Modernize State Planning Laws

Many states' planning and zoning enabling statutes have not been updated in a generation. This stunts local planning and keeps it from responding to current issues and needs.

state approaches differ

There is great variety in how states address local planning efforts. Some are very prescriptive, and even pre-emptive, while some "home rule" states offer little in the way of statewide regulation or oversight. While it is important to respect different forms of governance, there is a nationwide need for state involvement and resources to ensure consistency and universal participation among municipalities.

but all states should review and update statutes and requirements

Reviewing and updating states' enabling statutes for zoning and housing policies is an essential step. Whether through mandates, funding, technical assistance, or other incentives, states should require both binding comprehensive plans that reflect current housing, economic, and demographic trends and zoning amendments that advance plan goals and lead to production and preservation of affordable housing.

All states should authorize tools like inclusionary zoning, support investment, provide data, and establish production goals. States can advance housing goals by requiring jurisdictions to provide affordable housing options across all income levels and price points. States should designate a single agency to oversee housing policy, support local planning, and achieve key production and affordability goals.

Dig In

These APA resources illuminate the issue and prepare you to act in your community.

Cover of June 2019 Zoning Practice
Zoning Practice

Housing Reform Through State Legislation and Zoning

State legislators are increasingly recognizing the role that state legislation can play in local housing supply, choice, opportunity, and affordability. This issue of Zoning Practice examines several local approaches to housing affordability challenges, highlights examples of state legislative efforts related to zoning in local communities, and discusses the variety of ways in which states are increasingly engaging in this conversation.

Research Knowledgebase

States Make Way for More ADUs

More states are considering — and in some cases, adopting — statutes that allow for accessory dwelling units. Florida, Washington, Rhode Island, and California are among the early adopters.

Blog Post

States Legislatures Take on Affordable Housing

Housing production and affordability were among the top-of-mind issues for state legislatures in session in 2018. States increasingly rely on tools like bonds, housing tax credits, and inclusionary zoning to measure, preserve, and create more housing options.