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Maximum GFA for an individual retal use in my town is 60,000 square feet.
Meanwhile, in Fort Collins, Colorado ...
3.5.4 Large Retail Establishments
(A) Purpose. These standards are intended to ensure that large retail building development is compatible with its surrounding area and contributes to the unique community character of Fort Collins. (For expansions/enlargements of large retail establishments, see also Section 3.8.20(A).)
(B) Land Use. All large retail establishments shall be located in a group of more than four (4) retail establishments located in a complex which is planned, developed, owned or managed as a single unit with off-street parking provided on the property. Indoor recreation facilities are exempt from this requirement.
(C) Development Standards.
(1) Aesthetic Character.
(a) Facades and Exterior Walls:
1. Facades greater than one hundred (100) feet in length, measured horizontally, shall incorporate wall plane projections or recesses having a depth of at least three (3) percent of the length of the facade and extending at least twenty (20) percent of the length of the facade. No uninterrupted length of any facade shall exceed one hundred (100) horizontal feet.
2. Ground floor facades that face public streets shall have arcades, display windows, entry areas, awnings or other such features along no less than sixty (60) percent of their horizontal length. (See Figure 11.)
(b) Small Retail Stores. Where large retail establishments contain additional, separately owned stores that occupy less than twenty-five thousand (25,000) square feet of gross floor area, with separate, exterior customer entrances, the street level facade of such stores shall be transparent between the height of three (3) feet and eight (8) feet above the walkway grade for no less than sixty (60) percent of the horizontal length of the building facade of such additional stores.
(c) Detail Features. Building facades must include:
1. a repeating pattern that includes no less than three (3) of the following elements:
a. color change;
b. texture change;
c. material module change;
d. an expression of architectural or structural bays through a change in plane no less than twelve (12) inches in width, such as an offset, reveal or projecting rib. (See Figure 12.)
Note: At least one (1) of elements (a), (b) or (c) shall repeat horizontally. All elements shall repeat at intervals of no more than thirty (30) feet, either horizontally or vertically.
(d) Roofs. Roofs shall have no less than two (2) of the following features:
1. parapets concealing flat roofs and rooftop equipment such as HVAC units from public view. The average height of such parapets shall not exceed fifteen (15) percent of the height of the supporting wall and such parapets shall not at any point exceed one-third (1/3) of the height of the supporting wall. (See Figure 13.) Such parapets shall feature three-dimensional cornice treatment;
2. overhanging eaves, extending no less than three (3) feet past the supporting walls;
3. sloping roofs that do not exceed the average height of the supporting walls, with an average slope greater than or equal to one (1) foot of vertical rise for every three (3) feet of horizontal run and less than or equal to one (1) foot of vertical rise for every one (1) foot of horizontal run;
4. three (3) or more roof slope planes.
(e) Materials and colors.
1. Predominant exterior building materials shall be high quality materials, including, but not limited to, brick, sandstone, other native stone and tinted/textured concrete masonry units.
2. Facade colors shall be low reflectance, subtle, neutral or earth tone colors. The use of high-intensity colors, metallic colors, black or fluorescent colors shall be prohibited.
3. Building trim and accent areas may feature brighter colors, including primary colors, but neon tubing shall not be an acceptable feature for building trim or accent areas.
4. Exterior building materials shall not include smooth-faced concrete block, tilt-up concrete panels or prefabricated steel panels.
(a) Each large retail establishment on a site shall have clearly defined, highly visible customer entrances featuring no less than three (3) of the following:
1. canopies or porticos;
5. raised corniced parapets over the door;
6. peaked roof forms;
8. outdoor patios;
9. display windows;
10. architectural details such as tile work and moldings which are integrated into the building structure and design;
11. integral planters or wing walls that incorporate landscaped areas and/or places for sitting.
(b) Where additional stores will be located in the large retail establishment, each such store shall have at least one (1) exterior customer entrance, which shall conform to the above requirements.
(c) All building facades which are visible from adjoining properties and/or public streets shall comply with the requirements of Article 3.5.3(D)(2) above.
(3) Site Design and Relationship to Surrounding Community.
(a) Entrances. All sides of a large retail establishment that directly face an abutting public street shall feature at least one (1) customer entrance. Where a large retail establishment directly faces more than two (2) abutting public streets, this requirement shall apply only to two (2) sides of the building, including the side of the building facing the primary street, and another side of the building facing a second street. (See Figure 14.) Movie theaters are exempt from this requirement.
(b) Parking lot location. No more than fifty (50) percent of the off-street parking area for the lot, tract or area of land devoted to the large retail establishment shall be located between the front facade of the large retail establishment and the abutting streets (the "Front Parking Area"). The Front Parking Area shall be determined by drawing a line from the front corners of the building to the nearest property corners. If any such line, when connected to the plane of the front facade of the building, creates an angle that is greater than one hundred eighty (180) degrees, then the line shall be adjusted to create an angle of one hundred eighty (180) degrees when connected to the plane of the front facade of the building. If any such line, when connected to the plane of the front facade of the building, creates an angle that is less than ninety (90) degrees, then the line shall be adjusted to create an angle of ninety (90) degrees when connected to the plane of the front facade of the building. Parking spaces in the Front Parking Area shall be counted to include all parking spaces within the boundaries of the Front Parking Area, including (i) all partial parking spaces if the part inside the Front Parking Area boundary lines constitutes more than one-half (½) of said parking space, and (ii) all parking spaces associated with any pad sites located within the Front Parking Area boundaries.
(c) Back sides. The minimum setback for any building facade shall be thirty-five (35) feet from the nearest property line. Where the facade faces adjacent residential uses, an earthen berm, no less than six (6) feet in height, containing at a minimum evergreen trees planted at intervals of twenty (20) feet on center, or in clusters or clumps, shall be provided.
(d) Connectivity. The site design must provide direct connections and safe street crossings to adjacent land uses.
(4) Pedestrian Circulation.
(a) Sidewalks at least eight (8) feet in width shall be provided along all sides of the lot that abut a public street.
(b) Continuous internal pedestrian walkways, no less than eight (8) feet in width, shall be provided from the public sidewalk or right-of-way to the principal customer entrance of all large retail establishments on the site. At a minimum, walkways shall connect focal points of pedestrian activity such as, but not limited to, transit stops, street crossings, building and store entry points, and shall feature adjoining landscaped areas that include trees, shrubs, benches, flower beds, ground covers or other such materials for no less than fifty (50) percent of the length of the walkway.
(c) Sidewalks, no less than eight (8) feet in width, shall be provided along the full length of the building along any facade featuring a customer entrance, and along any facade abutting public parking areas. Such sidewalks shall be located at least six (6) feet from the facade of the building to provide planting beds for foundation landscaping, except where features such as arcades or entryways are part of the facade.
(d) Internal pedestrian walkways provided in conformance with part (b) above shall provide weather protection features such as awnings or arcades within thirty (30) feet of all customer entrances.
(e) All internal pedestrian walkways shall be distinguished from driving surfaces through the use of durable, low maintenance surface materials such as pavers, bricks or scored concrete to enhance pedestrian safety and comfort, as well as the attractiveness of the walkways.
(5) Central Features and Community Space. Each retail establishment subject to these standards shall contribute to the establishment or enhancement of community and public spaces by providing at least two (2) of the following: patio/seating area, pedestrian plaza with benches, transportation center, window shopping walkway, outdoor playground area, kiosk area, water feature, clock tower or other such deliberately shaped area and/or a focal feature or amenity that, in the judgment of the appropriate decision maker, adequately enhances such community and public spaces. Any such areas shall have direct access to the public sidewalk network and such features shall not be constructed of materials that are inferior to the principal materials of the building and landscape. (See Figure 15.)
(6) Delivery/Loading Operations. No delivery, loading, trash removal or compaction, or other such operations shall be permitted between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. unless the applicant submits evidence that sound barriers between all areas for such operations effectively reduce noise emissions to a level of forty-five (45) dB, as measured at the lot line of any adjoining property.
405.3 Building siting and orientation – multi-family and non-residential sites and structures
These requirements do not apply in the C-V (Commercial Village) district.
405.3.2 Retail villages
In shopping centers and developments with multiple buildings, buildings must be oriented towards either the perimeter streets, or an internal drive or road network that recreates a village street, rather than orientation only to internal parking lots.
Commercial buildings must be placed in a way that creates plazas and pedestrian gathering areas that are large enough to buffer pedestrians from traffic and circulation areas.
Commercial buildings must be oriented to promote views through and into each commercial development.
405.3.5 Orientation to streets
The primary façade and pedestrian entrance of a building must be oriented towards the public right-of-way when not facing an internal village street.
405.3.6 Orientation to walkways
One or more main building entrances must open directly onto a connecting walkway with pedestrian frontage. Sides of a principal building facing a public street must have one or more customer entrances. When a principal building faces more than two public streets, this requirement will apply only to two sides of the building.
Clustering of buildings in larger master planned and multiple building projects is strongly encouraged. Minimum building setbacks may be waived or modified to promote clustering.
405.3.8 Perimeter wall spacing from driving surfaces
Building walls must be placed ≥10’ (3.1 m) from drive aisles and parking areas around the entire building perimeter. This buffer area may be breached for loading areas and garage access.
405.4 Pedestrian circulation
Sidewalks ≥6’ (2 m) wide must be provided along lot sides abutting a public or private street. An undulating sidewalk and ≥8’ (2.5 m) wide must be provided along West Colonial Drive. A continuous internal pedestrian walkway ≥6’ (2 m) wide must be provided from the perimeter public sidewalk to the primary public entrance.
405.4.2 Internal walkways
Sidewalks extending the full length of a building must be provided along any façade or wall featuring a customer entrance and along any façade abutting public parking areas. Such sidewalks must be placed ≥6’ (2 m) or more from the façade or wall along ≥30% of its length, to provide beds for foundation landscaping, outdoor seating and patios, and building articulation. Sidewalks are not required in service areas.
405.4.3 Pedestrian connectivity
Connecting walkways, ≥6’ wide, must link sidewalks with building entries through parking areas, all points in the development, and buildings on adjacent parcels. Circulation patterns must be as obvious and simple as possible. All likely pedestrian routes must be considered in the design phase of a development to prevent shortcuts through parking and landscape areas.
405.4.4 Conflict points
Internal pedestrian walkways must be distinguished from driving surfaces through use of pavers, bricks or textured and painted concrete to emphasize conflict points and enhance pedestrian safety.
405.4.5 Aggregation of plazas
Pedestrian areas and plazas should be aggregated, and not distributed in low impact areas such as building peripheries, areas behind structures, or where they are barely visible.
405.4.6 Orientation of plazas
Pedestrian areas and plazas should be oriented to views of activities, architectural landmarks or distinctive natural land forms wherever possible.
405.5 Signature elements
Sites must include at least one signature element, used to highlight primary vehicular entrances to businesses, office parks, shopping centers, and/or prominent intersections. A signature element may include:
Public art, with a theme unrelated to the primary use(s) of the site.
Water feature, sich as a water fountain or waterfall.
Town identification monument sign.
405.6 Public transit facilities
Public transit facilities must be accommodated in major commercial developments that could generate high volumes of transit use. Transit facilities must be provided in a way to make transit an attractive mode of travel for both employees and patrons.
Transit routes, access points and shelter locations should be addressed along major roadways in and on the perimeter of such projects. Bus stop areas and bus shelters must be placed close to significant clusters of buildings.
There must be an uninterrupted durable pedestrian path connecting transit stops and/or shelter with the nearest sidewalk or pedestrian path.
405.7 Service areas
Service entrances, loading docks, waste disposal areas and similar uses must be oriented toward service roads and away from the public right-of-way and residential areas, unless adequately screened.
Service areas must not be placed where they will be readily visible from adjacent buildings or where they will have a negative impact on important or identified view corridors.
Service entrances and trash dumpsters must be screened from public streets, pedestrian gathering areas and primary entrances with fencing, walls and/or landscaping, the design of which is compatible with the architectural theme of the host building.
405.7.3 Coordination of service area locations
Service area location must be coordinated with adjacent developments wherever possible, so shared service drives can be used.
405.7.4 Access routes
Service circulation in a development must be designed to provide safe movements for anticipated vehicles.
The design of individual parcels to accommodate truck access must meet requirements for turning radii without sacrificing other important goals and policies of the Land Development Code.
Routes for service, emergency and utility access must be clearly marked.
405.7.5 Blind areas
Site planning should avoid the creation of “blind areas” that are difficult to patrol by police or security staff.
405.8 Water bodies and retention areas
Manmade water body shapes, including wet retention ponds, must be designed to appear natural by having edge alignment offsets that are ≥10’ (3 m) and spaced ≤50’ (15 m) apart.
405.8.2 Project incorporation
Natural and manmade water bodies ≥20,000’2 (1,800 m2), if placed adjacent to a public right-of-way, must be included into the overall design of a project in one of the following ways:
Provide a walkway ≥8’ (2.5 m) wide, with trees on average 50’ (15 m) centers, and shaded benches or picnic tables every 150 linear feet (45 linear meters).
Provide a public access pier with covered structure and seating, and appropriate pedestrian access.
Provide a plaza or courtyard, ≥200’2, (20 m2) with shaded benches and/or picnic tables adjacent to the water body.
Retention basins must be designed with 5:1 side slopes to 2’ (.6 m) below the normal water line.
Fenced retention basins will only be approved in extreme situations, and will be placed to the side and/or rear of the parcel as far from the public right-of-way as possible.
Metal decorative fences may be used to fence manmade water bodies and retention basins, per Land Development Code fence requirements (§409).
407.5 Commercial, office, public, institutional, and mixed use architecture
When the Land Development Code was written, most commercial development in the Town was initiated by small “Mom and Pop” developers. The limited resources of small developers or the leniency of zoning in adjacent municipalities does not justify a waiver from any of the Town's architectural and site planning requirements.
Architecture and site planning dictated solely by corporate standards, cost efficiency and ease of vehicular movement will have a destructive effect on the Town’s character and sensitive visual environment, turning what was once a distinctive place into “Anytown USA.” Formula architecture, buildings that act as billboards; and “big boxes” with blank and windowless façades, flat roofs, lack of architectural detail, and miniscule entries are both boring and potential eyesores.
The Town's commercial buildings should not be considered disposable money-makers, but rather built to age gracefully and maintain their functionality, with the intent of being a future landmark worthy of preservation efforts decades after construction. These standards are intended to ensure new development is compatible with the built environment, and respects and reinforces the Town’s values, unique character and “sense of place;” while creating a built environment attractive to prospective consumers, thus resulting in a healthy and desirable business climate.
407.5.2 Character and image
Building design must contribute to the Town's sense of place by using predominant materials, elements, features, color range and activity areas tailored specifically to the site and its context. Standard formula or prototype building designs must be modified if necessary to conform to Land Development Code design standards; cookie-cutter architecture is unacceptable. In shopping centers or multiple building developments, individual buildings must include predominant characteristics shared by all buildings in the development so the development forms a cohesive place.
407.5.3 Form and mass
A single, large, dominant building mass must be avoided in new buildings and projects involving changes to the mass of existing buildings. Changes in mass should be related to entrances, the integral structure and/or the interior space organization and activities, and not just for cosmetic effect. False fronts or parapets create an insubstantial appearance and are prohibited.
407.5.4 Exterior walls
Façades and walls must include a repeating pattern with:
• an expression of architectural or structural bays through a change in plane ≥1’ (.3 m) wide, such as an offset, reveal, pilaster, projecting ribs, fenestration patterns, or piers (a);
and two or more of these elements:
• color change (b);
• texture change (c);
• material module change (d).
One or more of elements (b), (c) or (d) must repeat horizontally. All elements must repeat at intervals of ≤30’ (9 m).
Façades and walls must have a recognizable "base" with (but not limited to):
• thicker walls, ledges or sills;
• integrally textured materials such as stone or other masonry;
• integrally colored and patterned materials such as smooth-finished stone;
• lighter or darker colored materials, mullions or panels; or
and a recognizable "top" with (but not limited to):
• cornice treatments, other than colored "stripes" or "bands" alone, with integrally textured materials such as stone or other masonry or differently colored materials;
• sloping roof with overhangs and brackets;
• stepped parapets.
407.5.4.3 Four sided design
All walls must include materials and design characteristics consistent with those on the front. Lesser quality materials for side or rear walls is prohibited.
407.5.4.4 Long walls and façades; projections and recesses
Walls ≥100’ (30 m) long must include wall plane projections or recesses having a ≥3% depth of the façade length, and extending ≥20% of the façade length.
407.5.4.5 Street facing walls
Walls must not have a blank, uninterrupted length >30’ (10 m) without including two or more of these features: change in plane, change in texture or masonry pattern, windows, or other equivalent elements that subdivide the wall into human scale proportions. Side or rear walls facing walkways may include false windows and door openings defined by frames, sills and lintels, or similarly proportioned modulations, only when actual doors and windows are not feasible because of the building use.
Changes in plane add visual interest to what would be a blank wall
407.5.4.6 Street facing façades
Façades and walls facing streets, parking lots (excluding parking lots at rear loading docks), and/or connecting pedestrian walkways must be divided and proportioned using features such as windows, display areas, entrances, arcades, arbors, and awnings along ≥60% of the façade.
407.5.4.7 Primary building entrances
Primary building entrances must be clearly defined and recessed or framed by a sheltering element such as an awning, arcade or portico to provide shelter from the sun and inclement weather.
407.5.4.8 Retail building entrances
Anchor stores, ≥50% of the stores in a shopping center; and freestanding, single-use buildings, must have a clearly defined, highly visible customer entrance with four or more of the following design elements:
• Canopies or porticos.
• Details such as tile work and moldings integrated into the building structure and design.
• Display windows.
• Integral planters or wing walls that include landscaped areas and/or places for sitting.
• Outdoor patios.
• Peaked roof forms.
• Raised corniced parapets over the door.
• Recesses and/or projections.
Awnings may be as long as a single storefront.
407.5.4.10 Transparency in shopping center buildings
• Front and side façades and walls of retail spaces with less than 20,000 square feet in shopping centers and multi-tenant buildings must be transparent between 3’ (1 m) and 8’ (2.4 m) above the walkway grade along ≥60% of the façade or wall.
• Front and side façades and walls of retail buildings and spaces with ≥20,000’2 (1850 m2) must be transparent between 3’ (1 m) and 8’ (2.4 m) above the walkway grade along 50% or more of the façade or wall.
• Casement frames and mullions are included in the calculation of transparent frontage.
407.5.4.11 Transparency in single use commercial buildings
• Front and side façades of single use commercial buildings with <20,000’2 must be transparent between 3’ (1 m) and 8’ (2.4 m) above the walkway grade along 50% or more of the façade.
• Front and side façades of commercial buildings and spaces with ≥20,000’2 (1850 m2) must be transparent between 3’ (1 m) and 8’ (2.4 m) above the walkway grade for ≥40% of the façade length.
• Casement frames and mullions are included in the calculation of transparent frontage.
407.5.4.12 Garage doors
Garage bay doors must be segmented, with windows covering ≥50% of the garage surface. Roll-up garage doors are prohibited. Garage doors must be recessed ≥2’ (.7 m) behind the building façade.
407.5.5 Building roofs
407.5.5.1 Roof form design
Roof forms must correspond to and denote building elements and functions such as entrances, arcades and porches. Roof forms should relate to adjacent buildings or developments.
407.5.5.2 Required features
Roofs must have one of the following features:
• Overhanging eaves, extending ≥1.5’ (.5 m) past the supporting walls.
• Sloping roofs that do not exceed the average height of the supporting walls, with an average slope ≥1’ (.3 m) of vertical rise for every 3’ (1 m) of horizontal run and ≤1’ (.3 m) of vertical rise for every 1’ (.3 m) of horizontal run.
407.5.5.3 Roof lines
The continuous plane of a roof line may be ≤100’ (30 m).
407.5.5.4 Mechanical equipment screening
Rooftop and ground mounted mechanical equipment must be screened (visually and acoustically) so it is not visible from the public right-of-way.
407.5.6 Materials and color
407.5.6.1 Building materials
Predominant building exterior materials must be high quality, and used in their natural context and color. Masonry, brick, wood, and stone are examples of appropriate building materials. Concrete masonry units, smooth-faced concrete block, painted brick and masonry, tilt-up concrete panels, and prefabricated metal panels and buildings are prohibited. Stucco and textured concrete are permitted only on buildings evoking Spanish or Mediterranean design themes, or above a base of masonry, brick or stone that visually anchors the building to the ground.
407.5.6.2 Roof materials
Roof materials must be high quality, durable and consistent with local architectural themes. Acceptable roof materials include concrete tile, high profile asphalt shingles, metal shingles and split seam metal.
407.5.6.3 Building colors
Building colors must be low-reflecting, muted and neutral or earth-toned. Roof colors must be muted and compatible with the dominant building color. High-intensity colors. bright primary colors, metallic colors, black or fluorescent colors are prohibited. Shiny, glossy or reflective materials, or brighter colors may be used on building trim and accents with a cumulative surface area of ≤0.25% (1/400th) of a wall.
407.5.6.4 Material or color changes
Material or color changes must occur only at a change of plane or reveal line. Material or color changes at the outside corners of structures that give the impression of “thinness” and artificiality are prohibited. Piecemeal embellishment and frequent material changes are prohibited.
Thanks for providing this info; Santa Fe also has a big box ordinance-- I think it kicks in at 15,000 square feet; you could contact the city planning dept. to view it. I'm a citizen activist confronted with a big box development attempting to come in in violation of the big box ordinance. An ordinance is only as good as its enforceability and its enforcement...