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Columbia Considering Streamlined Zoning Experiment

The Daily Herald reports that Columbia city officials are considering scrapping the city’s 400-page zoning law in favor of something called a form-based code, which regulates building shape and how they fit in with their surroundings.

Traditional zoning focuses more on the land’s use for residential, commercial or other purposes, and other regulations like housing density. The story says city officials were briefed on the proposed change Tuesday.

The city planning director explained to officials that the new policy “would be a significantly streamlined instruction manual, giving developers clearly drawn diagrams and definitions of what type of building is allowed in the city.”

For an example of a form-based code, see the plans for the on-again, off-again May Town Center project in Bells Bend. It’s on page 93 of this doc.