There tends to be general agreement that sprawl and car-oriented sub-divisions are a drain on the tax revenues and city budgets. There seems to be a movement to increase density in some neighborhoods and in the city in general. This is particularly evident in the older inner-core neighborhoods. There has been good progress made in improving the walkability and quality of life in many of those inner-core places. Unfortunately, too often though it does little to economically empower the current residents of those neighborhoods. To increase density is difficult. Between the current zoning and the inflexibility of those zones, the permitting process can be long and arduous. And expensive! That means in many cases only outside developers or those with deep pockets are the few that have the chance to "profit" or improve their economic standing by new housing projects design to increase density. A simple resident that would like to expand the footprint of there residence so as to have another unit or two on their property which could provide economic benefits they are often faced with long and intolerant permitting processes.
But what if there was a way to allow one to achieve one level of property improvement beyond the current zoning regulations. Well, there is it is called 'By Rights Permitting.' Simply put it would allow a resident use increase land value to improve their property by creating more duplexes and triplexes to increase affordable housing options. It does not necessarily allow ten and twelve units apartment project without going through the more stringent regulations and permitting process. By allowing neighborhoods to increase density in a slow maturing, incrementally 'natural' way the overall effect is not a shock to the system and the quality of life in areas seeing the increased pressure of population growth.
The city ought to look into it as a tool to implement the Big Picture Plan for increased housing options that does not lead to wholesale gentrification of existing neighborhoods. Let us help the current resident of existing inner core neighborhoods achieve or at least have a chance at empowerment.