Chapter 17.42
DOWNTOWN COMMERCIAL (C-D) ZONE

Sections:

17.42.010    Purpose and application.

17.42.020    Property development standards.

17.42.010 Purpose and application.

The C-D zone is intended to provide for a wide range of retail sales, service, and entertainment uses meeting community-wide and regional market demands and a variety of housing types including affordable workforce housing. The C-D zone is intended to be applied within the city’s pedestrian-oriented central business district, where the historical pattern of development creates limitations on building form and the ability for individual businesses to provide on-site parking. Ground-floor, street-fronting uses are intended to be generally limited to those that attract frequent pedestrian traffic. The C-D zone is intended to maintain, enhance, and extend the desirable characteristics of the downtown, and also to accommodate carefully integrated new development. The C-D zone is consistent with and implements the general retail land use category of the general plan. (Ord. 1509 § 2 (part), 2007: Ord. 1438 § 1 (part), 2003: Ord. 1437 § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 941 § 1 (part), 1982: prior code § 9203.10(A))

17.42.020 Property development standards.

The property development standards for the C-D zone are as follows:

A. Maximum density: Thirty-six units per acre, including dwelling units in hotels and motels, but not including other hotel or motel units (see also Section 17.16.010).

B. Yards: See Section 17.16.020.

C. Maximum height: Fifty feet (see also Sections 17.16.020 and 17.16.040). Additional building height up to seventy-five feet may be approved as provided under subsections (C)(1), (2), (3) and (4) of this section.

1. Performance Standards for Buildings Taller Than Fifty Feet (All Required).

a. The project must include housing at a minimum residential density unit value of twenty-four units per acre. The average floor area of dwellings within the project shall be one thousand two hundred square feet or less. (Group housing projects must show that the proposed building meets or exceeds the population density that would otherwise be achieved by this standard.)

b. For projects on sloping sites, the height limit on the downhill portion of the site shall be defined by a line seventy-five feet above the average between the highest and lowest points of the site grade prior to development, and seventy-five feet above the lowest point.

c. The applicant shall demonstrate that:

i. The project will exceed Title 24 California Energy Efficiency Requirements by a minimum of fifteen percent; or

ii. The project is designed to achieve at least a Silver rating on the LEED-CS or NC checklist (or equivalent measure) (LEED certification is not required but is encouraged); or

iii. The project is designed to achieve a minimum value of fifty points on the SLO green build multifamily greenpoint checklist.

d. No more than thirty-three percent of the site area at the storefront level may be used for private parking facilities.

e. Lots shall conform to the minimum size and dimension requirements provided in Title 16, Subdivisions.

f. The planning commission may grant minor exceptions to the specific requirements listed in this section, subject to a planning commission use permit and provided a finding is made that, despite the exception, the project is consistent with the intent of this chapter and LUE Policy 4.16.4.

2. The architectural review commission (ARC) may approve building height up to sixty feet if the ARC determines that the project includes at least two objectives from subsection (C)(3) of this section, with no two being from the same lettered subsection.

The planning commission may approve a use permit allowing maximum building height of seventy-five feet upon determining that at least two of the following policy objectives (with no two being from the same lettered subsection) are met, and at least one affordable and workforce housing objective must be chosen.

To approve a use permit the planning commission must make the following finding: The public benefits associated with the project significantly outweigh any detrimental impacts from the additional height. (In weighing potential public benefits, the planning commission shall consider objectives related to affordable and workforce housing, economic vitality, historic preservation and open space preservation to be especially important.)

3. Policy Objectives. The intent of the following policy objectives is to ensure that buildings taller than fifty feet proposed in the C-D zone include features that meet the specific policy objectives outlined for tall buildings in the city’s general plan (including, but not limited to, Land Use Element Chapter 4.0). A variety of objectives are listed to ensure that proposed project features are appropriate for the site and surroundings, and to allow for a wide range of possible project types. Regardless of the number of objectives proposed, the decision-making body must determine that the overall project is consistent with the general plan, including goals and policies for view preservation, historical resource preservation, solar access and architectural character.

a. Affordable and Workforce Housing.

i. The project provides affordable housing, per city standards, at the rate of five percent for low-income households, or ten percent for moderate-income households, as a percentage of the total number of housing units built (no in-lieu fee option).

ii. The project qualifies for, and utilizes, a density bonus per the city’s affordable housing incentives (Chapter 17.90).

iii. The project includes residential density greater than or equal to thirty-six units per acre and the average floor area of units is one thousand square feet or less. (Group housing projects must show that the proposed building meets or exceeds the population density that would otherwise be achieved by this objective.)

b. Pedestrian Amenities.

i. The project provides a major pedestrian connection between Higuera Street and the Creekwalk, Monterey Street and the Creekwalk, Higuera Street and Marsh Street, or at another acceptable mid-block location.

ii. The project incorporates a significant public plaza, where the public art requirement is met by providing the art on site (no in-lieu fee option).

c. View Access and Preservation.

i. The project provides a public viewing deck or decks, or similar feature, to provide significant free public access to views of surrounding natural features such as, but not limited to, Cerro San Luis.

ii. The project improves and dedicates land within the downtown core for publicly owned open space with street-level views of hillside resources, consistent with Land Use Element Policy 4.7 and Program 4.20.

d. Economic Vitality. The project provides additional economic benefit to the city by providing retail sales or hospitality uses (subject to the city’s transient occupancy tax) on multiple levels. Total floor area dedicated to retail or hospitality uses must exceed one hundred fifty percent of the building footprint.

e. Historic Preservation.

i. Where there are no historic resources on the project site, the project will provide for the permanent preservation of a building off-site within the downtown historic district or Chinatown historic district that is listed in the city’s inventory of historical resources through the recordation of an historic preservation agreement.

ii. The project provides for preservation or adaptive reuse of all buildings on the city’s inventory of historic resources located on the project site in a manner consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Resources.

f. Open Space Preservation. The project provides for the permanent preservation of open space land in the city’s greenbelt through land dedication, the recordation of a conservation easement, or other recognized preservation method, to the approval of the city.

g. Energy Efficiency.

i. The project is designed to meet the fossil fuel reduction standards established by the Architecture 2030 Challenge.

ii. The project is designed to exceed the Title 24 Energy Efficiency Requirements by a minimum of thirty percent.

h. Other Policy Objectives. The project directly implements specific and identifiable city objectives as set forth in the general plan, the conceptual plan for the city’s center, the downtown strategic plan or other key policy document, to the approval of the planning commission. (This subsection may be used to meet requirements for one policy objective.)

4. Application Requirements. Planning applications submitted for new buildings over fifty feet tall shall include the following additional items to assist the city in the analysis and decision-making process:

a. Viewshed Analysis. A written and graphic viewshed analysis from various perspectives. The analysis shall identify visual resources within the viewshed of the project and indicate how the design of the project addresses those views from each perspective. Specific attention shall be given to views from adjacent publicly owned gathering spaces, such as Mission Plaza.

b. Solar Shading Analysis. A written and graphic solar shading analysis showing the effects of shading on its surroundings between ten a.m. and three p.m. on the winter solstice, summer solstice and vernal or autumnal equinox. The analysis shall compare shading caused by the project to the city’s solar access standards (Conservation Open Space Element Table 2).

c. Parking Demand Management – Trip Reduction Programs. A verifiable parking demand management program and a trip reduction program to reduce resident/employee dependence on single-occupant vehicle trips, to the approval of the public works director.

d. Three-Dimensional Digital Model. A complete three-dimensional digital model of the proposed building, consistent with the specifications for the city’s baseline 3-D digital model of the downtown core and suitable for display on the city’s Internet site.

e. Solid Waste Management Plan. A solid waste management plan to show how the project meets or exceeds the city’s solid waste guidelines, to the approval of the utilities director. If any exceptions to the solid waste guidelines are requested, the plan shall include a written explanation and justification.

f. Green Building Plan. A written green building plan shall be provided to indicate how the project complies with performance standards for energy efficiency.

g. Emergency Services Access Plan. A written and graphic plan created in consultation with the city’s fire marshal to show how access to upper floors for emergency response personnel will be provided.

h. Public Safety Plan. A security plan created in consultation with the police department for all proposed buildings that include publicly accessible areas such as parking garages, courtyards, public stairways, elevators and decks. The security plan will identify the locations of 911 capable phones in parking areas and will establish rules and regulations for public use of courtyards and decks, and establish time frames for private security patrols to be in place.

i. Utilities Infrastructure Analysis. An engineer’s evaluation of existing utilities infrastructure and recommendations to ensure that the project will have adequate water pressure for domestic use and fire flows and that the collection system in the area surrounding the project is sufficient to meet the project’s impact.

j. Building Code Analysis. A building code analysis specifying the building’s allowable area, occupancy class, occupancy load, and construction type.

D. Maximum coverage: One hundred percent.

E. Maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

1. 3.0 – maximum allowed for buildings up to fifty feet tall;

2. 3.75 – maximum allowed for buildings approved above fifty feet tall;

3. 4.0 – maximum allowed for approved buildings over fifty feet tall with transfer of development credits for open space protection or historic preservation; or if a density bonus for affordable housing is granted.

F. Standard Lot Dimensions:

1. Minimum lot area: Three thousand square feet.

2. Minimum lot width: Twenty-five feet.

3. Minimum lot depth: Fifty feet.

4. Minimum street frontage: Fifteen feet.

G. Vehicle Access. Although residential uses are encouraged in the C-D zone, it is not the intent of the city to ensure that parking is provided on site for residential uses. Therefore, there is no guarantee of parking availability, either on site or off site, for downtown residential projects. On-site parking may be considered inappropriate at certain downtown locations where the pedestrian experience would be harmed by vehicle ingress and egress across the sidewalk. In order to maintain pedestrian orientation and the continuity of sidewalks within the C-D zone, an administrative use permit must be approved to permit the installation of new driveway approaches proposed after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. When new driveway approaches are proposed in conjunction with an application for architectural review, a separate planning application shall not be required. In order to approve the new driveway approach, the approving body must make at least one of the following findings:

1. The proposed driveway approach will not harm the general health, safety and welfare of people living or working in the vicinity of the project site because the number of vehicles expected to use the driveway is limited (less than ten spaces) and there are no other alternatives, such as service alleys, to provide vehicle access to the site.

2. The proposed driveway approach is located along a nonarterial street and will not significantly alter the character of the street or pedestrian circulation in the area in consideration of the characteristics of pedestrian flow to and from the project site and surrounding uses.

3. The proposed driveway approach is a shared facility and provides efficient access to more than a single project in a way that eliminates the need for additional driveways.

4. The proposed driveway approach provides access to public parking.

H. Parking. See Section 17.16.060.

I. Maximum Building Size. No retail establishment (commercial building) shall exceed sixty thousand square feet of gross floor area, unless excepted by subsection (J) of this section and Section 17.16.035.

J. A retail establishment may be allowed up to one hundred forty thousand square feet of gross floor area, if the planning commission determines that it meets the following standards:

1. The proposed use will serve the community, in whole or in significant part, and the nature of the use requires a larger size in order to function.

2. The building in which the use is to be located is designed in discrete elements that respect the scale of development in the surrounding area.

3. The new building is designed in compliance with the city’s design guidelines for large-scale retail projects. (Ord. 1571 § 18, 2012; Ord. 1509 § 2 (part), 2007: Ord. 1500 § 3 (part), 2007; Ord. 1437 § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 1405 § 3 (part), 2001; Ord. 1365 § 3 (part), 2000; Ord. 1346 § 2 (part), 1999; Ord. 1101 § 2, 1987; Ord. 1074 § 2, 1986: Ord. 1050 § 1 (part), 1985: Ord. 1023 § 1, 1984: Ord. 1006 § 1 (part), 1984; Ord. 941 § 1 (part), 1982: prior code § 9203.10(B))