City Center Form Based Code and City-Wide Regulation Updates

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Thursday July 10, 2014

FAQs on the Draft Regulations:


What’s a Form Based Code?                

The City Center FBC is proposed to be the new land development (zoning) regulations for all of City Center and parts of Williston Road and Dorset Street.

What are the main features of the Code?

Each ”T-Zone” sets minimums and maximums for numbers of stories, amounts of windows and doors, how much of a lot’s width must have buildings, and the types and amounts of open space required. With the “form” established, there are very few restrictions on use within the buiding. In general, the higher the “T-Zone” number, the more intense, up to a traditional New England downtown.

How does the FBC achieve a “downtown”?

All of the “T-Zones” require buildings to be up towards the street, like traditional downtowns & villages, with parking behind. The street, sidewalks, lighting, and trees play a very important role and have new standards proposed as well.

How will projects be reviewed?

The draft FBC places a heavy emphasis on having clear, illustrated, black & white standards. The Development Review Board will be responsible for approving streets, street types, new development or conservation lots, and natural resource protection. Individual site design and building approvals will be administrative.

What else is in these Draft Regulations?

Inclusionary Zoning: The draft Regulations include a requirement, in the City Center area, that 15% of new housing meet a scale of “affordability” ranging from 80% to 120% of the area’s median household income.

Stormwater: The draft regulations include an substantial update to the City’s stormwater standards, requiring in many cases that rainwater be infiltrated on site using low impact development techniques. 

Other: Other amendments include, but are not limited to, updated definition for group homes establishments of a standard for reasonable accommodation to allow equal access to housing, allowing self storage units in the area behind the airport, matching the development review process in the Airport terminal area with elsewhere in the City.
What are the next steps?After this comment period, the Planning Commission will make edits as needed. They will then likely warn and hold a public hearing,  make further edits if needed, and vote to send the document to the City Council for review, holding a public hearing, edits, and adoption.



 Email the Planning Commission: planning@sburl.comSend a letter: 575 Dorset Street, S. Burlington, VT 05403Questions? Contact Cathyann LaRose,  City Planner, at or (802) 846-4106

For the past two years, the community has been crafting new regulations to shape the future of ‘City Center’ and beyond. The goal of a City Center has long been discussed, but it has been in this time that citizens and committees have worked to  match this vision with effective regulations.

Last fall, a first draft was released for public comment. Well over 200 notes were received. The Planning Commission used this feedback to prepare a second draft. They are actively seeking input again.

We want you to be a welcome and integral part of this process. As these regulations move toward a formal adoption process, your up-front feedback is critical. Will the draft Code create the City Center you’re envisioning?

— Cathyann LaRose, City Planner— Paul Conner, Dir. of Planning & Zoning