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FBCI 301: Formulating, Adopting and Administering a Code Las Vegas October 2-3, 2018


FBC 301: Formulating, Adopting and Administering a Code

Las Vegas, NV

Tuesday – Wednesday, October 2-3, 2018

Development Services Center
Great Basin Room, 5th Floor
333 N Rancho Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89106
Eligible for 16 AICP CM credits.

This course offers an in-depth look at the relationship between the comprehensive plan and a form-based code, the mechanics of code adoption, the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory, parallel and floating-zone codes, and ways to avoid common pitfalls in the drafting and administration of form-based codes.

Instructors will explain how to structure the process, including what must happen before, during, and after the code is drafted, what to keep and what to discard from an existing conventional code, how to relate the form-based code to the existing regulatory framework in a specific municipality, how to insulate a FBC against potential legal challenges, and issues of post-adoption implementation and project review. Instructors will examine specific examples and lessons learned from experience working with form-based codes and will include a hands-on exercise in code implementation.

Click the tabs above to see agenda and instructors.

NOTE: The one-day class ABCs of Form-Based Codes — or FBC 101 on-line — is prerequisite for this class.

FBC 301 is part of FBCI’s three-course series. It combines with FBC 101 (ABCs of Form-Based Codes) and FBC 201 (Urban Design) to complete a thorough instruction in the discipline of form-based coding. FBCI awards a certificate to all those completing the three-course series.


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


DAY ONE — Tuesday, October 2, 2018

8:30-9:00 AM: Light Breakfast and Registration

9:00-9:15 AM: Welcome and Introductions

Participants will have the opportunity during this introduction to describe what they hope to learn during the class and the topics and questions they would like addressed during the presentations and discussions.

9:15-9:45 AM: Structuring the Coding Process

This session will cover the overall coding process; what must occur before and after actual code drafting; the critical role of the urban design plan underlying the code; how the FBC fits into the overall regulatory framework of the municipality; and combining zoning, street design and subdivision regulations into a legally defensible framework. 

9:45-11:00 AM: Comprehensive Planning and Form-Based Codes

In this session, participants will learn how comprehensive plans can articulate a community’s vision and aspirations for its future form and for the character of its neighborhoods and corridors. Such plans can provide the legal and political underpinning to support form-based approaches to zoning codes and transportation standards. The instructor will describe planning techniques that have been used across the country to “set the stage” for form-based codes and other character-based regulations.

11:00-11:15 AM: Break

11:15-11:45 AM: Environmental Issues in Form-Based Codes

There are a variety of environmental issues that arise in the context of form-based code formulation and administration. This session will discuss SEQRA as well as such issues as level of service (LOS) versus regional vehicle miles traveled (VMT), green infrastructure and green building, stormwater management, community benefit agreements, and other environmental issues raised by participants.

11:45-12:30 PM: Lunch on Your Own

12:30-1:30 PM: Code Mechanics Part 1: Mandatory Form-Based Codes

Instructors will begin by outlining the three major methods of integrating form-based codes into existing development regulations: mandatory codes, parallel codes and floating zones. This session will focus on mandatory code — its advantages and disadvantages, legal and political issues, and mandatory code format variations. Case studies will illustrate examples of mandatory codes in place today around the country.

1:30-2:15 PM: Tips on Code Drafting

Form-based codes contain certain key elements not found in conventional zoning, but these codes must still follow all legal requirements for zoning and must be clear to the public and to code users and administrators. This session will describe best practices in code-writing generally, including the proper use of definitions, the need for due process for participants, consistency with other chapters and sections of the municipal code, internal consistency within the FBC, and how to avoid common drafting mistakes.

2:15-2:30 PM: Break

2:30–4:30 PM: Reviewing Development Proposals under a Form-Based Code —

Form-based codes generally increase predictability and reduce approval times, but review is still necessary, and it can involve special skills and tight time frames. This session will provide various perspectives on post-adoption issues, including administrative and board review procedures, working with applicants before submittals, and the role of design review and historic preservation boards. It may also cover, based on the interests of class participants, the use of variances, modifications without variances, appeals/denials, non-conformities, working with state law requirements and using home rule powers, and the roles of site plan review, building permit review, and special use permits. A panel of municipal planning officials who have administered form-based codes in Saratoga Springs and Clifton Park will discuss their practical hands-on experiences with these issues, with an emphasis on the lessons learned from administering form-based codes in two communities that are geographically close but very different in character.

4:30-5:00 PM: Questions and Answers — All Instructors and Participants

5:00 PM: Adjourn — End of Day One


DAY TWO — Wednesday, October 3, 2018

8:30-9:00 AM: Light Breakfast

9:00-11:30 AM: Exercise: Project Review Under a Form-Based Code— All Instructors

This session provides participants with a real-world exercise of reviewing a project proposed for a specific site under a form-based code, including interactive discussion of alternative approaches to meeting code standards and a discussion of the project that actually was approved. [A 15-minute break will be taken during the exercise at approximately 10:15 a.m.]

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM: Lunch on Your Own

12:15-1:30 PM: Adopting Effective Form-Based Codes / Keeping or Replacing Conventional Code Provisions

This session will cover the legal processes for adopting the code; preparing the community to apply it; ensuring that it is legally defensible and delivers what it promises; and managing expectations of the various stakeholders. It also will discuss which conventional code components FBCs typically discard or reformulate, and which ones can be retained and carried forward, and how different parts of a town or city code are integrated into the form-based code to make it a “unified development code.” The session also will cover the SEQRA review processes for both code adoption and project review, and how generic environmental impact statements can result in expedited project reviews.

1:30-2:30 PM: Code Mechanics Part 2: Parallel (Optional) and Floating Zone Codes

This session will focus on parallel (optional) codes and floating-zone codes: advantages and disadvantages, format variations, issues of authority, defensibility and nonconformity, and examples of parallel (optional) and floating-zone codes in place today.

2:30-2:45 PM: Break

2:45-4:00 PM: Small-Town Codes – Issues & Experience / Minimalist Form-Based Codes

Form-based codes are an effective tool in any community regardless of its size. How does a planning staff (or community without staff) deal with scaling codes to accommodate a limited budget? When a code must be pared way down, what are the essential qualities of urban form that must be established up front because they cannot be repaired later? Which subjects can be set aside for later phases of the planning and coding process? How can first-stage development intensify over time?

4:00-4:30 PM: Evolving Practices in Form-Based Coding

This session will discuss recent advances and emerging issues in form-based coding practice.

4:30-5:00 PM: Questions and Answers —All Instructors and Participants

5:00 PM: Adjourn — End of Course


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.

To see all FBCI instructors, please visit our website, www.formbasedcodes.org

Registration Fees


Early Bird                 $575
After Sept. 17          $650


Early Bird.                 $525
After Sept. 17           $610

Register now!

Discounts  available for group registrations.

Contact FBCI for more information.