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Your November Useful Community Plus
November 19, 2021

This Month: Best Code Enforcement, You Folks Are Back to Planning and Zoning

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November, 2021

This past month interest in traditional planning and zoning topics has surged on our website. We rarely know why this stuff happens, but if you want to be "on trend," here's what to read:

Zoning for bed and breakfast establishments, some of which would be relevant to other short-term rentals

Overview of subdivision regulation

What zoning covers and how the ordinance commonly is organized

What zoning variances do and when they should be granted

How to oppose a rezoning

Effects of urban sprawl

Get some great ideas about smart code enforcement from award winner Round Rock, Texas, in the linked article. We especially liked the block party trailer idea, with the city loaning neighborhoods all the stuff you need to have a good block party. It's an idea worth imitating.

The big point here is that the best code enforcement should be reinforcing community bonds and loyalty so that no enforcement is needed!

This article from Brookings is a good overview on the latest thinking about how place-based, physical neighborhood factors influence crime. We were especially delighted to see discussion of the research showing that the mere existence of community organizations is associated with crime reduction. Be advised that it seems pro-Democrat in tone, but its review of the research is quite sound.

Speaking of community organizations, did you know that non-profits such as your neighborhood association are eligible recipients of the American Rescue Plan Act funding that is allotted automatically to local governments? Some of you doing work related to drinking water, stormwater, sewers, or broadband may qualify, but you have to wrestle with your local government to get some of the money. There's plenty of time, as funds don't have to be spent or contracted for until the end of 2024. National League of Cities has published some great ARPA resources. All of you in the U.S. certainly should watch what your city is doing with its cash influx.

The Poverty and Race Action Council has published two thought-provoking articles on how real estate professionals could help roll back the negative impacts of residential segregation. (Article links are at the lower right of the home page.) Unfortunately, they are short on examples of positive programs, but if you know of one, let us know. The National Association of Realtors is grappling with just this issue.

Lastly, we observe that the meaning of the term smart cities seems to swing around wildly. Here's an article on what the term smart cities means to 15 people actually leading the so-named initiatives for their municipalities.

We answered one question and published one website visitor's story. Here's the question, which is relevant to many attempts to revitalize an area by moving a municipal operation there:

Whether to invest in a new City Hall or other land uses

As we move back toward in-person events, read about one city's appealing festival:

Pumpkin festival connects all types of residents

Incidentally, if your community recently had a special event, tell the world all about it by filling out the form near the bottom of the community improvement projects page. If it feels more appropriate, there is also a street parties category. When approved, you get a page on our website that then can be referenced in your social media and elsewhere.

The next newsletter will be sent on a Thursday in December. Feel free to reply to us with comments. If you are asking a question you would like answered, please use the public-facing community development questions page on the website.

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