New NAHB Resource on Streamlining Housing Development with Pre-Approved Plans

Land Development
Contact: Nicholas Julian
Senior Program Manager, Land Use
(202) 266-8309

In the evolving landscape of housing development and urban planning, the adoption of pre-approved housing plans has emerged as a useful tool for increasing the efficiency and speed of the housing approval process. NAHB’s newest report, From Blueprint to Reality: Harnessing the Power of Pre-Approved Housing Plans with Real-World Examples, explores this topic with the goal of spreading awareness of this tool.

Pre-approved housing plans are architectural designs and construction blueprints that have already received approval from municipal authorities or regulatory bodies. These plans adhere to local building codes, zoning regulations and other standards, ensuring compliance with local requirements. By providing a pre-approved framework for residential construction, these plans expedite the development process, and promote efficiency, consistency and regulatory adherence.

Case studies from across the country show the real-world impact of pre-approved housing plans. In Ecorse, a suburb of Detroit, vacant lots are being utilized for urban infill through pre-approved infill plans. By offering incentives and reducing construction costs, the city is attempting to make homeownership more accessible while improving neighborhood aesthetics and increasing the tax base.

Similarly, Kalamazoo, Mich., is facing its own housing challenges, and has implemented pre-approved plans to revitalize vacant lots and improve neighborhood appearances. By adjusting zoning regulations and offering a variety of home plans designed to fit the city's historical character, Kalamazoo is addressing its housing shortage while preserving its unique identity.

Even in sprawling counties such as Yavapai County, Ariz., where rapid growth strains housing affordability, pre-approved infill programs are making a difference. By offering cost savings and streamlining the permitting process, the county is providing much-needed relief to residents facing rising rents and stagnant incomes.

By embracing pre-approved housing plans, municipalities can expedite development, promote affordability and ensure sustainable growth. As development review timelines and uncertainty are often two of the most headache-inducing elements of the housing development process — as outlined recently in NAHB’s 10-point housing affordability blueprint — adding this practical tool to combat modern housing challenges represents a dedication to getting housing on the ground as quickly as possible.

Explore this and other effective planning and housing tools at NAHB’s Land Use 101 Toolkit.

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