Form-Based Code

What is Form-Based Code?

 “A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code.” (

Conventional zoning regulations including those used in University Place and across the country rely on separating uses into zones of similar and compatible uses. An emerging alternative to traditional zoning is Form-Based Codes that rely more on the form of buildings including scale, appearance and the placement of buildings and their connection to the street and less on the separation of uses. Streets are designed to enhance the building design creating interesting pedestrian-friendly walkable neighborhoods.

For more information on form-based codes see:

Why is University Place Pursuing Form-Based Codes?

The City is in the process of implementing University Place Regional Growth Center Subarea Plan adopted in November 2017. Part of the implementation strategy is to consider the use of form-based code or a hybrid of the City’s existing zoning and form-based code in the Regional Growth Center. The new code being developed will only apply to land within the Regional Growth Center, a 481-acre area of existing commercial and multi-family uses along Bridgeport Way, 27th and Mildred Streets.

Community Involvement is Essential!

For the rest of this year the City will invite residents, business owners, service providers, and other interest groups to participate in surveys, interviews, public workshops, open houses and meetings to develop the new code. Changes to the code today are expected to result in a dramatic transformation to the look and feel of this community over time. This is your community and we need your participation in this process for it to succeed.  Invitations to participate will be posted on the City’s webpage, in our newsletter, on the City’s reader board sign, and published in the News Tribune when appropriate.


Meetings, workshops and open houses will be listed here as they are planned. Check back often.

  • The City's Planning Commission is currently studying Form-Based Code.  The Commission holds meetings the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7 p.m.  These meetings are open to the public.

Questions? More Information

If you have questions about this process, please contact either Director David Swindale or Principal Planner Jeff Boers in the Planning and Development Services Department.