New Development Codes Coming
Well, it is a new year and with that, change is sure to come. It may be a resolution to be healthier, to work harder, to listen more or to be more productive.
This can apply to our City as well! I foresee 2019 as the year of “getting things done.” We have been talking about a lot of things for a very long time. This will be the year we put these things in motion. Of course, that is not say we have been sitting on our laurels. We have been doing a lot of research and planning. But this seems to be the year that we will be finally implementing all that hard work.
For instance, we are slated to cover the following:
- Approve Land Development Code Changes
- Review Short Term Rental Safety Regulations and Improved Enforcement Plan
- See/Approve Final Plans/Design Review of the Gateway Project
- See A More Refined Plan for City Hall
- Implement the First Year of our Public Art Master Plan
- Create our Ready for 100 Long Term Master Plan (Including other Sustainability Issues)
- Complete our First General Citizen Satisfaction Survey (which will help craft a budget based on your needs)
- Water Plant Revitalization ($25M)
These are just a few of the things that we will be hitting the ground running with this year. Of course, as time goes on, I will keep you updated on this list. But in the meantime, please watch for opportunities to give public input.
For this month, I wanted to cover the proposed Land Development Code Changes that are coming before us soon. These changes are based on what we heard from you at our 2017 Visioning Sessions. We took what you wanted to see through a number of public input sessions, a citizen survey and many emails and conversations - ran it by industry experts and our own Citizen Advisory Board - the Land Planning Agency and created the following proposed changes:
- Reduced Heights in FXM Zoning Districts - Currently, FXM Zoning allows for 3-story allowable heights.FXM is located on most of our main corridors like Patricia, Douglas and SR580.We plan to reduce this to 2-story allowable heights with a caveat that the Commission can approve an extra story, if the development is compatible with the surrounding properties and the corridor it’ is being built on.
- Front Set Back off of the Sidewalk - Currently, a new building must be built right up the property line/sidewalk.We want to change this to a more flexible regulation allowing up to. 17 ft. off the road.This will help alleviate the “canyon” affect, as well as provide a lot more width to the walking and seating space.
- Rear Set-Backs - We have seen where developments along a main corridor build right back to the edge of the property behind it - usually a residential area.We plan on increasing these set-backs to allow for landscaped buffers and less visual intrusion.
- Side Set-Backs - We have also seen where taller developments next to a single story property are right on top of each other.We are creating codes to alleviate this issue as well.
- Allowable Uses in FXM Zoning Districts - We will be removing various uses from FXM Zoning Districts that may adversely affect surrounding neighborhoods.This would include things like Warehouse Discount Stores, Boat and Car Dealers, etc.
- Development in the CRA - Currently, the entire downtown has one zone that allows for the same type of development on both commercial corridors and in neighborhoods.We will be bringing forward regulations that would deter intense development on neighborhood streets.
- Multi-Family Zoning - Currently, this type of zoning is allowable on some of our corridors.In some areas, it backs up to single family homes (some are even historical in nature).We are working on a plan to ensure we do not have this type of intense development in these specific areas.
- Design Review & Architecture - Currently, there is no expiration on a development project design and we have seen where some have come back to finish a project years after they were approved.We are changing the code to ensure that any approvals they receive expire within a year.Additionally, we have created an Architectural Review Committee to ensure that every project has a much better facade that what we have been seeing lately.We will be adopting our original “suggested” Architectural Guidelines (5 styles) as “mandatory.”This will help us get a better product that is compatible with our “village vibe.”
- Downtown Parking Requirements for Development - This has been a hot button issue for some time.We will be requiring that all new built developments provide at least 50% of their required parking and the balance needs to be paid into the parking bank.(Currently, they can pay 100% into the parking bank.)For those projects that are considered redevelopment, where they are taking an existing building/business and creating something new, they still need to pay into the parking bank, but they will be allowed to provide shared parking or off-site valet parking only with a revocable parking agreement and Commission approval.(Currently, approvals are done during the infrastructure phase by staff.)
- LDO (Land Development Ordinance) - Currently, for Downtown properties, we give up to a 50% discount on this impact fee, which helps us obtain green space.We intend to remove this discount and revamp the fees so that all development (both in and out of the downtown) pay a more appropriate fee structure.The changes we are making will allow us to proportionately collect the same amount of money we were collecting prior to the discount implementation a few years ago.
- Public Art Impact Fee - Recently, we approved a fee to be paid by developers to be used for Public Art.Similarly to the LDO fee, they can either pay the fee into the Public Art fund or they can include publically visible art on their development site.This fee encourages better looking development and adds to visible art in our community.
- Sustainability - On top of our encouraged green building, we are adding a financial “solar” incentive to encourage more buildings to develop in an environmentally sustainable way.
- Hotel Development - We want to ask for a “Development Agreement” for all hotels which allows us to ensure a number of things like evacuation plans in case of a storm, as well as provide us with more negotiation options relating to how they fit into the area they are building.
We really took a hard look at everything you have been telling us and are trying to make balanced changes that will keep our community revitalized, while not losing who we are at our core. Many of these changes are coming before us in the next several months - so keep an eye out to see when your voice is needed.