Legacy Lafayette Comprehensive Plan

Honor - General Planning Project

by Jeff Brasel, AICP (Planning & Building Director, City of Lafayette); Phil Kleisler, AICP (Principal Planner, City of Lafayette); Britt Palmberg, Britt Palmberg, AICP (Principal Community Planner, Rick Planning and Design)

Lafayette is a city of 30,000 residents. A thriving community with a small-town flavor. A community dedicated to remaining eclectic, diverse, and inclusive. The Legacy Lafayette Comprehensive Plan captures the shared heritage that is Lafayette and sets the stage for how the community will grow and evolve over the next 20 years.

The plan marks a milestone in Lafayette’s planning history. There is a limited amount of land remaining in the City’s Urban Growth Boundary, shifting the historical focus away from a traditional land use lens towards an emphasis on design and inclusivity. The plan largely rethinks how to have conversations about land use and development through a design-focused approach that is grounded in community values. We scrapped the traditional density-centered residential land uses in favor of a singular “Housing Areas” typology, shifting the focus from density to neighborhood design. This shift is giving applicants the ability to propose housing areas that are complete, walkable neighborhoods with a mixture of housing types and price points without getting bogged down in the usual details of one housing type versus another.

The plan also includes four new non-residential typologies focusing on complete neighborhoods; a vibrant and funky downtown; the redevelopment of large format sites towards more mixed use, transit-rich places; and the introduction of outdoor recreation, live/work, and maker spaces within traditional industrial areas. It shows the community’s love of parks, recreation, and open space, and includes strategies for getting people around town through a re-envisioned multi-modal transportation system.

The planning process included a very public, iterative process with a broad spectrum of community members. To many, this plan represents so much more than a simple land use vision. It acknowledges the successes, mistakes, and hardships of the past, and considers the interests of community members of all abilities and backgrounds. 

Those conversations highlighted the need for several additions to the plan. One addition was a land acknowledgment recognizing the vast contributions made to Lafayette through Indigenous People in our community (page 2). A two-page spread was also added describing the importance of our community values (pages 50-51). This statement of community values considers the context of the mid-1920s when the Ku Klux Klan was present throughout the community, including on the Lafayette City Council. The story describes the efforts of Rose Lueras, and 25 other Latinos, to establish the city’s first public pool in the face of discrimination by the local government. These types of stories, included in the plan and displayed in prominent locations throughout the city, helps remind us of the continual work of creating an inclusive community that reflects the diversity of our origins, cultures, abilities, and identities.

So…what now? The plan is guiding several planning efforts, like an Economic Development and Housing Strategic Plan and our first Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, in addition to a complete rewrite of the City’s development regulations. The plan is already part of Lafayette’s “planning DNA” and we’re excited to see what comes next! 


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