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Replacement Density Requirement for Commercial Corridors

Hello: We are exploring replacement requirements for commercial/mixed-use buildings located in designated pedestrian overlay/commercial districts. (We are focusing on one district initially - a former street car corridor with predominately 2, 2+ story structures but also some existing auto-related uses and one-story office/retail structures scattered throughout.)

As property values rise, we wish to gaurde against the demolition of existing 2 and 2+ buildings and replacement with one-story buildings. Longer term, we would also like to see greater density along the corridor - eg: redevelopment of one story with two story buildings. The Ped Overlay district governs window frontage, street frontages, building facades, etc... but does not currently address density.

Policy makers/staff are concerned that requiring two story minimums (where they exist currently or not and/or at key intersections of ped overlay districts) could serve as a disincentive to development activity. Do we require 2 story minimums for the entire area, or do we look at an average density within the area to be redeveloped?

Lastly, should we allow a variance opportunity? Eg: developers would need to demonstrate hardship (not solely economic factors) to propose a one-story building?

Lee Nellis

Incentive to Restore?

Catherine: I don't have any direct experience to share, but I do have a question. Is there now any incentive to people to restore and use the old 2 story buildings? It seems like a carrot is going to be needed to accompany this particular "stick." A program of design assistance and rehab grants, plus maybe some relief on codes that make restoration more difficult should be explored, if they do not exist.