California’s capital city has launched a pilot program to help developers build on infill sites.

Under the program, developers will be able to use pre-approved house plans to speed up the development process and reduce costs.

The plans feature single-family home designs that complement Sacramento’s neighborhoods, and they will cost about $1,500.

The program, which was approved by the Sacramento City Council in March 2006, could also shave at least a month’s time off of the approval process, estimated Lucinda Willcox, the city’s infill coordinator. The other benefit is that it will help provide predictability for developers, she said.

The plans, which have different elevation options and allow for different materials, are not intended for use in the historic or new master-planned neighborhoods.

The program is not an affordable housing initiative, but instead aims to increase investment in established neighborhoods and eliminate vacant sites, which can often be a source of neighborhood blight.

There is a possible affordable housing element to this initiative, however. With the launching of the infill pilot program, Sacramento has set in motion the use of pre-approved plans. This could possibly lead to Habitat for Humanity or other nonprofit builders being able to have pre-approved plans on file with the city for their projects, Willcox said.