Form-Based Codes Seek to Pave South Pasadena’s Future

South Pasadena's former conventional code will soon be replaced with a more diverse and interactive zoning code

Keizer Rangwala, founder of Rangwala Associates, explains what Form-Based Code is to South Pasadena's Cultural Heritage Commission, Design Review Board & Planning Commission Joint Special Meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2017 at the South Pasadena Library Community Room.

“Why have codes?”  Keizer Rangwala, founder of Rangwala Associates, asked rhetorically to the members of the audience. “They provide certainty.”

South Pasadena is teaming up with Rangwala Associates as a consultant to update South Pasadena’s General Plan and Mission Street Specific Plan. Its founder, Keizer Rangwala, spoke at The City of South Pasadena Cultural Heritage Commission, Design Review Board & Planning Commission’s Joint Special Meeting, on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2017. He discussed what Form-Based Code means for the future of Mission Street and Fair Oaks Avenue.

Form-Based Code refers to a more diverse and interactive public and private space, deliberately shifting away from regular conventional zoning.

The slides used during the meeting, provided by Rangwala, visualized that the building fronts that run along Mission St. and Fair Oaks Ave. could provide a connection to what he called “the public realm” more so than they are presently situated today. The possibility of alleyways that are interactive with businesses and pedestrians, similar, but not identical, to that of Pasadena’s Colorado Street, could be in the future of South Pasadena’s two main streets.

Rangwala Associates have worked closely to re-renovate portions of cities such as Ventura, Calif., West Covina, Calif., and even internationally at a university campus in Nairobi, Kneya. Rangwala hopes to bring these successes to the city of South Pasadena by using Form-Based Codes.

At the end of the meeting, members of the public voiced their concerns, one being that the plans are too complicated for the community to understand.

Rangwala replied that he intends to make the plan “clear and precise of our intentions.” He continued,  “let’s make it easier.”

Rangwala asked the room if they felt that the public is involved with this plan, to which the few members of the community who did attend answered, “No.”

When asked about the importance of public involvement, Conrado Lopez, Chair of the South Pasadena Review Board, explained that, “When [residents] come, and they participate, and they give their opinion, it’s invaluable. That is part of what we need to kind of help us [make] decisions.”

According to the Planning Commission Office, the Cultural Heritage Commission and the Design Review Board & Planning Commission plan on scheduling another joint mission to discuss the Form-Based Code further but have yet to schedule a specific date.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2017 in the South Pasadena Library Community Room, Conrado Lopez, Chair of the South Pasadena Review Board, voices his opinion on the Form-Based code that is planned to be implimented to re-renovate Mission Street and Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena, CA.
Attendees listen in on The City of South Pasadena Cultural Heritage Commission, Design Review Board & Planning Commission’s Joint Special Meeting on Tuesday, Feb.13, 2018 at the South Pasadena Library Community Room.

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