Carbondale OKs new downtown development rules
October 4, 2010
CARBONDALE – Downtown property owners who want to exceed the town’s building height and residential density limits can now do so, but with certain requirements related to housing types and parking.
Trustees, on a 4-2 vote at the Sept. 28 Town Council meeting, gave final approval to the long-debated new Historic Commercial Core (HCC) overlay zoning.
The new development options allow for buildings up to 42 feet, rather than the usual 35-foot limit. More residential units than are typically allowed would also be considered in certain instances within the HCC zone.
The HCC zone generally includes the areas within a block or two either side of Main Street between Second and Sixth streets in downtown Carbondale.
Town officials have been discussing the more flexible development options for some time.
Preliminary approval was given to the concept earlier this year, but trustees have since been working out the final details.
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The overlay district would not do away with the existing HCC zone regulations, but would allow a process for developers to exceed the 35-foot building height limit and build more residential units when deemed appropriate by the town.
With the new 42-foot height allowance, a “step-back” would be required for the upper level so as to avoid making the taller buildings too imposing.
After two failed attempts to pass the new rules last week, Trustee Frosty Merriott offered a final version that ultimately was approved.
Among the provisions for applying the new development rules will be to require 60 percent of residential units to be deed-restricted as “resident owner occupied,” or R.O. units.
Trustees had previously recommended 30 percent R.O. units. But one of the ideas behind allowing more mixed-use development in downtown commercial districts is to have people living close by full time who are more likely to work and shop there.
Developers who seek the higher densities and taller buildings would also be required to have adequate off-site parking within 150 feet, rather than 300 feet as discussed earlier.
Also, if on-site parking requirements cannot be met, developers must pay a fee-in-lieu of $30,000, with a 5 percent escalator per year.
The zoning amendment was approved with Merriott, Mayor Stacey Patch Bernot and trustees Elizabeth Murphy and Ed Cortez in favor. Trustees Pam Zentmyer and John Hoffmann were opposed, and Trustee John Foulkrod was absent.