I have no problem with this development. I have a problem with the designation of ALL of Rowlett from this point forward to final build out of the city as the only new product available. I think there should remain some freedom of selection in choosing the type of subdivision one wishes to live in. This limited selection is the favorite child of the current Rowlett "officialdom." In other words, you can have anything you want so long as its no more that 15 feet away from your neighbor. But......you have nice parks no more than a block away. That's fine, for some people. Its not fine for other people. There are people moving out to "the burbs" to get away from packed subdivisions. However, we do offer newer packed subdivisions.
My first exposure to form based codes was when I was doing some development work in Arizona. It had "drifted over" from southern California. Although the developments I was working on were exempted from FBC, I was encouraged to learn about them because the company was anticipating doing more lending in Phoenix. What I finally concluded was that it was going to be very difficult making one size fit all. I could see real value in intercity or older established areas of Phoenix, but had a very hard time visualizing FBC in the middle of the desert, where most of Phoenix's bursting growth was heading.
Below are some options taken from Wikipedia.
Optional (parallel) codes. An optional or parallel form-based code serves as an alternative to, but doesn't replace, a present zoning ordinance. Compliance is voluntary. The developer has the choice of complying with the form-based code or the zoning ordinance, but it must be one or the other. This approach makes sense when compliance with the zoning ordinance is so difficult and time consuming that most development is stymied. Thus a developer has the option of following a form-based code that will streamline and simplify his development process. But, for a local government to maintain two different sets of development regulations for one area is added work which can be significant if the area is extensive. Also depending on the area being regulated, if some developers are choosing the form-based code and others nearby are not, the possibilities for integrated place-making can be compromised.
- Columbia Pike Form-Based Code, Arlington County, Virginia
- Pike Road SmartCode, Pike Road, Alabama
- Pass Christian SmartCode, Pass Christian, Mississippi
Floating-zone codes. Floating zones are most often written to facilitate master-planned suburban communities and are called PUDs (planned unit developments). However, floating-zone codes are now being written as form-based codes to facilitate urban development. A floating-zone form-based code does not contain a regulating plan but includes instructions and standards for developers to follow when they prepare a regulating plan for their property (e.g. maximum block dimensions, street types, building types, open space accessibility, sidewalk widths.) This distinguishes floating-zone codes from the other two approaches–developers rather than the local government create the regulating plans and the urban designs that they facilitate, but the local government sets the standards. Floating-zone codes allow local governments to establish urban form standards for development without incurring the expense of developing urban design and regulating plans. Developers are given the freedom, within clear parameters, to prepare regulating plans for their property that are likely to meet government approval. A developer submits his or her regulating plan for approval through the rezoning process. Upon rezoning, the floating zone replaces the prior zoning for that property and the regulating plan becomes binding.
- Miami-Dade County TND District, Miami-Dade County, Florida
- Towns, Villages, Countryside Land Development Regulations, Saint Lucie County, Florida
- Flowood SmartCode, Flowood, Mississippi
- Montgomery SmartCode, Montgomery, Alabama (not to be confused with the mandatory SmartCode for downtown)
Initially a local government may wish to adopt a form-based code for its entire jurisdiction following one approach, but find this too ambitious with short-term resource and political limitations requiring a more focused effort. Instead it may wish to follow one approach for a smaller area, and then phase in other areas using the same or different approaches as needed. Or a floating-zone code could be adopted for large areas awaiting the public resources coming later that would allow the local government to draft its own regulating plans. Whatever approach is followed—or combination of approaches—simplicity and consistency helps at the permit desk where the code is implemented.
The previous city manager thought all of Rowlett should come under FBC. Most of the City Council and P&Z were in lock step. I do not share that opinion. I think the marketplace should determine the design, size, and price range. I like offering the products that FBC would make available, but not restrict the balance of Rowlett to only that product.
I would like to know more about the units being built.
I find comfort in the fact that Weekley Homes and Cambridge are building in the new subdivision, but I wish I knew more about their total commitment.