Form-Based Code: Making Zoning Work for Ward 7 Residents

In response to the mixed signals being sent by the current zoning code, the Cleveland City Planning Commission has endeavored to realign its zoning regulations with this new vision. The goal is an entirely new zoning code that embodies the Mayor’s mantra of Health, Sustainability, and Equity – this new approach to zoning is called a Form-Based Code.  The Cleveland Form-Based Code will be piloted in a few geographies to start – the City Planning Commission has identified sections of the Hough community as one of the first areas for implementation of this tool. (

The Hough pilot of the zoning code will be developed through three phases. The first phase (October-December 2020) is an education phase led by the Hough Youth Council. The second phase will be grassroots focus groups (November-January 2021), and the final phase will be the compilation of the feedback into a draft code (January-March 2021). More information can be found at Below are a few reflections from residents and youth of Ward 7 about why zoning is so important.

Making Zoning Work for Us (By Jason Carter)

As a proud resident of  Hough and Ward 7 , it is an honor to share with you the blessings of this neighborhood in my own words. I have been a resident of Hough for 3 years and there has been endless love and support within this great community. I have made many new friends and met new families across our blocks, and I am excited to address the Zoning and Form-Based Code for this area. Zoning is important because it allows a municipality to create urban development with specific regulations for that area. These selected areas would then be divided into zones, and each zone has its own sets of blueprints. This would be grand for Hough because the people here deserve to have access to more necessary essentials.

The City of Cleveland Form-Based code process, led by a firm called Code Studio, alongside the newly formed Hough Youth Council and the E. 66th Street Resident Council, allows residents to give input on how the built environment should look and feel based on what businesses or resources we want to come to the neighborhood. Once things are agreed upon by the residents and the City of Cleveland Planning Commission, the wants and needs of the community go into a written code. This written code then will protect residents from future establishments developing within the neighborhood against residents’ wishes. This Opportunity is extraordinary for Hough because there are many communities like ours that will not get to see this change. I feel that it would provide great optimism, motivation, and bring out more leadership from residents here.

When you fill a neighborhood with new lighting, artwork, health establishments, learning institutions, parks, sidewalk enhancements, and other family-oriented business, you spark change in generations to come. True inspiration comes directly from the loved ones around you and the environment we share. With this makeover of Hough, my children and your children will benefit from every resource we provide them with. My voice in Hough matters just as much as my family’s voices does here, for Ward 7!

The Freedom Zone

Freedom Zone: The Hough Youth Council

On Thursday, November 19, the Hough Youth Council released a virtual livestream of a performance filled with original poetry and choreography about the impacts of redlining and zoning, and federal and local policies that had negative impacts on Black neighborhoods across the US. The production was filmed over the course of several weeks in October under the leadership of dancer, social worker, and entrepreneur, Lexy Lattimore, one of the project team members of the City of Cleveland Form-Based Code effort. The performance is beautiful, moving, and educational and can be found here:


The project team hopes to use the performance as a way to spark conversation about the legacy of systematic injustice through a policy that has resulted in disinvestment. The purpose is to focus the community’s response on the opportunity to change the City’s antiquated zoning code. More opportunities to participate in shaping the Form-Based Code effort can be found at, and residents should share their thoughts on the Hough Freedom Zone Map here: Finally, residents who live in the pilot area (see photo) can expect to find out more information through door hangers and flyers.

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