Marquette, Michigan

Project: A Form-Based Code Ordinance to assist the City of Marquette in revising its nearly 30-year old zoning code to reflect its recently completed comprehensive plan

Client: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.

Contact: Steve DeGoosh, Marquette Planning Commission

Status: Form-Based Code adopted by City County in 2007

The project area is a key district in linking the waterfront to the rest of the city, especially the Downtown. The Code is designed to foster infill redevelopment in a sustainable mixed-use pattern as part of a vibrant, diverse urban district around the connection to Lake Superior. It is intended to promote traditional urban form and a lively mix of uses, allowing for shopfronts, sidewalk cafes, and other commercial uses at the street level, with wide sidewalks and canopy shade trees, overlooked by upper story residences and offices, while maintaining a working waterfront.

In order to achieve these design intents, the following guiding principles were established;

        Buildings are aligned and close to the street so they form the space of the street.

        With consistent building forms on both sides, the street-space has a clear public space identity.

        The street-space should have active fronts to contribute to vital and safe public space.

        Property lines are physically defined by buildings, walls, or fences - clearly public or private.

        Buildings are designed for towns and cities, they must be designed for the urban.

        Vehicle storage, garbage, and mechanical equipment are kept away from the street-space.

The scope of work included alternative form-based code language and graphics for the city as well as a workshop on-site to incorporate public and stakeholder input. The focus of this technical assistance examined four areas:

        Building form issues; build-to lines, massing, encroachments, and other design features.

        Transportation and parking strategies, including suggestions for street and streetscape design.

        Concise packaging of the regulating plan and all standards plus a use manual to guide regulators.

The expectation is that these traditional urban standards will provide the foundation for long-term redevelopment, and accommodate change over time. Form standards recognize that the economy/ market may support and/or demand different types of uses at different times, but with a sound development and building pattern the building life-cycle will be sustainable.

For more information please visit http://www.mqtcty.org/Departments/Planning/Files/downtown_waterfront_district_fbc_final_draft.pdf