Standish: Form-Based Codes

A town of about 10,000 citizens 18 miles west of Portland, ME, adopted a new comprehensive plan in 2006 with the main goal of conserving the town’s rural character while directing most of its future growth into village centers. While the plan set the policy direction for future growth, many details of how that future growth should look weren’t specified. To help Standish better clarify and direct its future growth, the planning nonprofit organization GrowSmartMaine led sessions to help the community come up with visions for Standish Corner, an area intended to be the community’s primary commercial and residential growth center. To help residents understand the impacts of different forms and development patterns, the workshops featured photo simulations of two different growth scenarios that attendees could vote on. Once the community understood and established a vision, the town selected a form-based code for implementing ordinances and hired a consulting firm to draft the language of the code. Thanks to its broad base of support, the town council approved the form-based code unanimously.

This material is the product of a partnership between America Walks and Sam Schwartz Engineering. Visit here for more information on the partnership.