Fort Worth Council Votes to Establish Form-Based Code in Stockyards

It’s official – the form-based code governing design and building use in the Fort Worth Stockyards is a done deal.

The Fort Worth City Council unanimously approved the code on Tuesday, and any additional changes made to the code will need to go through City of Fort Worth staff and the Zoning Commission for approval. The code is a set of rules that outline which design elements are allowed in the Stockyards (things like height, setbacks and building materials among others), as well as how the buildings can be used. The code is designed so that the outer edges of the Stockyards have less stringent standards and guidelines, and the rules become more strict as one gets closer to the designated Historic District

“It’s been a long process. We’re generally pleased with where we are,” said Kirby Smith, senior vice president of Majestic Realty Co., which is partnering with the Hickman family on a $175 million Stockyards redevelopment project. “This is not a perfect document.”

The form-based code document was drafted by Code Studio, an Austin-based development coding firm. After the City Council commissioned Code Studio to draft the code last year, the firm held meetings with Stockyards business owners, property owners and other stakeholders to ask their input on what elements should be in the code. They produced several drafts, and the most recent draft was approved by the city’s Historic and Cultural Commission, Urban Design Commission and Zoning Commission before receiving final approval from the council.

But the code “isn’t set in stone for eternity,” said City of Fort Worth assistant planning director Dana Burghdoff, who added that the document will be revisited every few years for updates as needed.

The code comes as Majestic Realty and the Hickman family, together known as Fort Worth Heritage Development, continue their development plans for the Stockyards, which include a renovation of the horse and mule barns on Exchange Avenue. Now that the code is in place, Fort Worth Heritage Development plans to look at the project again to see how it aligns with the newly-established code. For more on the Stockyards redevelopment plans and background on the horse and mule barn project, click here.