SmartCode introduced for 700

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On the agenda

Steamboat Springs Planning Commission's introduction to SmartCode planning is from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, with an open house and a public hearing beginning at 6 p.m.

Other business

The Planning Commission will consider a request for a permit to develop a new funeral home and chapel on a 0.7-acre lot in the Airport Meadows Subdivision on Elk River Road. The applicant is Mitch Locke.

— City planning officials will consider tonight a model zoning code for the West of Steamboat Springs Area Plan and Steamboat 700 that has been used elsewhere in Colorado to create neighborhoods where pedestrians hold sway over automobiles.

A style of urban planning known generically as the Form Based Code has become one of the pillars of New Urbanism neighborhoods.

Senior City Planner Jonathan Spence told Planning Commission members in a memo that Steamboat 700 is open to that approach to its proposed development of more than 2,000 dwellings on 515 acres just beyond Steamboat Springs' western boundary.

"We're happy to do it," Steamboat 700 Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said. "It's a whole new approach. It's easier to write new codes than it would be to rewrite" the existing community development code.

Spence, together with Daniel and Karen Parolek, principals in Opticos Design, will introduce the Planning Commission to SmartCode, a proprietary template designed to put a Form Based Code in place in a new neighborhood.

One of the basic tenets of SmartCode is that towns and cities should be structured as a series of walkable neighborhoods, where public spaces function like outdoor rooms, and a mix of retail, office and residential areas coexist.

Mulcahy said the SmartCode approach emphasizes the relationship among different types of land uses, from residential to commercial and schools, and how they can fit together in harmony.

Other developments where SmartCode has been applied include Prospect in Longmont and Three Springs in Durango.

New Urbanism is an approach to designing residential neighborhoods that avoid the trends of late 20th century suburbia that reflect a dependence on automobile travel to go anywhere outside the home. Houses grouped closely together with front porches and garage entrances in an alley to the rear of the homes are typical of New Urbanism.

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