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Thread: What is your city's CBD floor area ratio/height limit?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Wisconsinplanner's avatar
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    Aug 2004
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    Kenosha, WI
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    What is your city's CBD floor area ratio/height limit?

    Greetings....

    My City is examining potential future development in the Central Business District, as part of a Downtown Parking Study. Our downtown has been receiving multiple proposals for taller buildings in the past 3-4 years; two out of three recent proposals are moving forward. Right now, our CBD zoning district permits any building, including mixed use, to have a maximum height of 100' regardless of site or building bulk. We are currently at the end of the Chicago Metra commuter train line and planning is in the works to extend the line further north out of the City to Milwaukee.

    Based on the City's proximity to Lake Michigan, strong development interest in the region and the possibility of extension of the commuter train line, we anticipate continued downtown development pressure. We are also potentially considering making zoning changes to allow taller buildings and possibly increased density for potential transit oriented development. To that extent, we are considering the use of floor area ratios, with or without height limits, to allow both flexibility and varying building heights.

    I am curious to know the following from anyone willing to respond:

    1) City name/population
    2) Floor area ratio and/or building height
    3) Do you have different CBD FAR's for different land uses?
    4) Do you allow bonus FAR's
    5) Do you have TOD's and if so, what is the permitted density?

    Thanks in advance for your replies....

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    1. Prominent northwest suburb of Chicago/~76,000 pop.
    2. No FAR maximum, but maximum building height of 90 feet up to 140 feet with height bonuses - bonuses only allowed for lots 10,000sqft or greater. (though we are rethinking the heights to 70 feet up to 100 feet with bonuses)
    3. No
    4. No
    5. No, our downtown is the TOD (has Metra station and allows for high(er) residential unit density and reduced parking requirements).
    Last edited by mendelman; 31 Aug 2006 at 5:19 PM.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    1) City of approx. 200,000 in the PNW
    2) At its maximum - 400 feet building height and an FAR of 24 (if 50% residential)
    3) Different FAR's for residential and non. Both can generally be added together for a mixed use development (hence the FAR of 24 as mentioned above).
    4) Bonus FAR's are allowed with specific design elements
    5) No TOD's

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wisconsinplanner View post
    Greetings....


    I am curious to know the following from anyone willing to respond:

    1) City name/population
    2) Floor area ratio and/or building height
    3) Do you have different CBD FAR's for different land uses?
    4) Do you allow bonus FAR's
    5) Do you have TOD's and if so, what is the permitted density?

    Thanks in advance for your replies....
    1. Bar Harbor Maine - year round, 5k, seasonal about 20k
    2. FAR is a performance standard based on the FAR's within 300' (developed district only, obviously)
    3. no
    4. Yes, in a PUD where other things are done - like affordable housing, LEEDS, pedestrian impovements, pocket parks, etc.
    5. not yet, working on something connecting rural to the village - that is a rural land owner "sells" his lots for higher density in the vilalge where there are goods and services
    Kim Wexler: Either you fit the jacket... or the jacket fits you.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    1) San Marcos, TX ---- 49,000

    2) four stories or 45 feet, whichever is less. We use a height restriction overlay district that more or less covers the CBD.

    3) No

    4) Not applicable

    5) We expect to begin work on some TOD regs in the next six months. Ours will likely bear similarities to Leander, TX.

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  6. #6
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    West Valley, AZ
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    1. Industrial City in Central Illinois / 113,000
    2. No FAR, Max Height: Bear with me; 1.5 times the width of the ROW (100 ft in most portions of downtown). 3 ft may be added to the buliding height for each one foot the top of the building is set back from the property line (stair-stepping). OR if the building has a footprint of 20% or less of the lot area and it is constructed at least 20 feet from the ROW, no height limit.
    3. NO
    4. NO
    5. NO

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Wisconsinplanner's avatar
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    Kenosha, WI
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    Thanks to everyone who posted a response.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Jan 2005
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    Chicagoland
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    We are also redefining our districts. We now have three downtown districts. We do offer bonus FAR's if open (public) plazas and courtyards are incorporated into their ground floor; on-site passenger loading and unloading is provided, and any additional setbacks beyond the minimum at the first floor.

    We are also on the shores of Lake Michigan and have a bluff where we do allow tall buildings to show a strong presence along the bluffline; rather than a 3-story building that is barely visible or is hidden by the bluff.

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