Euclidean zoning is the term that describes the type of zoning ordinances that are most prevalent in Pennsylvania. This approach is commonly known as single-use zoning where districts are created to provide for similar uses in very specific locations within a community. Very broadly, residential zones are denoted with R’s, while C’s represent commercial, and I’s for industrial. Most Main Street communities will find themselves in some type of commercial zone; however, what a healthy and sustainable downtown looks like is well beyond a single-use description.
Mixed-use is the token zoning phrase that gets applied to areas of development that do not fit neatly into a single-use classification, however, not many communities have a mixed-use district on their zoning maps. Downingtown has found ways to utilize overlays (a more common zoning tool) to promote a mixed-use development pattern in and around their historic community core. Typically an office park and a historic downtown would seem like disparate development patterns. Yet with thoughtful planning and zoning procedures in place, Downingtown has created a truly mixed-use environment where the two projects co-exist. They actually do more than just exist, they create a unique sense of place and synergy beside high-quality green space, walkable streets, and adaptive re-use of classic buildings.
To see what we saw when we mixed it up in Downingtown, click here.