Form Based Code
City of Woodland General Plan 2035 Land Use, Community Design and Historic Preservation Element Goals and Policies:
Policy 2.A.5 Complete and Well-Designed Neighborhoods.
Promote the development of complete neighborhoods with a physical layout and land use mix that allows for a diversity of incomes; puts residents in close proximity to services and amenities; promotes walking, biking, and transit use; fosters community pride; enhances neighborhood identity; ensures public safety; and meets the needs of all ages and abilities.
Policy 2.A.6 Infill Development.
Encourage infill, redevelopment of and development on underutilized sites, adaptive reuse, and the restoration of historic buildings in existing urbanized areas to enhance community character, promote pedestrian- and bicycle friendly neighborhoods, increase housing diversity, ensure integrity of historic districts, optimize city investment in infrastructure, support increased transit use, and enhance economic vitality.
Policy 2.C.1 Compact Form.
Promote compact development patterns, mixed land use, and higher development intensities that conserve land resources, reduce vehicle trips, improve air quality, and facilitate walking, bicycling, and transit use. Achieving the benefits of compact development as supported in this General Plan may result in potential trade-offs related to traffic, noise, open space, and privacy. Sensitive design and appropriate performance standards may assist in mitigating these concerns.
Policy 2.E.2 Responsiveness to Context.
Encourage high-quality new development that enhances and blends with the established fabric of the natural, social and built environment, while allowing for innovative and appealing architectural styles.
Policy 2.E.4 Bike and Pedestrian-Orientation.
Create walkable, pedestrian-scaled blocks that feature sidewalks and bikeways that are safe, comfortable, and inviting.
Zoning implements the city’s General Plan policy designations. Woodland has applied a new and innovative ‘Corridor Mixed-Use’ designation on the mall site to provide flexible land uses that can transform the site from single use commercial buildings and parking lots into a mixed-use village center. We recommend pilot, form-based zoning regulations to provide a clear and consistent set of procedures, actions, and administrative guidance to implement the Vision, Guiding Principles, and the goals and policies of the General Plan.
New Urbanists created the innovative Form-Based Codes (FBC) that makes mixed-use zoning more predictable and flexible. We propose a simple layering of three districts or subzones that allow for more urban mix of uses at the corner of East Street and East Gibson Road (CX-1 is equal to T5), that transitions halfway through the site to the south (CX-2 is equal to T4), with a suburban housing edge along the eastern and southern boundary to ensure compatibility with adjacent built and planned residential housing (CX-3 is equal to T3).
This project’s pilot form-based code should fully comply with the city’s General Plan policies. These are excerpts from the 2035 General Plan:
City of Woodland General Plan:
The Corridor Mixed Use designation allows for both vertical and horizontal mixed use. Ground floor retail and service uses may be required in certain locations. Corresponding zoning will be performance- and/or form-based in order to promote flexibility and minimize non-conformance issues of existing uses.
- Allowable FAR is 0.25 to 2.0 for single-use developments and 0.5 to 3.0 for mixed-use developments (combined residential and non-residential uses)
- Residential density ranges from 20.0 to 40.0 dwelling units per gross acre. Lower densities may be allowed where proposed development abuts low density residential development.
- New development may be allowed to exceed FAR limits if it offers significant community benefit, such as the provision of publicly accessible open space, or the promotion of transit accessibility
Urban Form Characteristics
- Building entrances oriented toward the street
- Signature design qualities and attractive architectural features, including articulated facades, projections, and recessed entryways
- Adaptive reuse along East Street where existing buildings may have desirable characteristics
- Higher intensity development designed with sensitivity to adjacent lower intensity residential development
- Parking located to the side and rear of buildings whenever possible
- Street design balancing pedestrian and bicycle use with vehicular circulation
- Consistent planting of street trees to provide shade and enhance character and identity
- Well-designed, publicly-accessible open space
Using rules to dictate how a building ‘fronts’ onto a street determines its context and ranges from more urban to less urban. Building types provide the same range of intensity as well as providing flexibility in the uses that are allowed within a building to fit predictably in its context. More urban building types, such as attached stacked flat apartments or townhouses, are different than single-story duplexes or freestanding detached homes.
FBCs more easily maintain the distinctive characteristics of neighborhoods developed in different eras, including those developed prior to WWII, during the post war years and in more recent decades. This type of zoning regulations requires new construction, additions, renovations, and infill to be physically compatible with neighborhood context, historic development patterns, and building form and scale.
FBCs require buildings located along corridors be designed to define the public realm and to promote multi-modal mobility and sidewalk activity that provides eyes on the street. Key components are a mix of building patterns; building frontages located directly adjacent to the sidewalk where appropriate, especially on main or high streets; minimal setbacks on other corridors; ground floor transparency to encourage activity; and, pedestrian oriented elements, including public outdoor spaces.
FBCs encourage replacement of older, low-scale, auto-oriented development on mixed-use corridors with well-designed, higher-density, new projects that offer pedestrian orientation, more efficient use of land, and continued, productive economic value. This pilot FBC project will explore with property owners the possibility of adaptive reuse and redevelopment of the County Fair Mall.
The FBC is nuanced to ensure that uses within new commercial centers avoid competing directly with those more likely to be found Downtown, though specialty dining and entertainment can be scaled and designed to support Downtown establishments and attract a more local customer base. Promoting the incorporation of office uses in commercial centers enhances retail viability by creating attractive work spaces that generate a lunch and drinks/dining crowd who might ride transit and reduce vehicle trips. Important, FBC’s land use flexibility allows for the re-purposing of commercial centers to accommodate future shifts in the retail and office markets.
Finally, FBCs nuances allow for new development to incorporate buffering and sensitive transitions or design techniques to minimize impacts on adjacent less intensive uses, particularly residential uses without overlay zones or use permits. These sensitivities are built into the FBC template.