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Strategy Toolkit

Strategy LU3.3: Encourage denser development through infill and adaptive reuse of vacant and underutilized properties.

Strategy Description

Vacant and underutilized properties in urban areas offer the best opportunities to increase tax revenue while requiring a limited amount of new infrastructure or services. Strategies to encourage the redevelopment and reuse of vacant and underutilized properties include the following:

  • Develop a tiered fee system where fees are lower for infill development, which acknowledges the lower impact of such development.
  • Identify areas in local comprehensive plans where infill development should occur.
  • Identify areas with excess water and sewer infrastructure capacity.
  • Create an “Existing Lot of Record Amnesty Ordinance,” allowing development to occur on existing lots that do not meet the current zoning requirements. Use the standard, “Could this lot be developed in a reasonable manner given current standards?” If the answer is no, grant the lot amnesty.
  • Alter regulations to enable development on otherwise non-conforming properties. For example, minimum required yard setbacks may preclude infill development. Adjusting these yard requirements proportionally to the size of the lot may enable development.
  • In commercial areas, consider reducing parking requirements. Reducing parking requirements will typically increase development intensities more than increasing height limits.
  • Establish an “overlay” or “floating zone” in the zoning ordinance that modifies physical requirements, such as minimum lot size or required minimum setbacks, to enable more infill development.
  • Expedite the review of infill projects by allowing administrative approval, which would speed the process.
  • Use city investments in infrastructure improvements to create more opportunities for development of infill lots. A special service district is one technique to fund improvements to jump-start development activity.

Additional Information / Case Studies


LU3: Promote flexible standards that promote quality redevelopment.