Folsom city officials are laying the groundwork for more density in some existing and developing commercial areas — but first, the city is looking at design.

An online survey on the city’s website, as well as a workshop planned for the next couple months, will give the city feedback on what kind of size, scale and look would be appropriate for multifamily and mixed-use housing in those areas.

Three places in the city are the focus of the study: East Bidwell Street between Highway 50 and Coloma Street, the areas around the Glenn and Iron Point light-rail stations, and the planned Folsom Town Center in the Folsom Plan Area, immediately south of Highway 50.

Parrington said developers and landowners have approached the city or even proposed projects the study would address in many of those areas. Study recommendations, due to the city planning commission and council by summer’s end, could include ways to streamline or provide other incentives for such projects.

As the city adopted a new general plan in 2018, and a new housing element last year, Parrington said, leaders and officials recognized more needed to be done for the city to provide a greater variety of housing, in both type and affordability.

A grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, through money from the state of California, provided Folsom with funding for the study, which includes Opticos Design as a consultant.

The city also has examples of what can work with Bidwell Place and Bidwell Pointe, two affordable housing projects by St. Anton Communities along East Bidwell.

Bidwell Place has seen rapid leasing demand, Parrington said. And there’s another practical benefit by putting such projects in existing commercial corridors, he added, because future residents help patronize nearby businesses.

If they’re also near jobs, services and light rail, he said, “you put people in a position where they don’t need to do everything with a car.”

Once the study’s recommendations are forwarded to the city for adoption, they’ll start being implemented in two ways. One is through an ongoing update of the city’s zoning code, Parrington said. The other will be in updates to both the city’s general plan and the specific plan for the Folsom Plan Area.

Environmental analysis of the changes would follow. In about 18 months, he said, the full scope of changes should be implemented.