Missing Middle Housing

Q: What is Missing Middle Housing?

A: Between large multi-family apartment complexes and single-family estates exist additional mid-level housing options such as town homes. These homes fall in the middle-ground in terms of scale and size. However, they are compatible with traditional single-family neighborhoods. Typically, these living spaces also create more affordable options because of their compact and efficient use of land.

Q: What is the goal of this overlay?

A: The goal is more diverse, livable communities that allow for additional housing options that appeal to a wider demographic. These homes are intended to attract young families just starting out, as well as older residents who are looking to downsize. This creates more choice for potential homebuyers while also providing the amenities they desire, including more walkable neighborhoods.

Q: How will these developments compare to existing housing options?

A: These developments intend to create a walkable, diverse neighborhood that look similar to existing neighborhoods within the Township while also maintaining the open green space Cranberry residents enjoy.

Q: What type of housing would be used in these developments?

A: The permitted building types include single-family dwellings, duplexes, triplexes, quads, and loft buildings. The point is to encourage a range of housing options within a single neighborhood that are consistent with a pedestrian scale and can be blended along a walkable streetscape.

Q: Where can these developments be built?

A: The zoning overlay applies to areas of 25 acres or more.

Q: How will these developments impact traffic?

A: Every development in the Township is required to have an associated traffic study. Additionally, the Township’s Transportation Impact Plan requires that every new development pays its fair share for required upgrades to the existing transportation network.

Q: Will these developments eliminate green space?

A: Most developments in the Township are required to maintain green space. The proposed MMH would require the developer to preserve 30 percent of the neighborhood as open space, including environmentally sensitive areas, stormwater management facilities, perimeter buffers, and areas for active/passive recreation.

Q: What oversight and regulations exist for these developments?

A: Developers will continue to be held to the standards and strict processes as outlined by ordinances found in the Township Code. The Planning Advisory Committee, as well as staff, will continue to work with potential developers throughout the process in developing recommendations for the Board of Supervisors. Ultimately, these recommendations are presented to the Board of Supervisors who have the final say on approval.

Q: Will this allow more mixed-use developments similar to the Meeder development?

A: No. The MMH is focused on creating different types of housing options and does not include retail and large multi-family apartments as featured in developments like Meeder.

Q: Does this mean these types of developments are imminent?

A: No. The MMH zoning changes simply provide an option for developers. They can choose this option in the same way they would pursue a Planned Residential Development (PRD). Additionally, all landowners and developers have the option to develop their property as permitted by the base zoning district.

Q: Does this guarantee such developments will be built?

A: No. The MMH overlay is still a conditional use, meaning it must go through the planning and development process and demonstrate that the proposed development satisfies all requirements listed in the Township Code. Developers are required to meet all Township requirements and must be granted approval.

Q: What is the price range for these homes?

A: While it is impossible to predict the housing market, it is safe to say these homes will reflect the same demand seen in other recent developments because of the high quality of life the Township has become known for in the region. That said, the MMH should provide for more housing choices at different price points for all ages of people looking for an alternative to apartment complexes or large single-family estates.

Questions from the January 28 Board of Supervisors meeting:

Q: Were impact studies completed?

All new land development projects must submit several studies related to the potential impact of proposed developments in the Township. Common studies include a sewer feasibility report, an environmental impact assessment, a stormwater management report, an erosion and sedimentation control plan, a traffic impact study, and a geotechnical technical report. These are required as a condition of approval in addition to any permits that may be required by outside agencies such as Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Butler County Conservation District, and Department of Environmental Protection.

Q: What data was used in looking to the future?

The Department of Planning and Development Services studied the current demographic trends based on the American Survey Data published by the U.S. Census. In addition, the Department completed an analysis of existing residential land use patterns based on the Township’s current financial data.

Q: Why is the demographic of 20-34 important?

The 20- to 34-year-old cohort is important and underrepresented segment of the labor force that supports local businesses and industry. The intent of the MMH overlay is to provide diverse housing options for people of all ages that are looking for walkable and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods such as Park Place and BelleVue Park.

Q: How sustainable is this plan? How do public safety, infrastructure, and other Township services adapt with the growth?

The Cranberry Plan modeled three detailed growth scenarios to analyze the municipal services, revenue, and infrastructure that would be necessary to maintain a high quality of life and maintain a limited tax burden on existing residents. The selected growth management scenario was unanimously chosen by the Citizen Advisory Panel and the Steering Committee because it made the most sense financially and was in line with the character of the community. It also projected to save the Township millions of dollars in infrastructure and was identified as the most sustainable means to manage the continued development pressure on the Township. More information on the Cranberry Plan can be found at cranberrytownship.org/cranberryplan.

Housing Examples

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Housing 1
Housing 10