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Green Development Codes / Ordinances

Land-Use and Development Planning
Solar Access Protection
Agricultural Land Protection
Brownfield Development
Open Space
Transfer of Development Credits
Green Buildings
Materials and Water Conservation

Energy Efficiency Design Standards

Land-Use and Development Planning

National Association of Counties (NACo) Codes and Ordinances
NACo offers online examples of codes and ordinances related to sustainability, addressing topics such as agricultural land, zoning and planning, communities, and sustainable development.

Smart Development Code Handbook and Appendix 
Presents common obstacles to smart development, as well as provides guidance to communities in determining whether their local codes and standards encourage, support, or impede smart development. The Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program offers several code handbook publications. Most titles are available online, as well as in print form.  Others include the Commercial and Mixed Use Development Handbook, Model Development Code and User's Guide for Small Cities, and Infill and Redevelopment Code Handbook.

Developing Smart Growth Zoning Codes (Available Spring 2003)
Presents the results of researching over 250 zoning codes. While covering comprehensive codes such as Traditional Neighborhood Design and Mixed Use Zones, it also examines more focused issues like parking and street standards. Developing Smart Growth Zoning Codes also covers the approval process and hidden barriers to Smart Growth.

The Infill and Redevelopment Code Handbook (PDF)
Provides tools for addressing barriers to infill/redevelopment that often exist in a community's development codes. The step-by-step process in the handbook is intended for city planners, planning commissioners, and consultants who are involved in updating land use codes for their communities.

Model Codes and Land Use Analysis Tools--Envision Utah (PDF)
Introduces strategies and tips for local governments to address five smart growth-related topics. The model codes in the workbook provide specific code language that supports the general recommendations and can be used as the basis for new or revised planning and zoning ordinances.

Model Codes--Congress for New Urbanism (PDF)
Provides a list of model codes and state enabling legislation with an emphasis on Traditional Neighborhood Design.

Infill and Redevelopment Amendments--City of Austin Smart Growth Initiative
Outlines a number of amendments to the City of Austin's Land Development Code known as the Infill and Redevelopment Amendments. They consist of 8 separate options which are available only when approved as part of a Neighborhood Plan.

Wisconsin's Comprehensive Planning Legislation (PDF)
Commonly recognized as Wisconsin's "Smart Growth" legislation, this document outlines the statutes that focus on the development and implementation of local comprehensive plans. Provides an overview of a state grant program that assists local governments develop comprehensive plans for Smart Growth.

Model Ordinance for A Conservation Subdivision
This model ordinance was prepared by University of Wisconsin Extension, in compliance with Wisconsin's comprehensive planning and smart growth law. The ordinance was approved by a committee of the state legislature, and can be adopted by Wisconsin communities. It addresses approval process, design requirements and performance standards. The model ordinance is online in complete form as a PDF document.

Models and Guidelines for Managing Maryland's Growth --Maryland; 2001
Addresses infill development and includes model zoning codes, examples of existing zoning codes from jurisdictions throughout the country, and a list of minimum requirements that jurisdictions must meet in order to qualify for certain state incentives.

"Smart Growth" and Neighborhood Conservation--Maryland Senate Bill 389
Establishes priority funding areas in the State so as to preserve existing neighborhoods and agricultural, natural, and rural resources; prohibits State agencies from approving specified projects that are not in priority funding areas; provides for specified exceptions; establishes a certification process for the designation of eligible priority funding areas; requires municipal corporations to adopt specified development standards and assist counties in the collection of fees to finance specified school construction; etc.

Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change, 2002 Edition, and the companion User Manual (various formats)
Provides model statutes for smart growth planning.

Growing Greener Ordinance Language: Visually Enhanced Zoning and Subdivision Models, Island Press, 2001
This interactive CD-ROM provides an enhanced, visually interactive version of the model zoning and subdivision ordinances that appear in the book Growing Greener (Island Press, 1999). Included are more than 50 commentary images and short video clips that illustrate the model ordinances and help explain and clarify the available options.

Growing Greener--Pennsylvania; 1999
The Natural Lands Trust and others in Pennsylvania have developed a conservation zoning and subdivision design approach for Pennsylvania communities to adopt, aimed at putting conservation into local codes. A 20-page booklet is online in PDF.

Minnesota's Community-Based Planning Act --1997 (PDF format)
Legislation building on the state's sustainable development statutes. The Act sets 11 goals for community-based planning, creates an advisory council to refine program details, and funds pilot projects.

Regulating Ordinance --Belmont, North Carolina; 1994
Provides "Traditional Neighborhood Development" guidelines, including mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented planning.

Solar Access Protection

Solar Energy Ordinance--Port Arthur, Texas; 1979
Defines solar energy and mandates design principles that utilize solar energy and protect building access to its use.

Solar Access: Summary of Ordinance--Boulder, Colorado; 1991
Describes an ordinance that limits the amount of permitted shading by new construction and requires that new buildings be sited to provide good solar access.

Solar access, thermal performance and solar heating --Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin; 1980
Establishes energy performance standards for new building, including a requirement that non-residential buildings receive a minimum of 50 percent of their heating from solar energy.

Solar Codes and Ordinances--New Pattonsburg, Missouri; 1996
Provides for protection of solar access, encourages alternative housing design, the use of wind energy conversion systems and other resource-efficient technologies.

Solar Rights Act --State of New Mexico; 1978.
Defines the right to use solar energy as a property right and provides for state encouragement of its use.

Agricultural Land Protection

Model Agricultural Zoning Ordinance--Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; 1994
Provides a model document to include effective protection of agricultural and farm land in overall planning and zoning guidelines.

Conservation Easement Program (Guidelines)--Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; 1996
Uses the acquisition of agricultural conservation easements as a tool to protect the areas rich agricultural heritage.

Right to Farm Ordinance--Davis, California; 1995
Provides the preservation of agricultural lands in Davis (well known for its efforts in environmentally sensitive management), and surrounding Solano County.

Brownfield Development

Memorandum of Agreement for Brownfields Redevelopment --Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; 1996
Memorandum of agreement between the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding brownfields redevelopment.

New Jersey Brownfield Legislation, Senate Bill 39--1998
Makes variations in New Jersey state law to facilitate the remediation of contaminated real property and specifies an appropriation. To order a copy of the legislation, call New Jersey Legislative Services at (609) 292-4840 or e-mail

Brownfields-voluntary cleanup and revitalization programs --State of Maryland; 1997
Establishes a voluntary program in the Maryland Department of Environment and sets guidelines for regulations, fees and approval of applications.

Open Space

Open Space District--Marin County, California
Provide the philosophy, guidelines and regulations that protect and maintain the County’s natural spaces.

Performance Zoning Model Ordinance--Bucks County Pennsylvania; January 1996
Presents a zoning method with a primary objective of protecting natural resources and a secondary objective of providing flexibility in the design of residential development.

Hillside Preservation District --Pacifica, California;
Encourages protection of natural topographic features and discourages the development of ridgelines.

Wetlands Protection--Boulder, Colorado; 1981
Protects area wetlands through restrictions on use and development, including adjacent areas where use and development might adversely impact wetlands.

Transfer of Development Credits

Transfer of Development Credits--Monterey County, California
Allows the transfer of development rights from one parcel to another as a tool in programs to discourage building in sensitive areas of the Big Sur.

Green Buildings

Declaration of Community Responsibility, Covenants, and Restrictions--New Pattonsburg, Missouri; 1995
Provides for the encouragement of sustainable construction, energy-efficient design and orderly development of the new town.

Immediate Development Objectives--New Pattonsburg, Missouri; 1994
Outlines initial development guidelines and establishes a sustainable economic development council.

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Planning and Design Policy--National; 1998.
Represents NAVFAC's proactive commitment to environmentally sustainable facilities. The policy is detailed in three documents:

City of Santa Monica Building Guidelines--Santa Monica, California; 1996
Discusses an effort to establish sustainable building design and performance guidelines for office, retail, hotel and multi-family residential building.

Materials and Water Conservation

Construction Site Solid Waste and Recycling Collection--Portland, Oregon; 1996
Mandates recycling of construction site waste for any building project with a total job cost over $25,000, as well as requiring recycling programs for businesses and multifamily dwellings.

Voluntary Resource-Efficient Guidelines on New Construction and Building Renovation Projects--San Diego, California; 1997
Establishes voluntary green building guidelines that focus on energy and resource efficiency, waste minimization, and protection of the environment.

Energy Efficiency Design Standards

Energy Policy--Portland, Oregon; 1990
Provides a 10-year plan to increase energy efficiency in all sectors of Portland by 10 percent.

Energy Performance Standards--Montgomery County, Maryland; 1985
Establishes minimum energy performance standards for county buildings.

Energy Efficiency Standards--State of California; 1995
Establishes energy efficiency requirements for residential and non-residential building.

Energy Conservation Standards for Alterations and Remodels to Residential Structures--Davis, California; 1994
Establishes minimum energy performance levels beyond state requirements, while allowing for innovation and flexibility of design.

Last updated: April 20, 2004

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