Policy Statements: Guides to Decision-Making

PAS Report 152

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Information Report No. 152 November 1961

Policy Statements: Guides to Decision-Making

Prepared by Jerrold R. Allaire

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This report examines policy statements as tools of the planning agency, describing what they are and their usefulness, and offers a number of examples. Perhaps the most difficult aspect in defining policy statements, as the term is used in this report, is the wide range of meaning that the word policy has when used in the general context of discussion of governmental affairs. Among the administrators, economists, planners, legislators and academicians, one hears of policy plans, policy implementation, policy statements, development policy, policy alternatives, policy determinations — the list could go on.

It is easy when discussing policy and planning to become deeply involved in complex theoretical considerations. Using Webster's general definition, "any governing principle, plan, or course of action," a springboard into the most general of discussions is not only possible but likely.

There is a great deal of literature available on the broad aspects of planning, policy and governmental affairs. Although the word policy appears in the title of this report, what follows is not intended to be an addition to the body of theoretical writing on broad planning-policy matters. The policy statements with which this report is concerned are no more than a means to relate specific actions of local government, those within the realm of the planning agency, to previously stated community goals. (See ASPO Planning Advisory Service Information Report No. 125, Central Business District Goals, August 1959, for a brief discussion on the formulation of goals.)

In the broadest sense, the general or comprehensive plan is a policy statement. Presumably, the plan is a policy or group of policies designed to serve as a guide to consistent and rational public and private decisions in the use and development of land. What, then, differentiates the policy statements discussed in this report from the general plan itself? The answer to this question lies partly in function and partly in degree of specificity. Some of the disagreement that exists as to the meaning of development policies has been cataloged by Stuart Chapin:

Various meanings have been ascribed to "development policies" or, more specifically, "urban land use policies." Some view these policies as something akin to a statement of general principles for planning, and they are thus formulated before plans are developed. Others consider them to be embodied in the plans themselves, and when a plan is officially adopted, the proposals contained in the plan become official urban land use policies. Still a third usage considers them to be statements of the directions in which the urban area should move in order to achieve the objectives of, and implement the proposals contained in, a plan. For example, in this sense policies might take the form of general specifications for zoning, urban renewal, and so on.1

In almost any general plan, there are almost sure to be sections headed Objectives, Goals, Principles, Alternatives, Assumptions, Policies, Standards — basic words in contemporary planning jargon, foundation elements of the "planning process." And yet it is common to find that what is labeled "objective" in one report becomes "goal" in another and "principle" in a third.

In order to isolate the policy statement as discussed in this report, it is helpful to think of the policies with which the planning agency is concerned as an array ranging from the general to the specific. Depending on the agency's particular interpretation of the planning argot, the most general of policies may be termed a goal or an objective. These general policies provide only the broadest framework for decision-making. Similarly, objectives related to population stabilization, desired composition of the economic base, and similar basic urban matters will fall into this category of "first order" policies.

Ideally, the broad framework provided by these "where-we-want-to-go" policies will suggest the direction of the next order of policy statements — statements designed to implement the broad policies. In practice, however, the primary policies are often little more than generalities. A few examples:

________ is part of the growing New York urban region, and future planning must anticipate the impact, benefits and problems that result from relationship to a growing urban region.

Each jurisdiction should determine 20 to 30 years in advance of need, based on the potential for the region, the amount of industrial land to be held in reserve. Industrial parks or districts should be spaced throughout the region in accordance with each industry's specific needs, but in most cases they should be separated from residential and commercial concentrations. Where possible, industrial firms should be distributed throughout the regional area to make better use of the highway and transportation network, and to prevent congestion due to too large an industrial concentration at any one location.

________'s fine neighborhoods must be preserved and protected, deteriorating or blighted neighborhoods must be improved or replaced, and our remaining vacant residential land must be developed to the highest practical standards so that every resident may live in a neighborhood environment having those qualities of safety, comfort, convenience, and aesthetic satisfaction essential for his physical, emotional and social well-being.

These examples are not offered as objects of ridicule, nor are the statements they make necessarily incorrect or invalid. As cornerstones for a plan — a useful guide to decision-making — they are something less than definitive, however. For comparison, a few examples of goals that will provide direction for more detailed policies follow:

Objectives for Airports: 1) The protection of airport approaches from obstructions or hazards to air navigation and the protection of the legitimate interests of persons and property located in the vicinity of airports without unnecessary interference with the continued development of aviation; 2) to resolve conflicts between land uses and airport operations, readily accommodate future aircraft and airport developments, and protect the health, safety, and general welfare of all concerned through the development and use of adequate land-use controls and regulatory devices in the vicinity of airports in the . . . Urbanized Area.

Development Character: The present informal character of development in should be continued, and the contrast among open or wooded areas, rural residential development and town-like residential and shopping development should be preserved. Open space is a major asset of the Town, and new development should be at a scale appropriate for a town the size of ________.

Goal: To insure an adequate system of transit and transportation facilities. If _________ is to continue as an important regional city, people and goods must be able to move freely, quickly and safely within the city and between _________ and all other parts of the ... area.

We must have an adequate network of local streets, freeways to carry large volumes of traffic, and a modern rapid transit system with convenient feeder lines.

We must integrate air, rail and ocean shipping with other transportation facilities.

In addition to the above examples of broad "first order" policy, examples of more detailed and precise policy guides may be found. These may take the form of standards established for specific types of land development or may even be incorporated in regulatory ordinances. (For example, see ASPO Planning Advisory Service Special Report on Subdivision Improvement Policies, City of Santa Clara, December 1959.)

While policy formulation in practice is not as tidy and logical as it is in theory, it is important to note that policy decisions tend to move in sequence from the general to the specific. If they are made out of sequence and detailed policy statements are prepared, broad or general policy decisions will be forced without proper consideration and deliberation.2

Somewhere between the broad brush strokes of the goal or objective and the precise statement of the specific standard or regulation, there needs to be an interpretive, intermediary link. At this point, the policy statement discussed in this report begins to come into focus.

Policy statements for guiding decision-making may be pictured as a pyramid. Goals form the point of the pyramid. These are the "first order" policies that state where we want to go. Standards and detailed recommendations form the broad base of the pyramid. These are the "third order" policy statements that provide the vehicle to get there. Knowing where we want to go and having the vehicle to get there will do little good, however, unless there is a means of finding the right route to take. Policy statements of the "second order," somewhere between the point of the pyramid and its lower tier, should provide the necessary bridge between the general and the specific.

Following the analogy of destination ("first order" policy), routing ("second order" policy), and mode of transportation ("third order" policy), we see that destination determines routing which, in turn, determines mode of transportation. Conversely, prior choice of either mode of transportation or routing will limit the destination. Also, it is clear that choice of the correct mode of transportation to reach a given destination is made difficult, if not impossible, when the routing is not known.

Continuing this analogy one step further, it is possible to illustrate another important characteristic in the definition of "second order" policy. This characteristic is that within the "second order" there are varying degrees of specificity. For instance, routing may commence with the recommendation to head in a general westerly direction. Refinement occurs when a particular highway is chosen. Eventually, directions will have to be given for the right street and the particular address.

An excerpt from Frederic N. Cleaveland in Local Planning Administration summarizes some of the above points:

Planning at any given level of administration is carried on within a framework of policy established by the next higher administrative level. In this sense, policy precedes planning. In a similar way the planning process involves decision in the choice among alternative courses of action. For the next lower level of administration, this choice constitutes the making of policy. In this other sense, then, policy grows out of planning as its logical and anticipated outcome.

This discussion could as well be couched in terms of what is known as "the ends-means continuum." Thus once an end is established the next step is to explore all reasonably possible means through which the end can be obtained. This is part of the planning process in posing the alternative courses of action to attain the goal. The act of choosing from among these means is also a policy decision. Once chosen, this means constitutes a more limited goal for which there are also likely to be alternative ways of implementation. Thus there is a hierarchy of ends-means moving from the most abstract, long-range goals to the most limited short- range decisions regarding immediate steps.

The relationship between planning and policy can perhaps be expressed best by a structure or hierarchy. Thus planning, at any particular level of government or administration, takes place within a structure of policy that has emerged from the operation of the planning process at the next higher level of administration. Similarly, once a choice among alternatives is made, this decision establishes the policy framework within which planning at the next level below will operate in choosing among alternative means to attain the goal embodied in that policy decision.3

Policy statements, as discussed in this report, will mean those necessary steps, put into words, that amplify and implement broad community goals and relate them to "short-range decisions," specific recommendations and detailed regulations.


The practical advantages of policy statements are many. Considering their usefulness, it is surprising that they are not taken advantage of more often by agencies. In discussing the policy statement, the late Hugh Pomeroy quickly got at the heart of its value: "...it is an aid to clear thinking to pull ideas out of a general attitude or impression as to desirable development objectives, and to put them down in words that will have meaning in the shaping up of the zoning plan...." Although Mr. Pomeroy was referring to policy statements especially in their application to zoning, his words apply equally to policy statements related to other areas of planning. Carefully worded statements of policy are aids to clear thinking. In addition to this important general usefulness, what are some of the specific areas in which policy statements can be effective aids?


Administrative action by the planning department and quasi-judicial and legislative action by the planning commission are frequently criticized as being capricious and arbitrary. The nature of the kinds of planning decisions that must be made makes them particularly prone to such indictments. There is evidence, however, which indicates that many of the charges are justified. Clear-cut statements of policy can go far to minimize arbitrariness in planning actions. They can guide and substantiate honest, intelligent decisions. They can serve the planner and the planning commissioner as an anchor of objectivity. They can be a useful tool to the citizen who finds it necessary to remind an errant planning agency that it is veering from its stated course.

An example of a policy statement designed to encourage consistency in development control is illustrated in the following resolution on hillside development which was adopted by the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission in 1957:

Recommendation: That a policy be adopted with respect to the major areas of steep hillsides — which are economically unbuildable; which present serious problems of grading; which present major problems of surface drainage and erosion control; which provide protective buffer strips between opposing land uses; which provide protection for transportation channels; which provide a natural resource of green open space... and which present excessive cost items to the City where improperly developed; that such property be maintained in a natural state, with a planting program to supplement Nature's own reclamation program; and on the basis of such a policy the following specific recommendations are made:

1. That all taxing-body-held property within the above categories of public purpose be disapproved for sale and retained in public ownership;

2. That private properties within the above categories be recommended for consideration in a program of gradual acquisition;

3. That all of the aforementioned properties, upon acquisition, be placed under the jurisdiction of the City Department of Parks and Recreation for development and maintenance;

4. That all public streets or facilities not needed by the City be closed, vacated or removed.


Special sets of circumstances — population change, topography, technological advance, fads — can influence greatly the work load of a planning agency. The flow of mobile home park applications in Florida or Southern California may reach flood-tide proportions. Inordinately heavy pressure for lakefront or resort-type development may plague an agency in Michigan or Wisconsin. Major skirmishes between agricultural and residential interests may be the order of the day in many metropolitan fringe areas. When a community is confronted by recurring problems of the same general nature, development of policy statements regarding these critical areas can be of significant help in reducing staff time spent on their consideration without impairing the quality of the planning recommendations. The particular advantage of the use of the policy statement in the case of the frequently encountered problem, however, is that the groundwork for making the decision will have already been laid. Each time the same or similar situation arises, the agency will not be required to start at the very beginning in its deliberations.

The planning department in Denver has prepared a draft statement on zoning policy along major arterials, a planning problem that continues to crop up. Although the statement is too lengthy to quote in full, a summarization of it follows to illustrate a policy statement that provides the kind of guidelines that will help the planning agency to reach its decisions more quickly and efficiently.

The format of the statement specifies the sorts of situations that must exist before a zoning change can be considered applicable along major arterial streets. The following paragraph prefaces the body of the statement:

The following standards are intended to serve as a guide for the Planning Office for general zoning policy along Denver's major arterial streets. Although these standards cannot be applied arbitrarily and detailed study may be necessary for many specific zoning actions, these standards can be helpful in reaching decisions on comprehensive as well as specific proposals.

Following are some of the specific policies included in the Denver draft:

R-2 Zoning (single-family, duplex and garden apartments) is applicable along major arterial streets in the following situations:

1. Frontage is occupied by single-family homes in good condition with some duplexes or an occasional multiple-family unit.

2. Frontage is occupied by some single-family homes in good condition with a substantial amount of the frontage vacant and having been so for a long period of time.

3. Frontage is occupied by old, large single-family homes suitable for conversion with little frontage vacant in areas removed from the center of the city.

B-2 Zoning (convenience shopping district) may be applied at certain points along major arterial streets subject to the following criteria:

1. Frequency of location must be determined by the need for local shopping facilities to serve adjacent residential areas.

2. The B-2 district should be compact with limited frontage on the major arterial street.

3. For best development, depth of the B-2 zone should be greater than that of a normal lot.

4. Location should be limited to one quadrant of an intersection as opposed to a straddled location, as B-2 centers are pedestrian shopping centers.

Industrial Zoning is applicable along major arterial streets only when the street passes by or through an industrial area.

Zoning on both sides of a major arterial street should be the same, with three important exceptions, as follows:

1. Integrated shopping center zoning should be applied to one side of the street only.

2. Industrial zoning may be applied logically to one side of the street when the street borders an industrial area.

3. In some cases, existing development may dictate the creation of a business or high density residential zone on one side of the street while the other side of the street should be residentially zoned due to existing residential development or vacant land with residential development potential.

Public Information

A third useful function performed by policy statements is in the area of informing the public about the thinking of the planning agency with regard to land development. While there certainly is nothing wrong with publicizing the broad goals of the community, there will be many persons, particularly those directly involved with effecting urban change (builders, social agency workers, real estate men, and others), who will call for more explicit direction upon which to base their own plans. A policy statement that encourages a particular kind of land use, say heavy industrial, for a certain area or certain kinds of areas, or a policy statement that suggests minimum land and population requirements for convenience shopping centers can provide the sort of tool that will offer valuable guidance to the public. It will also enhance public confidence in the planning operation, if worded carefully, by offering a clear statement on the problem.

The Tracy, California, General Plan of 1959 lists a number of major development policies. The one quoted below relates to rehabilitation of an undesirable part of the community and points up the way a policy statement can provide the vehicle for dissemination of planning agency thinking to the public.

A rehabilitation program should be undertaken to improve the South Side neighborhood. The South Side is part of the original town of Tracy. Isolation from the rest of the city by the railroad tracks and yards has left the area a stunted orphan, unattractive to new development....The small amount of new building indicates that investors do not consider the South Side a good risk. Code enforcement has brought only a few improvements. New streets, a school and a public housing project all built within the last ten years make redevelopment for [non-residential] use impractical.... There is more than enough vacant land [in other parts of the city] suitable for industry. The location is inappropriate for commercial development. The only answer seems to be continuing effort to gradually improve the residential neighborhood.

The Framework for a Plan

A large number of planning agencies preparing a general plan are handicapped by staff shortages but recognize the time requirements needed for adequate research and documentation. They are frequently pressured by demands to produce something now.

Careful and direct use of a series of policy statements can go far toward alleviating many of the pressures brought to bear on planning agencies for getting out the plan. Such use of policy statements would riot necessarily constitute a means to avoid the responsibility for producing a more precise plan, but rather would offer the technique to assure interim guidance and order during the lengthier period required to prepare the general plan.

In a recently conducted administrative study of the city planning department of a major eastern city, the following recommendations were made in regard to adopting a series of policy statements:

The basic comprehensive plan is not, as once was supposed, a series of maps. Rather there is first a series of policy statements. There are four such statements now in existence....

These four policy statements need re-examination and updating.... In addition, there are a number of other areas of urban development that should have clear statements of the planning policy involved. Few, if any, of these statements can be worked out by the planning department alone. They can be valid and useful only if they are prepared as the result of planners working with interested municipal departments, governmental units, and civic groups most involved. Such policy statements might cover:

  1. General land use
  2. Streets and highways
  3. Sewerage and water supply
  4. Elementary and secondary educational facilities
  5. Urban renewal
  6. Parking
  7. Commercial development
  8. Industrial development
  9. Higher educational facilities
  10. Housing
  11. Public transit
  12. Historical areas
  13. Capital improvement programming
  14. Drainage and flood plains
  15. Community appearance

While the logical sequence would be first to adopt a clear policy in all functional areas of planning, and then to follow up with graphic presentation of plans to carry out these policies, this may not be possible. The field work on the community renewal program, for example, will necessarily have to start on the basis of ad hoc principles. Nevertheless, it is quite important that such policy statements be prepared and adopted as rapidly as possible.

An urgent need is that some sort of sketch plan based on a series of policy statements be produced soon. It is especially needed to guide urban redevelopment, capital improvement programming, and zoning amendments.

A New Kind of Plan

There is some feeling that precise mapped allocation of land development, particularly in areas of sparse settlement and very light improvement, is undesirable. The following excerpt from the testimony of Hugh Pomeroy in a New Jersey zoning case illustrates this contention:

I have found it preferable in dealing with [lightly developed] communities such as this to indicate developmental policy by statement rather than attempting to put them down on maps. The Municipal Planning Act of 1953 embodies this concept rather than the one that grew from the so-called Standard Enabling Act provided in 1928 ... in that it refers to the master plan not alone as consisting of maps, but as statements of principles, objectives and assumptions, and those, it seems to me, have much more validity and much more reality than some sort of credal insistence on having a map put down in a certain form. It seems to me that an attempt to map future land use with the precision that would be called for by laying out land use boundaries that somehow have to represent something more than the present zoning does would assume omniscience on the part of the planner and omnipotence on the part of planning, and neither exists.

Charles Haar also has discussed this new concept of the plan. He commented in the Harvard Law Review of May 1955 (p. 1175) on the mandate that zoning measures must be in accordance with a comprehensive plan:

If accordance with a master plan is to be required, what form should the plan ideally take, and what content should it have? Present planning enabling legislation tends to direct municipalities along one of two not entirely satisfactory paths. The nature of the plan may be so generally and amorphously described that it will amount to little more than a series of pleasant clichés — impossible to quarrel with but of little assistance in directing municipal regulatory effort. On the other hand, when plans are conceived to deal with more specific terms they generally focus on the wrong kind of detail, emphasizing maps and diagrams, precise locations and sites, and other details more appropriate for the later stages of implementation and execution. Such an approach makes the master plan in effect a preliminary, sketchy, first-draft zoning ordinance. This overconcern with detail causes the vaunted general perspective of the master plan to expose itself as nothing more than the limited knowledge available at the first stages of survey and analysis; and the zoning ordinance, dealing as it does with concrete cases and problems, becomes a later, matured evaluation. It is only as a series of statements and precepts, representing community choice and decision as to the space needs of various activities and the interrelationships of land uses, that the master plan can effectively fulfill its role as a guide to regulatory action.

It is true that even without such a formalized plan, the framers of an ordinance, and those who amend it from time to time, may take into account the impact of other land controls, economic and social activities, and projected large-scale, long-term public developments. But requiring an articulated statement of generalized relations, with supporting data and findings, lends assurance that this kind of thinking in comprehensive terms has in fact gone on. The forced referral to previously formulated standards introduces a new and more sharply defined principle of legitimation for later legislative enactments.

It appears then that another useful, although largely untried, function which may be performed by policy statements is to serve in place of a traditional general plan. Steps in this direction already may be seen in the numerous communities that have attempted to attain development controls through the use of "floating zones." Replacement of the traditional general plan by a comprehensive statement of policy is an idea that will be greeted with something less than unbridled enthusiasm in more than one quarter. Its use in solidly built-up, older cities would seem inappropriate. It appears to be the sort of technique, however, that could serve admirably in areas that are undergoing intense development pressures for the first time. There are many examples of such areas that have not fared very well under existing planning controls.


The mere process of formulating policy statements is of great value in terms of clarifying how a community intends to attain its goals. Only when the policy statements have been adopted by an official governmental body do they achieve their entire usefulness, however. This remark is made with full knowledge of the weight of authoritative opinion that is opposed to legislative adoption of the general plan.

It would be well to review two of the basic arguments concerning legislative adoption of the master plan. Edward Bassett in his book, The Master Plan, states:

A master plan should not be passed by any legislative body. It is a coordinated plastic map or plan which a commission can at all times use in its written advice to a legislative body, but to overwork its limited function will result in planning's running wild.

The writer's view has been that a master plan should not be adopted by any official body except by a planning commission. If finally so adopted, copies can well enough be given to the various municipal departments, but if it needs to be adopted by the local legislative body it becomes to a certain extent hardened. Then when the commission desires to alter certain features in it, the legislative body must first be persuaded to authorize the change. This is certain to work disastrously because as soon as a plan ceases to be plastic it becomes a quasi-official map which has not been prepared and executed with the care and precision that the law requires in the case of official maps.

There are many advantages in keeping an official map separate from a master plan. An official map must be so precise that surveyors' and builders' stakes can be determined by it. Cities adopt official maps to determine streets, parks, and zoning districts. They are always established by a local legislative body and never by a planning commission. A master plan, however, will show not a part but all the elements of the projected features of a city or region.

The need of a master plan arises with the establishment of planning commissions. If we conceive a commission as an advisory body whose duty is to coordinate the various elements of a plan, it becomes apparent that the commission must have the means to de- note its latest and best ideas in regard to improvements. This means should not be official because from time to time the master plan should be capable of quick alteration by the commission. The commission itself can of its own accord adopt all or any part of the master plan if an occasion renders this desirable, but if the instrument is its own, it is free to make changes. The master plan is for the use of the commission.4

In general agreement with Bassett, Donald H. Webster writes:

[There are] disadvantages of adopting the comprehensive plan by ordinance.... Such action freezes it to the extent of requiring legislative action to change it. The legislative body may, nevertheless, recognize the plan for purposes of reference and for giving effect to certain of its elements without officially adopting it. A clear distinction should be made between the adoption of the comprehensive plan by the planning agency and the adoption of the official map by the legislative body. The comprehensive plan provides the patterns and guidelines for community development as represented by the best judgment of the planning agency as of a given time. Its adoption by the planning agency should not carry any legal binding effect. The adoption of the official map, on the other hand, is a legislative act which gives legal sanction to specific elements of the plan by establishing certain controls over land use.

The enabling statutes of a number of states provide that whenever the planning commission shall have adopted the master plan, or any part thereof, no street, park, public building or structure, major utility, or other specified public facilities may be constructed or authorized until the location, character, and extent of these proposed developments have been submitted to the planning board for approval. Such reference is provided for in order to secure the advice of the planning agency before making a policy decision. A common provision is to require the planning agency to report to the governing body in writing and in case of disapproval to give the reasons therefore. Some states give the municipal planning commission a suspensive veto by providing that the governing body can overrule its disapproval only by a recorded vote of not less than two-thirds of the entire membership....5

Both of the above arguments are well-documented cases insofar as they apply to the traditional general plan. The perils of transforming the plan into an official map through legislative adoption are made clear. The forced inflexibility created by legislative amendment necessary for any development not in strict conformance with the plan renders the document something it was not intended to be.

Policy statements as discussed in this report, one may argue, are not all that different in function from the general plan. They, too, have been posed as "means to denote the community's latest and best ideas in regard to improvements" and as "guidelines for community development." As the general plan should be viable, so should policy statements be flexible. Then why don't the arguments opposing legislative adoption of the general plan apply equally to the legislative adoption of policy statements? The answer lies in the ways in which the two techniques achieve their purpose.

Both Bassett and Walker are arguing essentially against the legislative adoption of general plan maps. To the extent that general guides to decision-making are offered as lines on a map, they are unsuitable for legislative adoption. Let us say that a particular area of the city is designated on the general plan map for future industrial use. It is in the nature of graphic presentation that at some point this area must have a line drawn around it. At the point where the line is drawn, the general plan map ceases to be general and becomes precise.

Policy statements, on the other hand, can and do provide a variety of guides to community development without the concomitant restrictions associated with maps intended to do the same thing. For purposes of guiding decision-making, the written word is a more effective, adaptable and comprehensive means of communication than a map.

All of this is not to say that maps in general plans should be dismissed as obsolete. On the contrary, for many purposes a graphic representation of a physical area is the ideal way to illustrate an idea. What is suggested, however, is that by introducing a new dimension to the general plan, namely a body of written statements of policy of the sort discussed here, the legislative body will be afforded an element of the plan that it can adopt.

Reviewing the ways in which policy statements can be useful — efficiency, consistency, as aids to public information dissemination, as the framework for a plan — it can be seen that each of these areas of usefulness will be enhanced if the policy statements can be officially adopted by the legislative body. Because of the form of the policy statements, the increased stature they will receive by adoption will not be accompanied by the rigidity associated with the adoption of a general plan map.

Policy statements, of course, do have limitations. They cannot cover every situation. Certain areas are so complex that it will be impossible to know what sort of policy decision can be made until all the facts are assembled. Also, there must be a relatively high degree of agreement and consensus among legislators in the first place before a policy statement can be adopted. Obviously, this concurrence will not always exist. None of this negates, however, the desirability of formulating and adopting policy statements in as many areas of planning concern as possible. Again referring to the comments of Charles Haar, the need for getting the general plan out of the realm of the planners exclusively and into legislation, in spite of problems of subsequent rigidity, can be seen:

If the master plan is to have such a directly controlling influence on zoning regulation, it would appear necessary to have it legislatively adopted, rather than merely stated by the planning authorities and functioning as an interesting study without much direct relevance to day-to-day activity. In the past, the fear that legislative adoption and amendment might prove overly cumbersome has caused most planners to advise excluding the local legislature from such direct participation at the planning level. Yet it would seem that only where the master plan is not to have any legal effect on private property rights could it be left entirely to the planning commission. For if it is to be the standard whereby the validity of subsequent regulation is judged, leaving it entirely to the planners would in effect give them conclusive control over the legislature in the zoning area.

It would appear that a well-devised body of policy statements could provide the sort of "plan" with the capacity for adoption as suggested by Haar and, at the same time, without the pitfalls of adoption as pointed out by Bassett and Webster.


A constant search is on to find new ways to improve the process of enhancing our urban environment. The city planning function is an important part of this process. Planning has come under considerable criticism in the past several years, however, for its failure to produce very much toward making better cities. This criticism is probably only natural as planning evolved from a sort of ivory tower, forty-year-long-range-master-plan kind of operation to a full-time working arm of local government that has come to be depended upon to provide solutions to very real existing problems, many of them of an immediate nature. As planners and planning have moved from the exclusive and relatively protected realm of very long-range prognostication into the often untidy position of having to deal with the operating problems of the present, they have become more vulnerable to censure. Current planning techniques have not been notably effective in bringing about the orderly use of the physical and social resources of the city, as an objective analysis of communities that have availed themselves of the services of an operating planning agency for the past ten or fifteen years will indicate.

This report suggests a technique to improve the effectiveness of the planning process. The technique is neither complicated nor original, but for some reason or other it is very seldom used. Simply, it is to formulate carefully worded statements of policy that will provide substantive direction and information on the means to achieve stated goals, particularly in terms of relating precise actions to the primary community objectives.

In the Appendix are a number of excerpts from planning publications that have the sort of content and phraseology that might go into a policy statement. They are grouped by subject, although there is some overlapping. In their original sources, some have been called policy statements, principles, standards, resolutions or office memoranda. Others simply have been extracted from the narrative texts of various planning reports.


Community Plans

Littlerock-Pearblossom Area

1. The utility and attractiveness of Littlerock's orchard areas should be preserved through retention of agricultural zoning and the 10,000 square foot minimum lot area requirements and through discouragement of further quarry zoning to the south of the area currently zoned for such operations. When pressure for urbanization has become sufficiently great to make orchard cultivation no longer economical, the general character of this area may partially be retained by continuation of the large minimum lot area requirements.

2. The value of the foothills bordering the communities of Littlerock and Pearblossom for high-quality residential development should be recognized through continuation of minimum lot area requirements of the low and very low density types.

3. The General Plan recognizes the existence of extensive strips of commercial zoning along Pearblossom Highway in both communities and anticipates that large portions of this may be used for multi-family dwellings or remain undeveloped at the ''horizon year." It further recognizes large areas already zoned, for urban-type residential uses which bear the probability of being very sparsely settled for some time to come. Additional commercial zoning should therefore be established in locations beyond the service area of the existing commercial zones along Pearblossom Highway ... only at a time when sufficient residential development exists to support such added commercial space. New commercial uses should be encouraged to locate in centers. Additional strip zoning along the area’s main highways should be avoided.

4. Extension through the Littlerock-Pearblossom area of the right of way for a future rail line offers possibilities of developing substantial industrial areas providing a solid foundation of basic economic activities for future residents. Attention should therefore be given to the development of accessible, well-integrated and easily serviceable industrial areas. An unplanned scattering of industrial uses along the proposed rail line should be avoided.

(Los Angeles County, California — 1961)

Southwest Area

As a general principle, urban residential development should be accompanied by a commensurate level of urban services and improvements. Similarly, areas converted from low density to medium and high density residential use require careful planning to insure augmentation of utilities, sanitary sewers, street rights of way, street improvements, etc., to a level appropriate to the increased intensity of use. Rezoning to permit greater residential density is not, per se, the answer to rehabilitation of obsolescent neighborhoods, but when combined with adequate planning and action can benefit many older communities.

To hasten the availability of the land in the Laguna Dominguez District, cooperative ventures among land developers and appropriate governmental agencies in expediting the construction of improved flood control channels, local drainage projects, and landfill programs are beginning to develop and should be encouraged.

Caution should be taken in the rezoning of excess industrially zoned land to residential use, first, in order to insure an ample reserve of industrial land to meet future needs and, secondly, in order to avoid creation of potential areas of conflicting mixed land uses.

Both an awareness of the existence of geological hazards and the adoption of regulations restricting the use of areas of greatest potential danger are essential in order to protect the public safety.

Terrain with excessive slopes should be considered for uses other than residential, such as for vista points, parks, and other recreational uses, and as open space areas.

Detriment from jet noises and other inconveniences to users of land under airport approach zones may be minimized by programs designed to limit residential density, encourage compatible uses (for example, industrial uses), and in the most critical areas by public acquisition of land.

(Los Angeles County, California — 1961)

Premature Subdivision

LIMITED AREA EXPANSION AND THE UPPER LEVEL HIGHWAY. As part of the policy of consolidation a program of restricting urban residential development to the southern...side of the projected Upper Level Highway ought to be pursued by the Municipal Council. A careful inventory of the land below the Upper Level Highway shows that there is adequate space to house all the families that are likely to seek accommodation in West Vancouver in the near future.

Such a program of land development will limit the necessary municipal expenditures for services such as water, road, schools, fire and police, as far as they are a public responsibility. The Upper Level Highway will open up considerable land for residences on both sides; the area below the Highway ought to be developed first, thereby avoiding a premature expansion of public and private services and requiring costly engineering structures to cross the Highway from one side to the other.

(West Vancouver, British Columbia — 1954)

Major policies on eight matters shape the plan:

Compact development. The effects of permitting scattered subdivisions in outlying areas before close-in areas are mostly built-up would be serious. Ranchers and farmers would receive complaints about their operations from new urban dwellers in their midst. Land owners would be burdened with higher taxes and yet would have no prospect of selling their land at subdivision prices. The community at large would pay more for school buses, road improvements, and other public services. The plan was shaped by the policy that new development should adjoin presently developed areas to prevent the costly and undesirable consequences of scattered subdivision. The limits of urban growth, especially in the areas north and west of the city, also were determined by whether lands can be sewered economically.

(Petaluma, California —1961)

Residential Development

CONSOLIDATION OF RESIDENTIAL AREAS AT A VARIETY OF DENSITIES. Experience in other residential communities shows that as they grow beyond the initial stage of a few hundred families, land for homes tends to be subdivided in irregular fashion and in scattered areas. West Vancouver has been no exception and considerable land remains to be developed within or closely linked to existing residential neighborhoods. Many of these areas are easily accessible through good roads, some have even water and other services readily available and therefore ought to be developed first before new areas on the fringe of the presently built-up area or beyond are allowed to be subdivided. Such a policy would establish the principle of consolidating existing residential neighborhoods, thereby making more efficient and economic use of existing municipal services including schools, parks and other community facilities. West Vancouver's constituent communities could accommodate more families by a process of guided infilling of vacant land thereby achieving a more compact community. Compactness does not mean crowding; it simply means ... making optimum use of all existing public investment...and allowing a more economic servicing by the Municipality of all residential properties ... . Municipal expenditures out of current revenue will rise nearly 80% during the next decade without any substantial or comparable rise in the level of municipal services per household; consequently every effort ought to be made to make optimum use of public services through a compact residential development.

(West Vancouver, British Columbia — 1954)

(Multiple) Residential Uses

1. Adequate major and secondary highway rights of way and improved collector streets should exist prior to the establishment of multiple residential zoning.

2. Multiple residential areas often complement shopping centers and should logically be developed adjacent to them. Such multi-family developments contain high population densities, purchasing power and traffic generation. Their residents tend to make greater than average use of commercial shops and services.

3. Multiple residential development requires the same protection as single family development from obnoxious uses. A multiple residential zone, therefore, is not per se a proper buffer or transition zone between single family residential and general manufacturing areas.

(Los Angeles County, California — 1961)

[High Density] apartment zoning, except for very limited special cases, should be reserved for areas of the city in relatively close proximity to the central business district or other major source of employment. This zoning should be judiciously applied in older developed areas of the city in order to accomplish private urban renewal. Any rezoning for these high density residential areas should follow the policies and criteria outlined in this report.

[Garden] apartment zoning can be appropriately applied in the more remote portions of the city in order to achieve greater balance of housing types in the residential neighborhoods.

(Denver, Colorado — 1961)

Agricultural Land

A Statement of Policy — Exclusive Agricultural Zoning

Mandate: Recognizing the special responsibility placed upon it by the newly enacted state legislation respecting agricultural exemption from city annexation and the instruction to assessors regarding the assessment for purposes of taxation of agriculturally zoned land, the planning commission ... in its desire to discharge its duty fairly and equitably, does recommend to the Board of Supervisors a concurrence in the following basic policy to be followed in the establishment of future exclusive agricultural zones.

Policy: 1. The extension of agricultural zones shall generally be upon the request of property owners who are engaged in valid agricultural operations and in accordance with a master plan of land use.

2. Failure to protest such zoning at the time of public hearing shall be deemed to constitute consent of the property owners involved.

* * *

4. The establishment of exclusive agricultural zoning shall be designed in general to create large contiguous blocks of agricultural land, either by original petition or by the annexation of smaller holdings to existing blocks.

5. It is not the intention to zone land which is not predominately used for agriculture as exclusive agriculture.

6. It is not the intention to use the exclusive agricultural zone to thwart the reasonable aspirations of cities for orderly growth.

(Santa Clara County, California — 1958)

[In the plan for the southwest part of the county] agricultural and related uses should be treated as transition uses at their present locations, with careful consideration given to planning for the future urban uses to be placed on the land.

(Los Angeles County, California — 1961)

Prime agricultural land south of Schulte Road should be protected from urban encroachment. The General Plan recognizes the importance of agriculture in Tracy's economy by conserving the most valuable farm land. Fortunately there is enough close-in land of lower quality to provide as much expansion area as will be needed until 1980 or beyond. Eventually at least some of the land south of Schulte Road will be needed for urban development.

(Tracy, California — 1959)

At least part of our best agricultural land should be protected to insure that the County will have good agricultural land available in future years when land is in greater demand for the production of food and fiber. Agricultural land can also be effectively used as separators or buffers between towns and urban concentrations.

(Howard County, Maryland — 1960)

Waterfront Areas

A Policy Statement on Riverfront Areas

To achieve the objectives, the Planning Commission adopts and announces a policy of activities within its own field of operation and within those fields where cooperation with other agencies, both public and private, can encourage them toward the same objectives. Such a policy includes:

A. In review of the disposition of publicly-owned properties, the Planning Commission will continue to recommend the retention of appropriate parcels of riverfront properties for park and recreation facilities and may recommend acquisition of adjacent private properties necessary to assemble suitable sites. The transfer of such assembled sites to the Department of Parks and Recreation for development and utilization will be recommended.

B. In cases where substantial development of riverfront land exists which can be expected to continue, public and private agencies will be encouraged to stimulate programs for the improvement and beautification of properties and sites with special consideration for the view from the rivers, bridges and the opposite shores.

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — 1958)

Riverfront. The river is one of Petaluma's major assets. Its potential scarcely has been tapped. Future development should capitalize on it. In planning development of the riverfront, first priority should be given to industry, second priority to recreation, and third priority to residential development.

(Petaluma, California —1961)

Policies Related to Lake Merritt and the Civic Center

Preserve Lake Merritt with its expanse of water in the heart of Oakland as one of our city's chief scenic attractions and an essential element in the townscape.

Continue to carefully control the design and use of land and buildings facing the lake. Insulate to the greatest extent possible the lake and Civic Center from the heavy flows of traffic.

Continue to utilize the Civic Center as a major focus of administrative and cultural activities in Oakland.

Provide new sites for new activities added to Lakeside Park and the Lake Merritt area rather than encroach on the limited area of the park and lake.

(Oakland, California —1957)

Central Business Districts

The Tracy central business district should be enlarged, improved and redeveloped where necessary to enable it to continue to serve as the principal shopping center in the planning area. This decision is reflected by the plan in the amount of land allocated to the central district, the number and size of neighborhood shopping centers, and the proposals for improving automobile access to the central district. An alternative would have been establishment of a second shopping district duplicating the present size and sales volume of the central district. A new district could be located closer to Tracy's future population center on large parcels of land that would permit an ideal design. Such competition would make it difficult to prevent the present central district from deteriorating. At best, two shopping districts of nearly equal size would be less likely to support as large a variety of stores as Tracy could support if they were grouped in one shopping district.

(Tracy, California —1959)

Policy Conclusions [for Central Area Parking]

The parking demand forecasts a 1980 requirement of 16,500 parking spaces; 7,300 short-term spaces located in the core area and 9,200 long-term spaces in the surrounding ring. The following recommendations are made:

1. There are at present 3,926 parking spaces in the core area; 3,441 of these spaces are available to shopper parking. By 1980 there should be provided an additional 3,960 spaces to meet the requirement of 7,300 short-term parking spaces in the core area.

2. By 1980 the number of spaces in the surrounding ring area should be increased from 6,295 to 9,200 to accommodate the long-term parker.

3. Off-street parking facilities should be provided in the areas adjacent to and surrounding the "core" and "ring" area to provide a greater ability for shoppers and "short-term parkers" to park and for the employee and "long-term parker."

4. In order to prepare for future parking needs as the city grows, there should be no relaxation of requirements for the provision of off-street parking spaces based on land use, unless and until a sound parking plan is prepared and effectuated.

5. Private enterprise has been active — providing off-street parking. The city should continue to welcome and encourage this development, providing such assistance as lies within its power.

(Austin, Texas — 1958)

Policies Related to the Central Business District

The CBD is the heart of Oakland. From it our traffic arteries radiate. It has the highest concentration of daytime population, the tallest buildings, and the greatest congestion of any area in the city. The following policies are proposed for the CBD:

Orient the CBD to the needs of the pedestrian. It is the pedestrian who shops or has business in the CBD; the auto or transit vehicle only brings a person close enough to a destination to become a pedestrian.

Establish an adequate but limited area for the CBD, discourage undesirable decentralization, and encourage the maximum use of the area through redevelopment of worn-out portions.

Encourage the grouping of similar and complementary functions such as department stores and specialty shops; financial, insurance, and legal offices; and printing and office supply firms into clusters for greater convenience to merchants, businessmen, and shoppers.

Improve the market for CBD goods and services by providing convenient access routes, good rapid transit, adequate off-street parking, and encouraging well-designed, close-in residential developments.

Provide attractive and stimulating surroundings in the CBD which will make the area more enjoyable for shoppers, employees, and tourists.

Provide adequate and, wherever possible, separate facilities for the movement of pedestrians, transit vehicles, automobiles, and service vehicles. Route traffic outside the CBD around, rather than through, this area for more efficient circulation.

(Oakland, California —1957)


New Parks. Petaluma will need a park system scaled to the requirements of a population of 75,000. Land must be acquired in the '60s, or there will be no centrally located sites left in the '70s and '80s when the need for parks will be felt keenly. The city should have a centrally located riverfront park and one or more large rural parks in the surrounding hills. A municipal golf course should be planned for the flat or gently rolling lands on the east side. Standards of the Guide for Planning Recreation Parks in California should be followed in determining the size and locations of community and neighborhood recreation parks, but these standards may be reduced where parks serving the entire city also meet local needs. Community and neighborhood recreation parks should be located adjacent to schools, wherever practicable, for reasons of economy in land acquisition, maintenance, and supervision. Wherever possible, City-owned water department lands should be used for parks.

(Petaluma, California — 1961)

Historical Buildings and Sites

Historical buildings and sites within the County of local or national historical importance should be reserved and kept in good repair. The buildings and sites that are considered valuable and should be preserved have been included in the General Plan.

Historical buildings of importance should be saved and, if possible, utilized as a living monument and not "preserved" as a museum piece that remains as a hollow shell of its former grandeur. If a building has an especially pleasing appearance, every attempt possible should be made to preserve some open space of a few acres around the building in order to accent the structure.

The following churches, burial grounds, homes, public buildings, and bridges listed below have been classified as being of historical significance.

(Howard County, Maryland — 1960)


1. The entire planning area ultimately be served by sanitary sewers.

2. Lake frontage be served with sanitary sewers (and lift stations pumping to existing sewer system trunk lines) as soon as possible to protect the public water supply.

3. Interim devices for the treatment of sewage from small areas be investigated and employed where practical.

4. In addition the present plant, two additional plants be built as required during the planning period, one on Williamson Creek, and the other in the Walnut Creek area.

(Austin, Texas — 1958)

Trucks [Terminal]

It would be desirable to have a public loading dock and warehouse for the use of those businesses that do not have or require permanent warehouse space. This would relieve the city streets of many heavy-duty, long-haul trucks and trailers.

It is recommended that this facility be located just east of East Avenue near Third and Fourth Streets, where it would be near the proposed new railroad terminal.

It is expected that when the East Avenue Expressway is completed the truck routes will be relocated to take advantage of this facility.

(Austin, Texas — 1958)

Urban Redevelopment

The policy of the Commission will be to avoid, on the one hand, the certification of such an extensive redevelopment area as to jeopardize the character and values of property therein unduly or for a probably too long period and, on the other hand, restriction of a redevelopment area to a size so small as to be unreasonable from a city planning and redevelopment and rebuilding point of view. In following this policy, and as an inherent part of it, the Commission will judge any prospective redevelopment enterprise with the same impartiality now used in evaluating subdivision projects — not regarding the entrepreneur as a special and privileged interest to be especially favored at the expense of the City. It will judge the enterprise solely as to whether the best interests of the City in a redevelopment conforming to the master plan will be served. It is axiomatic that a judgment of this kind, that stresses public interest as paramount, will — as always — coincide with the special interest of some and run counter to the special interest of others.

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — 1949)

Commercial Uses

1. New neighborhood commercial centers should be developed at strategic locations related to the areas they are intended to serve.

2. Centers should be located from one to two miles apart, preferably at or near the intersection of major highways.

3. Stripping along highways of commercial uses should be discouraged.

4. Zoning for commercial centers should be established only when the need for commercial uses is duly evidenced by increased population or purchasing power and the imminence of construction.

5. Prior to the establishment of zoning for commercial centers, road rights of way should be of sufficient width to insure adequate circulation in the vicinity.

(Los Angeles County, California — 1961)


Every commercial development should be so located that it is economically feasible to operate a business and provide goods and services to the community in a clean, attractive, safe, and convenient manner, and thereby:

1. Protect the investments of existing and future commercial concentrations through the application of sound planning principles.

2. Protect residential neighborhoods from depreciation of property values resulting from commercial over-zoning and from over-development or intrusion of undesirable commercial uses.

3. Encourage the improvement of major street traffic capacities through the proper location and grouping of commercial uses.

4. Improve the Tulsa Urbanized Area's economic base and tax structure through the promotion of healthy, stable commercial concentrations.


Assure convenience by providing commercial areas of sufficient size and in proper locations to conveniently serve the people of the area in relation to their needs and demands for goods and services; by encouraging planned, integrated commercial areas; and by discouraging spot commercial development in residential neighborhoods and the stringing out of commercial development along streets to reduce traffic hazards and provide the basis for convenient and profitable commercial development.

Provide for a full range of commercial development in the Metropolitan Area; neighborhood, community and regional shopping centers, central business district and other commercial concentrations in order to insure sound, balanced development of new commercial areas and the improvement of existing areas.

Recognize the Central Business District as the hub of the Metropolitan Area's commercial function. As the concentration of the largest amount of commercial floor space, and as the location of the broadest of financial, professional, personal and business services, the Central Business District should be maintained and its physical environment enhanced by improving parking, circulation and other functions, in order to strengthen the economic base of the community, to preserve the ad valorem tax base represented by its many valuable properties, and to provide a convenient, safe, and attractive location for the functions that are unique to the Central Business District.

Redevelop old areas which are inconvenient, uneconomical and unattractive, in order to conserve the land resources.

Encourage attractiveness by designing commercial areas to integrate with residential areas through the liberal use of landscaping treatment, and so the shopping and working experience is a pleasant one.

Assure traffic safety by locating and designing commercial areas for convenient access; by providing off-street parking for automotive vehicles; and by separating vehicular from pedestrian traffic.

Provide for service vehicles by including convenient access and loading facilities in the design of commercial areas.


Commercial Use Group Characteristics

Commercial Use Group Typical Use Reason for Grouping

Group I

Shopping centers and districts

Retail and personal services (food, clothing, appliances, furniture, etc.) Maximize sales and pedestrian movement within concentrations

Group II

Intensive commercial recreation

Extensive commercial recreation

Bowling alleys, skating rinks, theaters, etc.

Amusement parks, golf driving ranges, drive-in theaters, etc.

Complement each other

Large tract, open land use

Group III

Medical and dental offices

Business and professional offices and schools

Medical and dental offices and allied services

Oil company offices, lawyer offices, trade schools, etc.

Complementary with specialization

Allows maximum interaction of business between offices

Group IV

Through-highway business

Local highway business

Motels, restaurants and service stations

Drive-in restaurants, groceries, ice cream stands, etc.

Provide basic requirements of traveling public

Require large lots with low building coverage, better business advertising

Group V

Automotive and allied sales

Automotive and allied services

Auto showrooms and lots, farm implements, trailer sales, etc.

Auto repair garages, service stations, auto parts, etc.

Allows comparison shopping; good business advertising

Allows grouping of specialized and complementary uses needing each other for completion of function

Group VI

Repair business services

Wholesale (without warehouse) and other business services

Sign maintenance service, restaurant equipment repair, window cleaning service, etc.

Office equipment sales, blueprinting, office supplies, etc.

Provides one-stop center for business and concerns requiring equipment or repairs on equipment; complementary

Group VII

Special Uses

Animal hospitals, broadcasting studios, greenhouses, retail lumber yards, monument sales and mortuaries Uses which cannot logically be included in other groupings for reasons of economics or compatibility. Characteristics decree that they be located separately according to demand and existing land development trends.

Commercial Shopping Center and District Standards

Type of Center or District Number of Stores Building Square Footage Site Acreage Population Served Range of Retail Sales Primary Store
Neighborhood 7–15 20,000 – 100,000 2–10 10,000 –20,000 $1,500,000 – $7,500,000 Supermarket
Sub-community 16–35 100,000 – 200,000 10–21 15,000 –30,000 $7,500,000 – $15,000,000 Junior department store
Community 25–50 200,000 – 300,000 21–31 30,000 – 100,000 $15,000,000 – $2,500,000 Department store, 2 large supermarkets
Regional 40–100 300,000 – 600,000 31–62 100,000 – 500,000 $22,500,000 – $45,000,000 2 department stores

Other Commercial Use Group Standards

Use Group Square Feet per 1,000 Population General Desirable Location Area Served
  1957 Proposed    
Intensive recreation 3,650 6,000 In conjunction with (not in) community & sub-community Residential community
Extensive recreation 58,731 87,120 Adjacent to Mohawk Park and other area parks; areas of unstable soil conditions Tulsa Urbanized Area
Business and professional offices 3,392 2,000 In conjunction with regional & community shopping centers Residential community
Medical and dental offices 2,897 2,500 In conjunction with community & sub-community 

shopping centers

Residential community
Thru-highway business 17,302 18,000 Expressways, particularly near interchanges with other expressways Region & thru-traffic
Local highway business 2,429 2,400 Several central locations on major streets in residential community Residential community
Automotive & allied services 9,825 10,000 With automotive sales concentrations & each residential community Residential community
Automotive and allied services 10,313 10,000 East 11th Street; East Third and Lewis Tulsa Urbanized Area
Repair business services 265 700 Centrally near Central Business District Tulsa Urbanized Area
Wholesale business services 3,650 1,800 Along major streets near rail facilities and industrial districts Tulsa Urbanized Area
SPECIAL USES 26,507 26,420    

Animal hospitals & kennels

1,307 —— In or adjacent to Group IV and V industrial areas


Near fringe of Tulsa Urbanized Area

Tulsa Urbanized Area

Broadcasting studios

4,226 —— Adjacent to business & professional office groupings if tower is located elsewhere Tulsa Urbanized Area

Greenhouses & nurseries

13,216 —— Greenbelt or other similar undeveloped location Tulsa Urbanized Area

Lumber yards (retail)

7,111 —— On rail sidings in or near Group II, IV & V industrial districts Residential community

Monument sales

155 —— In or adjacent to Group IV & V industrial areas or within business service groupings Tulsa Urbanized Area


493 —— In or near office concentrations Residential

General Commercial Locational Standards

1. Intersection of two major streets and/or adjacent to expressways.

2. On major streets on the fringe of residential neighborhoods.

3. Not abutting other similar commercial concentrations (i.e., shopping center to shopping center, highway business to highway business), and not across the street from other commercial concentrations which creates "split" centers.

4. Served by an adequate major street and/or expressway system.

General Commercial Site Development Standards

Shall be of adequate acreage to provide:

a. sufficient off-street parking (customer and employee) facilities (i.e., ratio of four square feet of customer parking to one square foot of building area in shopping centers);

b. off-street loading facilities of adequate size, shape, and location;

c. sufficient and well-located ingress and egress points controlled to prevent traffic tie-ups on the adjacent major street;

d. adequate physical screen and area to serve as buffer between the commercial use and abutting residential areas (i.e., an additional 100 percent of the building area should be utilized for employee parking, off-street loading and buffer for convenience and neighborhood shopping centers, and fifty percent of the building area for sub-community, community and regional shopping centers);

e. building set-backs from major streets.

(Tulsa, Oklahoma — 1960)

Planned Unit Developments


WHEREAS, it is appropriate to amplify ... the Fremont Municipal Code concerning Planned Unit Development Approval, in order to generally define certain limits of flexibility which this City Council wishes to encourage, and to further explain the various possible uses of the Planned Unit Development and

WHEREAS, the use of the Planned Unit Development can provide the residents of this City with a more varied and interesting urban pattern; and

WHEREAS, there is need to encourage the reservation of open space for scenic and recreational use of a private or public nature;

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Fremont that the following policy, objectives and principles are adopted and declared for the guidance of the Planning Commission....


1. To provide a more desirable living environment than would be possible through the strict application of ordinance requirements.

2. To encourage developers to use a more creative approach in the development of land.

3. To encourage a more efficient, aesthetic and desirable use of open area.

4. To encourage variety in the physical development pattern of the City.


1. The gross population density and building intensity of any area proposed for development under planned unit approach is to remain unchanged and conform to the basic overall density and building intensity requirements of the zoning district. However, lot dimensions, building set backs and area do not have to meet the specific ordinance requirements providing that a more functional and desirable use of the property is made.

2. A variety of dwelling and building types is to be encouraged.

3. Residential lot sizes, related to single family detached units may be reduced [10% to 50% depending on zone...] providing that drawings are submitted that show that the relationship of interior and exterior living or working area is desirable and adequate and that the living and working environment is just as desirable as the strict requirements of the ordinance.

4. In areas where "Town Houses" [row-houses] are used there shall be no more than five "Town House" units in any contiguous group. A variety of building setbacks, color and building materials for continuous "Town House" units is encouraged....

5. For each square foot of land gained within a residential subdivision, through the reduction of lot size below minimum ordinance requirements, or other means, equal amounts of land shall be dedicated to the city, either rights in fee or easement, and retained as open space for park recreational and related uses.... All land dedicated in fee or easement must meet the City's requirements.

6. The "Planting" or "Utility Strip" between the curb and sidewalk may be eliminated and an equal amount of land area placed into an acceptable public park....

7. All areas proposed for dedication to the city under the Planned Unit Development approach must be acceptable as to shape, size and location, as required by the City Planning Commission.

8. (In) All areas proposed as home owner parks or similar approaches, if using the advantages of the Planned Unit Development approach, the developer must convey to the "City" the "development rights" (i.e., recreational and open space easement) and must meet the requirements of the Planning Commission as to shape, size and location.

* * *

10. A possible clustering of dwellings may be accomplished through a reduction of lot area with overall density remaining the same, and the provision of useable and desirable open space easements dedicated to the city. Size and location of such easements to be subject to approval by the Planning Commission.

11. Public Utility and other similar easements cannot be used for a space exchange under the Planned Unit approach.

* * *

14. Any subdivision which includes the proposal to dedicate to the city, land for park and open space use, under the Planned Unit approach, must include by dedication, or by other reasonable means, the total park area, at the time of filing of final map on all, or any portion, of the tract or tracts.

15. The developer is encouraged to obtain a trained and experienced Land Planner, Registered Architect and/or Landscape Architect to prepare plans for all Planned Unit Developments, to enable the most expeditious processing of such developments.

16. The City will do the basic working drawings and landscape architectural design for all areas dedicated to the City for public park purpose and provide the basic landscape requirements if the developer will do the grading and reasonable contouring work to an approved plan....

(Fremont, California — 1961)


1. F. Stuart Chapin, Jr., Urban Land Use Planning (New York: Harper & Bros., 1957), p. 267.

2. See Chapin, op. cit., pp. 267–74.

3. Frederic N. Cleaveland, "Organization and Administration of Local Planning Agencies," Local Planning Administration, ed. Mary McLean (3rd ed.; Chicago: International City Managers' Association, 1959), pp. 43–44.

4. Edward M. Bassett, The Master Plan (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1938), pp. 61–64.

5. Donald H. Webster, Urban Planning and Municipal Public Policy (New York: Harper & Bros., 1958), pp. 131–32.

Copyright © 1962 by American Society of Planning Officials