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Urban Design Commission Code Update Project

Project Overview

While the Urban Design Commission (UDC) section of the code (Chapter 33.24) has been amended several times over the years, including the creation of new Urban Design Districts (UDDs), it has not been comprehensively updated since its original adoption in the late 1970s.

As part of the initial project discussions, staff has worked with the UDC to outline the goals and objectives for a comprehensive update to Chapter 33.24, including:

  1. Clean-up outdated code language and eliminate redundancies with the Zoning Code;
  2. Clarify procedure and process related protocol;
  3. Review district boundaries for consistency with adopted plans;
  4. Revamp design-based elements within the UDDs to better align with current construction and design practices, as well as the intent of each district;
  5. Clean-up sign design guidelines and requirements to be consistent with the Sign Code, current legal framework, and current best practices related to sustainability and design; and
  6. Evaluate creation of a new urban design district for “Mifflandia” area.

Phased Project Approach and Estimated Timeline

Recognizing that changes to the UDC Code (MGO 33.24) will vary in their complexity and the time anticipated to complete them, the amendments have been grouped into multiple phases as outlined below. Please note that the order of the phases as shown below is not concrete; the order in which the phases are completed may change if coordination with other City projects or planning efforts is necessary.

Phase 1 – Administrative Updates and SimpleBook Clarifications: The text amendments proposed in Phase 1 are intended to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the UDC, in many cases codifying long-standing practices. Additionally, these amendments will be intended to aid the development community and in navigating through the UDC review and approval process. Anticipated timeline: Spring 2022-Spring 2024.

Phase 2 – UDD Sign Design Guidelines andBuilding with Sign Requirements: This phase will be a concerted effort with Zoning staff to update both the Sign Code (project webpage coming soon) and UDC sign design guidelines and requirements concurrently. This phase is focused on developing review/approval standards and updating both codes to reflect the current legal framework and best practices. Anticipated Timeline: Winter 2024 - Winter 2025 (Legistar File ID 81636). 

Phase 3 – Creation of New Urban Design District –Mifflandia Cover Mifflandia: This effort involves the creation of a new UDD as recommended in the Mifflandia Plan, which provides a framework for the design guidelines and requirements for the new district. Anticipated Timeline: Start in Fall 2024.

Phase 4 – Re-Evaluation of UDD Guidelines and Apartment BuildingRequirements and Current District Boundaries: This phase is focused on the re-evaluation of UDD guidelines and requirements, as well as district boundaries. Consideration will be given to eliminating redundancies with other sections of the code, reformatting to be consistent across all district code sections, incorporating sustainability measures/metrics, adjusting district boundaries, and exploring the possibility of creating a graphics based design guideline manual that would be applicable to all
UDDs. Anticipated Timeline: Start in Summer 2025​.

Last Updated: 02/07/2024