CEDS believes that vacant lands within or adjoining a neighborhood should be used in ways that preserve and enhance quality of life for you and your neighbors. As illustrated in the example you can view by clicking the title to the right, Proactive Neighborhood Planning (PNP) allows you to decide how these lands will be used long before a development company arrives on the scene. Compared to the traditional approach of waiting until a development proposal has been made, PNP can save neighborhood residents thousands of dollars and success is far more likely.
Proactive Neighborhood Planning is accomplished through the following steps.
1. Identify all properties within or adjoining a
neighborhood which may be developed in the future.
2. Determine if development of any of these properties is imminent.
3. Determine if development is prohibited or severely
constrained on any of the properties due to deed restrictions, wetlands,
lack of access, etc.
4. If development is not imminent, then determine how each parcel is zoned and what uses are allowed within the zone.
5. Provide neighborhood residents with a list of all uses allowed on each property, a description of impacts (positive and negative) associated with each use, and ask which would be acceptable. Also, ask about the uses they would like to see made of each property. For example, if a playground or picnic area doesn't exist within a 15-minute walk of the neighborhood, then perhaps one of the vacant properties might be converted to such a use.
6. Identify options for encouraging uses which preserve and enhance neighborhood quality of life on each property, while precluding the most harmful uses. Following are examples of options:
a. Change the zoning classification to one which only allows uses compatible with your neighborhood;
b. Change the law to eliminate
incompatible uses on all properties assigned to the same zone or to require
greater buffers and other measures which resolve the negative impact of
c. Negotiate a binding agreement with the property owner which prevents incompatible uses;
d. Encourage the owner to have an easement placed on the property which prevents development in exchange for payment and/or a reduction in taxes;
e. Acquire the property by pooling neighborhood resources along with funds from private groups, local or state government;
to name but a few possible options.
The research involved in preparing a Proactive Neighborhood Plan can be carried out by volunteers. For further detail how a plan is prepared, click on the following title to view an example: Proactive Neighborhood Planning - Caribou Hills Example.
Detailed advice on how to identify potential impacts, technical fixes, and strategy options is presented in of our free book How To Win Land Development Issues. Additionally, to get answers to specific questions by phone call us at 410-654-3021. We never charge citizens for advice by phone.
Finally, if you and your neighbors lack the time required by the PNP process, then you can engage CEDS to prepare the Plan for you. The fee for this service begins around $1,000. The actual fee depends upon factors such as: the size of the neighborhood, the number potential development sites involved, and the availability of information online such as zoning maps and regulations, property ownership, etc. For further detail on this alternative contact us at 410-654-3021 or Help@ceds.org.