New code prohibits bad development

Any zoning code (form-based or conventional) has restrictions of Use that must be fair and legal. For example, it is not legal to allow some retail uses while not allowing others. If a community wants to allow high-end retailers in its business district, its code must also allow second-tier retailers. What a form-based code does, that conventional codes usually do not do, is set restrictions based on form, building type and frontage type (such as building placement, front door placement, storefront requirements, etc.). It was these requirements – embedded in Cincinnati’s form-based code – that kept a poorly designed, second-tier, discount store from moving into one of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods recently.

Bad development that has occurred in some of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods in the past is now prohibited under the new form-based code. We have too many neighborhood business districts where the “front” of a building was built as a windowless concrete block wall or where a building was set back from the street by a quarter acre of asphalt parking. These developments have a detrimental impact on the welfare of the neighborhood – not because of the uses within them but because of the form the buildings took.

Jeff Raser, principal, Glaserworks Architecture & Urban Design
on cincinnati.com
Read the full article at http://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/04/04/new-code-prohibits-bad-development/7331569/

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Endorsements Of Coalition Recommendations

To date, the Westwood Coalition has received notice of endorsement of its recommendations regarding the historic business district from Westwood Works, Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, and Westwood Civic Association.  Comments received from individuals via the website and email have been overwhelmingly positive.  The Coalition awaits word of one more organization’s response and then it will report its next steps and plans for more community engagement.  We hope you’ve had a chance to read the report and recommendations posted three weeks ago.  See the previous post.  Also, there is a lot of background reading on the form-based code under Further Reading.  We welcome your comments.

More Reading

We’ve added more suggestions for further reading to the reading list.  Also, we welcome your suggestions.  Just provide the author, title, and link, if relevant, below in the Comment field.  For those of us wanting to take a deep dive into the research and writing on Cincinnati’s planning process, Westwood’s documents, and the topic of planning and revitalization, generally, this will keep you busy.  And, of course, you can pick and choose if you’re just looking for a little background information.