Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: Big box preliminary site plan review

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rosierivets's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Illinoize
    Posts
    240

    Big box preliminary site plan review

    I'm a "new professional" in APA speak, and the only planner on staff for the town I work for. We are doing the dance with a big box store and are having a preliminary staff meeting tomorrow. Because my town is very developer friendly and eager to seal the deal I want to be especially cautious in my site plan review. Does anyone have any pointers? This is the first large scale commercial review project I've been involved with here and I don't want to miss anything obvious but I also want to cover our butts since I'm not so sure anyone else is as concerned with the smaller details as I am. In other words, the market does NOT necessarily dictate that we'll get a top notch product, but we have to!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
    Registered
    May 2002
    Location
    Kzoo
    Posts
    1,085
    Don't let them get away with any outdoor storage that your ordinance doesn't allow. If your BB is a Home Depot or Lowe's, they can be horrible about that. Also, nail them on your landscaping ordinance.

    They should understand that they need permits from whatever transportation agency has jurisdiction for all work done in the ROW, including infrastructure work, but it wouldn't hurt to remind them of that.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Townville
    Posts
    1,047
    whoa. I think your job is to apply the regulations and standards set forth in your ordinances. If this is soley and administrative review, if the bix meets your codes, and you concur, then you have done your job. If outdoor storage is permitted in your juristiction, then so be it. And if "nailing them" means ensuring that they meet the requirements of your landscaping ord, then make surte they do.

  4. #4
    Moderator note:
    Rosie -- I tweaked your thread title a little bit to better reflect the site plan review nature of the topic and bring some more traffic to this thread.


    I think you are right to consider the details of the site plan review in anticipation of plans that will probably have grey areas -- they might meet the code if you look at it this way, or it might not if you look at it another way. I've not ever seen a site plan come through this office that met every requirement of our codes and comp plans from the get go. The best design teams have come close, but there's always something missing or they've mis-applied some development standard. I think, as you get more expereiced applying the codes, you'll be better able to predict where you're likely to have issues with the site plan.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,329
    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    I think you are right to consider the details of the site plan review in anticipation of plans that will probably have grey areas -- they might meet the code if you look at it this way, or it might not if you look at it another way. I've not ever seen a site plan come through this office that met every requirement of our codes and comp plans from the get go. The best design teams have come close, but there's always something missing or they've mis-applied some development standard. I think, as you get more expereiced applying the codes, you'll be better able to predict where you're likely to have issues with the site plan.
    Dittos what Gedunker said.

    Even a by-right (ie administrative) reviewed site plan that meets all dimensional/bulk codes may still have a poor layout. Actually, most codes usually have vagueish statements about "amking sure deisgns are safe and fucntional, which is where I usually hang my hat when I have an administrative review of a poor site plan layout.

    Now, if the site plan review requires commission/board review, then you can be much more strong with poor layouts.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    9,029
    Blog entries
    2
    Remember, no matter how much they complain about your regulations.. they wouldn't be there if the market didn't allow. In other words: take the old, "We'll move to the Town Next Door" claim with a grain of salt.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
         
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Funky Town, CO.
    Posts
    432
    What I see missing from many big box sites is just good, safe pedestrian access to and around the site. The parking lot is often designed just for cars and people must only walk in the drive aisles. I have asked this question at these types of meetings; Would you feel safe pushing your grandmother in a wheelchair or waking a 3 year old from one end of the site to the next? Good Luck!

  8. #8
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,329
    Quote Originally posted by Senior Jefe View post
    What I see missing from many big box sites is just good, safe pedestrian access to and around the site.
    Yeah...that's been one of my biggest gripes with this scale/type of development. it forces people to walk (sometimes for 100s of feet) within/against the autos in the drive asiels.

    I would love to see walking paths within the rows of parking that would separate them from the cars' drive aisle. But the site designers and developers would probably freak out - cost too high, etc. blah, blah.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Galactica
    Posts
    298
    We have had some success with getting big boxes to supply seperate pedestrian circulation through their parking areas. People seem to really appreciate having it too!

    This sounds like a great opportunity for you to see what weaknesses need to be addressed in your ordinance regarding big box design. If they are having to rezone or do some sort of PD, you can usually get them to go above and beyond.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    America's Dairyland
    Posts
    73
    Look at the parking and drive aisles carefully, in accordance with your ordinance requirements and as you would as a driver and as a pedestrian. Look for things like awkward/dangerous turning movements required to get around, parking stalls aligned to back out into oncoming traffic and/or into the major point of ingress/egress. Check with your fire department to see what they think of their ability to maneuver their equipment around the site.

    The "outdoor storage" comment previously applies not just to what one would normally think of as storage, but it also applies to things like display of seasonal merchandise all over what might appear to be a walkway across the front of the store. If it isn't permitted in your community, be explicit in notes on the site plan and/or conditions of approval that that isn't what's going to happen in that location.

    And then there is the matter of "temporary" outdoor storage. Where are they going to leave their semi-trailers full of merchandise sitting around? Are they going to plan for this and screen it, or are they going to park them out back where the neighbors in the subdivision across the way will see them and complain? The same goes for pallet storage areas.

    This one doesn't really have a lot to do with the site plan itself, but also plan ahead for sale of seasonal merchandise, for instance garden plants. Identify a spot and make sure the approval is clear on whether they need to come back each year for approval to do this (as a temporary use or local equivalent) or whether they have a blanket approval with or without specified parameters.

    Check and see whether the proposed cart storage areas are adequate in number and in sensible locations.

    Make sure, like with all other developments, that the specified level of detail is clear enough that you can determine whether what they are building is what your community thought they approved.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian rosierivets's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Illinoize
    Posts
    240
    You are all wonderful. Thank you for your tips and willingness to share your experiences. The outdoor storage component requires a special use permit per our code and the village board has to approve the site and landscaping plans. For those of you who have massaged better pedestrian access in these types of large scale parking lots, how did you manage answer the concerns over the cost of providing it? I have to say that this particular retailer has modified their corporate template over the last few years and the product is getting better and better. This is of course, in no way going to reduce the level of scrutiny that the plan will be subject to, but it is at least a step in the right direction.

  12. #12
    Don't forget to look at adjacent parcels for any opportunity for vehicular and pedestrian connections so that you don't have to overload the public row with trips to neighboring properties.

    We haven't had issues with any bbs regarding the cost of providing pedestrian access. A big one from michigan *coughmeijercoughmeijercough* wanted to paint pedestrian access aisles and we told 'em nope, isn't safe. They built standard "class a" concrete walks.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 1998
    Location
    NOLA
    Posts
    4,468
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Yeah...that's been one of my biggest gripes with this scale/type of development. it forces people to walk (sometimes for 100s of feet) within/against the autos in the drive asiels.

    I would love to see walking paths within the rows of parking that would separate them from the cars' drive aisle. But the site designers and developers would probably freak out - cost too high, etc. blah, blah.
    This was one of my few success stories from my public sector days. I was adamant about a particular Walmart providing landscaped walking paths in the parking lot. They graciously relented.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Clearwater, FL
    Posts
    260

    Big Box Review

    Good comments regarding outdoor storage, y'all.

    Also, make sure that they show all signage, above and below ground utilities on the landscape plan. You don't want your trees to get whacked because of electrical lines or because they were planted right in front of their free-standing sign. I've seen them proposed trees right on top of sewer and water lines. Have them provide a truck route for deliveries - these trucks can play havoc with your new tree canopy. Same goes for the dumpster location. I've seen conflicts with proposed and existing trees when they raise the dumpsters to dump them.

    On the subject of trees, make sure they show all existing (if any) trees to remain including the tree canopy - no sense planting a new tree right under an existing one.

    Specify how outdoor sales are going to occur - especially holiday sales.

    Also make sure you have a grasp on when deliveries are going to occur and where the loading docks are located especially if the site is adjacent to residential.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,691
    Parking lot lighting is often a big concern to neighboring residents. Work with the town engineer to make sure run-off is handled appropriately and non-point pollution is minimized. Try to make the design of the building a priority from Day 1 (This varies greatly from town to town).

  16. #16
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
    Posts
    3,895
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    I would love to see walking paths within the rows of parking that would separate them from the cars' drive aisle. But the site designers and developers would probably freak out - cost too high, etc. blah, blah.

    *cough* Ikea Schaumburg *cough*

    Unfortunately, they only have two of these walking paths in their entire parking lot.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  17. #17
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,329
    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by boiker View post
    *cough* Ikea Schaumburg *cough*

    Unfortunately, they only have two of these walking paths in their entire parking lot.
    Yeah...I don't think that counts. People still need to walk through a majority of the parking lot to get to the walkways.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Site plan review question
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 12
    Last post: 14 Jul 2010, 8:35 PM
  2. Replies: 8
    Last post: 24 Oct 2006, 4:17 PM
  3. Site plan review timelines
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 21
    Last post: 04 Mar 2006, 2:23 AM
  4. Replies: 9
    Last post: 03 Aug 2005, 5:23 PM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last post: 31 Jan 2000, 10:00 AM