Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Not to Be Missed

In today's Register-Star, there is an op/ed piece written by Walter Chatham, chair of the Planning Board, and Jonathan Lerner, chair of the Conservation Advisory Council, that discusses Hudson's zoning issues and proposes a relatively easy solution: "My View: A zoning solution within our grasp."   


1 comment:

  1. A form-based approach has been discussed in City meetings regarding zoning in the past. It's certainly been used to good affect in diverse communities throughout the world. The document proffered in the article itself is useful and spells out many potential benefits of form-based zoning. It is, however, completely silent on any criticisms. A bit of research finds none too many but there are some significant ones.

    There seem to me at least 2 issues that have to be managed alongside the replacement of existing, use-based, zoning codes when form-based zoning is adopted. The first is somewhat counter-intuitive I think but is the primary complaint about the use of this form. And that is "disneyfication" where the actual number of forms adopted by developers are limited by choice (often mimicking what's in the form-based code itself) and the result can be a saccharine pastiche of styles. I'm thinking of the recent developments in places like Columbia, MO where a beautiful downtown now has a mix of renaissance and tudor housing blocks kind of grafted on its backside. Who wins in a conflict between the zoning code and the historic preservation code? Oh, and who gets to pick the styles? This is Hudson, after all.

    The second is that an emphasis on form over use can ignore the health and environmental protections implicit in use-based zoning. Provided that alternative protections for public health and the environment are found elsewhere (and many likely are), then this issue may be addressed by reference.

    The article in the RS is correct though: the Hudson zoning code is antiquated and anti-urban. It's well past time for it to be jettisoned one way or another.