The City of Leander, Texas wanted to change their development pattern from sprawl to that of traditional, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods, so in 2005 they adopted a SmartCode. Its details and Regulating Plan were resisted by developers. Recognizing that the issue was not in the principles of form-based coding, but in their application as well as changes in the market, the City hired Michael Watkins Architect and Sandy Sorlien to work with residents, developers and the city planning staff to rewrite their 2005 SmartCode to encourage and incentivize development.
One obvious concern was the change in the economic climate between the Code’s adoption in 2005 and today. The updated Code utilizes growth sectors to create structured development while maintaining maximum flexibility for future changes. The code also focuses on a smaller subject area in the city to reflect the current market demand. Another change was a reduction of required building heights to allow incremental urbanism, rather than prescribing the climactic condition at the outset.
Location: Leander, Texas [map]
Client: City of Leander, Texas
Type: Urban Design: Revitalization, Infill & Retrofit; Codes
Program: Transit-Oriented Development
Transect Zones: T3, T4, T5, T6, SD