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This review draws general conclusions and questions about zoning in the neighborhood LRT station areas. These conclusions do not imply that the zoning of particular parcels should be changed now or in the immediate future. Rather, they serve as a guide for a zoning implementation strategy. They are also open to discussion:

C3S- Community Shopping Center District

The C3S District is generally inconsistent with the principles of TOD. The base district allows automobile services uses, drive-through facilities and new stand-alone fast food restaurants. Further, the size of individual uses is unrestricted and uses are exempt from the Site Plan Review requirement that buildings front the street or street corner.

The provisions of the PO Overlay District address many of the above concerns. It would prohibit drive-through facilities, automobile services uses, and transportation uses. Furthermore, it would require pedestrian-oriented site plans.

C4- General Commercial District

The C4 District is inconsistent with principles of TOD in a number of ways. Like the C3S District, it permits automobile services uses, drive-through facilities, transportation uses, new stand-alone fast food restaurants, and low-density industrial uses like warehousing and storage. Furthermore, like the C3S District, it has no size restriction on individual uses. These provisions are mitigated somewhat by the fact that most parcels with this zoning are small.

The provisions of the PO Overlay District address some of the above concerns by prohibiting drive-through facilities, automobile services uses, and transportation uses.

C2- Neighborhood Corridor Commercial District

The C2 District is inconsistent with the principles of TOD in that it permits new automobile services uses and drive-through facilities. It also allows new single- and two-family residential dwellings, which is inconsistent with the residential density goals of TOD.

The provisions of the PO Overlay District address some of the above concerns by prohibiting drive-through facilities, automobile services uses, and transportation uses.

C1- Neighborhood Corridor Commercial District

The C1 District may be inconsistent with the principles of TOD in that it permits new single- and two-family residential dwellings, in locations where greater density is more appropriate.

C3A-Community Activity Center District

The C3A District is generally consistent with the principles of TOD. Of the commercial districts, it allows the greater residential and commercial density. Further, it prohibits all Automobile Services uses as well as drive-through facilities. As with the C1 District, it places the greatest restriction on the size of individual retail uses.

OR-Office-Residence Districts

Office-Residence Districts are consistent with the principles of TOD, appropriate where a less retail-oriented, but nonetheless mixed-use, environment is planned. These districts provide neighborhood services without attracting a disproportionate share of traffic from outside the immediate area (i.e., it is generally not "destination" retail).

R-Residence Districts

Multiple-Family Residence Districts (R3 through R6) are consistent with the residential density goals of TOD, appropriate where such exclusively residential areas are planned.

I-Industrial Districts/

ILOD-Industrial Living Overlay District

Industrial Districts are not generally consistent with TOD where a mixed-use residential and commercial environment is desired. Nevertheless, uses in established industrial areas provide jobs in close proximity to transit. Master planning for the station areas will determine the appropriateness of certain industrial districts over the long term. The ILOD can be used to encourage the adaptive re-use of outdated space where it is amenable to industrial live/work arrangements or where a market might exist for residential loft conversion13.

PO-Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District

The Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District meets many of the principles of TOD in areas where the City intends to preserve or encourage a pedestrian character. It is generally applied to neighborhood commercial districts where it prohibits drive-through facilities, automobile service uses, and transportation uses. Parking maximums and building placement and facade standards reinforce the pedestrian-oriented, urban street character.

Recent Zoning Code Changes

The Zoning Code did not directly address a number of policy considerations for neighborhood LRT stations. At one end is the prevention of low-density development. At the other end are potential incentives and allowances related to density and parking. These issues have special consideration given the particular use and value associated with light rail transit.

Despite potential restrictions on uses and parking associated with the PO Overlay District, there is potential for an "inefficient" use of a site where there might be market demand for higher density near transit stations. Such can be the case where a retail or food use could be looking for a high traffic location over which they have sole control. A minimum FAR requirement is a technique that a number of communities use to prevent low-density development. Such a technique does not prevent particular uses, but can effectively require larger buildings, smaller sites, and/or multiple stories.

On January 6th, 2005, the City Council adopted amendments to the zoning code related to the PO Overlay District. New provisions apply only to the LRT Station areas. These provisions incorporated a minumum density requirement, increased density bonuses and a bicycle parking requirement.

Appropriate increases in allowable density, based on land use planning, can be accomplished largely through changes in underlying zoning. Nevertheless, City policy supports higher-density development in areas where there are amenities, services and transportation alternatives. Additional density bonuses near LRT stations are tied to meeting certain policy objectives (e.g., underground parking, affordable housing, etc.) rather than outright increases.

The presence of a light rail transit station will not eliminate the need for accessory parking for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. However, there will be increases in pedestrian and bicycle traffic to and from the station. In these areas and along these routes, there may be less need for off-street parking and a greater need for securely storing bicycles, both of which are addressed in the zoning code.

13 Such an approach creates opportunities for adaptive re-use, but does not make existing tenants non-conforming.

Last updated Nov 3, 2011