Land Development Code Reform
The Land Development Code (LDC) regulates how land throughout Louisville Metro is used and built upon. The LDC Reform is an equity-focused approach to revise the LDC consistent with Plan 2040, allow for increased housing choices and opportunities in new and existing neighborhoods, create procedures and regulations that are easier to use, and increase the quality of life by reducing the concentration of environmental hazards near housing.
Work to reform the LDC began in the summer of 2020 with Louisville Metro Council's passage of Resolution 082, series 2020. The Reform continues to move forward and plans outlining the content under consideration, and strategies for outreach and engaging with the community are available by visiting the LDC Reform: Upcoming Outreach & Engagement page.
Changes to the Land Development Code (LDC) currently being pursued by the Office of Planning include Middle Housing, New Form Districts, Modular & Factory Built Housing, and EZ-1 Zoning.
To explore pages dedicated to each amendment, please use the buttons below:
Middle Housing includes a range of house-sized choices with multiple units between single-family homes and larger apartment buildings. It fits the height and form of homes and neighborhoods.
A Form District is an area with distinct boundaries to which a set of regulations governing the pattern and form of development and redevelopment applies.
Factory Built Housing is a general term that encompasses both modular and manufactured homes. Both types are generally constructed in an off-site facility and then transported to a final location for installation. Modular housing must be built to the same state and local building codes as site-built housing, while manufactured housing is built to the HUD Code (U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development).
EZ-1 Zoning (Page Coming Soon)
EZ-1, Enterprise Zone, is a zoning district in the Land Development Code that allows for both high intensity industrial and commercial uses, and is often located near residential neighborhoods.
Completed Outreach and Engagement
Outreach and engagement for the LDC Reform in 2023 remains focused on equitable approaches to guide changes, including a new series of conversations at the Louisville Free Public Library starting in March and walking tours of middle housing types in Louisville beginning in April. Summaries, videos, and material from completed events are hosted here.
- Zoning Matters: Conversations with a City Planner
The Office of Planning continues to host public conversations at branches of the Louisville Free Public Library. This open forum allows community members to talk about their neighborhoods, ongoing development, and ask questions about the the city's Land Development Code Reform or other planning and zoning activities. Through conversation in these spaces, both planners and community members can take away a greater understanding of why zoning matters to us all. Through conversation in these spaces, both planners and community members can take away a greater understanding of why zoning matters to us all.
A schedule for all dates and locations in 2024 is included below:
Read a summaries of previous years below:
- Zoning Matters Summary 2023
- Zoning Matters Summary 2022
- Middle Housing Tours of Louisville (2023)
Louisville Metro's Office of Planning, AARP Kentucky, and the Metropolitan Housing Coalition hosted two walking tours and a mobile tour for community members to learn about Middle Housing. The walking tours took place in the Park DuValle and Old Louisville neighborhoods, while the mobile tour visited many different neighborhoods throughout the city. A summary of the Middle Housing Tours is available below.
- Middle Housing Tours of Louisville Summary
- Planning for Middle Housing LEGO Workshop
Four community workshops were hosted in August and September of 2022. Participants worked together in small groups to build their own middle housing neighborhood using LEGO bricks. The bricks represented different types of housing, such as single-family detached, duplexes, or multi-unit buildings. A park, bus stop, and neighborhood services were also included in each neighborhood. A summary of the workshops can be viewed below.
- Walking Tour in Old Louisville - AARP (2022)
Planning and Design Services led a tour of Middle Housing for AARP - Livable Communities in Old Louisville on September 21, 2022.
- Workshops (December 2020)
Planning & Design Services hosted four workshops in December 2020 focusing on Housing, Environmental Justice, and Processes and Education following feedback from the October 2020 Listening Sessions.
- Listening Sessions (October 2020)
Planning & Design Services hosted three listening sessions in October 2020. Watch a replay of all three on Develop Louisville's Facebook page.
LDC Reform Roadmap & Recommendations
Following the listening sessions and workshops hosted in the fall and winter of 2020, Planning & Design Services (PDS) staff introduced initial recommended changes to the LDC to the Planning Commission on February 4, 2021, with the public hearings and formal review of these amendments occurring on April 20, 2021. Six amendments, including accessory dwelling units and urban agriculture, were adopted by the Louisville Metro Council. Changes to the child care regulations (daycares) were also highlighted in the list of LDC Reform recommendations. Work began on these changes in the fall of 2021 and concluded with the adoption of changes on March 17, 2022. Suburban cities with zoning authority may also independently review and consider the changes.
Updates to the Planning Commission
Planning & Design Services provides a bi-monthly update on the LDC Reform to the Louisville Metro Planning Commission. This update is provided during the Commission's regularly scheduled public hearing. Updates are available below:
- Updates to the Planning Commission
Media and Industry Coverage
The LDC Reform has been covered by local media and highlighted by national organizations, including the Urban Institute and American Planning Association.
- View Media and Industry Coverage
- Metro Matters (MetroTV) - What is Middle Housing?
- American Planning Association - Zoning Practice: Ending Zoning's Racist legacy
- American Planning Association - 6 Ways to Help Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap
- Courier Journal - Zoning regulations helped segregate Louisville. Here's how the city wants to change them
- Louisville Builder - Recommend and Reform: Following the Land Development Code Reform
- Lincoln Institute of Land Policy - Race and rezoning - Louisville designs a more equitable future by confronting the past
- Planetizen - Story Mapping the Racism in Planning History
- Urban Institute - Louisville Is Using Zoning Reform to Tackle Inequity. Could this Work for Other Cities
- Urban Institute - Policies and programs for inclusive and equitable recovery
Land Development Code Diagnosis
Prepared by Opticos Design, a Berkley-based consultant group, this report provides a diagnosis of the current LDC. Opticos Design specializes in creating strategic solutions to address the most challenging housing and community issues of our time, including attainable housing and equitable development practices. Many elements within the LDC have not been revised since the early 1960s and no longer support current city needs. The findings of the evaluation conducted by Opticos Design revealed several components of the LDC that restrict inclusive development styles and limit the types of housing that can be built within Louisville Metro. Some of these discrepancies include parking requirements, minimum lot sizes, floor area ratios, excessive single-family zoning, and deficient density allotments.
It is crucial in planning for an equitable future that Louisville Metro attains a greater understanding of its past and grows from both its intentional and unintentional missteps in policy decisions. This report was a collaborative effort of Develop Louisville completed in the spring of 2019. It identifies development policies and practices that exacerbate inequity and place barriers on the attainment of wealth. In addition, it explores topics of exclusionary zoning, parking, economy, accessibility, and contracts in current and historic policy and practice. Plan 2040, a review of planning best practices, and empirical evidence guide recommendations to advance equitable development through land use policy changes.
Process for Amendments
In addition to outreach and engagement on the LDC Reform, the Planning Commission will host public hearings and make recommendations regarding the new regulations to the Louisville Metro Council and small cities with zoning authority. Metro Council’s approval is required before any of the reforms can be implemented. Suburban cities with zoning authority – Anchorage, Douglass Hills, Graymoor-Devondale, Hurstbourne, Indian Hills, Jeffersontown, Lyndon, Middletown, Prospect, Shively, St. Matthews and St. Regis Park – must independently adopt the changes.
If you have questions or would like to submit additional feedback, please call us at (502) 574-5860 or (502) 574-8272 or email us.