Town of Easton: Town Works to Encourage Infill Development

Town of Easton: Town Works to Encourage Infill Development

The Easton Planning and Zoning Commission is continuing its effort to comprehensive review and update the Town of Easton Zoning Ordinance.  One of the principal objectives identified by the Commission in this effort is to strengthen the Ordinance with regards to how it encourages development in general in and around the Downtown, with a particular focus on ways to encourage more Downtown housing options.

In exploring possible ways to accomplish this goal, the Commission is looking to three potential options at the moment.  These are a revisions to the base zoning district(s) to add flexibility and/or remove impediments to the by-right development standards of the Zoning Ordinance for properties in the Downtown Area.  The second option is to revise and improve the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process to make it more favorable to Infill and Redevelopment projects that would primarily be the nature of any Downtown PUDs.  The third option is to adopt a Form-Based Zoning District(s) for all or parts of the Downtown Area.  In a nutshell, a Form-based Code is simply one that shifts the regulatory focus from the use of the property, to the ultimate form of the developed (or redeveloped) property.  The Commission is also considering whether these three options are mutually exclusive or rather might be effective working together in some combination.

To further their efforts, the commission has scheduled a couple of specific informal workshop style meetings.  The first was held in January and looked at the issue of Downtown Development from a general perspective.  The Commission heard from Land Use Attorneys, Land Planners and Engineers, and members of the EEDC staff and Board on issues such as what are the current issues associated with Downtown Development, possible solutions, and the need for predictability in whatever process is ultimately selected.

The next workshop will be held on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in the Town Council Meeting Room at Town Hall (14 South Harrison Street).  The focus of this meeting will specifically be on Form Based Codes, their potential use in Easton, examples of where they have and have not worked, effectiveness in facilitating infill and redevelopment, etc.  Although this is not a public hearing, it is a public meeting and anyone interested in the subject is welcome to attend.