The purpose of this workshop item is to provide Planning and Zoning Commission with a background of Form-Based Codes (FBC). There are currently two zoning applications that are being processed by Community Development, both of which contain some FBC elements. The submittal of the aforementioned zoning applications is the impetus for this discussion; however, this workshop item will be general as relates to FBC and not contain specific discussion related to those zoning cases that are under review. During this workshop, city staff will present background information related to nomenclature as well as application of FBC in general circumstances.
To begin, Form-Based Codes are defined in part by the Form-Based Codes Institute as follows:
A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code.
To further expand on the definition above, FBC's provide specificity in the elements of the built environment; however, they still maintain a level of flexibility to allow for adaptation to changing market conditions. This approach is somewhat of a departure from the use-based traditional/Euclidean zoning approach that the City currently follows.
It is anticipated that the application of FBC would occur using a Planned Development as the instrument for adopting the development requirements. In lieu of the traditional Concept Plan, a Regulating Plan would be considered. The Regulating Plan would contain a conceptual layout of the streets, blocks, and open spaces. A set of development guidelines would provide the specificity to inform the final layout, which would occur on an administrative/staff level. Certain minor deviations could be approved at administrative/staff level, and these parameters will be outlined in the Planned Development. Major deviations would need to be processed as a zoning amendment and would be brought back through the public hearing process in accordance with City requirements.
An analogy for the application of FBC's is to envision the Planned Development as adopting a collection of components that could be used in the development. The juxtaposition of these components would be informed by market demand and reviewed on an administrative/staff level. The two general examples below will provide a high-level comparison of the different approaches.
Example of Traditional Planned Development Approach
Two five-story office buildings consisting of 125,000 square feet of floor area each, a 350-unit four-story urban residential building, and 75 townhomes are proposed to be built in the locations identified on the Concept Plan and in conformance with the architectural elevations provided therein. Open Space will be provided as shown on the Concept Plan. Thoroughfares will be developed in accordance with those shown on the Concept Plan and the cross-sections provided.
Example of Form-Based Code Approach
Office Buildings (minimum of three stories and maximum of seven stories), urban residential and townhomes (both in accordance with urban residential standards in the ALDC) will be permitted to be constructed in area generally identified as Neighborhood/Character Area "X" on the Regulating Plan. Blocks shall be spaced to be a maximum length of 750 feet. Primary and secondary thoroughfares constructed in this Area shall use any of the approved thoroughfare standards dependent upon the context desired. Open Space will be a minimum of "X" square feet and located within a ¼-mile radius of all development in the Area. Architecture will be tri-partite in nature and consist of 100% masonry components that are in general conformance with the representative images provided. Furthermore, architecture elevations will contain prescribed articulations and minimum window transparency amounts.