Coastal Smart Growth Home: Getting Started: Zone for Appropriate Scale


Traditional Euclidean zoning separates development by uses, such as residential and retail business, and by dimensional standards, such as lot size and setbacks. Exceptions to these requirements generally require a variance. Other zoning approaches, such as form-based codes, design standards, and performance zoning, offer more flexible options for developing walkable, mixed-use communities.

How to Get Started

Examples of Codes That Support Smart Growth Development

A web site by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities that describes different approaches to zoning and permitting. The site includes examples used by different communities and links to the relevant planning and zoning documents.

Form-based Codes: New Approach to Planning

A fact sheet from the Michigan Association of Planning that describes the principles of form-based codes, how they differ from traditional zoning, how form-based codes are structures, and a process for developing form-based codes.

Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes

A primer by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities that discusses various approaches to Smart Growth zoning. It includes information on zoning for building scale, density, and street standards.

Types of Zoning Codes

A web site by the Philadelphia Zoning Code Commission that describes traditional Euclidean zoning concepts and alternatives that provide more flexibility in development and that may require fewer variances.