PUBLIC HEARING AGENDA REQUEST

Sponsor: 

Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Chester W. Stribling, Chairman,
Lee District Supervisor 

October 9, 2008

Staff Lead:

Department: 

Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator

 

Community Development

 

Topic:

A Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Create a Mixed Use Special District as Section 4-900

 

Topic Description:

The proposed Zoning Ordinance text amendment creates a new Special District to be utilized in the County’s Service Districts for mixed use neighborhoods to include both commercial and residential uses as well as civic and institutional uses.

 

Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors:

Conduct a public hearing and consider adoption of the attached Ordinance.

 

Financial Impact Analysis:

No financial impact analysis has been conducted.

 

Summary Staff Report: 

The new Mixed Use (MU) District is proposed as a Special District in Article 4 of the Zoning Ordinance.  The MU District is established to provide for mixed use development within the County’s Service Districts when consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the county-wide land use vision and goals.  The district is intended to focus development in a compact form within Service Districts, creating a vibrant mixed use area that functions as a discernable center for employment as well as a center of retail, service, entertainment, cultural, and civic activities for a traditional neighborhood.

As proposed, the regulations establish broad parameters for the uses in the district, with specific limitations and requirements to be established on a case-by-case basis for each project as part of the rezoning process.  Even where broad parameters are established in the ordinance, many can be waived by the Board with approval of the rezoning when the applicant can demonstrate an alternate approach to achieving the goals of the District. This approach gives the maximum flexibility to both the County and applicants to respond to unique characteristics and issues on a project-by-project basis.  It is anticipated that the development of a town center in each Service District will be something of an evolutionary process, as it is difficult to predict the order in which sites will come forward for development; the flexibility designed into the ordinance is critical for responding to this evolution.

As part of the rezoning process, a General Development Plan and Code of Development would be approved for each project.  These documents would govern the build-out of the project.  The General Development Plan would show street layout, general land uses and key features of the development, such as civic buildings or major open spaces.  The Code of Development would specify the types and character of uses allowed, and specific guidelines for the design and layout of streets, buildings and open spaces, with substantial flexibility retained to allow changes to the development as it evolves in order to respond to market conditions.

Intent

The intent is to create regulations which facilitate mixed use development within the County’s Service Districts consistent with the main-street form and pedestrian-oriented character envisioned by the County’s Comprehensive Plan.  Standards for approval included in the proposed regulations (§4-918) provide a summary of the intent of the MU Special District.  In summary, these standards require development in the MU district to be designed with:

  • Consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.
  • A mix of uses that help create a center for employment as well as a center of retail, service, entertainment, cultural and civic activities for workers, residents and visitors.
  • A mix of housing types to include a range of styles, sizes and price ranges.
  • A pedestrian orientation, with clearly defined sidewalks and paths enhanced by trees, pocket parks, seating and other streetscape elements, and with buildings located close to the sidewalk and providing a variety of pedestrian destinations.
  • Streets that are designed to consider their influence on the character of the neighborhood as well as carrying capacity, with narrower widths, on-street parking, and multiple connections.
  • Open space treated as an integral component of the development.
  • Minimization of parking, with parking dispersed and located to the rear of buildings and garages and parking areas fronting on alleys rather than streets.
  • Human-scaled and pedestrian oriented lighting and signage.
  • Reasonable and sustainable transitions to adjoining development.

Applicability

As currently drafted, property located within areas designated for mixed use in Service Districts as well as adjoining properties designated residential could utilize the MU Special District.  

Text Amendment Process

The Board of Supervisors initiated this text amendment at their November 8, 2007 meeting.   Staff provided an introduction to the proposed amendment to the Planning Commission at their October 25, 2007 work session.  A Planning Commission public hearing was initially scheduled for November 29, 2007, and follow-up Planning Commission work sessions on the amendment were held on December 4, January 4, January 31, February 15, February 28, March 27, April 18 and April 24.   Multiple public hearings were also held, with the last public hearing held and closed on April 24, 2008.  The proposed ordinance reflects significant input from the public and the Planning Commission. On May 28, 2008, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the proposed ordinance. The Board of Supervisors held a work session and initial public hearing on July 10, 2008. 

Staff has proposed a number of changes to the text proposed by the Planning Commission based on feedback received since the July meeting.   The staff proposed changes are highlighted in red below, along with discussion (blue italics) of the major changes proposed. 

PART 9    4-900   MIXED USE SPECIAL DISTRICT (MU)

4-901               Purpose and Intent

The MU District is established to provide for mixed use development within the County’s Service Districts when consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the county-wide land use vision and goals.  The District envisions development occurring as a series of connected neighborhoods, each focused on commercial, civic, or open space.  The neighborhoods are organized to create The district is intended to focus development in a compact form within Service Districts, creating a vibrant mixed use area that functions as a discernable center for employment as well as a center of retail, service, entertainment, cultural and civic activities for a traditional neighborhood that would:

·         Include residential, commercial and civic buildings in a walkable community;

·         Be gathering places for social interaction and special events, such as parades, markets, street festivals;

·         Be pedestrian oriented, with buildings, spaces, heights, lighting, signage and walking distances of a human scale;

·         Include parks and open space as an integral part of development and sited at key locations;

·         Include rehabilitation and use of historic buildings, incorporate and create buildings with historical or architectural features referencing an inventory of existing architectural styles consistent with the community;

·         Incorporate significant environmental features into the design and protect and accentuate natural features and resources such as topography, floodplains, wetlands, and habitat corridors.

·         Incorporate energy efficiencies.

            Three sub-districts are authorized:

1.   Mixed Use – Core.  This sub-district is intended for areas designed to function as a center and major focal point for a service district, as specifically designated in the Comprehensive Plan.   A core is a neighborhood or series of neighborhoods focused around a concentration of active store-front style commercial uses to include retail, restaurants and services as well as a broad range of office and employment and other commercial uses, and would function as the gathering place for the community, including the opportunity for outdoor community events.  Multi-family and attached housing types as well as group housing are included to help create a vibrant round-the-clock center and to provide a variety of housing needs. 

2.   Mixed Use – General.  This sub-district is intended for areas designated in the Comprehensive Plan for a mix of office, retail and other commercial and/or residential uses.  The sub-district also provides for a mix of uses, but is not intended to serve as the major focus for retail and related services within the Service District. The specific character and types of uses allowed in the Mixed-Use General sub-district must be consistent with that set forth in the Comprehensive Plan for that particular area, with residential uses allowed only to the extent the Comprehensive Plan envisioned residential uses within the area.  It is intended that the pedestrian-oriented character of Core areas be extended into the Mixed Use General Sub-district to create cohesive pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods communities

3    Mixed Use - Residential.  This sub-district is intended for areas within the Service Districts designated for residential development in the Comprehensive Plan.  This sub-district is designed to create promote residential development that is planned to be pedestrian oriented residential neighborhoods focused internally on civic or open spaces and physically integrated with  adjoining or adjacent mixed use development.

The number and combination of sub-districts utilized in a particular project is anticipated to vary depending on the size and location of the project relative to the goals of the Comprehensive Plan.   While it is desirable that areas designated for mixed use in the County’s Comprehensive Plan be developed in an overall coordinated fashion, it is recognized that smaller areas of a Service District may develop individually at different times in response to market conditions and owner needs.  Therefore, these regulations are intended to permit significant flexibility from project to project, allowing the applicant and the County to consider the broader contribution to mixed use development existing and anticipated throughout a Service District.  The specific parameters for a particular development shall be set forth in a Code of Development for the project, consistent with Section 4-923, to be approved in conjunction with the rezoning.

 

 

4-902               Location of District

The language below would allow the Board to limit use of the district to certain Service Districts, in keeping with some discussion that the District may not be appropriate for New Baltimore.  Any Service District where the Board would like to allow use of the MU District would require a Comprehensive Plan amendment specifically authorizing the MU District’s use.  

The MU District shall only be authorized within Service Districts where the comprehensive plan specifically provides for the use of the MU Special District in the text of the plan and then shall be limited to portions of the Service Districts designated for sewer capacity in the Comprehensive Plan, with the following limitations on sub-districts:

1.   Mixed Use - Core: Shall only be authorized in areas designated to be a focal point of development and activity for the broader Service District which already have or can readily accommodate a transportation plan conducive with the Comprehensive Plan and the needs of the Service District.

2.   Mixed Use - General:  Shall only be authorized in areas designated to be developed in a mix of uses in the Comprehensive Plan, and must not conflict with nor override the transportation plan for the service district and the region.

3.   Mixed Use – Residential: Shall only be authorized for areas designated for residential development in the Comprehensive Plan and must not conflict with nor override the transportation plan for the service district and the region.

Staff has deleted the references to transportation improvements in the above section because this section is intended to summarize the appropriate location of each sub-district, rather than address transportation issues.  The point that development cannot occur unless adequate transportation facilities are provided is an important one, but it is addressed at other places in the regulations, through the requirement for a traffic analysis (Section 4-921.4) and a standard requiring adequate transportation facilities be in place for any development approved (Section 4-918.15).

4-903               Size of District

No minimum acreage requirement is established.  In order to be walkable, a MU-Core sub-district should concentrate retail and other active uses within roughly one-quarter mile neighborhoods, with larger cores designed to be a connected cluster of such neighborhoods. concentrations. A MU-General sub-district should create its own focal point for the sub-district by concentrating any active commercial uses within a walkable distance.

4-904               Uses

The table below lists potential uses allowed within the MU district, by sub-district.   The Code of Development approved in conjunction with a MU rezoning (see Section 4-923) shall further define and limit the particular uses for any proposed development.  In no case shall a Code of Development for a project authorize any uses which are in conflict with the specific Comprehensive Plan provisions for a Service District.  

Permitted uses (P) are allowed by-right within the MU district unless specifically excluded by the approved Code of Development for the project. 

Special Permit (SP) and Special Exception (SE) uses may be:

1.         approved as part of the initial MU District rezoning pursuant to the procedures in Section 4-923 and the Standards set forth in this Mixed Use District and Article 5; or

2.         approved as an amendment to the MU District rezoning by approval of a Special Exception by the Board of Supervisors pursuant to the procedures in Section 4-923 and the Standards set forth in this Mixed Use District and Article 5;

3.         added to the proposed development after approval of the MU District with approval of a Special Permit or Special Exception pursuant to the Provisions set forth in Article 5. 

Staff is proposing a number of changes to the use table, below.  First, live-work townhouses, multi-family units and small assisted living facilities are added as uses in the MU-Residential sub-districts.  Broadening the types of residential units that may be allowed in each area facilitates achieving  the variety of housing and types this ordinance seeks to promote.   These uses would only be allowed in the Residential sub-district if they were specifically approved by the Board during the rezoning or added later by the Board, through a special exception.

 

Use Category

Use

MU –

Core

MU -General

MU –

Residential

Residential

Household Living

 

 

 

     Single Family Detached

 

P

P

     Duplex

 

P

SE

     Triplex

SE

P

SE

     Quadriplex

SE

P

SE

     Townhouse

SE

P

SE

     Live-Work Townhouse

P

P

SE

     Multi-Family 

P

SE

SE

Group Living

 

 

 

     Assisted Living, Nursing Home, up to

          25 beds

P

P

SE

     Assisted Living, Nursing Home, over

          25 beds

SE

SE

 

     Transitional Family Housing

SE

SE

 

Temporary Housing

B&B, Inn 1 to 12 rooms

P

P

SP

Hotel, B&B, Etc.  13-100 rooms

P

SE

 

Hotel, B&B, Etc. over 100 rooms

SE

SE

 

 Second,  Place of Worship has been changed from Special Exception  to Special Permit, as this use is a special permit use in all other districts in the County.   In any case, church uses could be approved by the Board with the rezoning, removing the need for a subsequent SP or SE approval.  Additional public/civic uses, to include government offices, museums and other cultural buildings and public safety facilities have also been added to the MU-Residential sub-district.   Each of these uses might be appropriate within a predominately residential neighborhood. 

Public, Civic and Institutional Uses

Place of Worship

P

P

SESP

Community Centers, Meeting Rooms

P

P

SP

Day Care, child or elder

P

P

SP

Schools, including pre-, primary, middle, and high schools, public or private

P

P

SE

College, University

P

P

 

Medical Care Facilities, Hospital

P

P

 

Government Offices, including Post Office

P

P

SE

Museums and similar cultural buildings

P

P

SE

Public Safety Facilities

P

P

SE

Public Parks & Recreation Facilities

P

P

P

Recycling Containers, Governmental

SP

SP

 

 Staff has proposed two key changes related to commercial uses.  First, a new category of very small active commercial uses has been created (5,000 square feet or less) so that such small commercial uses can be planned within the MU-Residential District.  This change would allow a corner store or dry-cleaners, etc., located within a residential neighborhood.  The Planning Commission had discussed allowing small amounts of commercial uses into the predominately residential neighborhoods but had not ultimately made the change.   The second change staff has made to the commercial use regulations is to clarify that the size limits refer to both the size of an individual building as well as an individual establishment. 

Active Commercial Uses

Commercial Retail; Restaurants; Personal Services; Banks; Gyms and Health Clubs; Business Services; Artist & Artisan shops with Gallery/Sales; and Commercial Recreation, including Theaters

 

 

 

     Establishment/building up to 5,000 sq. ft.

P

P

P

     Establishment/building 5,001 up to 20,000 sq.

     ft.

P

P

 

     Establishment/building 20,001 to 50,000 sq. ft.

P

SE

 

     Establishment/building over 50,000 sq. ft.

SE

SE

 

     Drive-Through Facility

SE

SE

 

     Events

SP

SP

 

Other Commercial Uses

Financial Offices; Office Uses, including Medical and Financial Offices;  Laboratories, Light Manufacturing, Assembly, Research & Development within Closed Buildings; Artist & Artisan workshops without Sales; Technical Schools.

 

 

 

     Establishment/building up to 20,000 sq. ft.

P

P

 

     Establishment/building 20,001 to 50,000 sq. ft.

P

SE

 

     Establishment/building over 50,000 sq. ft.

SE

SE

 

     Drive-Through Facility

SP

SE

 

     Outdoor Storage

SE

SE

 

Car Wash; Gasoline Station; Repair Garage

SE

SE

 

Utilities

Public and Private Utilities, Including Water, Sewer, and Telecommunications Towers

SE

SE

SE

 

Notwithstanding the limitations of Section 2-302.1 of this Ordinance, the Zoning Administrator shall have the authority to determine that a use not listed above is sufficiently similar in character and impact to a use listed above and therefore allowed subject to the same limitations for the similar use.   

4-905               Accessory Uses

The provisions of Articles 5 and 6, to include all Home Occupation provisions, shall govern accessory uses within the MU district except where any specific provision of Article 5 and 6 conflicts with a specific requirement of the MU District, the MU District requirement shall govern.

1.   The family dwelling and efficiency apartments authorized in Article 5 and 6 shall not be allowed within the MU district; however, any single family dwelling may have an accessory dwelling unit with approval of an administrative permit showing compliance with the following standards:

     

A.  Maximum unit size is 800 square feet.

B.  Such unit may be located within the principal dwelling or may be incorporated into an accessory structure such as a garage.

  

C.  The unit shall be designed in an integrated fashion with the principal dwelling and/or its accessory structure so that its presence is not visually obtrusive.

D.  No additional parking is required.

 4-906              Mix of Uses Required

While the use table in Section 4-904, above, lists all the possible uses in each district, this section establishes requirements to provide a certain minimum or maximum of each category of those uses, in order to promote a true mix of uses in each area.  Staff has suggested some significant changes to the required mix regulations.  First, in the Mixed Use Core, the Planning Commission had recommended that Active Commercial uses be required for 90% of all ground floor space in the Core.  The goal was to concentrate these active uses in this area in order to create vibrant, pedestrian-oriented commercial areas.  Staff agrees that a concentration of such uses is critical to the success of the Core area, but is concerned that the 90% requirement may be too restrictive, not allowing the flexibility in the market to develop in a viable way.  Staff is recommending that the percentage be dropped to 75% and that it be applied to only the major pedestrian-oriented commercial streets, as identified in the Concept Development Plan for the rezoning. The remainder of ground-floor uses could be a mix of non-active commercial uses, public uses and/or residential uses.   This approach increases the likelihood that key streets will be able to be developed in a true pedestrian-oriented fashion in exchange for allowing other designated streets to be less pedestrian oriented.  Under the staff-recommended changes, the “non-key” street would have complete flexibility at the ground level to be any use, so long as the ground floor residential in the project does not exceed 20%.  The limit to 20% of ground floor residential in this district is in recognition that core areas are not intended to be substantial residential neighborhoods.  Residential units over commercial uses are appropriate to create round-the-clock activity.  The Planning Commission had recommended a minimum requirement of 50% residential for upper-story uses for that very reason; the staff proposal does not limit the upper story residential uses but also does not require them, providing significantly more flexibility to allow the development to respond to market demands.

1.      The following guidelines shall apply to Sub-districts, with the percentages based on the proportion of gross floor area: 

A.

Mixed Use – Core:  

Active Commercial Uses: At least 75% of the ground floor space located along the key commercial pedestrian streets, as identified in the Plan of Development shall be Active Commercial Uses, as set forth in 4-904.  At least 90% of ground floor space (lobbies, entrances, etc. to upper story residential uses shall be allowed and shall not be counted toward the 10% non-active uses provided they do not occupy more than 25% of the street frontage of any building

Residential:  Must be provided, but cannot be more than 20% of ground floor space. at least 50% of non-ground floor space 

Public, Civic, Institutional: At least 5% of total floor space

 

The language proposed by the Planning Commission for the Mixed Use General Core sought to allow complete flexibility in the mix of uses depending on the particular Comprehensive Plan vision for the area.  The Planning Commission language also sought to assure that these areas had a lesser concentration of active uses relative to core areas, in recognition that concentration of retail uses is important for their viability and the viability of core areas.  Staff agrees with both goals, but has proposed some alternative language to provide additional guidance beyond that in the Comprehensive Plan. 

B. 

Mixed Use – General: 

Other Commercial Uses: At least 50% of all floor space.

Residential: Shall only be allowed at locations The mix of uses shall reflect the particular types of uses specifically envisioned for the area within the Comprehensive Plan.  No single family residential units shall be allowed except where specifically envisioned authorized by the Comprehensive Plan.  The extent of active commercial uses shall be determined on a case-by-case basis based on the Comprehensive Plan, a demonstration by the applicant that the active commercial uses proposed in the core will not undermine development of the Core area, and the amount needed to create a secondary focal point within the mixed use area.  In no event shall more than 50% of the total square footage in the General sub-district be residential.

Public, Civic, Institutional: At least 5% of total floor space.

 

C.

Mixed Use – Residential:

Residential: Multiple residential types required.

Public, Civic, Institutional:  At least 5% of total floor space.

In addition to Residential Uses, shall also provide Temporary Housing Use and/or Public, Civic and Institutional use.

 

2.   Each project shall have at least two housing types.  Each of the housing types listed in 4-904 under Residential Uses, including those under Household Living and under Group Living, shall be considered different housing types.

                       

23. The Board of Supervisors may waive or modify the requirements of 1 and 2 above where such a waiver would not conflict with the adopted Comprehensive Plan for the area and where at least one of the following criteria is met:

A.  the required mix of uses is not physically achievable on an individual site because of the size or other physical characteristics of the site;

B.  where the broader mix of uses in the immediate area compensates for providing the mix within a particular project;

C.  where the County’s Comprehensive Plan specifically envisions a different mix of uses; or

D.  where a different mix of uses would contribute clearly to a specific County goal or policy.

4-907               Use Limitations

1.   Unless otherwise specified under the provisions for the MU District, all uses shall conform to the general and specific use limitations and performance standards of Article 2 (General Requirements), Article 5 (Administrative Permits, Special Permits, Special Exceptions), Article 7 (Off-Street Parking and Loading, Streets, Water and Sewer, Tree Canopy, Landscape and Buffer Requirements), Article 8 (Signs), Article 9 (Performance Standards), Article 10 (Non-conformities); Article 11 (Telecommunications Ordinance).

2.   All non-residential uses and multifamily uses shall require site plan approval pursuant to the provisions of Article 12. 

3.   All uses in the MU-Core sub-district must be conducted within completely enclosed buildings unless otherwise expressly authorized in the rezoning approval.  This requirement does not apply to off-street parking or loading areas, automated teller machines, drive-throughs, outdoor seating areas, car washes, recycling containers, utilities, or events, or accessory and temporary retail displays and sales, such as sidewalk sales, street vendors, temporary markets, etc.

4.   No individual lots or uses shall have driveway access to an arterial or major collector road. 

5.   All new utility lines shall be placed underground.  Existing lines shall be placed underground at the discretion of the Board.

4-908               Residential Density

1.   Residential densities shall be consistent with the following limitations, in addition to any specific limitations set forth in the County’s Comprehensive Plan:

A.  Mixed Use – Core: No limit on the number of units that may be requested, provided all other standards of this MU District are met.

B.  Mixed Use – General:  No limit on the number of units that can be requested as Live/Work units or in buildings with ground floor commercial, provided all other standards of this MU district are met.  Maximum starting density for other residential units is the midpoint bottom of the range specified in the Comprehensive Plan for the area or adjoining areas, with additional density achievable through use of the bonus provisions of this Section.

C.  Mixed Use – Residential:  Maximum starting density for residential units is the midpoint bottom of the range specified in the Comprehensive Plan for the area, with additional density achievable through use of the bonus provisions of this Section.

The issue of appropriate residential density was a significant one for the Planning Commission and the public.  In the end, the Planning Commission recommended that residential densities for units other than those over commercial uses be held to the minimums in the Comprehensive Plan, with increases to the higher end of the ranges allowed as a bonus for transfer of development rights or affordable housing, as generally called for in the Comprehensive Plan. 

Staff  agrees that it is critical for the densities to remain consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.  However, the Comprehensive Plan envisioned bonuses for traditional forms of development, and this district provides for that form.  Therefore, staff believes that the Board should consider allowing the starting density for applicants choosing to utilize the MU district to be something more than the absolute low end of the range envisioned by the Comprehensive Plan as an incentive to do this form of development. The language proposed here would start an applicant at the mid-point of the range.  The remainder of the available density in the range would still need to be earned utilizing transfer of development rights and affordable housing.

   

2.   Increases in residential densities above those established above are strongly the minimums specified in the Comprehensive Plan encouraged in order to help focus residential growth in the Service Districts.  Such density increases shall be allowed consistent with the policies set forth in the Comprehensive Plan, to include bonuses for transfer of development rights and provision of affordable housing.  

3.   Accessory dwellings authorized pursuant to the provisions of Section 4-905 shall not be counted toward residential density.

     

4-909               Lot Requirements

1.   Lot Size:          To be determined by approval of a Code of Development.             

2.   Lot Width:      To be determined by approval of a Code of Development.

3.   Frontage:         To be determined by approval of a Code of Development.

4.   Front Setbacks:  The entire Buildings façade must abut front property lines or be located within 10-20 feet of such property lines, except: 

A.    A portion of the building may be set back further than 10-20 feet to provide an articulated façade, to accommodate a building entrance feature, to accommodate additional landscaping or other streetscape elements, or to create wider sidewalks or an outdoor seating area.

B.     Single Family Residential units may be set back 10-20 feet from the property line. 

CB.More substantial setbacks may be required along arterials or other major streets where the goal of the County is to screen development. Along Major Collectors and Arterials and along other existing streets adjoining existing rural and residential properties, the setback should be a minimum of 50 feet from the property line.

The issue of how certain key streets in Service Districts will be treated is still debated by the Board, with the key example being Route 17 through Bealeton.  If the Board decides that Route 17 should be developed with a main street character, then substantial building setbacks are not necessary along such streets.  However, if the Board ultimately decides that certain streets are to remain more rural in character, with development occurring on parallel streets, then larger setbacks with more screening may be appropriate to all provide buffering and filtered views of the development.  Staff has reworded this requirement for setbacks to allow the decisions about the character of key streets to be made on a case-by-case basis as part of Comprehensive Plan updates or Rezoning applications.

DC.These setbacks may be modified or additional setbacks may be imposed by the Board in approving a MU General Development Plan.

5.   Side and Rear Setbacks.  No minimum side or rear setbacks are required in the MU district except:

A.  Where a MU lot abuts a residential or rural zoning district, a setback requirement of the abutting district shall be provided, or 10 feet, whichever is greater.

B.  Single family detached lots shall provide a minimum 5’ side and rear setbacks.

C.  Duplex and townhouse lots shall provide a minimum 5’ side setback on end units and a minimum 5’ rear setback on all units.

D.  These setbacks may be modified or additional setbacks may be imposed by the Board in approving a MU General Development Plan.

6. A Variety of Lot Sizes, Widths and Spacing between units shall be provided within blocks along individual streets; mechanisms for assuring this variety shall be included in the Code of Development

4-910               Height Requirements           

1.   Primary structures other than single family homes shall be a minimum of two stories unless lower heights are expressly authorized by the Code of Development.

2.   The maximum building height shall be:

-     four (4) stories and 55 feet for non-residential buildings and mixed commercial/residential buildings; and

-     three and one-half (3 ½ ) stories and 40 35 feet for residential buildings.

      Additional height may be approved for specific buildings or areas by the Board in conjunction with the Code of Development for the rezoning in order to create focal points, help provide variety in massing or to otherwise further an urban design goal.

3.   A variety of heights shall be provided within blocks along individual streets.

4-911               Building Requirements 

1.   MU Core: Floor to Floor Heights:  Minimum thirteen twelve (1312) feet for all floor space (12 feet clear) provided on the ground floor of a commercial or mixed use building. 

2.   MU Core: Transparency:  Along key commercial pedestrian-oriented streets, as identified in the Plan of Development, street-facing building facades between two (2) feet and ten (10) feet in height shall be comprised of minimum 60 percent clear windows that allow views of indoors.  The bottom of any windows used to satisfy the transparency standard may not be more than three (3) feet above the adjacent sidewalk.   

3.   Doors and Entrances:  Ground floor uses Buildings must have a primary entrance door facing the street public sidewalk, except in the Mixed Use Residential sub-district residential units may be approved having a primary entrance on an alley, trail, private street or driveway.

4.   Building Variety:  Monotony shall be avoided through the use of a variety of building styles, floor plans, widths, mass, roof types, heights and slopes, entry details, height, trim detailing, porches, fenestration, materials and color. 

5.   De-emphasized Garages:  Residential units shall be designed so that garages do not dominate the street.  Garages rear-loading from alleys are preferred.  Front-loading garages may only be approved where they are recessed a minimum of 10 feet behind the main building façade. Side loaded garages shall be allowed provided the garage mass is no closer to the street than the remainder of the unit.

6.   Traditional Design Elements: 

A.  Materials shall be utilized consistently on all facades of a building, with variations in materials occurring only on stories, projections, etc.; no false masonry fronts.  Trim details shall also be consistent on all facades.

B.  Windows shall be proportionate to the size of the façade and related to the form of the building, rather than randomly located per internal functions.

C.  Roof overhangs shall be a minimum of one foot on single family homes.

4-912               Open Space, Sidewalks and Trails

Open space, sidewalks and trails shall be treated as an integral component of the development design.  Small parks should be provided throughout the development within walking distance of all residents.  In core areas, small open spaces such as plazas or courtyards shall be provided at appropriate locations to provide a focal point for the community and serve as gathering spaces.  Larger developments should provide for active recreational opportunities for residents. Floodplains, wetlands and steep slopes shall be preserved and protected.   The open spaces within the development should be utilized as an organizing feature and focal point for each neighborhood, and should form a network connected by sidewalks or trails, and connected to other open spaces. 

1.   Open Space

A.  For the Core and General Sub-districts, the area devoted to usable open space within each sub-district shall be no less than 10% of the gross site acreage of the sub-district, with all open spaces connected by sidewalks or trails.

B.  For the Residential Sub-districts, the area devoted to usable open space shall be no less than 20% of the gross site acreage of the sub-district.  Residential neighborhoods shall be defined within the sub-district, each including and focused on at least one open space, and with all open spaces connected by sidewalks or trails.   At least half of the open space shall be suitable for active recreation use and shall be designed accordingly, with appropriate facilities provided in conjunction with the development.  Examples of active recreation facilities include tot lots, play fields, pools, etc.

C.  Rules for Calculating and Qualifying Open Space in the MU District:

i.    The connecting sidewalks and trails shall not be counted toward the open space requirement; except that where such trails or sidewalks continue through open spaces, that portion of the trail or sidewalk within the open space may be counted as open space.

ii.   No open space shall be less than 50 feet by 50 feet in dimensions, and no except that a smaller space may be counted toward usable open space except where the applicant demonstrates as part of the concept plan approval how the smaller space is a deliberately planned integral part of the development functioning as open space.

iii.  Utility easements and stormwater management facilities shall not count toward meeting the open space requirement, unless such facilities are underground and the space above is fully usable, or the facilities are designed and integrated as usable parts of an open space feature. 

                              2.    Sidewalks and Trails

A.  Sidewalks shall be provided on both sides of all streets.  Minimum sidewalk widths shall be 54 feet, except along major commercial and other key pedestrian oriented streets, where the minimum width shall be 10 feet.  Where specific gathering places are located, such as restaurants where outdoor dining is desirable, opportunities for farm markets, places for seasonal kiosks or pergolas, wider sidewalks are strongly encouraged in Mixed Use areas adjacent to active uses to provide space for outdoor dining and activities.

B.  Trails shall be provided in a general location and manner as shown in the County’s Comprehensive Plan or Connections Plan.

C.  Pedestrian connections shall be provided through parking lots to buildings.

 

4-913               Streets and Alleys

      A transportation plan that is conducive to and supports Service District Transportation Plans as specified in the Comprehensive Plan shall be submitted as part of the MU rezoning process.  Entrance and egress points of a Core or MU-General development should occur at numerous locations to permit vehicular and pedestrian traffic to access the development “town center” from a wide area and adjacent collector and arterial roads.  Streets shall be designed to consider their influence on the pedestrian character of the neighborhood as well as their carrying capacity.  Streets are to be planned using a grid pattern or loose network forming blocks.  Mid-block pathways or alleys should be used when appropriate to allow pedestrians to walk through the long side of each block.  Street trees shall be provided within adequate planting strips between the sidewalk and the pavement on both sides wherever possible of every street.  Future public transit should be considered in street design.  On-street parking shall be provided on all streets.  The street layout shall be based on a hierarchical system.  The plan, through its design, should seek to minimize vehicular speed and short cutting while making walking, cycling and future public transit safer, easier and more pleasant.  Alleys shall be used wherever possible in order to place garages and utilities at the rear of lots so that the streetscape is maintained with house fronts and not dominated by garage doors and utility structures.       

4-914               Landscaping & Buffering Requirements                       

1.   The plan for development shall seek to incorporate into the site design significant existing stands of trees and individual trees on the property as part of the landscape plan.

2.   Tree Canopy:  At least ten percent tree canopy shall be provided within the MU district, as calculated pursuant to Section 7-600.

3.   Street Trees.

A.  Street Trees shall be provided along all existing and proposed streets in the development. 

B.  Street Trees shall be large shade trees a minimum 2 ½ inch caliper at planting. 

C.  Street Trees shall be planted in an even row adjacent to or within the right-of-way no less than 30 to 40 feet on center. Where necessary, spacing allowances may be made to accommodate infrastructure elements.

D.  Street Trees located outside of a public right-of-way shall be protected through an open space or easement arrangement and shall be maintained by a property owner’s association.

4.   Parking Lot Landscaping:  

A.  An area equal to no less than five percent of the paved parking and vehicular circulation area shall be landscaped with trees or shrubs.  This shall include a minimum of one (1) large shade tree per ten parking spaces or portion thereof.  Interior landscaping shall be located in reasonably dispersed planting islands or perimeter areas.  Shrub plantings adjacent to a building shall not be counted as parking lot landscaping.

B.  Where a parking lot is located such that the parked cars will be visible from the street or a single family residential area, then additional landscaping of low shrubs shall be required to screen the parking lot.  Shrubs shall be located at the perimeter of the parking area and planted in a single row five (5) feet on center.  Alternate methods of landscaping designed to minimize the visual impact of the parking lot may be approved by the County as part of the rezoning approval.  The screening requirement may also be waived as part of the rezoning approval for small parking areas serving 6 or fewer spaces.

Staff has received feedback from developers that the screening requirements set forth were overly rigid, potentially requiring additional screening and buffering where existing buffers existed, and also precluding opportunities to integrate new neighborhoods with existing ones, where such integration might be appropriate.  Staff has proposed changes to the screening requirements to address these issues.  The revised language clarifies that such buffers are most critical at the edges of the service districts and that there is flexibility in requirements where new development adjoins existing buffers or may be integrated into existing development.   This section has also been amended to address the issue of how certain key streets in Service Districts will be treated, as previously discussed in the Section under setbacks.  

5.   Buffering and Screening

A.  A minimum 50 foot wide off-lot landscaped buffer shall be provided between proposed MU development and any property located outside of the Service District. zoned RA/RC which is not planned for redevelopment in the Comprehensive Plan.  In lieu of the 50 foot landscaped buffer, other elements such as larger lots, topography and existing tree lines may be utilized where such alternatives are approved as part of the Concept Development Plan approval.

B.  Where existing agricultural or residential uses adjoining the proposed mixed use development within the Service District the need for buffers and screening shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as part of the Concept Development Plan approval.  While the overall goal is to knit new and existing neighborhoods within the Service District together, buffers may be required as part of the approval where incompatible uses adjoin or other issues identified by the Board in the review of the plan support the need for such buffers. which are not planned for redevelopment in the Comprehensive Plan shall be provided a minimum 50 foot wide landscape buffer for screening.  Any such existing use planned for redevelopment shall be provided a 10 foot wide landscape buffer for screening.

C.  A minimum 50 foot buffer to include a berm and landscaping shall be provided between single family and townhouse residential development and any major collector or arterial.

D.  For major arterials or other streets not planned to have development facing the street, a minimum 50 foot buffer to include significant landscaping shall be provided between all other the development and such streets. any major collector or arterial. The intention is not to completely block commercial development from view, but to maintain the existing rural character of the street arterials by filtering views of commercial development.  Where the size of existing parcels does not allow the provision of the 50 foot buffer without major impact to redevelopment, the size of the buffer may be reduced in conjunction with the rezoning approval. The determination as to which streets shall require such buffering shall be established through the rezoning process based on guidance from the Comprehensive Plan.

E.   All loading and utility areas shall be screened from view of the street and from view of residential uses neighborhoods.

4-915               Parking and Loading

1.   Parking requirements for non-residential uses shall be based on the requirements of Article 7, provided however that an automatic 20 percent reduction in parking is authorized within the Mixed Use Core and General areas pursuant to Section 7-102.4.  Shared parking is strongly encouraged where appropriate, and additional reductions in parking may be granted pursuant to Section 7-102.18.  Within the MU District, the goal shall be to minimize parking and impervious surfaces.

2.      Notwithstanding the requirements of Article 7, two parking spaces shall be provided for each dwelling unit except that three spaces shall be provided for each Live-Work unit.  On-street parking shall not be counted toward the residential parking requirement but shall be utilized to meet the visitor parking requirement.

The proposed changes to the parking requirements allow more flexibility in the use of on-street parking to meet requirements, based on a parking impact assessment provided as part of the rezoning application.

3.   Notwithstanding the requirements of Article 7, on-street spaces abutting commercial and mixed uses may be counted toward required parking where a parking impact assessment submitted by the applicant in conjunction with the rezoning application demonstrates that the overall mix of on and off street parking planned will adequately meet the parking requirements of the proposed uses.

4.   Off-street parking and loading shall be located to the rear of the principal building or otherwise screened so as not to be visible from the public right-of-way or residential zoning districts.

5.   Notwithstanding the requirements of Article 7, loading space requirements may utilize required parking space areas in those cases where it can reasonably be determined that loading activities will not interfere with peak parking demand.

4-916               Lighting                     

All lighting within a MU district shall be designed to be consistent with the human-scaled orientation of the development, oriented toward pedestrians rather than vehicles and promoting a main-street character.  The Code of Development shall incorporate general lighting guidelines for the development which seek to reduce lighting levels below those allowed pursuant to Article 9 of the Zoning Ordinance, further protecting dark-skies and creating mixed use communities with lighting levels appropriate for main-street areas that include residential uses. 

4-917               Signage

Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 8, Signs, an applicant for a MU district shall design a sign package for the proposed development to be approved with the rezoning as part of the Code of Development. Such package shall ensure that signs within the development are of a pedestrian oriented character and scale.  Such sign package must detail the size, height, number, type and character of signs permitted in the district and, once adopted, will regulate all signs within the development in lieu of Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.  An applicant may elect to phase the signage approval by providing only a conceptual signage approach as part of the Code of Development, with separate approval of a specific sign program by the Planning Commission prior to approval of any site plans or construction plans for the project.

4-918               Standards for Approval of an MU District

In addition to the specific requirements of this section and the standards for rezoning for all development contained in Section 13-200, the following standards shall be utilized by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in determining whether to approve the proposed development:

1.   The Board may use its discretion to prioritize mixed-use applications to best support the Comprehensive Plan.  A proposed MU-General development must be demonstrated to not detract or otherwise draw commercial development from a future or existing Core, as designated in the Comprehensive Plan.  Thus, priority may be given to the development of a vital town or village center over, for example, a MU-General development at the edge or out of walking distance to the anticipated focal or town center.

2.   The design of the development is such that it will achieve the stated purpose and intent of the MU District, contributing to the creation of a vibrant mixed use area within the Service District that functions as a center for employment as well as a center of retail, service, entertainment, cultural and civic activities for workers, residents and visitors.

3.   The development is in substantial conformance to the adopted Comprehensive Plan with respect to type, character and intensity of use and public facilities.

4.   The development provides for a mixture of compatible land uses, including a mixture of uses within buildings where appropriate.

5.   The development provides for a mixture of housing types and affordability.  Housing in a range of sizes and styles are integrated throughout the development.  Lower priced units are scattered throughout the neighborhood rather than concentrated in one location.  Opportunities for accessory apartments and live-work units are provided where appropriate.

6.   The development is designed with a pedestrian orientation, with clearly defined continuous sidewalks and paths enhanced by trees, pocket parks, seating and other streetscape elements.  Buildings are located close to the sidewalk with the mix of uses providing for a variety of possible pedestrian destinations within walking distance of each other.   Defined pedestrian connection shall be provided between parking areas and the buildings they serve.

7.   Buildings and spaces within mixed use developments are designed to create neighborhoods that are attractive and inviting.  The elements of building height, setback, yards, architecture and spatial enclosure as established by the Code of Development for the project all contribute to the appearance and function of the development.  

8.   Streets are designed to consider their influence on the character of the neighborhood as well as their carrying capacity.   Street networks provide multiple connections internally and connect through to adjoining properties where appropriate, providing multiple routes to any destination.  Generally, local streets are narrower, minimizing pavement.  Parking is accommodated on the street.  Utilities are provided within the street wherever possible, in order to accommodate a streetscape that includes street trees as well as sidewalks.             

9.   Open space is treated as an integral component of the development design.  Small parks are provided throughout the development within walking distance of all residents.  In core areas, small open spaces such as plazas or courtyards are provided at appropriate locations to provide a focal point for the community and to serve as gathering places.  Larger developments provide for active recreational opportunities for residents. Natural and environmentally sensitive areas are preserved and protected.   The open spaces within the development are connected by sidewalks or trails, and connected to other open spaces. 

10. The development minimizes the amount of parking provided, maximizing opportunities for on-street parking and shared parking.  Parking for commercial uses are located to the rear and side of buildings and dispersed in smaller lots where possible, so that it does not dominate the street. In residential areas, garages are predominately located to the rear, with alley access, returning the street to the pedestrian.  Where garages are fronting on streets rather than alleys, they are designed such that they are not a prominent feature of the street, with side-loading doors and greater setbacks than the remainder of the house.

11. Lighting is consistent with the human-scale orientation of the development, oriented toward pedestrians and minimizing impacts on dark-skies.

12. The proposed sign package is consistent with the human-scale orientation of the development, oriented toward pedestrians rather than vehicles and promoting a main street character.

13. The development efficiently utilizes the available land and protects and preserves floodplains, wetlands and steep slopes.

14. The proposed development provides for a reasonable and sustainable transition to adjoining development, with open space, landscaping and/or larger lots utilized to provide buffers where appropriate.  The development is designed to prevent substantial injury to the use and value of existing surrounding development, and shall not hinder, deter or impede use of surrounding properties in accordance with the adopted Comprehensive Plan.

15. The development shall be located in an area in which transportation, police and fire protection, other public facilities and utilities, including water and sewer, are or will be available and adequate for the uses proposed; provided, however, that the applicant shall make provision for such facilities or utilities which are planned but not presently available.

4-919               Process for Rezoning to the MU District

Rezoning to the MU district shall be established by amending the Zoning Map of Fauquier County.  The procedures and application requirements for such an amendment shall be generally as set forth in Section 13-200 of this Ordinance except as otherwise specifically provided in this Section.  In the event of conflict between the provisions of Section 13-200, the provisions of this Section shall prevail.

4-920               Pre-Application Conference

Applicants for rezoning to the MU shall meet with Department of Community Development staff and other appropriate review agencies to review the proposed development plan prior to formal submittal. 

4-921               Submission Requirements for Rezoning to the MU District

All applications for rezoning to the MU District shall include the information listed below.  These submission requirements shall be in lieu of those listed in Section 13-202(C).

1.   A completed land development application form, signed by the property owners and applicants (10 copies).

2.   A filing fee in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by the Board.

3.   A conflict of interest statement as set forth in Section 13-203.

4.   A traffic impact study.

5.   A parking impact study.

6.   A regional context map at a scale not less than one (1) inch equals one thousand (1000) feet showing topography at a maximum of ten (10) foot intervals, surrounding properties, improvements to those properties, and surrounding public and private streets (10 copies).

7.   An existing conditions plan meeting the requirements of Section 4-922 (10 copies).

8.   A statement of justification describing how the proposed development satisfies the intent of the MU district, is consistent with the goals and objectives of the comprehensive plan, meets the requirements of the MU district and meets each of the specific standards set forth in Section 4-917.    Where the applicant is requesting a waiver of any provision as authorized by this Part, the applicant shall specifically justify why the desired characteristic cannot or should not be provided (10 copies).

9.   A General Development Plan meeting the requirements of Section 4-923 (10 copies).

10. A Code of Development meeting the requirements of Section 4-924 (10 copies).

4-922               Existing Conditions Plan

The existing conditions plan shall provide the following information:

1.   An accurate boundary survey of the tract proposed for development, showing the location and type of boundary evidence;

2.   Zoning of the tract and adjoining parcels, including zoning district boundaries;

3.   The following existing physical conditions: streams, wooded areas, potential wetlands, slopes in excess of twenty-five percent, historic structures and sites included in the records of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and floodplain;

4.   Existing topography accurately shown with a maximum of five (5) two (2) foot contour intervals at a scale of not less than one (1) inch equal to one hundred (100) feet; other interval and/or scale may be required or permitted by the Director where topographic considerations warrant;

5.   Existing roads, easements and utilities within and adjoining the property, to include the names and route numbers of all streets and the widths of all streets and easements;

6.   The existing location, type and size of ingress and egress to the site;

7.   Existing uses, buildings and structures on the tracts and on adjoining parcels, if any;

8.   Existing owners of tract and adjoining parcels.

9.   Seal and signature of person preparing the plat.

4-923               General Development Plan

The General Development Plan shall provide the following information:

1.      Wetlands, floodplain, streams, and other significant environmental features, and historic resources and elements proposed to be preserved;

2.      Proposed grading/topography with a maximum of two (2) five (5) foot contours;

3.      The A general street, block and open space layouts, including: location of

A.  proposed streets, alleys, sidewalks and pedestrian paths,

B.  connections to existing and proposed streets adjoining the development property, including streets proposed in the County’s Comprehensive Plan,

C delineation of key pedestrian streets 5 ;

D.  size, location, and character and connections between of proposed open spaces;

4.6.The general layout for the water and sewer systems, and a conceptual storm-water management plan;

7.   The general lot layout;

5.8. A conceptual landscaping/buffering plan.

6.   The location and boundaries of each proposed sub-district and the neighborhoods comprising each sub-district; classifications for each portion of the project,

7.   Summary of development by sub-district, neighborhood and blocks; the mix of land uses proposed in each Sub-district and block, with residential lot sizes and types specified.  The gross residential density shall be calculated and presented for the entire District and each Sub-District and shall be consistent with the limitations of Sections 4-905 and 4-906  The amount of gross square feet of non-residential development shall be delineated for the entire district and for each sub-district.  Square footage may be expressed as a proposed range of square footage.

8.11.The location of key features or major elements within the development essential to the design of the development, such as key uses and civic buildings, etc.

4-924               Code of Development

The Code of Development shall establish the specific regulations for the proposed development.  The Code shall provide a flexible range of uses and densities within the MU development, while establishing limitations within blocks or sub-areas and providing certainty in location and design of key features of the development.  The Code shall assure build-out in conformance with the standards for the MU district by establishing unifying design guidelines.  The Code shall further establish the process whereby the applicant shall assure development occurs in conformance with the Code, and provisions for the ownership, operation and management of all common open space and facilities.  To satisfy these requirements, the Code of Development shall include:

1.   A table of uses permitted in the district by-right, by special permit and by special exception, subject to the overall limits established in Section 4-904, and any requirements and restrictions associated with each use.  Specific special permit and special exception uses may only be approved as part of the rezoning if the scale, character and location of such uses are specifically identified and requested with the rezoning.  Otherwise, the Code of Development may only authorize such uses subject to future approval of a special permit or special exception.

2.   A summary of land uses proposed in each Sub-district and block (consistent with the mixed use requirements of Section 4-904 and 4-906).  Residential lot sizes and types shall be specified, as well as other key uses for each Sub-district and Block.    

3.   Design guidelines establishing lot sizes, build-to-lines and heights for each block within each sub-district consistent with the Lot Requirements in Section 4-909 and Height Requirements in Section 4-910.

4.   Architectural standards that will apply to the development to address the Building Requirements set forth in Section 4-911.

5.   Design requirements for open spaces, including specific character and facilities for key open spaces;

6.   Design requirements for streets, sidewalks and trails, including typical cross-sections to show dimensions, proportions and streetscape;

7.   Landscape standards that will apply to the development to address the Landscaping and Buffering Requirements set forth in Section 4-914.

8.   Proposed signage standards for the MU District, if alternative signage to Article 8 is proposed.

9.   The mechanism whereby the developer will implement and enforce the Code of Development.

10. The proposed phasing and sequence of the General Development Plan.

4-925               Validity of the Approved General Development Plan

The approved plan shall specify the period of time for which the Plan shall remain valid and what actions must be performed and in what manner in order to continue or extend the period of validity. Upon expiration of any plan no development may occur until the plan is reapproved by the Board of Supervisors in accordance with the provisions of Section 13-200.

4-926               Deviations from the General Development Plan and Code of Development

Development of the MU district shall be in substantial conformance with the General Development Plan and Code of Development.  Minor deviations may be permitted when the Director determines that such are necessary due to the requirements of topography, drainage, structural safety or vehicular circulations and such deviations will not materially alter the character of the approved plan, including the proposed development phasing; and will not violate other binding components of the plan, including the requirements of Part 9 and approved proffers.  In no case shall deviations include changes to uses, changes which increase the number of residential units or gross floor area of uses, or changes which decrease open space.  

 

Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Department of Economic Development

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