Monterey Corridor - Form-Base Code

The Morgan Hill 2035 General Plan, adopted in July 2016, envisions the transformation of the Monterey Road corridor north and south of Downtown from its current predominantly strip commercial character to a vibrant mixed-use corridor that encourages walking and biking with buildings fronting onto the street and a range of  commercial and office uses located in close proximity to new and existing residential  development. It's been determined in a 2017 Monterey Corridor Market Analysis Report that a Form-Based Code is the most effective in helping to realize the General Plan’s vision for the Monterey Road corridor.

The City has been awarded $160,000 from the 2019 Planning Grants Program from the State of California, Department of Housing and Community Development for the development of a Form-Based Code for the Monterey Road Corridor. On March 4, 2020 the City Council approved a Consultant Agreement with Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc. (LWC) to prepare the Monterey Corridor – Form-Based Code.

Planning Commission Workshop

On September 8, 2020 the Planning Commission will hold a workshop at 6:00 p.m. via Video Conference regarding the development of the Monterey Corridor – Form-Based Code. To view the Public Notice click on the link below:

 Public Notice (PDF)


To sign up for notifications  and updates on this project, click the Notify Me link below:

Notify Me

Contact Information

For additional information contact Principal Planner, Adam Paszkowski via e-mail or by telephoning (408) 310-4635.

Informational Handouts

  • Impediments and Recommendations Memo: The Impediments and Recommendations Memo  provides an overview of state legislation and form-based codes, highlights policy direction related to form-based codes, assesses relevant standards in the existing Zoning Code, evaluates impediments to achieving the vision and objectives of the General Plan, and presents recommendations for the most effective form-based code approach.


After reviewing the Priority Development Area Extension and the study area established in the Monterey Corridor Market Analysis, LWC proposes a slightly adjusted Form-Based Code Study Area in order to account for existing contexts and to more effectively implement desired development patterns along Monterey Road (please refer to the below figure). The proposed boundary generally includes parcels adjacent to Monterey Road within the City limit, excluding the Downtown Specific Plan Area and parcels south of Watsonville Road.

Proposed FBC Boundary

What is a Form-Based Code?

A form-based code (FBC) is a place-based planning approach that promotes walkable, compact, mixed-use urban environments over suburban sprawl, and is a forward-looking alternative to a conventional zoning code. The Form-Based Code Institute (FBCI) defines a FBC as a “land development regulation that fosters predictable results and a high quality public realm by using the physical form of a place (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code.”

A FBC can address the relationship between the building facade and public realm, form, and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. Regulations and standards in a FBC are usually presented in tables and graphics alongside supplemental text. The standards vary in intensity based on each form-based zone. The form-based zones are mapped on a Regulating Plan, a document similar to a zoning map.

FBCs are now being utilized by cities, towns, and counties across the country as communities like Morgan Hill desire vibrant, mixed-use areas where residents can live, work, and play within close walking distance. For the Monterey Corridor, a FBC can establish objective development standards that implement community visions, emphasizing pedestrian-oriented building form and efficient housing development with an appropriate mix of uses.

FBCs differ from conventional zoning codes in terms of the process by which they are prepared, the substance of the standards they contain, how those standards are presented, the mechanism by which ­they are implemented, and the built form they produce. In summary, a FBC is a transformative regulatory tool used to implement a community’s vision for how it should look and feel, holistically shaping the urban environment through a set of objective standards.