Form-Based Codes

Cranberry follows a form-based approach to land use regulation

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.

Community Character Development (CCD) Overlay Districts Online Codes Reference

General Manual of Written and Graphic Design Guidelines

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.