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Cityscape: Volume 11 Number 2 | Chapter 3


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Regulatory Innovation and Affordable Housing

Volume 11 Number 2

Removing Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing in Development Standards, Density Bonuses, and Processing of Permits in Hillsborough County, Florida

Sam Casella
Stuart Meck

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


A recent project to evaluate comprehensive plans and development regulations and to review procedures to remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing in Hillsborough County, Florida, examined the use of 15 strategies. This article focuses on 3 strategies that were part of the larger study and that relate to removing barriers in connection with (1) subdivision/development standards; (2) density bonuses; and (3) the processing of permits, plans, and reviews. Recommendations relating to development standards address excessive requirements for lot size, lot width, yard setbacks, offstreet parking, and width of sidewalks and planting strips. Recommendations relating to density bonuses address an existing system crippled by rules that are confusing, contradictory, and of questionable economic value. Recommendations relating to processing of permits address unclear responsibilities and standards, insufficient advance planning and zoning, lack of waivers and uniformity, and an excessive number of hearings.

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