The principle of mixed use zoning districts and development centers around the concept of integrating diverse, yet compatible, land uses within a specific area or areas to create a balanced and sustainable environment. Due to these principles, mixed use planning efforts often require a comprehensive approach when it comes to planning which includes, but is not limited to:
- Balancing Needs Of Residents.
Mixed use zoning districts and developments aim to accommodate for the various and diverse needs of a community including residential, commercial, recreational and industrial elements. Balancing these needs promotes a synergy between uses and can contribute to an increased likelihood of long-term sustainability.
- Optimizing Land Use.
With long-term sustainability an important goal to keep in mind, mixed use zoning and developments often are employed and utilized where maximization of the efficient use of land is required or desired. This is particularly true for Utah.
In recent years, significant population growth, and continued reports and other projections of a significant increase in future population growth accompanied by constant development pressures for the limited supply of available lands in some communities often leaves mixed use and similar development concepts on the minds of local community leaders as a potential and much needed solution.
- Ensuring Long-Term Economic Vitality.
By integrating diverse and compatible land uses that can harmoniously survive and thrive together within a specific area, certain aspects of mixed use and similar types of development such as economic diversity are also attractive aspects. The synergy created in these types of areas between job creation and support for local business are much more likely to have a positive impact on both the short and long-term economic vitality of the particular district or area using these types of approaches.
In Utah, it’s also especially important for local officials to understand the concept behind mixed use zoning districts and developments as references to mixed use and the concepts behind mixed use developments are scattered in §10-9a (for municipalities) and §17-27a (for counties) of Utah State Code, commonly known and referred to as the Land Use Management and Development Act (LUDMA).
For the time being, such references are limited to requirements tied directly to general plans, mostly commonly those associated with the moderate income housing element, which for specified municipalities and counties are a required element of their community’s general plan that are intended to outline realistic opportunities for ways in which communities can meet the need for additional moderate income housing over a five (5) year period.
Special Note: The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman has provided funding for this training program from the 1% surcharge on all building permits in the State of Utah.