Planner’s Portfolio: Form-Based Code

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The 17th issue in the Planner’s Portfolio series explores Form-Based Codes, an alternative to standard zoning that is gaining popularity all around the country.

A Form-Based Code is an alternative to a regular zoning code that allows municipalities to manage the look and feel of their community. While traditional zoning focuses on use (with little to no emphasis on appearance), form-based code focuses on aesthetics, and uses fall in line in order to maintain or encourage visually appealing areas. Communities looking for a way to preserve open space and enhance a specific style of built structures in their town should consider a form-based code overhaul to their zoning code, or a combination of form-based and traditional zoning techniques.

The first step towards implementing form-based code is identifying how you want your township or city to look; the code is then built out around these design choices in order to guide future development, and maintain or encourage visually appealing areas.

For more information, check out the Form-Based Code issue or the entire Planner’s Portfolio series.



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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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