Design Standards in Comprehensive Plans, Guidelines, and Manuals
Daniel R. Mandelker
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law
May 23, 2012
Designing Planned Communities (2010)
Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-05-05
This is the third chapter in a book, Designing Planned Communities (2010), that reviews the concepts and ideas that go into the design of planned communities, and explores how local governments can encourage and provide for their good design through land-use regulation. This chapter shows how design policies and standards can be incorporated in local comprehensive plans, design guidelines, and manuals for the purpose of guiding the design of planned communities. Comprehensive, or general, plans are mandatory in many states and contain planning policies for the future growth of the jurisdiction. Land-use regulations and decisions are expected to take the planning policies into account, and, in some states, must be consistent with the plan. Design policies can be one of the elements in a plan. Design guidelines and manuals are separate and usually unofficial documents that supplement planning policies in the plan and land-use regulations in the zoning ordinance.
The role these documents play in the review and approval of planned communities varies. Significant design detail in these documents can provide a policy framework for planned community zoning amendments or for formal design standards in planned community regulations. Alternatively, some local governments adopt design guidelines and manuals if they know they will not be able to update their zoning regulations for some time, and need policies to support rezoning requests and variances that may arise from major conflicts with underlying zoning in the meantime. The entire book can be downloaded by going to the author's profile on Washington University Law School's website.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
Keywords: planned communities, design, land use, zoning, local government
Date posted: May 24, 2012