100 Ideas for New Paltz

26. shift from use-based zoning to form-based zoning

Replace the Town and Village use-based zoning codes with more flexible, organic form-based zoning codes. A form-based code is defined by the Form-Based Code Institute as:

A method of regulating development to achieve a specific urban form. Form-based codes create a predictable public realm primarily by controlling physical form, with a lesser focus on land use, through city or county regulations.

Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The regulations and standards in Form-based codes, presented in both diagrams and words, are keyed to a regulating plan that designates the appropriate form and scale (and therefore, character) of development rather than only distinctions in land-use types. This is in contrast to conventional zoning’s focus on the micromanagement and segregation of land uses, and the control of development intensity through abstract and uncoordinated parameters (e.g., FAR, dwellings per acre, setbacks, parking ratios, traffic LOS) to the neglect of an integrated built form. Not to be confused with design guidelines or general statements of policy, Form-based codes are regulatory, not advisory.”

One fine example of a form-based code is the SmartCode.  The developers of the SmartCode explain it’s use this way,

“Conventional zoning separates uses, forcing everyone to drive to work and shopping and creating traffic congestion, while only minimally regulating form. Parking lots and curb cuts are allowed to dominate the frontages, creating a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

The SmartCode regulates form more strongly to enhance pedestrian safety and enjoyment, and to structure networks of streets that relieve traffic congestion. The SmartCode does address use, but the Transect zones signify different intensities of mixed use. Notice that in the Retail illustration, which shows a typical T-5 zone, the SmartCode allows Residential along with the Retail, in the form of apartments over shops. This helps keep housing affordable and enables “eyes on the street,” walkability, and vibrant downtowns.”

smartcode

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One Response

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  1. do it said, on November 24, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks pal. Great blog you have here. Have some extra sites to point to which have more info?


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