At the Legal Committee meeting on Wednesday night, it was decided that some of the specifics of the proposed zoning amendment to permit retail shops in the Core Riverfront District should be referred to Bill Roehr, of TGW Consultants, because he had experience with waterfront zoning in Troy. So, at the Economic Development Committee on Thursday night, that's what happened. The specifics in question were these bulk and area regulations:
Lot area (square feet)
Lot width (feet)
Lot depth (feet)
Front yard (feet)
Side yard (feet)
Side yard for lots within 25 feet of residence district boundary (feet)
Rear yard (feet)
Rear yard for lots within 25 feet of residence district boundary (feet)
Off-street parking spaces per 300 square feet of floor area
Building height (feet)
Number of stories
When presented with the question of determining these "metrics" should be, Roehr's response was: "One of the easier answers is form-based code," which addresses "how the buildings frame the street."
Curious to know more about form-based codes, Gossips discovered that there exists a Form-Based Codes Institute. The FBCI website provides this explanation of form-based codes:
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 are presented in both words and clearly drawn diagrams and other visuals. They 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 type.
This approach contrasts with 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 [floor area ratio], dwellings per acre, setbacks, parking ratios, traffic LOS [line of site]), 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. They are drafted to implement a community plan. They try to achieve a community vision based on time-tested forms of urbanism. Ultimately, a form-based code is a tool; the quality of development outcomes depends on the quality and objectives of the community plan that a code implements.The FBCI website contains other resources for anyone interested in learning more.