When it comes to land and its potential for development, it’s not always straightforward. There are many factors to consider, including future opportunities. Depending on your goals, it’s crucial to understand how to unlock a property’s potential uses. One valuable tool for this is the (Geographic Information System) GIS Mapping system.
Let’s focus on increasing density and how to locate opportunities to do so. With the current housing shortage, municipalities are pushing for infill, which means higher density closer to city centers. This can be more cost-effective because it takes advantage of existing infrastructure like bus routes, water, sewer, and electricity and is closer to schools. Plus, it promotes walkability and biking.
To locate opportunities for higher density within the city centers, it’s essential to understand how the city evaluates such requests. One method to increase density is by applying for a conditional use permit on a residential single-family lot. However, it is crucial to make sure the lot meets specific criteria before you apply. To determine if your lot qualifies, refer to the city’s infill score on a GIS map. Once you locate your lot, it will be assigned a numerical value, usually ranging from Zero (least desirable) to Fourteen (most desirable). Higher scores have a better chance for higher-density rezoning. The city will consider the score when reviewing your application. When your property is located within close proximity to other high-density zoning, you are more likely to receive conditional permits.
You can check your zoning by clicking on the provided link: Zoning. (We have used Fayetteville as an example.) In the zoning tab, you can find the municipal codes and determine what your property would allow in its current zoning. If you are trying to develop anything other than its current zoning, you must apply for a conditional use permit.
Additionally, it’s crucial to consider utilities and ensure the water and sewer systems can handle the increased zoning. If the utilities currently in place can not hold the capacity for additional usage, the city will require you to upgrade the infrastructure, which can be costly.
Finally, check land records to ensure no easements would prevent building. The most common easements we see are utility, easement by necessity, drainage, and road.
While we strongly advise getting a survey, these factors can provide initial insights into the feasibility of transitioning from single-family to higher-density zoning.