Aligning Land Use Code with Community Housing Goals in Lovell
Lovell, Wyoming | Completed 2020
After attending a Community Builders Leadership Institute in 2018, local leaders from the town of Lovell, Wyoming realized their land use policies might be holding them back from the housing wants and needs of the community. While Lovell is populated by less than 3,000 people, local leaders recognized that the high cost and low availability of housing seriously impacts their economy and quality of life for those who live there. At the same time, the availability of cheap land outside of town makes it easy for new housing to sprawl outward, consuming the rural character and landscape that makes Lovell special and unique.
In Spring 2019, the Town of Lovell partnered with the Wyoming Business Council to apply to Community Builders’ Technical Assistance program. They sought to identify code barriers and receive recommended changes that allow for more affordable, responsible, infill housing in town. The project is ongoing today.
While the community already had an established vision for affordable infill and missing middle housing types, they knew there were housing barriers within their local code. We are currently engaged in a six-month process with local leaders, builders, and community members to identify these existing code issues.
The Lovell team also used a pilot version of the Wyoming Code Audit Toolkit, a Community Builders tool designed to help communities self-discover problems in their code. The tool showed them what code changes were needed to allow for the types and prices of housing the community envisioned.
After a community workshop series on housing, Lovell walked away with a list of recommended code amendments that will help them advance their housing goals.
Lovell has developed a list of code amendment recommendations that would allow a wider variety of missing middle housing to be built in their community. They are currently working in-house to draft amended code language and are working with the community to drive those changes forward.