Form Based Code

Why zoning and why now?

Zoning influences our daily lives, whether it’s our residential choices, shaping our interaction with the built environment, to where we work. The traditional zoning regulations, intentionally rigid, have fostered sprawling, low-density communities reliant on automobile travel. This model has perpetuated economic and social disparities, affecting accessibility to employment, food, healthcare, and other fundamental necessities.


In contrast, form-based codes (FBCs) offer a more adaptable framework compared to conventional zoning practices. Unlike their conventional counterparts, FBCs primarily govern building aesthetics and guide development in alignment with a locality’s envisioned character. Rather than imposing minimum requirements, FBCs establish design benchmarks, which foster dynamic, thriving neighborhoods that balance functionality with visual appeal.

The surge in residential projects, think Renn Farm, East Church, and Upper East Apartments in the east Frederick area, have underscored the necessity for superior development standards and improved connectivity along the East Street corridor. Consequently, in 2022, the City initiated an exploration into a new planning approach. This strategy aims to shift away from rigid zoning regulations toward a unified vision shared among stakeholders for the continued expansion of the east side of Frederick.

Throughout the creation of the FBC, the City of Frederick has remained vigilant in documenting the process, offering an array of resources aimed at informing the public about the East Frederick Form Based Code and its role in shaping forthcoming developments in the region.On the City’s website, you will find the general FBC information/FAQs, external FBC related articles, as well as recordings of previous public meetings and workshops, among other informative materials. To delve deeper into the East Frederick Form-Based Code, please visit the City’s website for a comprehensive overview.

Caption: East Street Form-Based Code Boundary Map

East Frederick Rising had the opportunity to chat with a consultant working behind the East Frederick Form Based Code draft, Geoffrey Farrell. There, we were able to ask our most pressing questions and get into the nitty gritty of how the form based code will guide future development in east Frederick. Follow the link below to check out the full interview below!

Following extensive community engagement and feedback from public workshops, the initial iteration of the form-based code was unveiled in May of this year. Community members were urged to review this inaugural draft thoroughly and provide feedback on its varying components. Insights garnered from the initial feedback were incorporated into the development of a second draft of the form-based code and as of now, the City of Frederick is seeking further input from community members, inviting them to review and submit comments once again.

To review the second draft of the Form-Based Code, please follow:—All-Sections

If you’d like to submit comments, questions or concerns in regards to the East Frederick Form-Based Code, please contact City Planner Arash Ghahramani at

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