Smart Growth

Smart Growth is a set of principles that can be implemented to achieve the desired physical development of the City.

1. Attractive Amenitized Communities

Projects that incorporate high-quality design of sites and structures to create a vibrant community. These places are unique, interesting, and distinctive.  You will find features like accessible, well-designed open space that encourages community interaction in the heart of the development, an architectural style that embraces the human scale and public realm, a distinctive style that creates a unique sense of place, and amenities that are available to citizens within a walkable distance.

2. Mixed Land Uses 

Creating a community that is made up of a variety of places that allow people to live, learn, work, and play within a short distance. This allows community members to choose alternative forms of transportation and relieves pressure on the road system.  This can be accomplished on the same block or, in many cases, in the same building.  Mixing land uses brings people to areas throughout the day and supports businesses, improves safety, and enhances the vitality of an area by keeping it active during all times.

3. Compact Conservation Design

Site design should start with the preservation of the best elements of a site for community use and enjoyment. By arranging lots in a compact design, elements such as natural features, water access, parks, and common areas can be preserved and made the focal point of communities. While individual lot sizes may be reduced, this is made up for in greater community access and amenities.

4. Robust Stakeholder Involvement

The needs of every community are best defined by the people who live, learn, work, farm, or play in that area. Involving them in a transparent decision-making process is critical to understanding the implications of growth and change in their communities. While consensus may not be possible in all cases, projects will be improved through hearing the voices of those impacted and giving participants an opportunity to process change.

5. Preservation of Farmland and Natural Resources

Chesapeake is home to some of the most precious natural areas in the state, and farming is critical to the local economy. Preserving and protecting these areas supports the economy and health of our environment.  Citizens also want access to these natural areas and see them as critical elements of making Chesapeake an exceptional place to live.

6. Walkable Neighborhoods

Walkable neighborhoods are, in many instances, part and parcel of attractive, amenitized communities, compact conservation design, and mixing land uses. Such neighborhoods provide safe, interesting, convenient options for people to move around without the need of a vehicle. They prioritize these alternative modes of transportation and connect into larger walkable networks.

7. Directing Development to Target Areas

Directing growth towards areas that are planned to accommodate additional growth is a cost-effective strategy to take advantage of existing or planned infrastructure and reduce sprawl. This approach also provides opportunities to plan ahead and set expectations for future development.

8. Various Housing Options

Providing communities that have quality housing for families at all life stages and income levels creates resilient communities. As housing affordability continues to put a strain on many families, providing compatible options allows many to live their entire life in a community of their choice, and reinforces strong community relationships. It also allows first-time homebuyers or renters a chance to live in the area of their choice and provides economic opportunities to those families.

9. Transportation Choices

Whether an individual elects to use a form of transportation other than a car, or must use an alternative form of transportation, providing a variety of choices like public transit, bike paths, or sidewalks helps support citizens and attract the workforce needed to ensure a thriving economy.

10. Cost Effective and Predictable

The City should strive to create an environment that encourages innovative, high-quality projects from the private sector by creating clearly defined expectations, and a clear path to approval. This can be done through providing examples of desired outcomes and removing barriers to achieving those outcomes.