Strategic Goal #4: Allow Smaller Lot Sizes

03 June, 2023

To create more housing, communities need to build bigger AND SMALLER, one key aspect to consider is the size of the lots on which properties are allowed to be built. Traditionally, larger minimum lot sizes have been favored for a variety of reasons, including preserving open spaces, promoting privacy, and maintaining property values. However, there is an emerging trend towards allowing smaller minimum lot sizes in communities as a means of better utilizing precious land resources. 

1. Promotes Affordable Housing

One of the most significant advantages of allowing smaller minimum lot sizes is the potential to promote affordable housing - in the form of the starter home. By reducing the required size of lots, builders can fit more homes within a given area. This increased density allows for a more efficient use of land and helps to address the growing demand for housing in urban areas. Smaller lot sizes enable the construction of more compact and affordable housing options, catering to a wider range of income levels and promoting socioeconomic diversity without harming neighborhood scale or character.

2. Enhances Walkability and Connectivity

Smaller minimum lot sizes encourage the construction of more compact and  connected neighborhoods, which in turn promotes walkability and commerce. By reducing the distance between homes and amenities, such as parks, schools, and shopping areas, residents can enjoy easier access to essential services and recreational spaces. This pedestrian-friendly environment not only enhances the quality of life but also reduces dependency on private vehicles, leading to a decrease in traffic congestion and pollution.

3. Fosters Community Interaction

In communities with smaller minimum lot sizes, residents are more likely to interact with their neighbors. With closer proximity, it becomes easier to establish meaningful connections, fostering a sense of community and belonging. Smaller lot sizes often result in shared public spaces like courtyards, community gardens, or playgrounds, creating opportunities for social interaction, collaboration, and a stronger sense of community identity.

4. Supports Environmental and Financial Sustainability

Allowing smaller minimum lot sizes can contribute to environmental and financial sustainability. When homes are built on smaller lots, there is more space left for green space and landscaping. This promotes the preservation of agricultural and natural habitats, increases urban biodiversity, and improves stormwater management. Additionally, smaller lots often encourage the use of smaller, energy-efficient homes, reducing pollution and promoting sustainable living practices.

5. Maximizes Land Utilization

In Salt Lake County, land availability is limited, and there is a need to maximize land utilization. Allowing smaller minimum lot sizes enables builders to make the most efficient use of available land, reducing wasted space. This approach is especially beneficial in densely populated areas where land is scarce and property values are high. By allowing for more houses on smaller lots, communities can accommodate our growing population and provide homes for more families without compromising on livability.


While the idea of smaller minimum lot sizes may seem unconventional, it offers several advantages for communities. Embracing this approach can promote affordable housing, enhance walkability and connectivity, foster community interaction, support environmental and financial sustainability, and maximize land utilization. By rethinking traditional development practices and embracing innovative approaches, communities can create more inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable neighborhoods for their residents. Communities in Salt Lake County should consider the long-term benefits of smaller minimum lot sizes and work towards creating communities that meet the needs of a rapidly evolving society.