News Release

Lafayette’s Downtown Code Receives Prestigious Planning Award
Posted: 7/16/2019 1:00 PM

​11th Annual Richard H. Driehaus Form-Based Code Award

​At a recent conference of urban planners, Lafayette was recognized alongside Buffalo, New York and Canton, Connecticut for the development, adoption and implementation of the most exemplary form-based codes in the country.

The Form-Based Codes Institute (FBCI) at Smart Growth America bestowed Lafayette’s Downtown Code and the Buffalo Green Codes with the 11th Annual Richard H. Driehaus Form-Based Code Award, with honorable mention going to the Canton Village Districts Code, for leading the way in placemaking efforts. In contrast to conventional zoning regulations, a form-based code approach to development calls for the shared use of streets, public spaces and neighborhoods and takes into account all perspectives of the final development. Usually, form-based codes are drafted during a master planning process to achieve a community vision. The result is compact, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-used development that preserves local character, while accommodating new investment.

Downtown Lafayette CEO Anita Begnaud is excited for the code’s recognition and what it means for Lafayette. “The Downtown Code is the direct result of the Downtown Action Plan to make development simpler and easier in our city center, and to ensure that new developments would produce the best possible good for downtown.” Adopted in 2014 as part of PlanLafayette, the Downtown Action Plan was drafted to ensure high quality living that offers safe and convenient residential, retail, commercial and entertainment opportunities in a lively urban center.

“We are thrilled to see that the groundwork laid by Nathan Norris and Geoff Dyer—who were integral to the development of the Action Plan—has earned this national recognition. More importantly, this code has helped Downtown Lafayette enter a new chapter. We’re now seeing projects with the potential to transform downtown since the implementation of the Downtown Code.”

Zoning codes are the driving force behind what is built and where—they are the regulatory framework for how our communities look, feel and grow. In recent years, cities like Lafayette are coming to terms with antiquated zoning codes that impose auto-centric, use-based requirements that degrade community fabric, encourage sprawl, separate people from the services they need and want, limit housing options, and segregate people based on income, race, or ethnicity.

“The Downtown Code is a robust tool in the continued revitalization of downtown,” says Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux. “The code encourages a walkable, vibrant and adaptive mixed-use landscape with projects such as the Old Federal Courthouse site, Buchanan Garage site and many more in the future.”

The Richard H. Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award recognizes outstanding form-based codes that other communities can use as models. George Proakis, chair of FBCI’s 2019 Driehaus Award Jury, announced the winners at an award ceremony during the 27th Congress for the New Urbanism on June 14 in Louisville, Kentucky.

“The Lafayette Downtown Code places emphasis on regulating what matters most in the urban context – building frontage – and promotes great urbanism through limited controls on height and an innovative parking policy,” Proakis explained. “It clearly defines roles for the private and public sectors, offering an excellent example to any community looking for an effective downtown form-based code.”

The Lafayette Downtown Code joins the Buffalo Green Code of Buffalo, New York as this year’s awardees. The Canton Village Districts Code of Canton, Connecticut was an honorable mention. The Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award is awarded by FBCI with the generous support of the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust.