Document Type


Publication Date



Report 5


The need to control sprawl, encourage Smart Growth, and create more livable neighborhoods that instill a sense of community through traditional neighborhood design, are topics in the forefront of national discussions about community planning and development. There is an innovative land use technique that can be used by communities to manage and define future growth in a way that creates more livable places, places that are environmentally, socially, and fiscally sound. Specifically, a community may designate mixed-use Priority Growth Districts, or PGDs, which direct development to selected locations and also specify a design that is attractive to the community’s current and future residents. This report provides the necessary tools and describes the steps that a community may take to designate Priority Growth Districts and reap their many benefits.

The PGD concept discussed here is particularly suited for outlying suburban and exurban counties, where the rate of growth is significant but there is still a rural character that can be preserved. Growth in these areas may result from the actions of transportation agencies, which make outlying communities more accessible, from housing shortages in areas near job centers, or from the changing housing needs of current residents. The pressure to provide new homes can best be addressed through the identification of PGDs where roadways and other infrastructure either exist or can be accommodated.

This report draws examples primarily from Dutchess and Orange counties in New York State, but the principles and techniques discussed here are applicable in various locations.