Form-Based Code: Hamden, CT

This inner-ring suburb north of New Haven has evolved from a series of trolley suburbs to a sprawling town of nearly 60,000 with no more land for growth. The town planner determined conventional zoning was not only restricting future economic development and pushing tax burdens onto residential property owners, but damaging the town’s walkable character, and decided to replace zoning in commercial areas with a form-based zoning code that would allow for more compact, mixed-use development. The result is one of the largest municipal areas in the country to adopt the SmartCode. 

A new zoning ordinance was adopted by the town council in 2009 and the first construction under the new code began in 2013. The project was recognized with a 2009 Urbanism Award from the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. 

 Rendering of infill development possible under new zoning code (credit, Robert Orr & Associates)

Rendering of infill development possible under new zoning code (credit, Robert Orr & Associates)

JVM Studio's Jonas Maciunas, while with Robert Orr + Associates, helped craft a 5-day public charrette to kick off the planning process, calibrated a regulating plan for ten neighborhoods, and presented the plan to the CT Bar Association's Land Use Committee.