Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Bill Advances in Harrisburg

Communities across Pennsylvania may soon have an easier way to promote traditional neighborhood development (or TND), an approach to placemaking that emphasizes a mix of uses (housing, office, retail, education, parks), transit access and walkability.

Last week, the Senate Local Government Committee approved a bill–authored by Rep. Robert Freeman of Easton–that would allow municipalities to zone specifically for TND, thereby streamlining the process of undertaking this kind of village-style community design. Under current Pennsylvania law, a developer interested in TND has to apply to the municipality for an overlay district for the development. Rep. Freeman’s bill (HB 1609) would enable municipalities to zone certain areas for TND, meaning that a TND could be implemented there “by right”–without the need for special approvals.

“By allowing municipalities to make an outright TND designation in their zoning codes, it would be a lot easier to create TNDs,” Freeman said. “Municipalities could ensure that this more compact form of development would be utilized, rather than simply suggesting it to a developer as an alternative. With this added tool in their planning toolbox, local officials would be in a much better position to manage growth more effectively, preserve more open space and reduce people’s dependency on the automobile.” [Read the full press release.]

Next, the bill moves on to the full Senate for consideration. HB 1609 passed the House by a 195-0 vote last summer.

Updated–note change in date: And, on the topic of state policy: RenewLV’s next “brown-bag” session will feature Rep. Freeman providing a preview of what’s coming up in 2010 in Harrisburg, with regard to pending legislation related to urban revitalization, smart growth, open-space preservation, and related issues. This brown-bag session will be Friday, January 22, at 12 noon in the Victory Firehouse, 205 Webster Street in South Bethlehem. Bring a lunch and join the discussion. For more information, contact us at

Posted on December 22, 2009, in About RenewLV, Municipal Government, Neighborhoods, Transportation, Urbanism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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