Bud Emerson | Klish Way
more about the FBC
The Form Based Code committee met the Council members and some concerned citizens at the June 14 Council meeting. FBC committee members made a tag team presentation summarizing their work of the last year and a half, followed by Council questions, then comments from a number of citizens. The Council then deliberated for a short time discussing the committee’s recommendations and public input.
The FBC presentation outlined its block by block recommendations for structural forms involving numerous increases in square footage and building heights in the downtown area. They have developed standards and guidelines for development and specified how project applications should be reviewed, some by staff and some by a design review process. The DRB currently plays a major role with respect to private residence applications. This will not change. However, if the FBC is approved, the influence of the DRB will likely be reduced with respect to business applications. Minority reports came from two committee members, Dwight Worden and Rick Ehrenfeld.
Comments from the public were mostly skeptical or critical, with a few positive endorsements. Support for downtown revitalization was nearly unanimous, but the FBC approach was criticized by many. Many expressed the idea that “form follows function” meaning that we should decide what kinds of resident serving businesses we want before we decide what the buildings should look like. Concerns were expressed about the lack of public involvement that has been promised but not delivered for more than a year. It was noted that commercial land owners, those who would presumably be incentivized, have not been involved. Many voices expressed support for a full DRB role no different from what is required for residential applications, particularly in regard to view protection from residential areas. Many asked the Council to make an explicit promise that the ultimate approval of form based zone changes would be based on a public vote.
After more than 2 hours of public presentation and comment, the City Council deliberated, but took no votes. There was no consideration of the minority reports, particularly the detailed analysis prepared by committee member Dwight Worden, a highly regarded environmental attorney. Council members seemed to reach consensus on several points:
• general satisfaction with the work of the FBC committee
• a vigorous public involvement process needs to be conducted
• support for DRB role of view and design review “in some limited form” to be determined at a later date
• the ultimate FBC program will be submitted to voters sometime in 2011 or 2012
At Sandpiper print time no schedule for public participation has been determined.
Please see Dwight Worden's reports.