Chapter 18.83
ENTRANCE CORRIDOR OVERLAY DISTRICT

Sections:

18.83.010    Intent.

18.83.020    Purpose of the district.

18.83.030    Applicability.

18.83.040    Approval required.

18.83.050    Approval process.

18.83.060    Development plan review process.

18.83.070    Appeals.

18.83.080    Use limitations.

18.83.090    Design standards.

18.83.100    Severability.

18.83.110    Effective date.

18.83.010 Intent.

The entrance corridor overlay district is intended to implement the city of Staunton’s comprehensive plan’s goal of protecting the city’s natural, scenic, historic, architectural and cultural resources. This chapter meets the comprehensive plan’s goal by protecting and promoting the unique characteristics of the city’s natural and built environment leading into the historic districts through assuring site and building design reflecting the natural, scenic, historic, architectural, and cultural resources within view of each corridor. Establishing design standards within this chapter and providing design guidelines for each corridor ensures the compatibility of development, redevelopment, and adaptive reuse proposals with the resources identified in the comprehensive plan, promoting the general welfare of the community by creating attractive human-scaled environments; increasing commerce; improving property values; and increasing public awareness of the natural, scenic, historic, architectural, and cultural resources near and outside the historic preservation districts.

Regulation and guidance of corridor development includes but is not limited to: reducing impacts from development on existing land forms and other natural resources; promoting corridor development design compatible with nearby historic, architectural and cultural resources; providing pedestrian and vehicular connections from parcel to parcel; improving pedestrian and vehicular connections within each parcel; reducing the prominence of parking lots on the corridors; increasing site plantings; establishing reciprocity between building and site design; fully integrating utilities into building and site structures; regulating the size, intensity, and placement of signs and lighting; and assuring provisions for storm water management are well integrated into site architecture. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.020 Purpose of the district.

The entrance corridor overlay district is created for the purpose of providing special regulations in given designated areas of the city to accomplish the intended purposes set forth above. The entrance corridor overlay district shall be in addition to, and shall overlap and overlay, all other zoning districts so that any parcel of land lying in the entrance corridor overlay district shall also lie in one or more of the other zoning districts. All regulation of the underlying zoning districts shall be applicable except as modified by the provisions of this chapter. The provisions applicable to the entrance corridor overlay district shall apply to both modifications of existing structures and landscape as well as new construction within the entrance corridor overlay district. The provisions of the entrance corridor overlay district shall also apply to modifications and new construction by the Staunton city. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.030 Applicability.

(1) General. The entrance corridor overlay district is created to preserve and protect corridors along arterial streets or roadways designated as corridors found by city council to be significant routes of travel as shown on the entrance corridor overlay district map, dated February 22, 2008, as maintained in the office of the department of planning and inspection. The entrance corridor overlay district is hereby established upon and along the designated roadways with the design standards contained herein. To the extent that any of the specific areas in the entrance corridor overlay district also are in the H-1 historic preservation district, the provisions of Chapter 18.85 SCC, H-1 Historic Preservation District, shall control.

Where there is a conflict between the provisions or requirements of the entrance corridor overlay district and the provisions of any zoning district, the more restrictive provisions shall apply, except when adhering to the most restrictive would defeat the intent of this chapter.

(2) Corridors, Standards and Guidelines. The following arterial streets and highways are designated as corridors for purposes of this chapter and development of design guidelines for each corridor shall be phased with and be applicable and effective as of the date the particular corridor design guidelines are adopted:

(a) North Augusta Street;

(b) North Central Avenue;

(c) Churchville Avenue;

(d) North Coalter Street;

(e) Commerce Road;

(f) Frontier Drive;

(g) Greenville Avenue;

(h) North Lewis Street;

(i) Middlebrook Avenue;

(j) Richmond Avenue;

(k) Statler Boulevard;

(l) U.S. Route 262 and U.S. Route 275;

(m) West Beverley Street.

(3) The design standards within this chapter shall apply to the corridors upon adoption of this chapter; in addition to these design standards, design guidelines developed for each corridor shall apply upon their ratification.

(4) Zoning Administrator. The zoning administrator or designee shall administer the provisions of this chapter in accordance with the design standards and design guidelines and shall promulgate appropriate design guidelines for each corridor for ratification by the planning commission and city council. The zoning administrator or designee may, from time to time, recommend areas for designation as an entrance corridor overlay district. The zoning administrator or designee shall be advisory to the planning commission, city council and board of zoning appeals in rezonings, special use permits, site development plans, subdivisions, variances and other matters within the entrance corridor overlay district.

(5) Exemptions. The following are exempt from the requirements of this chapter:

(a) The construction or alteration of detached single-family dwellings and accessory structures on existing individual lots or parcels within the entrance corridor overlay district, provided the lots or parcels have been created and legally recorded prior to the date of the adoption of this chapter;

(b) Agricultural and forestal buildings where no site plan review is required;

(c) Interior alterations to a building or structure having no effect on exterior appearance of the building or structure;

(d) General Maintenance. Activity where no change in design, material, or color is proposed for any built or planted element on the site;

(e) The construction of ramps and other modifications to serve the handicapped; and

(f) All federal and state government facilities. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.040 Approval required.

No land disturbance, substantial removal of vegetation, building, or structure, including, but not limited to, grading activities, private roadways, parking lots, signs, outbuildings, fences, walls, landscaping, lamp posts, light fixtures and lighting arrangements, shall be constructed, altered or restored within the entrance corridor overlay district unless approved as set forth hereinafter except when deemed insubstantial, due to the scope and nature of the proposed change, by the zoning administrator or designee. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.050 Approval process.

(1) Submission of Plan. Prior to commencing any activity set forth in SCC 18.83.040, the person, firm, or corporation proposing such activity shall submit a development plan to the zoning administrator or designee for the city of Staunton for review and approval. Applicants shall schedule and participate in an informal meeting with the zoning administrator or designee prior to submitting the plans.

(2) Minimum Requirements for Development Plan. Materials submitted with the application or on subsequent request by the zoning administrator or designee shall include clearly labeled plans, maps, studies, narratives, drawings, and reports depicting or presenting the following, with sufficient copies for necessary referrals and records, unless deemed unnecessary by the zoning administrator or designee due to the scope and nature of the proposed development:

(a) Surveyed property lines;

(b) Tree preservation plan (to scale) to include:

(i) Survey of existing topography and location of existing trees (over three inches in caliper), their species, and caliper and other vegetation per SCC 13.10.010(6)(a)(i)(E)(I);

(ii) Existing trees and other vegetation to remain;

(iii) Existing trees and other vegetation to be removed; and

(iv) Location, extent, and construction details of proposed protection for existing trees and other vegetation to remain;

(c) A site development plan (to scale) including but not limited to:

(i) Location of all buildings;

(ii) Location, size, and dimensions of all yards and setbacks;

(iii) Location of all site improvements (to include parking areas, entrance drives, travelways, walkways, retaining walls);

(iv) Location of all utility pad fixtures and meters;

(v) Provisions for stormwater management including all associated structures, channels, or other elements per SCC 13.05.050(2)(a)(i);

(vi) Location of all site signage;

(vii) Location of all overhead, surface, and underground utilities and equipment; and

(viii) Location of bordering public or private streets or roads and existing, proposed, and/or approved access points;

(d) A grading plan (to scale) including but not limited to the content of the site development plan as listed in subsection (2)(c) of this section and the following:

(i) Existing topographic conditions;

(ii) Proposed grading; and

(iii) Top of wall and bottom of wall elevations for all retaining walls;

(e) A planting plan (to scale) per SCC 18.175.050 to include proposed grading;

(f) A lighting plan (to scale) including but not limited to the content of the site development plan as listed in subsection (2)(c) of this section and the following:

(i) Location of all proposed fixtures on the site and on the buildings; and

(ii) Lighting schedule including performance specifications and lamping for each fixture;

(g) A sign proposal.

(i) Descriptions of all site and building signage including sign type, materials, dimensions, and means of illumination including but not limited to the following:

(A) Wall Signs – Channel Letter Signs.

(I) Sign materials;

(II) Sign area and overall sign height from the ground;

(III) Sign length, width and depth;

(IV) Linear footage of business frontage;

(V) Color name(s) and number(s) of faces, trimcaps and returns;

(VI) Style and spacing of letters;

(VII) Text to be included on sign;

(VIII) Color name(s) and number(s) of graphics;

(IX) Method of attachment (i.e., raceway or mounted directly to wall);

(X) Color name and number of raceway;

(XI) Color names and numbers can be any sufficiently established and verifiable standard color identification system; and

(XII) Accurate physical samples of all colors and materials proposed;

(B) Wall Signs – Cabinet Signs.

(I) Sign materials;

(II) Sign area and overall sign height from the ground;

(III) Sign length, width and depth;

(IV) Linear footage of business frontage;

(V) Style and spacing of letters;

(VI) Text to be included on sign;

(VII) Color name(s) and number(s) of text;

(VIII) Color name(s) and number(s) of graphics;

(IX) Description of frame structure; and

(X) Accurate physical samples of all colors proposed;

(C) Freestanding Signs.

(I) Sign materials;

(II) Overall sign height from the ground;

(III) Cabinet size;

(IV) Base size;

(V) Style and spacing of letters;

(VI) Color name(s) and number(s) of text;

(VII) Color name(s) and number(s) of graphics;

(VIII) Design details of the base;

(IX) Accurate physical samples of all colors proposed; and

(X) Color names and numbers can be any sufficiently established and verifiable standard color identification system.

(h) Architect or artist’s renderings, photographs or computer simulation of all proposed structures depicting the front, side and rear elevations describing the architectural treatment of all structural exteriors, including proposed building materials, colors, and signs;

(i)  Other information as deemed necessary by the zoning administrator or designee.

(3) General Consideration for Review. In reviewing applications, the city of Staunton shall consider only those design features subject to public view and shall not make any requirements except for the purpose of preventing development which is incompatible with the guidelines established for each corridor subject to this review process. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.060 Development plan review process.

All development plans shall be submitted and reviewed according to the following procedures:

(1) An application including a complete development plan per SCC 18.83.050 shall be submitted to the zoning administrator or designee.

(2) After submittal, the plan shall be reviewed and processed by the zoning administrator or designee for conformity to the design standards included in this chapter and the design guidelines developed for each corridor. Applicants shall be notified in writing of the zoning administrator’s decision of the development plan review, including a list of required revisions, if necessary.

(3) A development plan meeting the requirements of this chapter may be reviewed by the planning commission under the following circumstances:

(a) If the zoning administrator or designee finds that due to the scope, nature or location of the proposed development, planning commission review is necessary or desirable; or

(b) If the applicant and the zoning administrator or designee cannot reach a mutually agreeable understanding regarding any aspect of the development plan.

(4) Should planning commission review be deemed necessary, a complete development plan shall be submitted not less than 35 days before the planning commission meeting at which the applicant seeks planning commission review; applicants shall be notified in writing of the decision by the planning commission review. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.070 Appeals.

(1) Any person aggrieved by any decision of the planning commission may appeal such decision to the Staunton city council; provided, that such appeal is filed in writing in the office of the director of the city planning and inspections department within 30 days from the date of the planning commission decision.

(2) Any person aggrieved by any final decision of Staunton city council may appeal such decision by filing a petition in the circuit court of the city of Staunton, setting forth the alleged illegality of the action of city council, provided the petition is filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court within 30 days after the final decision of the city council. The filing of the petition shall stay the decision of city council pending the outcome of the appeal to the court, except that the filing of the petition shall not stay the decision of city council if the decision denies the right to raze or demolish a historic landmark, building or structure. The court may reverse or modify the decision of city council, in whole or in part, if it finds upon review that the decision of city council is contrary to law or that its decision is arbitrary and constitutes an abuse of discretion, or it may affirm the decision of city council. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.080 Use limitations.

All uses shall be subject to the use limitations set forth in the underlying zoning district. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.090 Design standards.

(1) Area and Bulk Regulations. Buildings and structures shall be subject to regulations for lot area, lot width, street frontage, setback, height, yards, maximum or minimum building square footage applicable in the underlying zoning district in which located.

(2) Access to Arterial Roads. When site conditions warrant, provisions shall be established for shared access to arterial roads for existing and future development.

(3) Requirements for Driveways and Parking Lots.

(a) Parking lot layouts shall respond to or re-establish the topographic characteristics of the site.

(b) Parking lots shall not dominate the image of a site.

(c) Parking lots shall be designed to minimize impervious surfaces and mitigate stormwater runoff.

(d) Rip-rap, exposed concrete drainage pipes, and similar drainage structures shall not be located in public view.

(e) The number of access points to parking lots from a street shall relate to other existing curb cuts whenever possible.

(f) Minimum off-street parking requirements may be reduced at the discretion of the zoning administrator or planning commission.

(g) SCC 18.125.010 shall apply.

(h) Off-street parking requirements may be reduced by 10 percent for on-street parking within 200 feet of the subject parcel.

(i) Shared parking arrangements may be considered on a space-by-space basis within 200 feet of the subject parcel provided appropriate schedule arrangements can be justified and proof of a legal agreement outlining the conditions of the shared parking arrangement can be provided.

(j) When 50 percent or more of the required parking area is located below or above the building, one story may be added to the maximum total number of stories allowed.

(k) Any amount of parking area greater than required parking shall reflect alternative surface treatment designed to reduce total impervious surface, improve runoff quality, reduce runoff quantity, reduce impacts on local microclimates from heat reflection, and increase total area devoted to plantings thereby reducing impacts of parking areas on natural resources.

(l) Parking lots shall be interconnected on adjacent parcels whenever possible.

(m) Pedestrian access from the sidewalk into individual project sites, as well as within sites and between sites shall be provided.

(n) Roadway design shall be tailored by the zoning administrator or designee to fit the character and functional needs of specific corridors. Roadways shall incorporate traffic calming devices when appropriate as determined by the zoning administrator or designee.

(4) Requirements for New Buildings, Redeveloped Buildings and the Proposed Adaptive Reuse of Existing Buildings.

(a) The design and construction of new buildings, redeveloped buildings, and the adaptive reuse of existing buildings shall be based on but not limited to the scale, mass, height, materials, color, texture, construction methodology, orientation, and manner of negotiating changes in elevation of nearby historic and cultural resources.

(b) Trademark buildings and related features shall be modified to meet the design standards included within this chapter.

(c) Prior to the submission of a proposed plan of demolition, alteration, or removal of existing buildings located in the entrance corridor overlay district, the applicant or his or her representative is encouraged to meet with the zoning administrator or designee concerning the proposed plan of action and submit preliminary studies, a written description, drawings, photographs, and plans of the concept of the proposed action for tentative review, comments, and recommendations.

(5) Planting Requirements. The requirements of Chapter 18.175 SCC, Landscaping and Screening, shall apply with the following exceptions:

(a) Site plantings shall reflect design characteristics identified as desirable in the guidelines developed for each corridor.

(b) New development along corridors must incorporate as much of the existing plants as possible.

(c) No grading or other earth disturbing activity, storage of materials, equipment, or refuse shall occur within the drip line of any trees or wooded areas or intrude upon any other existing features designated for preservation as provided for in the most recent edition of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook.

(d) Plantings of major trees shall equal a minimum 10 percent of the parking and vehicular circulation area. Planting areas provided shall be a minimum of five feet wide.

(e) Plants shall not be used to screen poorly sited utilities; all utilities, site, and building equipment (including but not limited to loading docks, service entrances, dumpsters and other refuse containers) shall be built into the building envelope, be screened with architectural elements such as walls or extended parapets, or built into the site design.

(6) Requirements for Utilities.

(a) All utility lines, such as electric, telephone, CATV or other similar lines, shall be installed underground in the entrance corridor overlay district. This requirement shall apply to lines serving individual sites as well as within the project.

(b) All utilities, site, and building equipment (including but not limited to loading docks, service entrances, dumpsters and other refuse containers) shall be built into the building envelope, be screened with architectural elements such as walls or extended parapets, or built into the site design. Plants shall not be used to screen poorly sited utilities.

(c) Extended parapets and other means of architectural screening shall be used to eliminate rooftop equipment from public view.

(d) Areas designated on approved plans for preservation of existing features shall be clearly and visibly delineated on the site prior to commencement of any grading or other earth disturbance, including trenching or tunneling, and no such activity, grading, or moving of heavy equipment shall occur within such area. The visible delineation of all such features shall be maintained until all construction activity has been completed.

(7) Requirements for Signs, Billboards, and Other Advertising Structures. The requirements of Chapter 18.140 SCC, Signs, Billboards and Other Advertising Structures, shall apply with the following exceptions:

(a) Each parcel of property occupied by a building shall be permitted one freestanding sign, which shall not exceed 30 square feet on each face. Automobile service stations shall be permitted an additional twenty square feet on each face to advertise the price of fuel.

(b) Freestanding signs shall be mounted on bases a maximum of three feet high. If the specific location of the sign requires a base of more than three feet to provide adequate visibility, the planning commission may approve a taller base. No freestanding sign shall exceed 15 feet in height from grade.

(c) Freestanding signs for shopping centers shall be allowed 10 square feet of area per business establishment. An additional 25 square feet shall be allowed to identify the shopping center as a whole. If individual businesses located within the shopping center are not included on the freestanding sign, the sign identifying the shopping center may be 45 feet in area. For the purposes of this chapter, shopping center shall be defined as:

(i) Groups of two or more stores, personal service shops or restaurants connected by party walls, partitions, canopies or similar features; or

(ii) Some or all of the stores, personal service shops or restaurants located in separate buildings designed as a single commercial group sharing common parking areas, vehicular travelways, and walkways designed to encourage customer interchange between the buildings and present the appearance of a continuous commercial area.

(d) If the nearest point of a freestanding sign is located within five feet of the street right-of-way, its location must be approved by the city’s director of public works or designee, who will evaluate the location for site line and other traffic safety considerations.

(e) The following sign types shall be permitted in the entrance corridor overlay district:

(i) Externally illuminated signs provided the light source is directed downward;

(ii) Internally illuminated channel letters; and

(iii) Internally illuminated cabinet signs if the background of the cabinet sign is opaque and appears black at night;

(iv) Additional types of signs shall be considered.

(f) No wall sign shall project beyond the surface of the building or above the roofline of the building; signs shall be appropriately scaled to the building or portion of the building served and should be coordinated with the architecture.

(g) Inflatable figures and/or signs (still or animated) are not permitted in the entrance corridor overlay district.

(8) Lighting Requirements for Site and Building Exteriors.

(a) Lighting shall be wholly contained within the site.

(b) Light poles shall not exceed 24 feet in height.

(c) Lighting shall be limited to that which is necessary for safety; lighting shall not be used as signage such as up-lighting or down-lighting building elevations, decorative light fixtures, moving or sweeping lights directed towards the sky among other types. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.100 Severability.

In the event that any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter shall be declared or adjudged invalid, such adjudication shall in no manner affect the other sections or sentences, which shall continue in full force and effect as if the section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase so declared or adjudged invalid were not originally a part thereof. (Ord. 2008-09).

18.83.110 Effective date.

This chapter shall be in full force and effect immediately upon adoption. (Ord. 2008-09).