Colorado Springs’ Downtown Form-based Codes has now been in effect for over one year now. The changes in the code for Colorado Springs were beneficial modifications for neighboring property owners, downtown visitors, users and developers. Not only is the downtown form-based code now more appropriate for downtown, which formerly allowed conventional suburban development to impose itself in a pedestrian setting, but the process and predictability are now much greater.
The greatest accomplishment of the code, in my personal opinion, is that existing buildings within downtown can now adapt and change uses without a lengthy process. The former code required simple use changes like office to residential to go through a long drawn out process. Under the form-based code, this change of use (in most instances) can be handled administratively. Even modifications to the structure of a building can now be approved in 30 days when meeting the quantitative requirements under the form-based code. In instances where a small diversion from the quantitative requirements can not be met, a warrant will be heard by the one year old “Downtown Review Board” in which I am currently one of the nine board members. The Downtown Review Board has the authority to approve or disapprove the warrant, in which the decision may be appealed to City Council.
For more information about Colorado Springs’ Downtown Form-based Code, see CODE.
For information about form-based codes in general, the Form-Based Codes Institute is also a great source. I have taken a course from FBCI and it was definitely a worthwhile investment.