"There are just as many costly restrictions in place with the current codes, actually more. Your simply "used" to the current codes. Take your replacing a "burned down building", or tearing down one and building new, or adding a new one to an empty lot, scenarios for instance. The current suburban style code requires that you have X number of parking lots per x number of square feet. For example when a developer wanted to build that new development where the Ghengis Grill now is on Cherry Street (that urban style development, up to the sidewalk, etc. was illegal) he had to go before the board to beg for an exception in order to not have to spend even more money to buy more property and tear down even more buildings around him in order to meet the parking requirements. Mixed use buildings, say rentable units above a shop, are also illegal. There are set back requirements, all kinds of costly requirements really if you want to add on or change use or build something new. Much of what is currently along 6th street now, if you tried to build it now, would be illegal under the current regulations. Expanding the old "urban style" fabric is illegal. Which imo has hampered growth in that area and will hamper good urban growth in that area in exchange for a different type of growth. Current zoning will not enable Tulsa to be able to develop good urban areas that will make our city competitive with other cities that can offer that. We offer great suburban style living for those who want it, and bravo, but we basically tell those people, and businesses, who want and expect good urban living and lifestlye choices to hit the road and go to another city. Trends are showing that more and more people are wanting good urban living/lifestyle options. Tulsa is hurting itself by making that, through our current codes, illegal.
I think that Form Based Codes can make a positive difference, and I also believe that there can be some compromise changes made to this particular code to at least enable us to move forward. No matter what part of town we try to rezone for good urban living, no matter what "form" that takes, there will be people and groups that cry foul.
For those who do protest the constraints of the Form Based codes, I would also really wish that they would also protest just as fervently the current codes and their constraints. But they do not. I would rather have highly deregulated zoning like in Houston, much less "government telling property owners what they can and can't do" than the current system which is just as onerous in that respect as the Form Based Codes, and makes the development of good urban areas illegal. Most are simply used to the current code (which again makes what was once legal to build in the Pearl District, now illegal) and not used to the ones they want to replace them with. Calling people names who want a different set of codes, and decrying "others dictating what someone else should be doing with their property", while at the same time NOT putting at least as much effort to get rid of the old codes which do exactly that! "dictate to others what someone else should be doing with their property", seems to at least be a bit shortsighted or at most hypocritical. They talk harshly of foolish utopians and their fanatic zoning ideas, while apparently not realizing that the type of zoning that exists there now wasn't always there. The type of zoning that is there now was added later, and the people who are complaining about utopian fanatics aren't raising a fuss about those zoning codes? Why don't they practice what they preach and at least work to get rid of the existing zoning requirements that also "tell people what to do with their property"? If you want to do that, I will be right there with you to help. I would rather have no zoning than the terrible zoning that is forced on the property owners there now.
One example on exchanging one type of requirement for another, the old zoning requirement for a new Form Based one. Lets say you have a 4,000 square foot lot (just for a simple round number) and want to rebuild or build new. Currently you would either have to use part of that lot for parking, or purchase more land for parking (maybe even tearing out another existing building to do that, which again is forcing things to be more suburban than urban). But with this Form Based Code there are no minimum parking requirements, but there are however minimum floor requirements. So instead of say building your 4,000 square foot space covering the entire lot (then purchasing more property for parking or only being allowed to use part of the lot to build on and then the rest for parking, and not being able to build on all 4,000 square feet ) you build two floors of 2,000 square feet, and perhaps sell the extra space, the lot next door (thus getting more density and having a "finer grain, aka, smaller lots and more businesses etc." better pedestrian/transit friendly, urban styled area). Which requirements would actually cost the property owner more, or which is more "others telling people what to do with their property"? They are just different, requiring a new way of thinking, with plenty of research to show that over all they are less costly and are actually less about "telling people what to do" than the current zoning we have in place. The existing zoning is what your used to so seems "natural", but it is not "natural" and without required costs and constraints.