards, which vary by zoning district.
Unified Development Codes
Unified development codes consolidate subdivision, zoning and other building and development regulations within a single document. This consolidation eliminates the unnecessary gap between interrelated development processes and reduces the potential for conflicts. While it’s important to distinguish the legal authority for zoning, subdivision, building and environmental regulations within a unified development code, their consolidation can simplify and demystify the development process and help achieve more predictable outcomes.
Impact fees, which are allowed in some form in most states are one-time capital fees to off-set the capital costs of development for public utilities and facilities. These fees are particularly useful to fund off-site impacts. Because they are required to be proportionate and related to the impacts of the development being charged these fees, they are not considered taxes, but this also means there are limits on how the fees can be used.
Adequate Public Facilities (APF)
Adequate public facilities (APF) requirements can be an important tool to avoid the high costs of growth in areas of the community where facilities are not adequate to accommodate proposed growth. These regulations, which apply to new development that would create demand for unfunded infrastructure improvements enable a community to defer all or a portion of development until arrangements are made to cure the infrastructure deficiency through construction or funding of needed improvements. APF requirements are not subject to the strict proportionality requirements of impact fees.