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Form-Based Code Pilot

Form-Based Code Pilot

As part of the Design Excellence Initiative, the city is piloting a Form-Based Code (FBC) in Boulder Junction. The city will test FBC as an approach to address design quality and development review issues recently articulated through community, board and council conversations. The City of Boulder’s Planning, Housing and Sustainability Department (PH+S) is leading the effort in collaboration with other city departments and two consultant teams: Dover Kohl and Partners and CodaMetrics.

News and Updates

Tuesday, June 21 -- City Council meeting
6 p.m.  ●  Municipal Building  ●  City Council Chambers  ●  1777 Broadway

City Council is scheduled to review and consider the draft form-based code and consider a motion to adopt it for part of Boulder in the Boulder Junction area. The Planning Board unanimously recommended City Council approve the code at its April 14 meeting.

Review the Latest Draft of Form-Based Code
The latest draft of the Form-Based Code pdf (6/1/2016) is now available.

Memo for June 21 City Council meeting
The proposed ordinance will be discussed at this meeting during a public hearing. The memo for that ordinance, including the ordinance and draft code, is online.

Past Meetings and Materials

Thursday, April 14 -- Planning Board meeting
6 p.m.  ●  Municipal Building  ●  City Council Chambers  ●  1777 Broadway

City staff will give the Planning Board an update on the proposed form-based code and ask for its recommendation to City Council for an ordinance amending the land use code to adopt the form-based code for Boulder Junction Phase 1.

Form-Based Code Memo for Planning Board, April 14 pdf

Draft Form-Based Code for Boulder Junction Phase 1 pdf

Thursday, Oct. 29 - Open House
3 to 6 p.m.  ●  Municipal Building  ●  City Council Chambers  ●  1777 Broadway
(This open house was rescheduled from Oct. 22)

Thursday, Oct. 29 - Planning Board Meeting
6 p.m.  ●  Municipal Building  ●  City Council Chambers  ●  1777 Broadway
(This meeting was rescheduled from Oct. 22)

Form-Based Code Memo for Planning Board, Oct. 29 pdf

Draft Form-Based Code for Boulder Junction Phase 1 pdf

Wednesday, July 22 - Working Group Meeting
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.  ●  Boulder Library  ●  Boulder Creek Room  ●  1001 Arapahoe Ave.

Wednesday, July 22 - Community Code Workshop
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  ●  Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA)  ●  1750 13th St.

Thursday, July 23 - Joint Board Workshop
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  ●   BMoCA  ●  1750 13th St.

August 11, 2015 Form-Based Code Memo for City Council pdf

June 15, 2015 Form-Based Code Memo for City Council pdf

Submit your feedback via online comment form.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Form-Based Code?

A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. A form-based code is a regulation, not a mere guideline, adopted into city, town, or county law. A form-based code offers an alternative to conventional zoning regulation.

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 types.

What is the “Form-Based Code Pilot”?

As part of the Design Excellence Initiative, the city is piloting a Form-Based Code (FBC) in Boulder Junction, defined as the area within the adopted Transit Village Area Plan. This area was selected because the community visioning and plan adoption processes were recently completed, so the project can focus more on the FBC as an implementation tool rather than having to start from scratch in articulating a vision for the area. As requested by City Council, the FBC project was commenced in April of this year and is anticipated to be a six-month process. The project will involve outreach to the community and coordination with review boards (i.e. Planning Board, Transportation Advisory Board, Design Advisory Board and Boulder Junction Access District) and council about desired building designs and forms that would inform the final pilot FBC.

Why are we doing it and what do we hope to achieve?

The purpose of the effort is to test FBC as an approach to address design quality and development review issues recently articulated through community, board and council conversations, as summarized in the Jan 20, 2015 memo from Dover Kohl. pdf The City of Boulder’s Planning, Housing and Sustainability Department (PH+S) is leading the effort in collaboration with other city departments and two consultant teams: Dover Kohl and Partners and CodaMetrics. Dover Kohl and Partners will assist in the broad, citywide Design Excellence discussions that would ultimately inform changes to the land use code, and CodaMetrics will assist in preparation of the pilot FBC.

What is the project schedule?

Completion of the pilot FBC project for Boulder Junction is targeted for October 2015 (i.e., six months). A work plan has been developed which specifies the scheduled meetings and deliverables at each phase of the process. View the work plan. pdf

What do we expect to be the outcome, and what will happen after that?

CodaMetrics will assist the city team in conducting community workshops with the public and coordination with review boards to determine acceptable building types and forms as applied to the Boulder Junction area. A working group comprised of board members will also inform the FBC. A draft will be prepared for Planning Board and City Council consideration in September and October.

The anticipated outcome is an adopted FBC that will apply only to the Boulder Junction area. The exact content and how an FBC would fit into the current land use code is not yet determined; however, it is expected to prescribe acceptable building forms, heights, locations, façade detailing (e.g., window glazing, proportionality, etc.), materials and design amenities, etc.

Dover Kohl and Partners will assist the city in working with the community and review boards to provide recommendations on the following:

  • How FBC should fit into the format of the land use code and the current discretionary review process?
  • What is great design in Boulder?
  • What specific changes should be made to the land use code (principally the Site Review criteria) that would enable better design outcomes citywide?
  • What other areas of the city should be considered for FBC?

Following adoption of the pilot FBC, the city will begin work on changes to the land use code considering the recommendations above and direction from City Council. Next steps may also include preparing FBCs in other areas of the city.

There are projects already submitted for review in the same area where the FBC pilot is taking place. How will it affect them?

The applicants of three projects have indicated their interest in working with the city and the consultants as part of the FBC pilot’s development. The three projects are:

  • S*PARK (3390 Valmont Road)
  • Reve (3000 Pearl Street)
  • The Commons (2490 Junction Place)

As no FBC is currently in place or will be in place until October, projects would continue to be evaluated pursuant to the existing Site Review criteria at time of decision. Nevertheless, the applicants have indicated that they would play a part in the process to formulate the FBC as well as expressing openness to being informed directly by the evolving FBC. While it is not expected that the resultant projects will be 100 percent consistent with the final FBC given the project timeline, the city views the three projects as an opportunity for seeing how the evolving FBC may improve certain design aspects of projects. The city has requested that guiding principles for FBC in Boulder Junction be developed by the CodaMetrics mid-summer after receiving input from the community and boards in order to more clearly specify how the case study projects could be influenced.

How will we coordinate between the FBC discussions and the Site Review processes?

City staff has already contacted and met with each applicant about the process. Staff and CodaMetrics will continue to work with them through the review process as the FBC is developed. The applicants’ decision to work with the city is voluntary and any such guiding principles that are prepared would not be legally binding as are the currently adopted Site Review criteria. The hope is that the general design of projects could be enhanced by what is learned through the FBC pilot enabling for a greater consistency with the Site Review criteria. That review will include compatibility of proposed projects with the height, mass, scale, orientation, architecture and configuration of the existing character of the area or character established by the Transit Village Area Plan. Consistency with the evolving FBC is not a standard under which the decision can be made for site review applications filed prior to the adoption of the FBC. Projects submitted after adoption of the FBC would be fully subject to the new code.

Contact

Senior Planner Karl Guiler at 303-441-4236.

Submit your feedback via online comment form.

Design Excellence Videos

City of Boulder - Form Based Codes

May 15, 2015 - Victor Dover discussed form based codes.

Design Excellence Forum

Design Excellence Forum

Inside Boulder News - Design Excellence Forum

This video is a segment from the December 12, 2014 episode of Inside Boulder. For more Inside Boulder visit BoulderChannel8.com

Inside Boulder News - Design Excellence Forum

This video is a segment from the December 5, 2014 episode of Inside Boulder. For more Inside Boulder visit BoulderChannel8.com

Design Excellence Initiative in Boulder

This video is a segment from the November 14, 2014 episode of Inside Boulder. It is a discussion about design and development issues in Boulder. For more Inside Boulder visit www.BoulderChannel8.com

Inside Boulder News - City Council Design Excellence Tour

This is a video segment from the October 10, 2014 episode of Inside Boulder News. For more videos, visit: BoulderChannel8.com

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