Form-Based Codes Institute at Smart Growth America

FBC 101: The ABCs of Form-Based Codes Las Vegas, NV September 19, 2018


FBC 101: The ABCs of Form-Based Codes

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Development Services Center
Great Basin Room, 5th Floor
333 N Rancho Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89106

Maps and directions

Eligible for 8 AICP CM credits.

FBC101 is an intensive one-day class, in which participants learn how form-based codes differ from conventional land use regulations and how they have evolved to solve many of the problems created by conventional zoning. The course provides an overview of the process of creating a form-based code–moving from an initial place-based community vision to an adopted code and beyond. Instructors combine lecture and classroom discussion with a hands-on exercise. Participants also learn about the legal basis and common misconceptions about form-based codes. This class is a prerequisite for FBC 201 (placemaking) and FBC 301 (adoption and implementation). Participants who attend all three courses receive a certificate of completion from FBCI.

Click the tabs above to see agenda and instructors.


The Downtown Grand
206 North 3rd Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 919-5100

The D Hotel
301 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 388-2400

The Golden Nugget
129 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 385-7111

The Plaza Hotel
1 South Main Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 386-2110


8:00-8:30 AM                 Registration and Light Breakfast

8:30-9:00 AM                 Welcome and Introductions – All Participants

Instructors will introduce themselves and the Form-Based Codes Institute and provide background on the process for drafting a form-based code in Las Vegas.  Participants will introduce themselves comment on why they are attending the class and what they hope to learn.

9:00-10:00 AM                Form-Based Code Principles and Components: A Tool for Shaping
Community Form and Character and Smarter Growth – Roger Eastman

The session provides an overview of diverse project types, their legal basis, and how to adapt them to different types of communities.  Topics covered: The need for zoning reform; form-based codes as the new paradigm for land use regulation that puts form first and relegates use to secondary status.

10:00-10:45 AM               Preparing a Form-Based Code – Lisa Wise

This session will explore the process of developing a shared community vision and translating it into a legally enforceable code. Case studies will be presented.

10:45-11:00 AM               Break

11:00-11:45 AM               Adopting Form-Based Codes and Reducing the Potential for Successful
Challenges – Roger Eastman
A broad understanding of applicable law is essential when adopting a form-based code.  This session will provide an overview of some general principles for regulatory amendments; review some important considerations for the process of adopting a code, and present ideas for how the potential for legal challenges can be reduced.

11:45 AM-12:30 PM       Common Misconceptions about Form-Based Codes – Lisa Wise

The session will address common objections to form-based coding, many of which are based upon misunderstandings about FBCs.  Topics covered: geographic scope and degree of flexibility in form-based codes; how they regulate the public real; the degree to which they regulate design; their legal basis in a comprehensive plan or vision plan; and how FBCs differ from conventional zoning.

12:30-1:30 PM               Lunch on Your Own

1:30-3:15 PM                 Documentation and Analysis Exercise – All Instructors

In this exercise, participants will observe, document and discuss different contexts and levels of urbanism; how elements such as streets, frontages, setbacks/build-to-lines, and building forms becomes the foundation of a legally enforceable form-based code; and how to translate desired images into legally enforceable zoning codes and regulations of the public realm. Be ready to draw;understanding the details of built places and how they relate back to code content.

3:15-3:30 PM                 Break

3:30–4:30 PM                Applying a Form-Based Code to the Fremont East District – Roger Eastman  and Lisa Wise, with Spencer Johnson

A Form-Based Code to implement the Vision 2040 Downtown Las Vegas Master Plan is being drafted and adopted in phases. The LV Medical District FBC is currently under consideration for adoption in the coming months. The second phase of work, an FBC for the Fremont East District, is underway, an Administrative Draft of which will soon be presented to City staff. In this session we will introduce the process for how the Draft FBC was developed and facilitate a stimulating dialogue about this interesting area of the Downtown and invite your questions, comments, and opinions so you can learn how a FBC is applied in a practical way.

4:30–5:00 PM                 Getting Ready for a Form-Based Code – All Instructors

Form-based codes are a new concept for many communities so often, local planners need to build understanding and support before drafting and adopting a new code.  In this session, the instructors will speak from their own experience across the county about steps local planners have taken to prepare citizens, political leaders and their own staff.  Topics to be addressed include:  creating a community vision, getting political leaders on board, citizen education and support, asking consultants the right questions, and where to look for help.

5:00-5:30 PM                  Lessons Learned, Q&A

5:30 PM                          Adjourn


FBCI draws upon national experts, including urban designers and planners with broad experience in all aspects of form-based coding.

After a 25-year planning career for local government in Arizona, Roger Eastman works for Lisa Wise Consulting LLC as Director of Development Codes and Planning. Throughout his career he has pursued an active interest in planning for quality human-scale urbanism and crafting the codes and regulations that support attractive, walkable, vital and desirable communities.  In Arizona he started working for the City of Sedona soon after its incorporation, and as a planner (eventually Senior Planner) he completed development reviews for new projects, updated the City’s Land Development Code, established the City’s first GIS, and participated in long-range planning efforts. In 2006 he accepted the position of Zoning Code Administrator with the City of Flagstaff, and soon was promoted to Comprehensive Planning and Code Administrator with oversight responsibility of the City’s long-range planning program, the Zoning Code and its administration, and the code compliance team. A strong advocate of smart growth principles, he successfully promoted those concepts in Flagstaff where he led a team with consultants that wrote an award-winning Traditional Neighborhood District ordinance based on the SmartCode. He also managed a major project over three years to comprehensively rewrite the City of Flagstaff’s zoning ordinance as an award winning and innovative hybrid zoning code that integrates form-based code elements with conventional zoning techniques.  He has called Sedona his home for almost 30 years where he lives with his wife Michelle and four dogs.

Lisa Wise, AICP, is a CPA and planner with almost 25 years of professional experience in land use planning, housing policy, development codes, and finance. Lisa speaks regularly at state and national conferences and is considered an expert on comprehensive planning solutions, the economics of land use planning, and zoning ordinances and development codes. Lisa was the Project Director on several comprehensive and award-winning, long-range visioning and strategic planning projects including Soledad Downtown Specific Plan and Form-based Code, Benicia Lower Arsenal Mixed-Use Specific Plan and Form-Based Code, Grover Beach West Grand Avenue Master Plan, Ventura Downtown Specific Plan and Form-based Code, King City West Broadway Master Plan, and San Luis Obispo Economic Development Strategic Plan; and is currently Project Director on the Merced Bellevue Community Plan, specific plans for Alameda County and the Cities of Richmond and Vallejo, as well as Principal-in Charge of a multi-disciplinary team of industry experts conducting Pre-Development Entitlement Services for Port San Luis, CA. Additionally, Lisa has a strong background in plan implementation including zoning and development code updates. Lisa graduated from the Master of City and Regional Planning Program at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 2001. She resides is San Louis Obispo where she currently teaches at California Polytechnic State University as adjunct faculty in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.

Spencer Johnson, CNU-A, focuses on long-range planning, urban and graphic design, hybrid coding, and land use economics for Lisa Wise Consulting LLC. Spencer is an accredited New Urbanist who brings technical expertise in graphic design and modeling software and has actively participated in a wide range of projects from initiation to completion. Spencer previously worked at the San Francisco-based Urban Design and Architecture Firm, VanMeter Williams Pollack LLP (VMWP) where he assisted in the design of several TOD and affordable housing projects around the Bay Area. Spencer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in City & Regional Planning from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

To see all FBCI instructors, please visit our website,

Registration Fees


Early Bird                  $450
After Sept. 10           $525


Early Bird                  $325
After Sept. 10           $375

Register now!