El Paso, Texas, approved the SmartCode in late
ROBERT STEUTEVILLE    SEP. 1, 2008
El Paso, Texas, approved the SmartCode in late July as an optional alternative to the city’s conventional zoning and subdivision codes. With a population of 609,000, El Paso is believed to be the largest city in the US to have adopted the SmartCode. “With the price of gas climbing, having a higher density is the way to go,” said Ann Lilly, representing the city’s West Side. The city worked with PlaceMakers for six months to tailor the code to the 21st-largest city in the US. John Neal, special projects manager for the city manager, said one developer is considering using the code to start a new urbanist project on El Paso’s West Side. On greenfield sites, the city is requiring a minimum of 80 acres for development under the new code. Neal says the 80-acre minimum was established so that development will have the best possible chance of fulfilling New Urbanism’s principles.