A new approach to development regulation adopted by the Board of Supervisors in February 2008, places the physical form of a construction project ahead of its intended use, leading to more efficient, pedestrian-oriented building patterns suitable for mixed uses.A growing number of communities throughout the country have already adopted such form-based codes.
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Property development in Cranberry, as in most U.S. municipalities, is regulated by zoning laws.Each zone designates which particular type of land use – residential, retail, industrial, office space, and so on – is allowed on properties inside that zone.But the widespread use of single-use zoning regulations encourages sprawl and discourages efficient, walkable development.
The Board of Supervisors adopted a new approach to building regulation, called form-based zoning, to allow a greater mix of uses within a single district and to facilitate more compact, more pedestrian-oriented development.Traditional land use controls could become a thing of the past.
Instead of segregating different uses of land, a form-based code focuses on regulating the physical shape of new construction.The physical shape of development is its most enduring characteristic and gives a community its look and feel. While a community’s architecture remains fairly constant over time, neighborhoods change, and so do the uses which are in greatest demand.
Many well-established communities have seen buildings originally constructed for one purpose transition into an entirely different use: industrial areas have morphed into trendy retail districts; warehouse lofts have emerged as art studios; and institutional structures have been remodeled into upscale residential apartments.
A form-based code provides a more flexible tool – one that will help the Township guide and manage growth and make best use of resources by eliminating the need to continually amend the zoning code.”
A form-based code is simpler to administer because it creates a sense of predictability among Township property owners and developers and offers the flexibility to guide growth in a way that’s sustainable over the long term, without compromising use control.