The OCPG has come to realize that the difficulty with density and parking and other issues relating to a walkable Oxnard Boulevard in our downtown and corridor areas is that our current zoning does not allow true urban placemaking.
For instance, current Oxnard zoning in the downtown allows 39 units per acre…which means that the living units must be 3 and 4 bedrooms. We need higher density to accommodate the empty-nesters, Millennials and others who are interested in living an urban lifestyle and want singles or 1 bedroom units. Form Based codes allow a broader range of options in specific overlay areas.
Zoning in Oxnard’s residential areas will not change. Form based codes are generally applied in very specific overlay areas do not replace existing zoning.
Below is a copy of the Form Based Code section of our Resources page – click the Resources tab above to view all our great place-making and urban design links.
Form Based Codes
“Why form-based codes? Because our current laws tend to separate where we live from where we work, learn, and shop, and insist on big, fast roads to connect them all. Roads that are unfriendly to pedestrians, cyclists, and transit. As a result, North Americans spend more hours in their cars than anyone on earth, and a growing number of communities are working to do something about it.” [ PlaceMakers.com ]
- Wikipedia – Form-based code
- Form-Based Codes Institute
- What Are Form-Based Codes?
- Mesa, Arizona – Form-Based Zoning Code
- Conventional Zoning vs. Form-based Code
- The Sustainable Cities Institute – Form-Based Codes
- Puget Sound Regional Council – Form-Based Zoning
- Sample Form Based Codes
- Ventura – Sample Codes
- SmartCode Modules
The SmartCode differs from some other form-based codes in that its community-scale and block-scale articles are written explicitly for zoning. Zoning reform is essential to allow walkable mixed-use neighborhoods, thereby combatting sprawl, preserving open lands, and reducing energy use and carbon emissions.
- Form-Based SmartCode
Looking to curb sprawl with a form-based alternative to conventional zoning? No need to reinvent the wheel. The SmartCode is a model ordinance that’s customized to reflect local context, character and goals. And best of all, it’s open source and free.
More on Form Based Codes from the Form-Based SmartCode website:
The SmartCode is a model, form-based unified land development ordinance designed to create walkable neighborhoods, towns and cities across the full spectrum of human settlement, from the most rural to the most urban, and incorporating a transect of character and intensity within each. The SmartCode was originally developed by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company. It now exists as shareware and typically serves as a foundation from which it is then customized to address specific municipal goals. It can be leveraged as a tool towards both aspirational and preservationist ambitions.
[The long version:]
The SmartCode is a unified land development ordinance for planning and urban design. It folds zoning, subdivision regulations, urban design, and optional architectural standards into one compact document.
Because the SmartCode enables community vision by coding specific outcomes that are desired in particular places, it is meant to be locally customized (also known as “calibrated”) by professional planners, architects, and attorneys.
The SmartCode is not a building code. Building codes address life/safety issues such as fire and storm protection. Examples of building codes include the IBC, IRC, and ICC documents.
The SmartCode supports these outcomes: community vision, local character, conservation of open lands, transit options, and walkable and mixed-use neighborhoods. It prevents these outcomes: wasteful sprawl development, automobile-dominated streets, empty downtowns, and a hostile public realm. It allows different approaches in different areas within the community, unlike a one-size-fits-all conventional zoning code. This gives the SmartCode unusual political power, as it permits buy-in from stakeholders of diverse interests and concerns.
The SmartCode is considered a “form-based code” because it strongly addresses the physical form of building and development. Conventional zoning codes are based primarily on use and density. They have caused systemic problems over the past sixty years by separating uses, making mixed-use and walkable neighborhoods essentially illegal.
The SmartCode is also a transect-based code. A “transect” is usually seen as a continuous cross-section of natural habitats for plants and animals, ranging from shorelines to wetlands to uplands. The specific transect that the SmartCode uses is based on the human habitat, ranging from the most rural environments to the most urban environments. This transect is divided into a range of “Transect Zones,” each with its own complex character. It ensures that a community offers a full diversity of building types, thoroughfare types, and civic space types, and that each has appropriate characteristics for its location.
The six T-Zones are: T-1 Natural, T-2 Rural, T-3 Sub-Urban, T-4 General Urban, T-5 Urban Center, and T-6 Urban Core.
The Transect is a powerful tool because its standards can be coordinated across many other disciplines and documents, including ITE (transportation), and LEED (environmental performance). Thus the SmartCode integrates the design protocols of a variety of specialties, including traffic engineering, public works, town planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and ecology.
The SmartCode addresses development patterns at three scales of planning (thus it may replace a number of other documents):
> The Sector (Regional) Scale
> The Community Scale
> The Block and Building Scale
If stronger architectural guidelines are desired, a community may further adopt supplemental regulations or a pattern book.