Board of Supervisors Meeting Date:

Chester W. Stribling, Chairman,
Lee District Supervisor 

November 13, 2008

Staff Lead:


Kimberley Johnson, Zoning Administrator


Community Development



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:

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.


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.


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, and an additional work session and public hearing on October 9, 2008.

Staff has incorporated several additional changes to the proposed text based on feedback received from Board members since the last hearing. 


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

Department of Economic Development

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