To streamline the city’s zoning code and bring it more in line with the intentions of the New Urbanist Downtown Master Plan 2020, the City of Sarasota has contracted with former City Planning executive Karin Murphy to create a “Form-Based Code.” It is envisioned this will eventually supplant the current zoning code. Form-based codes are regulations that are intended to foster predictable results and encourage high-quality public spaces by using physical form rather than a separation of uses. In advance of City Commission approval, Murphy has held a series of meetings with residents and stakeholders to gain input and to educate the public on the proposed changes. Although the code remains in draft form and will almost certainly undergo significant changes before adoption, some themes have arisen. Look for a much better organized code, one that is easier to navigate and containing important changes to residential density in traditionally commercial areas. We anticipate, as well, an entirely new nomenclature, with zoned districts eliminated or renamed “transects.” For instance, the current Downtown Core zoning might come to be known as a T-10 transect. In some areas, density, height, setback and other requirements may change significantly. Harshman & Co. hopes city leaders will consider potential unintended consequences from the new code, as well. The canyon effect along Tamiami Trail and Gulfstream Avenue stemming from the construction of the twin-towered Vue Sarasota Bay, by way of example, could have been avoided had planners studied the impact of the now decade-old zoning code as it applied to specific parcels.