2010 January 22 Form-Based Codes in Michigan: Taking Concept to Reality
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Today’s increasingly competitive marketplace favors communities that offer welcoming havens for living, working, shopping and having fun. In many instances, these spaces are the result of Form-Based Codes (FBCs) – zoning that puts higher priority on the form of a building than on its use.

Many wonder, “How do FBCs fit here in Michigan?” By blending Form- Based Codes with other flexible zoning techniques and conventional zoning tactics, communities can tailor their zoning ordinance to fit their specific needs.

CERTIFIED FORM-BASED CODE PROFESSIONALS

McKenna Associates is a member of the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) and its Michigan Chapter (MiCNU) and supports responsible application of the principles of new urbanism. McKenna’s Chris Doozan, AICP, PCP, FBC; Jim Breuckman, AICP, FBC; and Greg Milliken, AICP, FBC are certified by the Form-Based Code Institute and have successfully completed Form-Based Codes for Michigan communities, including:

Tecumseh: FBC reinforced the traditional downtown district with mixed-use buildings lining the main street.

Rochester Hills: FBC helped this growth community control the form and quality of its commercial corridors.

Grosse Pointe: FBC helped intensify the central business district by converting surface parking lots into mixed use developments with structured parking, while maintaining the scale and character of the community.

Birmingham’s FBC has resulted in extensive investment in the City’s downtown and a former industrial district.

FBC reinforced Tecumseh’s traditional downtown district with mixed-use buildings lining its main street.

Oxford: FBC helped reinforce the traditional downtown while creating transitional areas around the edges for residential- scaled buildings with a range of low-intensity commercial uses.

West Bloomfield: FBC helped convert a section of a con- ventional commercial corridor into an area with a strong sense of place, walkable streets, and a range of inviting uses.

Birmingham: FBC helped attract extensive investment to the downtown and a one-time industrial area – now a walkable business district comprised of townhouses, live-work units, entertainment facilities, shops, restaurants, and offices.

FIRST STEPS FOR CREATING FORM-BASED CODES THAT WORK IN MICHIGAN

Target Key Areas: Focus on a single district or aspect rather than the entire community.

Ensure Economic Responsiveness: A good FBC will allow property owners to pursue uses that are marketable and not lock them into uses that may grow soft.

Devise a Design-Based Master Plan: For defensible zoning ordinances that include form-based elements, start with design-based policies in the Master Plan.

In more and more instances, successful spaces are the result of Form-Based Codes (FBC) – zoning that puts higher priority on the form of a building than its use.

Defensible zoning ordinances that include form-based elements start with design-based policies in the Master Plan.

Consider Consulting a Form-Based Code Specialist:

A professional planner certified and experienced in Form-Based Codes can steer you clear of costly pitfalls and toward the lasting benefits of FBC.

With three FBC certified professionals on staff and Michigan’s largest team of professional planners, McKenna is leading the way in FBCs in Michigan. For more about how we might assist you with FBC, please email Chris Doozan, AICP, PCP at cdoozan@mcka.com, or call us at 888.226.4326.