Kingston, New York Goes 100 Percent Form-Based for its New Code

Kingston recently adopted a form-based code, taking the rare step to entirely replace its old zoning code with form-based standards while also repealing parking requirements and allowing accessory dwelling units and missing middle housing.

2 minute read

August 16, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

A sign announces the Kingston, New York Historic District

Alexander / Adobe Stock

The city of Kingston, New York, located north of New York City along the Hudson River, adopted a new form-based code earlier this month. According to local news reports, the form-based code is intended to mitigate the growing cost of housing in the city by allowing accessory dwelling units and new opportunities for infill development.

According to an article by Phillip Pantuso, Kingston’s new code is notable for replacing its entire zoning code with a new form-based code—most cities who have applied form-based codes do so only in certain nieghborhoods or along specific streets.

“The new zoning code was developed over a three-year period with the consulting firm Dover, Kohl & Partners and included regular community input organized in part by the local advocacy group Kingston Code Reform Advocates,” reports Pantuso.

Among the changes accomplished by Kingston’s new form-based zoning code are the end of minimum parking requirements, the legalization of missing middle housing, corner stores, and accessory dwelling units, and a new, “streamlined” development approval process.

Here is how Pantuso describes form-based codes:

Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and public space, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks, according to the Form-Based Codes Institute, a nonprofit focused on creating healthy communities. The goal is to emphasize creating cohesive and visually appealing communities that promote walkability and mixed-use development.

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