Useful Community Development: What's New /community-development-blog.html This page shows new pages added to the Useful Community Development website, major revisions, and moderated visitor submitted photos, questions, suggestions, and stories about "what works." en-us community development Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:24:53 -0400 Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:24:53 -0400 useful-community-development.org Community Improvement Projects and Ideas from Our Visitors /community-improvement-projects.html2062799d6e61275312a34f21d281f90eNeighborhood betterment starts with simple community improvement projects that create visible success quickly. Visitors share details of their wins or mistakes. Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:24:48 -0400 Developer Revising Covenants /developer-revising-covenants.html62572feaf8a651eccc99dd7e0d8b34acVisitor Question: We are in a subdivision of five lots. The developer sold the fifth lot to a charity that builds houses to donate to wounded veterans, Fri, 16 Aug 2019 19:39:11 -0400 How to grandfather a room addition /how-to-grandfather-a-room-addition1.html42727e453a2d7a5d350e9ecb1b691c56Visitor Question: I bought my house in 1980. It has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Recently someone reported to the city that I had people living in my garage. Thu, 8 Aug 2019 09:12:15 -0400 Civic Engagement Question and Answer Seeks More Involvement /civic-engagement-question.html3f6d5d22c3370ced5d92c44b19e6b0a6This civic engagement question and answer page responds to visitor concerns about apathy, youth motivation, and the need for more robust citizen participation. Thu, 8 Aug 2019 08:42:22 -0400 Threatening behavior by code officers /threatening-behavior-by-code-officers.html1080b35572819351466286d5c76e14f7Visitor Question: Three code officers came to my place, carrying weapons on the first visit. All of my permits are up to date. For zoning and planning, Sun, 4 Aug 2019 09:05:51 -0400 Visitor Zoning Questions and Answers to Help All of You /zoning-questions.html9494ef6e1584dd3a5fb6a1eb08606e24This page allows visitors to ask zoning questions. Answers from the editors and possibly other visitors will appear in this hand-selected and edited forum. Sat, 3 Aug 2019 10:33:39 -0400 Restrictions for land conservation /restrictions-for-land-conservation.htmlec0c6f4882672e497e7bcbc436418ea6Visitor Question: I'm selling a small piece of property which has a house on it. I'm also planning to deed a 2-acre piece of land to my sister. I am Fri, 2 Aug 2019 10:14:53 -0400 Deed Restrictions Contradictory and Not Being Enforced /deed-restrictions-contradictory-and-not-being-enforced.html509b4788c53430aa0b38020ca6c8eaf7Visitor Question: Our Deed restrictions were written by the developer for lots consisting on no less than 5 acres in a rural area (zoned agriculture). Thu, 1 Aug 2019 15:27:06 -0400 Visitors Suggest What They Like About the Best City Plan They Know /best-city-plan.html43dbada058991af4c00dc4c2d7a0896eYour idea of the best city plan you know about could help others determine what makes a good plan and how they can write one. Contribute here. Thu, 1 Aug 2019 14:53:20 -0400 Autumn Newsletter Ideas to Perk Up Your E-Mails or Print Newspaper /autumn-newsletter-ideas.htmla3f3ee24a6c7de79fd7139364251c962Many HOA or neighborhood association editors struggle to come up with new autumn newsletter ideas every year. This page gives some thought starters. Thu, 1 Aug 2019 12:59:55 -0400 Percentage of home owners needed to extend restrictions /percentage-of-home-owners-needed-to-extend-restrictions.html96c0bbaf5143f8b4f5f859ca0afe79c0Visitor Question: I live in a deed restricted neighborhood. In Florida what is the lowest percentage of owners needed to extend the restrictions? Ours Thu, 1 Aug 2019 09:58:57 -0400 HOA versus basketball goal /hoa-versus-basketball-goal.html1877016b0062bc7b73d74b12e16d58a9Visitor Questions: Q1. How can I get a provision for basketball goals changed from the deed? I asked my HOA and they told me they didn't know! Q2. I heard Thu, 1 Aug 2019 09:09:52 -0400 Restrictions differ within the development /restrictions-differ-within-the-development.htmlc09898c268e99dcfcd9fa1943e89173fVisitor Question: Can the HOA restrict homeowners whose back yards face a street by not allowing fences, sheds etc., and not restrict other home owners Mon, 29 Jul 2019 18:53:58 -0400 Deed restrictions imposed for city code violations /deed-restrictions-imposed-for-city-code-violations.htmla1cb9a5a864cc937a2c9656f58a66854Visitor Question: What authority does a city have to require a code offender to agree to a new deed with onerous restrictions and for how long? Editors Mon, 29 Jul 2019 18:33:01 -0400 Can Deed Restrictions Apply to Only Part of Subdivision /can-deed-restrictions-apply-to-only-part-of-subdivision.html2fc65ca61ea11207cc60fdc221bb2017Visitor Question: We live in a subdivision that has had several of the properties excluded or removed from the deed restrictions/covenants over the years. Mon, 29 Jul 2019 14:26:24 -0400 Residential care zoning laws /residential-care-zoning-laws.htmlb2d817f19f2142a97b262231f000333fVisitor Question: I'm trying to become a licensed caregiver. When I went to my local office to receive a zoning letter, they were taking their time about Mon, 29 Jul 2019 13:16:22 -0400 How many people can legally attend a residential fellowship /how-many-people-can-legally-attend-a-residential-fellowship.htmlb2de3f32b0c7164d09bc4d3587014b7cVisitor Question: Hi, I am curious as to how many people can attend a residential fellowship. There are no monetary offerings, but we do host a church Mon, 29 Jul 2019 11:56:04 -0400 Driverless Cars and Sprawl: Some Say Worse, Some Say Better /driverless-cars-and-sprawl.html457197920d246b74adbd0f8b14f2ff90Relationships between driverless cars and sprawl are complex. Some factors support city center vitality but the technology also will make long commutes easier. Mon, 29 Jul 2019 11:08:15 -0400 How A Temporary Use Permit Process Can Help Your City /temporary-use-permit.htmld0081ff7fbbd797af7caadd5854b6ad2A temporary use permit adds flexibility to the zoning ordinance while still assuring appropriate safeguards over sales, fairs, and seasonal uses. Mon, 29 Jul 2019 10:37:36 -0400 Business model for a Community Development Center with ICT and entrepreneurial courses /business-model-for-a-community-development-center-with-ict-and-entrepreneurial-courses.html67abf26bfce305b5f8d7952c3ea5c794Visitor Question: I am having a challenge of coming up with a social business model canvas to understand how the business at a center that has already Sat, 27 Jul 2019 19:52:17 -0400 Tiny house village on church property /tiny-house-village-on-church-property.html1c8f51a4a789cdda2f31c53c1844398eVisitor Question: Is it legal to build a community of tiny houses for the homeless on church property if it is zoned r-1 (residential)and the property Sat, 27 Jul 2019 18:22:14 -0400 Timing of an Accessory Structure /timing-of-an-accessory-structure.html7fdb33afe544f78dd7c7447c73ba5e91Visitor Question: Are there any examples of ordinance language that restricts the building of an accessory structure (garage, pole barn, shed) before a Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:58:01 -0400 Urban Sprawl Solutions Require Strong Coalitions and Alert Governments /urban-sprawl-solutions.htmlee30881172bd95ab7a061f3f909c0a78Building an unlikely coalition to support urban sprawl solutions bolsters political will to avoid short-term thinking and embrace vibrant, cohesive metro areas. Sat, 27 Jul 2019 16:37:14 -0400 Higher Education and Economic Development Agencies Can Partner /higher-education-and-economic-development.htmldd38f49559c26ddab4f9292bd18a878dA community can rev up the links between higher education and economic development. Here are some ideas about how. Fri, 26 Jul 2019 08:40:49 -0400 Overnight stay in a place of worship /overnight-stay-in-a-place-of-worship.html469a28fee03c7498d2e8883764092901Visitor Question Our mosque sits in a commercial district and received zoning approval as a place of worship. The application was simple, and it states Thu, 25 Jul 2019 17:27:08 -0400 Code enforcement singling me out /code-enforcement-singling-me-out.html14c21ee894fed09dc97c0916232e74e2Visitor Question: What if anything can I do if code enforcement is sending me letters for violations and not to anybody else I know? They come because Thu, 25 Jul 2019 17:08:02 -0400 Best of Street Parties, Street Festivals, Block Parties /street-parties.html9b5c4fb2d3c99c12483b6219fe93492eVisitors send descriptions and photos of their favorite street parties. This should inspire a festival of your own. Thu, 25 Jul 2019 13:41:08 -0400 Abandoned Factories a Challenging Asset /abandoned-factories.html25ebd126bc46c752821e2e3ba46959dcAbandoned factories are community problems because in most cities the market for industrial reuse is very slow. Here are some ideas on dealing with empty sites. Thu, 11 Jul 2019 11:13:09 -0400 Cities Must Anticipate How Driverless Cars and City Planning Interact /driverless-cars-and-city-planning.html7b0b34b1ac83a3a804fd32562efb3a6aYour city can save money and a mad scramble later if you start now to consider how driverless cars and city planning may relate in the next few decades. Tue, 2 Jul 2019 16:32:13 -0400 Community Development Consulting With an Uncommon Practical Eye /community-development-consulting.html6678d2419b3ea1f35ae2d5aa9fa8660cIf your neighborhood or community is struggling with an issue, brief focused work with our community development consulting can save much wasted effort. Tue, 2 Jul 2019 16:08:21 -0400 Smart Grid: What It Is and Why Your Community Should Care /smart-grid.html7871988462d9a6e3856eca7e00c61259Community leaders should become aware of the future smart grid and how it might impact resiliency to frequency and duration of crippling power outages. Tue, 2 Jul 2019 15:04:44 -0400 Economic Development from the Community Perspective /economic-development.htmle8d5b034e21cb55698c11ebbf9373500Much local economic development zeroes in on pie-in-the-sky activities that don't attract money into the community. Learn how to analyze options. Tue, 2 Jul 2019 14:30:46 -0400 Transfer of Development Rights a Potent Tool for Targeting Growth /transfer-of-development-rights.html31a0ab1a083b727aebe027edaba9a72fA transfer of development rights from agricultural land to more urban land is a fair, private transaction that helps prevent sprawl. We discuss pros and cons. Tue, 2 Jul 2019 10:37:44 -0400 Manufactured Housing Advantages and Disadvantages to Communities /manufactured-housing.htmlfd845fb28f360f2c91367914f89a97d7Manufactured housing, once called mobile homes or trailers, provides affordable places to live but raises concerns about community appearance and character. Sun, 30 Jun 2019 16:30:54 -0400 Punishment for not correcting serious code violations /punishment-for-not-correcting-serious-code-violations.html9f4455e47ba8543377181016357b86ddVisitor Question: A legitimate complaint was made against a neighbor's property for serious and dangerous code violations, which they can't rectify due Fri, 28 Jun 2019 13:00:44 -0400 100 foot setback requirement for churches /100-foot-setback-requirement-for-churches.html52649441697e6bd6671f08e3b99dc54cVisitor Question: Our city has a 100' encroachment rule for new churches. They measure the furthest edge of the building to the nearest property line. Fri, 28 Jun 2019 12:24:08 -0400 Green Communities: Municipal Steps To Sustainability /green-communities.htmla5e3de7366791d6e8b41a28d7158c1bcGreen communities improve quality of life by addressing climate change, energy savings, water pollution, transportation, and development patterns.. Mon, 10 Jun 2019 19:46:27 -0400 Waterfront Redevelopment Rewards Are Worth the Hard Work /waterfront-redevelopment.htmlba1f1fe216022ab2dd779d3f0a6d3187Waterfront redevelopment requires careful planning, but making your waterway a focal point instead of a grungy back door creates a new amenity and new wealth. Sun, 9 Jun 2019 19:10:37 -0400 Neighborhood Advocacy Captures City or State Attention for Your Issues /neighborhood-advocacy.htmla224f5d4a65e1b369c38623de69f2285Position your organization for effective neighborhood advocacy for new legislation and programs that you need from your city or state government. Sat, 8 Jun 2019 08:21:46 -0400 Mixed-Income Housing Promotes Exciting Neighborhoods and Social Equity /mixed-income-housing.htmlc952b2e0e0d4b02ced4da0a8572bf539A mixed-income housing stock increases equity and makes a neighborhood accessible to young and marginalized people, renews street life and energizes civic life. Sun, 2 Jun 2019 09:35:33 -0400 Redevelopment Re-Uses Land Creatively /redevelopment.html562aa2088ee79cbfc748746ad30ee581Redevelopment of vacant, abandoned, or underutilized land can bring new vitality to a neighborhood or city. Downtown and mixed-use projects are good examples. Sat, 1 Jun 2019 16:57:56 -0400 The Environmental Justice Issue for Communities and Neighborhoods /environmental-justice.htmle9b9289e44c8a0ccf7efedc7f64d4ec1This page promotes some methods of achieving environmental justice, in which sources of pollution are reduced or distributed evenly across communities. Fri, 31 May 2019 10:02:00 -0400 Wind Turbine Zoning and Your Municipal Ordinance /wind-turbine-zoning.html1a75a98812e3088dd728cf6dfafa250dWind turbine zoning, including commercial and rooftop generation, will be common topics of discussion in the next few years. Learn more here. Thu, 30 May 2019 13:12:59 -0400 Code Enforcement Is Vital in Enhancing Property Values and Standards /code-enforcement.html5426f83733fed6de0004d242f935762dQuality code enforcement programs are critical to neighborhoods that want to maintain property values and preserve or improve existing buildings. Mon, 27 May 2019 18:26:47 -0400 Vacant Building Registration Motivates Owners to Take Faster Action /vacant-building-registration.htmlbe66292f20b8a2c5c64cfea6e044fd6bVacant building registration ordinances lead to better data, revenue to address related issues, and importantly, a big incentive to reuse buildings promptly. Mon, 27 May 2019 18:03:19 -0400 Inclusionary Zoning May Produce Below Market Rate Housing /inclusionary-zoning.html3cfa44d9fd21920ddf9fe495c7535d1eInclusionary zoning means assuring that the local zoning ordinance is flexible enough to allow production of new below-market-rate housing. Mon, 27 May 2019 14:18:46 -0400 Local Design Guidelines in Planning and Zoning /local-design-guidelines.html006e767864cf151be6e383984c4c0eefLocal design guidelines are the most legally defensible way for local governments to regulate materials, colors, and other design choices for buildings. Mon, 27 May 2019 08:40:50 -0400 Brownfields Can Be Reclaimed through Environmental Clean-Up /brownfields.htmlc5eeb0be72987ffc431ca78f5796996eBrownfields are sites lacking redevelopment because of the real or perceived need for an environmental clean-up. This page explains available programs. Sat, 25 May 2019 13:12:15 -0400 Numerous Small Town Ordinance Violations /numerous-small-town-ordinance-violations.htmlba124af03c12cbd4f223c68a6a549411Visitor Question: The neighbors got together and revoked the CC&R's during a law suit to clean up the properties. We are now under the local County's Fri, 24 May 2019 09:51:02 -0400 Artificial Floating Islands Clean Water, Attract Beneficial Wildlife /floating-islands.htmlc7a4f1d5079b4d6c3ecfb060cdf4b1b5We interview Autumn Boos of Midwest Floating Islands about the environmental benefits of deploying artificial islands, and explain a bit about how they work. Sat, 18 May 2019 11:37:49 -0400 Beautification of Your Community Matters /beautification.htmla44ece03d8c9962241bc25e8415d1acbThis page describes common community beautification steps to enhance appearance. We introduce more complex issues of urban design and market appeal. Sat, 18 May 2019 11:28:21 -0400 International Community Development Might Require Revised Theory /international-community-development.htmlde648d95adaaf54b732eb9d4ec3d8d30International community development practiced by Westerners is action-oriented and based on democratic ideals, observing what works may soon replace theory. Fri, 10 May 2019 14:26:53 -0400 A Good Tree Canopy Adds Value to Your Community /tree-canopy.html62bb761edd562d68c8c940b61b43c680Planting and maintaining a high-quality tree canopy, both on public and private property, enhances air and water quality but also provides many social benefits. Fri, 10 May 2019 14:04:44 -0400 Sign Regulation to Phase Out Visual Clutter /sign-regulation.html87799dc46303afb3cb7bfa78a3368c14Sign regulation, within the zoning ordinance or as a stand-alone law, can improve the appearance of a city's commercial streets dramatically. Start here.. Fri, 10 May 2019 13:46:22 -0400 Strip Mall Redevelopment: A Current and Future Land Use Challenge /strip-mall-redevelopment.htmle14d5f90872a147b4e82a4fda8a69dbcStrip mall redevelopment will increase in importance for citizens and planners, as vacancy rates and suburban blight increase. Here is what to do next. Thu, 9 May 2019 13:33:23 -0400 No current HOA board members /no-current-hoa-board-members.html3cb1e739f4f05eafcf54074dec834bffVisitor Question: Our deed restrictions have no expiration date and run with the land. But the starting board retired and a new board was never installed. Thu, 9 May 2019 13:06:10 -0400 Start a Community Garden in Good Times and Bad /start-a-community-garden.htmlec290e94ed479033c5dfa01ca0fa947eStart a community garden as a wonderful team-building activity that can provide quality food and help neighbors bond in urban, suburban, and small town places. Tue, 7 May 2019 15:50:33 -0400 Neighborhood Watchdog Program Can Spot Problems Early /neighborhood-watchdog.html0e144f018f3bf8ccdfac7e7742ba4fe7We promote a neighborhood watchdog program with a structured checklist of potential problem items that volunteers who walk the neighborhood should observe. Tue, 7 May 2019 08:16:33 -0400 The Community Planning Process in Six Steps /community-planning-process.html8bcb7e5af38943440688b7df4209112aA community planning process includes data collection and analysis, generating alternatives, choosing a desired future, and writing an actionable plan. Mon, 6 May 2019 18:43:19 -0400 Accessory Dwelling Units Provide Affordable Housing and Support Owners /accessory-dwelling-units.htmlb2ace845ff4ac26a8545ba30cd737e79Accessory dwelling units enhance housing affordability by adding interior or exterior units in a single-family home or lot. Examples are alley houses. Tue, 30 Apr 2019 13:25:28 -0400 Remedying Community Poverty Is Really Good for Your Economy /community-poverty.htmlce51624b6f919058b6cb135dd3279515Learn to organize a town or city to address community poverty, simply because poverty represents a lost opportunity for economic development and vitality. Mon, 29 Apr 2019 07:39:51 -0400 Rural Community Development Requires Clever Use of Resources /rural-community-development.html307de55565bb9eec899d6541979f6785Rural community development focuses on increasing problem-solving capacity, keeping a sound economic base and school system, essential businesses, and clean-up. Sun, 28 Apr 2019 14:24:08 -0400 Summer Newsletter Ideas Offer Many Choices /summer-newsletter-ideas.html334f626495600a11003e416f5ab8a24bThe best summer newsletter ideas often come by taking a walk. If you are stuck, we give you our best suggestions on spicing up your publications. Tue, 23 Apr 2019 06:46:39 -0400 Existing Building Code May Be Insufficient for Older Housing /existing-building-code.html05dbe956b1218ec91afa158c1867474eA standard existing building code is a very useful addition that allows alternatives to new construction standards for older buildings. Mon, 22 Apr 2019 11:20:28 -0400 Building Code Enactment Promotes Safety /building-code.html3878cb1c929e9e8c482aeed90f063d5dEnacting a building code to cover new construction relates to public safety. Every community should heed the necessity of preventing shoddy construction. Thu, 18 Apr 2019 11:03:56 -0400 Community Development Evaluation Considerations /community-development-evaluation.html689fdc4b3b975e960e014253d9707cd8Community development evaluation may be required of your organization if you receive grants, or you may want to see how you are doing. Plan the process well. Fri, 12 Apr 2019 11:16:01 -0400 Notice to property owner when building posted unsafe /notice-to-property-owner-when-building-posted-unsafe.html051b0db22e5894a720666c057fb10c36Visitor Question: Can the city say a building is unsafe without going inside, and can it put a sign on your building without notifying you the homeowner? Fri, 12 Apr 2019 09:57:30 -0400 Gas station in residential area /gas-station-in-residential-area.html9618484fecb62c95e34439e2ec82e4aeVisitor Question: I've seen that in residential areas where a gas station is near neighborhood homes, the gas station causes problems of daily living. Thu, 11 Apr 2019 17:31:44 -0400 Preserving Open Space Adds Value to Your Community /open-space.html26d341dda3fe83123715d675fc4e77c3Community open space confers environmental and social benefits, preserves beauty, and delights folks in urban areas. Produce a vigorousl open space plan. Thu, 4 Apr 2019 09:23:48 -0400 Key Elements Defining Neighborhood Character /neighborhood-character.html38bd871109eedfe61984597da8df4821The thirteen most important factors in neighborhood character are described briefly. Work continuously to improve each, and your community will be unstoppable. Wed, 3 Apr 2019 11:17:25 -0400 Cities funding CDCs /cities-funding-cdcs.htmla6512e99f14156ba9353fbf4aa256cf0Visitor Question: Are there any restrictions on Cities or local units of government funding CDCs? Editors Reply: There are no general restrictions on Tue, 2 Apr 2019 15:56:29 -0400 An Off Leash Dog Park Can Be Compatible with Most Neighborhoods /off-leash-dog-park.html5cfc3bee34a9eebbb0bed8b5df7e84c3An off leash dog park provides a place for canine play that allows owners to socialize and learn about proper pet care, while giving the dog needed exercise. Tue, 26 Mar 2019 19:40:44 -0400 Can the Town Board deny a petition without a public hearing /can-the-town-board-deny-a-petition-without-a-public-hearing.html97a453e17ec7f14f4793e1b9b64cf83bVisitor Question: Our town board had three landowners ask to have their land changed from 3 acre residential to commercial zoning. Can the town deny these Tue, 19 Mar 2019 16:27:57 -0400 Water Conservation From the Community Standpoint /water-conservation.html03fb36346e5df820c7babd45e4d6a3bbWater conservation at the community level can save on energy needed for purification and delivery. Use drama and humor to inspire enthusiasm for this issue. Mon, 18 Mar 2019 09:38:39 -0400 Neighborhood Revitalization Can Be the Talk of the Town /neighborhood-revitalization.html4c0954ce9dc0e7c0e7b0bc6aa0bd076eChoose one of four potential neighborhood revitalization strategies to prioritize problem solving and redevelopment, housing, and infrastructure projects. Thu, 14 Mar 2019 15:13:41 -0400 Relationship Between Transit and Sprawl Is Complex /transit-and-sprawl.html224f08dc5f57e05124e5ae89325c34b8This page provides 6 discussion questions about relationships between transit and sprawl, to encourage dialogue about how the two interact in your city. Mon, 11 Mar 2019 18:46:18 -0400 Community Cultural Development: Arts-Based Revitalization /community-cultural-development.html6610bcf8166d337f4506aa4cd25da7afCommunity cultural development can help revitalize a struggling neighborhood, retain your local artists from diverse backgrounds, and build local pride. Mon, 11 Mar 2019 18:25:01 -0400 Transect Based Design Guidelines Can Substitute for Zoning /transect.htmlcd53deb800d878a3398099894ed99119Dividing a town or metro area into cross-sections, each of which is called a transect, can replace traditional zoning with sensible, flexible design guidelines. Sun, 10 Mar 2019 15:52:40 -0400 Opposing a Proposal for Apartments and Businesses /opposing-a-proposal-for-apartments-and-businesses.html59a5f6681d3f40b124d8625dcbeccf54Visitor Question: We live in a new residential neighborhood. Now a developer wants to rezone to commercial. He wants to add apartments and businesses on Fri, 8 Mar 2019 17:05:45 -0500 Subdivision Regulation Aims for Quality Infrastructure /subdivision-regulation.htmle80011008e0f0e0968e95f5f9b61ef8dSubdivision regulation establishes standards for land developments. Good local standards protect both local government and future home buyers. Fri, 8 Mar 2019 16:13:49 -0500 Does approved site plan have to conform with new zoning code /does-approved-site-plan-have-to-conform-with-new-zoning-code.html85c57d08ef84dec785dc6314c081b012Visitor Question: A storage facility submitted a site plan in 1996. They are going to erect the final building this year, 2019. We are being told that Mon, 18 Feb 2019 09:05:46 -0500 Spring Newsletter Ideas to Brighten Up Your Neighborhood Messaging /spring-newsletter-ideas.html95047eb39f81cfd85971288234559a47These spring newsletter ideas are clustered into nine themes to make your neighborhood e-mail chores easier. Sun, 17 Feb 2019 10:18:00 -0500