The City Council says Boulder’s new form-based code guidelines should be specific enough to not leave developers guessing about city requirements but flexible enough to avoid design mediocrity.
Form-based code focuses more on building design and the type of public spaces created by buildings than it does on the uses that are allowed in different parts of town, which is the focus of traditional zoning codes.
Boulder is looking at the possibility of adopting form-based code in response to community concern about development, including concerns about the appearance of newer buildings. Planners are working on a form-based code for Boulder Junction as a test of the concept.
The code will require “simple” buildings made with materials and articulations and unique elements. It would incorporate more repetition and regularity.
The city’s code could encourage that type of design by requirements such as setting a maximum number of building materials or requiring a dominant material or by requiring a principle mass for buildings above a certain length.
In addition the code is intended to focus on “honest” buildings that make it easy to understand the purpose of the building and its entrances. Buildings should use “authentic” rather than faux materials.
There will be a community workshop on the form-based code on July 22 and a City Council study session on August 11, before a final version of the code is presented in September.