What is the Form Based Code (FBC)?
Form based code is a relatively new method of managing growth. Unlike conventional zoning, form based code does not only account for development, but the relationship between public and private spaces such as the interaction between streets, blocks, and buildings in terms of form, scale and massing, and the use of frontage areas. The code creates a predictable public realm by including specific standards for the design of streets and open spaces, and focusing primarily on the physical form of development, with a lesser focus on building use than conventional zoning regulations.
The form based code for Chappaqua follows up from the New Castle Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2017. On June 21, 2017 after a multi-year public outreach process, the Town of New Castle adopted its Comprehensive Plan Update, “A Framework for New Castle”. The Town’s Comprehensive Plan Update sets forth specific goals to “preserve the Town’s bucolic, residential character and its historic resources, while promoting new mixed-use development in the hamlets to meet the community’s housing needs and fostering thriving commercial and civic spaces. The plan recognizes that a healthy 21st century hamlet is much more than a retail destination; it is a place for community gatherings and civic events; a place where residents can live, congregate and spend their time comfortably; a place that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles; and a place that offers exciting dining and entertainment options that attract community residents and visitors. Today the Chappaqua Hamlet fulfills some of these criteria but falls short on many others (e.g. limited entertainment options, limited selection of housing types, difficult pedestrian navigation, limited parking). The Comprehensive Plan acknowledges the need to revitalize the Chappaqua Hamlet as a more modern, mixed-use community calling for actions that will help support its goals. The New Castle Comprehensive Plan Update can be found at https://plannewcastle.us
On April 23, 2019 the New Castle Town Board awarded Kimley-Horn, Torti-Gallas +Partners, RESGroup, and Joel Russell, Esq. the Chappaqua Rezoning Project. This project will produce a draft Form Based Zoning Code, a build-out an analysis and a Generic Environmental Impact Statement. Work began in May of 2019 and will end with consideration of final draft legislation in 2021.