Urban Designers Andrew Faulkner and Rick Williams presenting at APA NPC24

Posted on: April 2, 2024

Adopting Objective Design Standards to Streamline Development Approvals


Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 10:15 AM – 11:00 AM CT
Location: Ballroom A, CM | .75

When combined with a robust process of engagement and community goal-setting, Objective Design Standards provide a uniquely flexible opportunity to establish effective regulations that translate community priorities into physical development. Such standards provide a more flexible alternative to Form Based Codes and can serve as an overlay within existing General Plans, Comprehensive Plans, and Zoning Ordinances.

When proposed standards are evaluated through market analyses and real-world test fit studies, Standards provide a valuable level of certainty to applicants that can be balanced against clear, enhanced community requirements. An Objective Standards-based review system avoids the potential legal issues of discretionary review and is being shown to increase housing production in the State of California. Our panelists will bring diverse perspectives from cities, small communities and state-level policy perspectives from the Midwest, including Minnesota, and the West Coast.

Learning Objectives:

  • Engagement with Regulation Innovations: Attendees will be exposed to alternatives to traditional zoning-based development standards for regulation of site design, building mass, and architectural form.
  • Understanding of Development Feasibility: Participants will gain insight into how Objective Design Standards can be tailored to encourage specific development typologies and discourage others.
  • Practical Takeaways: Attendees will leave with insights on how to develop objective standards suitable for their own community.

Moderator and Speaker(s)

Valerie Quarles, AICP Candidate (she/her/hers), Assistant Planner
City of Wayzata, Little Canada, Minnesota


Andrew J. Faulkner (he/him/his), Senior Urban Design Associate
Van Meter Williams Pollack, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Rick Williams, Architect, Partner
Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP, San Francisco, California

More info:


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