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Around Argyle: What is Form-Based Zoning?

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Argyle Mayor Peggy Krueger
Argyle Mayor Peggy Krueger

The form-based code initiative was undertaken to implement the vision of preserving the natural heritage of Argyle as growth continues to bring both opportunities and challenges.

The vision for Argyle has been to reinforce the beauty of its neighborhoods and natural areas while ensuring that commercial development along the key corridors of IH-35, FM 407 and U.S. 377 is high quality, enduring in character and at the same time responsive to market considerations. The form-based code initiative was a multi-year process that engaged property owners and the community at-large to ensure that the development of a commercial development strategy along the corridors was in keeping with the vision for quality growth.

The process included crafting a framework for the process, and culminated with the development of a form-based code that will act as the zoning tool available to owners and developers as commercial projects are proposed along the key corridors. Developed by our staff and Gateway Planning Group, the proposed code was tested with the property owners and was the subject of multiple community meetings with the planning commission, economic development board and the council.

The resulting code represents both the property owners’ preference for development and the community’s vision for the quality that we expect in Argyle.

The code accomplishes several key objectives:

1. The code makes available specific design standards that will provide a character of development for different locations along the corridor, which match the vision of the community for those particular locations.

2. Creates a walkable context for some of the new development so that development along the corridors is not just an ad hoc grouping of strip projects that become outdated in a short time.

3. Provides a good transition between the commercial development directly along the corridor and the adjacent neighborhoods in terms of scale, access, uses and public spaces.

When we started the process, we knew that we needed a tool to ensure that our Argyle citizens’ vision for development would be realized. The form-based code provides that tool, and has been embraced by both the developers and the Argyle community as a whole.

Where are these districts?

There are four major areas:

1. Regional Center North located along I-35W and Crawford Road

2. Regional Center South located along I-35W

3. The Village Center located at FM 407 and U.S. 377

4. Major Corridor located on US 377 and between Harpole Road and FM 407.

The unanimous vote in favor of implementing the form-based zoning and the absence of any citizens at the public hearing is a positive message that the town’s citizens have already been to one of the many presentations that we have had to educate and collect ideas and concerns.

Another exciting announcement is the school board unanimously voted to negotiate a lease agreement between the town and school to provide a site for a park. We are now collecting different ideas for the park to provide as many opportunities for youth ball fields and areas for the town and school to have public functions.

We will be applying for a grant to make this dream happen! A big thanks to the Argyle School Board for their desire to create a place to gather and continue our vision of community.

I want to thank you for giving the present council more time to serve together so we can keep our focus on what is so important and what Argyle is known for … COMMUNITY! We will continue to strive to keep smart growth coming, but not take our focus off what is important to the people that make this town so great. Please contact us if you have any questions or ideas.

Have a great month!

Peggy

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