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Thread: Shortest zoning/form based code you have seen

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    Shortest zoning/form based code you have seen

    I was hoping to find some examples of really short zoning ordinances or form based codes - especially for a good size municipality. Not sure they exist, but may in a jurisdiction that has few uses or transects.

    thanks....

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I've seen ancient (e.g,. prewar) zoning codes for small towns with only five or six pages. A few districts, broad use categories without definitions or descriptions, basic bulk requirements, variance procedures, and that's it.

    The original Duany/Plater-Zyberk Seaside Urban Code (pdf) is only a single sheet.

    The base SmartCode can be compressed quite a bit with some work. It's still missing a lot, though, mostly related to process.

    I think a lot of today's codes can be cut down to a third of their size, yet contain the same regulations, with creative editing. Cut the legalese ("The front yard setback for a structure in the R-1 district shall hereinafter be established as a minimum of twenty five (25) feet from the front property line bounding the adjacent right-of-way, as measured perpendicular from said property line, to the closest extent of said structure to said property line", etc), use tables, and eliminate redundancy.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian
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    Yes, the Seaside code was a single sheet of paper. Those early FBCs were called poster codes because they were literally presentable on a single poster. Another to check out is West Palm Beach's 1995 downtown plan, also a poster code I believe (although I've heard it crticized, because it was photocopied and reproduced on several smaller sheets of paper, which reproduced poorly). I think it's since been updated and/or amended. One code to stay away from is Denver's, which is the second large city FBC in the country but is a massive volume much like a traditional Euclidean code. A great resource on codes to contact is George Proakis of Somerville, MA, who is a self-proclaimed 'code collector' ("some people collect stamps, I collect codes"). I'm sure he'd have a ton of info for you.

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    Cyburbian
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    Something else to note is that, while I’m no expert on Seaside, I believe that town is a private “new town” regulated less by traditional legal principles applicable to public domain type of ‘zoning’ (police power with attendant due process restrictions) and more by private covenants and deed restrictions, much like a condominium association. So, if you work for a public municipality, that may not be the document to consult.

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    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Reducing zoning codes to single sheets or posters is an attractive option for those who want simple answers to complex questions.

    It reminds me of Matthew Crawford's arguments in "Shop Class as Soulcraft", where he says that the same process of dumbing down job duties that made manufacturing so "productive" is being applied to jobs in the "knowledge" economy.

    Reduce all your zoning regs to a poster on the wall, and you will only need a clerk to answer questions by pointing to the big board. No more zoning admin people to interpret and apply.
    Last edited by fringe; 23 Apr 2012 at 2:41 PM. Reason: sp

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by macsurf View post
    I was hoping to find some examples of really short zoning ordinances or form based codes - especially for a good size municipality. Not sure they exist, but may in a jurisdiction that has few uses or transects.
    Denver's is the opposite of the shortest FBC I have seen, BTW.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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    Cyburbian
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    well.. there's the most confusing form-based code: downtown Rochester, NY

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