Oceanfront Form District

Transforming a Neglected Hotel District into an Urban, Regional Cultural Center

Virginia Beach has long struggled with a dysfunctional zoning code for their historic beachfront. The city knew it needed to evolve the area from a cluster of hotels into a growing high density / high value district, but the question was: How? Desiring a more vibrant mixed-use corridor, transit-oriented development, appropriate frontages, and beautiful public spaces, Virginia Beach commissioned UDA to develop and prepare a new form-based code in collaboration with Code Studio and Landmark Design. Of clear importance was the need to replace the city’s existing zoning district regulations with new illustrated standards that would liberate development potential and encourage revitalization of this unique coastal community. UDA created an inspired plan and framework through an inclusive public process, and the City Council adopted the resulting Oceanfront Form-Based Code in August 2012. Since adoption of the code and pattern book, several mixed-use blocks have been developed, which would not have been possible under the previous regulations.