Earlier this year, the City Council adopted a Downtown Small Area Plan that outlines a long term commitment to creating a recognizable downtown. The plan provides for a concentration of uses within three “centers” along the Main/State Street corridor. We have been developing a Form Based Code to supplement that plan to bring it into reality.
Form-Based Codes and The Downtown Plan’s Districts
Form Based Codes (FBCs) represent an emerging zoning technique across the country and here in Utah. FBCs are intended to implement a vision for an area by creating ordinances to reflect that vision. FBCs are different from more traditional zoning codes because they address a greater variety of issues. FBCs generally address: streets, blocks, lots, building type/features and location, the area between the building and the street, signs, landscaping/open space, and land uses. When the appropriate land uses are determined as part of the planning process, an FBC promotes those land uses as permitted uses. This is a distinct advantage to the developer and the community. For the developer, less processing time results in greater feasibility of the development actually occurring. For the community, up front decisions about building form, land use, and potential densities provides a proactive approach for the developers to follow. FBCs are proactive, traditional zoning is reactive.
The planning process in Clearfield resulted in a vision for a Downtown. This FBC implements that vision. It is not an “off the shelf” model code where all you need to do is change the name on the cover. This Form Based Code has been catered to the specific places defined in the Downtown Clearfield Plan – the Civic Center, Mabey Place, and Access Point. Form-based codes can help ensure that the vision for each center is more effectively achieved.
The Places and Districts
Civic Center – The Civic Center is intended for government/civic uses and acts as the northern gateway to the Downtown. The Civic Center is composed of the following districts:
1. Civic – public and quasi-public uses with a minimum of two stories
2. Town Commerce – retail, office, and mixed use residential (residential uses with a first floor of non-residential uses – two story minimum) and up to four stories in height
3. Town Residential – townhouse, mansion (looks like a house) style multi-family, medium to high density residential, mixed-use, office, and commercial buildings – up to four stories in height. Residential buildings located on major streets, defined as SR 126 and SR 193, shall have a minimum height of three stories.
4. Parks – citywide green spaces
Mabey Place – No height restrictions will be imposed. Mabey Place will capitalize on and enhance the Mabey Pond area as the City’s most visible public open-space with a unique street leading to the Pond, which creates an active connection. Mabey Place is composed of the following districts:
1. Urban Commerce – retail, office, civic, and mixed use residential – minimum two stories
2. Urban Residential – high density residential, retail, office, and mixed-use residential – minimum two stories
3. Plazas – urban hardscape and green spaces
Access Point – Access Point is planned with Town Commerce districts on all four corners of the intersection, indicating a small mixed-use hub with a strong retail focus. Access Point is composed of the following districts:
1. Town Commerce – retail, office, and mixed use residential (two story minimum) – up to four stories in height
2. Town Residential – townhouse, mansion style multi-family, medium to high density residential, mixed-use, office, and commercial buildings – up to four stories in height. Residential buildings fronting on major streets, defined as SR 126 and SR 193, shall have a minimum height of three stories.
3. Civic – public and quasi-public uses with a minimum of two stories
The Corridor (the areas in-between)
The Corridor is considered for more commonly configured commercial uses/buildings, but with improved architectural design features and site planning. Corridor areas are not extensive and function to connect and support the nodes. The Corridor areas are defined with just one district.
1. Corridor Commercial – general retail commercial uses (1 to 4 stories)