Form-based code

Adopt a form-based code in one or more zoning districts that permit residential uses. "Form-based code" means a land development regulation that uses physical form, rather than separation of use, as the organizing principle for the code.

HB 1923 Webpages:

Draft Codes

Adopted Codes

Other Code Examples

Background information on Form-Based Codes (FBC) and links to instate and out-of-state FBC examples: and 

Bothell (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Downtown Subarea Regulations (Chapter 12.64), adopted 2009 in concert with a subarea plan. Each district includes requirements for building use, min and max heights, frontage and building orientation, setbacks, parking, street regulations, surface water management, open space regulations, and architectural and signage regulations. Additional detail on regulations and design guidelines is found in subsequent sections.

Chelan (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Chapter 17.14: Chelan Downtown Land Use and Development Code. Standards are set for each land use district and street type designation. Land use districts identify permitted uses, maximum building heights, setback requirements, and minimum open space requirements. Site orientation standards are based on street type and identify what types of building frontages are allowed and where off-street parking is allowed.

Clark County (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Highway 99 Overlay District Standards (40.250.050 – Highway 99 Overlay District and Appendix F – Highway 99 Overlay District Standards). Developed in concert with the Highway 99 Subarea Plan, the hybrid scheme includes a Regulatory Map that determines street types (determining associated frontage type standards) and overlays (determining site design checklists, building design checklists, housing typology standards, and general provisions).

Freeland (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Chapter 17.06: Freeland Zoning Code (within Island County code). Within its Village Core Districts, density is determined by height limits, septic capacity (until sewer is introduced), lot coverage, setbacks, parking requirements, and other development standards. Uses standards, general design standards, and block frontage standards are also incorporated, as are requirements for open space, site design standards, and building design standards.

Lacey (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Chapter 16.24: Woodland District and associated “The Pacific Northwest Architectural Style Guidelines and Design Character Elements,” which provide additional guidance on architectural style and materials. The Regulating Plan specifies the subdistricts, street types, and building heights that apply to each lot, parcel of land, or infill block. The code also includes a design toolbox providing information about how to meet the requirements of the other sections of the code and other mandates (i.e., Stormwater Design Manual) in ways that are consistent with the vision of the district.

Mountlake Terrace (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Town Center Regulations (Chapter 19.50) and Design Standards (Chapter 19.123), adopted 2008. Land use, dimensional standards (min and max building height, setbacks), parking and streetscape standards, and special regulations, as well as design standards addressing block frontage standards, site planning, and building design.

Sammamish (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Chapter 21B: Town Center Development Code. Density parameters (min and max densities, setbacks, heights, etc.) and land use regulations for the specified zones accompanied by design standards for design, landscaping and irrigation, parking and circulation, signage, stormwater standards, and street design standards.

Snoqualmie (hybrid code/design guidelines) – Chapter 17.32: Form-Based Mixed-Use District Regulations. Use is regulated per normal land use table, but density is controlled only by maximum height and setbacks. Standards are further organized by block frontage type, with additional regulations for site design (open space, high visibility street corners and gateway sites, service area location and design) and building design (massing and articulation, building elements and details, building materials, and blank wall treatments). 

• Tukwila – Chapter 18.28 (Tukwila Urban Center (TUC) District). The Code contains regulations governing use, height, building placement, public and private frontage, parking, streets, blocks, open space, landscaping, site design, and architecture. The code is organized into four primary sections: district-based standards, corridor-based standards, supplemental development regulations, and a separate Southcenter Design Manual. The Urban Renewal Overlay District (Chapter 18.43), and possibly other districts, also employ elements of a form-based code where density is not determined by the zone, but by the buildable envelope.

Other Resources and Information

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