Strategy-of-the-Month: Vital Communities Toolbox
Posted Date: August 28, 2009


Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
Strategy-of-the-Month Club
August 2009
Numerous studies have shown that rigid land use and
development regulations can impede affordable housing
production. In response, local governments have adopted a
wide assortment of strategies and mechanisms to overcome
such regulatory barriers. An online toolkit, Vital Communities
 Toolbox, created by Tompkins County, New York, catalogues a
variety of planning tools that are available to assist
communities in the creation and preservation of affordable
housing. The strategies in this toolbox are targeted toward
achieving a set of principles, including "promoting choice and
affordability in housing options," and have been adopted by the
county as part of its Vital Communities Initiative.
Tools listed on the website are categorized according to how
they are applied in practice. For example, strategies such as
cluster development, traditional neighborhood design, and infill
development are listed as applicable to promoting a mix of
housing choices. Other tools, such as inclusionary zoning,
streamlined permitting, adaptive reuse, and cottage housing,
are grouped together based on their capacity to increase
affordable housing options for low- and moderate-income
families. The online toolkit also includes a glossary and short
description of each tool. Although Tompkins County developed
the toolbox to encourage sustainable growth patterns within the
county, these strategies can easily be tailored to meet the
needs of any community.
You can view the Vital Communities Toolbox
We hope this information proves useful to you in your efforts to
grow your region's affordable housing stock. If you have
regulatory reform strategies or resources that you'd like to
share, email us at, call us
at 1-800-245-2691 (option 4), or visit our website

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