Phoenix City Council Passes WU (Walkable Urban) Code

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The City of Phoenix’s City Council approved the Walkable Urban Code (WU Code) on July 1, 2015. The WU Code is part of the City’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy framework for creating an attractive environment to TOD investors. The WU Code establishes form based regulations for TOD generally within ¼ mile of the City’s Light Rail infrastructure. The WU Code creates more predictable land use regulations and construction timelines on complex, challenging infill developments. 

The City of Phoenix’s light rail infrastructure was completed in 2008. The Light Rail Operator, Metro, reports that light rail ridership has outperformed expectations by achieving 20-year ridership targets in its first 4 years of operation. Further, TOD real estate markets have strengthened nationally over the past decade and demographic trends forecast significant growth in TOD demand. 

The City’s TOD planning process began with Reinvent PHX, the City’s overall policy framework for individual TOD Policy Plans tailored to specific districts along the light rail corridor. Five Districts were created along the light rail system:  Gateway, Eastlake-Garfield and Midtown TOD Policy Plans were adopted by the City Council on May 27, 2015 and Solano and Uptown TOD Policy Plans were adopted by the City Council on June 3, 2015. 

The WU Code was created to establish form based code regulations to implement the Reinvent PHX goals and objectives and achieve the vision outlined in each of the five district policy plans. Properties within the five transit districts are eligible to rezone to the WU Code. The WU Code will ensure vibrant, quality, pedestrian-friendly environments that support the vision described in each of the district plans. 

The WU Code is a great tool for the City and community leaders to create sustainable, pedestrian friendly communities along the light rail corridor and unlock the potential of our light rail asset. 

Please contact Burch & Cracchiolo land use and zoning attorneys Ed Bull at 602.234.9913 (ebull@bcattorneys.com) or Brian Greathouse at 602.234.9903 (bgreathouse@bcattorneys.com) with questions or inquiries regarding Reinvent PHX, the TOD Policy Plans or the WU Code.