Unified Development Ordinance and Focus Area Design Guidelines

Fate, TX

Project Contact: Michael Kovacs, City Manager | mkovacs@cityoffate.com | 972.771.4601 ext 105

Key Challenge



The City selected the VERDUNITY-led team to craft a UDO to replace outdated Euclidean-based ordinances and support a philosophical shift in the city to encourage more progressive, fiscally and environmentally sustainable development on remaining land. A key component of the project was developing character zones and associated form-based code and design guidelines for downtown and two large greenfield sites along IH30 at FM551. Concepts incorporated into the UDO included mixed-use development in both a historic downtown and suburban context, urban street and pedestrian facility design, elimination of minimum parking requirements in some areas, stacked function green infrastructure, and small-scale/incremental infill development.

Our Approach

Data Driven-01.png

Data-driven analysis

A review of the city's long-term revenue and service cost projections for current development and detailed market analysis were used to explain why changes to the City's current development approach were needed and to inform the proposed development framework and design guidelines for the historic downtown and I-30 special districts.


Integrated perspectives

Principles of fiscally productive infrastructure and mixed use development, walkability, stacked function green space and pedestrian-focused design were considered together when developing the new zoning districts and development standards. The combined structure of the UDO streamlines the process for platting, zoning and development in the city going forward.

Bottum Up-01.png

local participation

Several rounds of town hall meetings and site specific workshops were held to collect input from the community, property owners, developers and staff. Special consideration was given throughout the process to land owners and ongoing development efforts in the special district areas to ensure their feedback was considered and incorporated into the Special District guidelines as much as possible.

Key Outcomes

Engaged & Empowered Citizens

The team used a series of interactive workshops to engage the council, staff, residents, land owners and developers in discussions to clarify what type of development the community desired. An abbreviated charrette was conducted with land owners in the focus areas to align concepts with market research and then refine them into illustratives and a framework plan that became the basis for the code.

Nat Systems Stormwater Icon.png

Increased R.O.I.

One of the main drivers for the special district guidelines was to maximize tax base from the key commercial sites to help offset the fairly low tax production of many of the city’s existing subdivision developments. The new standards also help to reduce infrastructure maintenance costs for future single family development by encouraging use of green infrastructure and narrower streets.

Enhanced quality of life

The new UDO will allow the City to build out the remainder of its city limits in a manner that gradually improves the long-term fiscal position of the City, while protecting natural areas and habitats that are critical to maintaining clean water and a health food supply for residents. The execution of the Special District Plans will also provide a variety of ‘missing middle’ housing types and destinations for residents of all ages to shop, recreate and interact.

Services Provided

Project Management

Stakeholder & Citizen Engagement

Transportation Engineering/Analysis

Stormwater Engineering/Analysis

Subdivision Regulation Development

Infrastructure Design Guideline Development

Date Completed

April 2017

Team Members

Kevin Shepherd, Kristin Green, Mikel Wilkins, Jordan Clark


Gateway Planning, Catalyst Commercial, Livable Plans & Codes