Auburn city contractor moving toward community visioning workshops
Traci Newell, Auburn Journal
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Feb 07, 2023 9:00 AM
The Auburn City Council was updated on its form-based code project at its Jan. 23 meeting, learning how the city’s contractor will enter the next phase of the plan. Auburn hired Genevieve Marsh Design, a team of Auburn-based professionals, to lead the city through a visioning of the city’s commercial core, which will result in an update to the zoning ordinances. “It’s all about stewarding a community vision and translating that into a form-based code,” Genevieve Marsh said at the meeting. “We cultivate the beloved character of Auburn and the future changes of the commercial core and simplify the development process.” A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. A form-based code is a regulation, not a mere guideline, adopted into city, town or county law. A form-based code offers an alternative to conventional zoning regulation. Jonathan Wright, community and economic development director, brought the update before the council to acquaint the council’s newest member and interim city manager to the status of the project. Marsh shared her group is at the end of the documentation process and is about to move toward the visioning process, which will involve community outreach through a number of workshop events. “This starts with identifying the existing character and built environment of Auburn,” Marsh said. “We have a lot of character and variety and we’ve been hard at work capturing that.” Marsh said the documentation phase is “very robust,” as her team works to identify districts and neighborhoods in the commercial core and went through a block-by-block survey and analysis. Marsh said her team came across two challenges to parcel improvements across the area, pointing out parcels on slopes and the age of many structures in the commercial core. Through her team’s data collection, Marsh shared, “We did a huge amount of data capture to figure out how different buildings are configured in these different areas, what is their relationship they have with each other and what is the public space.” Marsh said the team is on track to deliver its recommendations to the city on time in September. Council members said they were looking forward to discovering the results of their research. They also wanted to make sure the community was properly contacted for the Chartette (or workshop) events scheduled in March. Marsh said the events were open to the public, but she said she is working on invitations to stakeholders as well. For more information on the form-based project, visit auburnfbc.com.