Part 4. Planned Districts

Chapter 18.110
P PLANNED DISTRICTS

Sections:

18.110.010    Purpose.

18.110.020    Establishment of P districts – Standards and requirements.

18.110.030    Small lot residential developments.

18.110.040    Multifamily residential developments.

18.110.050    Procedure and application – Initiation by property owner.

18.110.060    Procedure – Initiation by city.

18.110.070    Findings required.

18.110.080    Planning commission and city council action.

18.110.090    Development within P districts.

18.110.100    P districts above the toe of the hill line.

18.110.110    Amendments.

18.110.010 Purpose.

The purpose of the planned district, or P district, is to encourage and provide a means for effectuating desirable development, redevelopment, rehabilitation and conservation in the city, which features variations in siting, mix of land uses and/or varied dwelling types. The amenities and compatibility of a P district are to be ensured through adoption of a precise site plan, showing proper orientation, desirable design character and compatible land uses. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.020 Establishment of P districts – Standards and requirements.

The following provisions shall apply in a P district, which district shall also be subject to other provisions of this chapter. Except as specified in this chapter, in cases where there are conflicts with regulations implementing the Hill Area Initiative of 2002, the regulations implementing the Initiative shall apply. In cases where conflict with other chapter regulations occurs, the regulations specified in this chapter or on a site plan approved pursuant to this chapter shall apply.

(a)    P districts may be established on parcels of land which are determined by the planning commission and city council to be suitable for and of sufficient size to be planned and developed in a manner consistent with the purposes of this chapter and the requirements of this section.

(b)    With the exception of small lot residential developments, which are subject to Section 18.110.030, standards for lot area, lot coverage, density, intensity (FAR), yard and setback requirements, height, uses, and screening for P district uses shall be governed by the standards of the residential, commercial, industrial, public facility, and/or open space zoning district(s) most similar in nature and function to the proposed P district as adopted by ordinance of the city council. Deviations from the standards or processes established in this chapter are not permitted.

(1)    In establishing a P district, the planning commission and city council may approve exceptions or modifications to the base district standards and to other standards established by this title (such as parking requirements, increases in height or floor area ratio) by finding that such exceptions or modifications encourage a desirable living environment and are warranted by the design and amenities incorporated in the precise plan or provided to the community at large.

(2)    Effective April 3, 2014, the ordinance adopting a new P district shall include:

(A)    Except for small lot residential developments, an exhibit containing the provisions of the zoning district(s) most similar in nature and function to the proposed P district uses;

(B)    Except for small lot residential developments, a list of all approved exceptions or modifications to the provisions of those zoning district(s) and to other zoning code standards established by this title; and

(C)    In all cases, provisions for future development including:

(i)    Standards for additions, alterations, and accessory structures;

(ii)    A list of permitted, zoning administrator, and conditional uses;

(iii)    A list of interim uses that are allowed prior to commencement of development consistent with the precise plan and the duration of time that they may continue to operate commensurate with the approved phasing of development; and

(iv)    Design review permit requirements.

(c)    Density transfer may only be permitted pursuant to the clustering provisions of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002 if the effect is to reduce overall visibility from public places or to reduce environmental harm. In no instance, however, may density from below the toe of the hill1 be transferred to locations above the toe of the hill1.

(d)    Accessory dwelling units may be permitted, subject to the provisions set forth in Section 18.190.005.

(e)    In the absence of any specifically adopted P district zoning standards, the zoning standards of the most comparable conventional zoning district (e.g., R-1-6, C-G, MX) shall be utilized and most consistent with the underlying general plan designation shall be utilized.

(f)    Public and/or Private Open Space within P Districts.

(1)    Those portions of the P district that are devoted to public open space shall be dedicated to the city or other appropriate public agency. Alternatively, they shall be subject to a recorded open space easement, scenic restriction or other legal device guaranteeing that such portions shall remain public open space. Any development restrictions shall also be recorded on the property.

(2)    Contiguous private open space(s), two acres or more in size, within a P district shall be shown on the general plan land use diagram as “private open space” consistent with the provisions of the Private Open Space Initiative adopted by the city council on July 17, 2012, and set forth in the general plan. Any application for a P district that includes private open space shall be considered to incorporate a general plan amendment application to designate the area as private open space. The planning manager shall direct that the general plan amendment be included in the project description and public hearing notices for the proposed P district. Approval of the P district shall be accompanied by a city council resolution showing the area as private open space on the general plan land use diagram, which resolution shall become effective following the recordation of the final map or issuance of the first building permit when no subdivision is proposed for a project.

(g)    Mixed-use developments, subject to the provisions set forth in Section 18.45.040 and any adopted community plan, may consist of one or more parcels developed as a cohesive project and designed with a blend of various compatible uses such as commercial, residential and institutional.

(h)    The city engineer or building official may require a new or additional on-site geotechnical report for grading plans, subdivision maps, or building permits on lands which the city engineer or building official reasonably finds, based on the evidence before him or her, are in a landslide, in the path of a landslide, at risk of a landslide, or in an area of slope instability. The evidence to be considered by the city engineer or building official may include any or all of the following:

(1)    Fremont general plan;

(2)    An on-site geotechnical report;

(3)    A survey by the United States Geological Survey;

(4)    A survey by the California Geologic Survey;

(5)    A report available to the city; or

(6)    Observation of physical conditions.

The investigation shall be prepared by a state licensed professional. The scope of such investigation shall be determined by the city engineer or building official based on the type of development or construction proposed, and the constraints to the land. The city engineer or building official may require peer review by an independent geologist selected by the city engineer or building official with the cost borne by the applicant. Based upon the results of the investigation and the peer review, the city engineer or building official may approve, conditionally approve or deny the requested plan, map or permit, where the city engineer or building official is the approval authority; or may recommend approval, conditional approval, or denial of the requested plan, map or permit to the approval authority.

(i)    P Districts, or Portions Thereof, Located Above the Toe of the Hill Line.

(1)    All proposed amendments to P districts located above the toe of the hill line, including proposed amendments to P districts in existence prior to the enactment of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002, shall comply with the regulations set forth in the Hill Area Initiative of 2002, except that proposed additional development located on parcels with existing primary buildings and in compliance with the regulations of a P district in existence prior to the enactment of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002 shall not be required to comply with the Hill Area Initiative of 2002.

(2)    Development within P districts with specific regulations requiring compliance with the Hill Area Development Policy, which was rescinded by city council on July 12, 2005, shall conform with the standards and requirements of Section 18.130.050, development standards of the hillside combining district; Chapter 18.235, Design Review Permits; the hillside streets policy; and requirements outlined in the submittal requirements for projects above the toe of the hill line. In cases where there are conflicts with regulations of the specific P district, the conditions of approval for the P district shall apply. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14; Ord. 01-2017 § 10, 1-3-17; Ord. 23-2018 § 18, 10-2-18; Ord. 02-2020 § 18, 1-14-20.)

18.110.030 Small lot residential developments.

For the purposes of this section, “small lot residential development” shall mean a subdivision containing six or more lots that are generally between 4,000 square feet and 6,000 square feet in size.

(a)    A small lot residential development shall be evaluated for consistency with the adopted “Design Guidelines for Small-Lot Single-Family Residential Developments” through a planned district rezoning process.

(b)    Minimum Lot Size. The minimum lot size for a small lot residential development shall be 4,000 square feet unless 100 percent of the units are available at an affordable housing cost to low and moderate income persons and households (as defined in Cal. Health & Safety Code § 50093 as amended from time to time).

(c)    The P district shall establish provisions for minimum private open space on each lot and shall identify the type of accessory structures, if any, allowed within this space.

(d)    The P district shall also establish if any additions to main buildings are permitted. If additions are not permitted, a deed restriction shall be recorded at the time of the final map as well as noted in the conditions of approval for said P district.

(e)    Maximum Height. The maximum building height for a small lot residential development shall not exceed 30 feet.

(f)    Land Uses. In the absence of specifically adopted P district land use and permit requirements, the allowed land uses and permit requirements for residential lots within small lot residential developments shall be as provided for R-1 districts in Table 18.90.080. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14; Ord. 23-2018 § 19, 10-2-18.)

18.110.040 Multifamily residential developments.

A multifamily low-medium and medium density residential development proposed for inclusion in a P district shall be evaluated for consistency with the adopted “Multi-family Design Guidelines.” (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.050 Procedure and application – Initiation by property owner.

A P district requires both a preliminary and precise plan. The P district may be established utilizing a one-step or two-step approach. The one-step approach combines both preliminary and precise plan requirements into a single rezoning, whereas the two-step approach involves a rezoning adopting a preliminary plan for development, followed by a later rezoning adopting a precise plan. The planning manager shall determine the most appropriate approach depending on the complexity of the proposal.

(a)    Preliminary Plan. The preliminary plan rezoning application shall be prepared by a qualified design professional and shall include the following information presented on a dimensioned site plan(s), where appropriate:

(1)    A site constraints analysis map identifying easements, natural elements, and/or other possible constraints on development of the site;

(2)    Proposed land uses, densities and building intensities;

(3)    Proposed parks, playgrounds, and other open spaces;

(4)    Proposed circulation pattern, indicating public and private streets and including all proposed on-street and off-street pedestrian and bicycle circulation;

(5)    Relation to existing and future general plan land use(s) and circulation elements in the surrounding area;

(6)    Delineation of project phases, or a note that no phasing is proposed;

(7)    Identification of both existing and proposed infrastructure to serve the project; and

(8)    A market analysis of proposed commercial uses, if the property is not zoned for commercial purposes at the time of submittal of the preliminary plan.

The planning commission and the city council shall conduct a public hearing on the application and shall provide notice as set forth in Chapter 18.320. Approval of the preliminary plan shall be limited to the general acceptability of the land uses proposed and their interrelationship and shall not be construed to endorse precise location of uses, configuration of parcels or engineering feasibility. Approval of the preliminary plan adopting a rezoning to a P district shall include development parameters and general conditions for final approval of a precise P district as outlined in subsection (b) of this section. The council’s action is not, and shall not be construed as or deemed to be, a commitment by the city to approve any subsequent rezoning application for a precise plan.

(b)    Precise Plan. A precise plan rezoning application and supporting documentation shall be prepared by a qualified professional team, which will normally include an urban planner, licensed architect, licensed land surveyor, registered civil engineer and registered landscape architect, and shall include:

(1)    Evidence that the applicant has sufficient control over the property to effectuate the proposed plan, including but not limited to consent from all property owners to the precise plan application;

(2)    A precise site plan in general conformance with the approved preliminary plan, showing:

(A)    As appropriate, all the information required on the preliminary plan;

(B)    The approximate location and proposed density of dwelling units and nonresidential building intensity (FAR);

(C)    A tabulation of total number of acres in the proposed project and the percent thereof designated for various uses; and

(D)    A tabulation of the number of dwelling units proposed by type of dwelling for each phase of the P district and commercial and other nonresidential square footage, if applicable;

(3)    Building plans, including floor plans and exterior elevations;

(4)    Landscaping plans;

(5)    Design guidelines for any buildings, streetscapes and common areas not specifically included in subsections (b)(3) and (4) of this section;

(6)    Proposed zoning standards, including but not limited to setbacks, height and lot coverage limitations, minimum open space requirements, and maximum building intensity, and an identification of how these standards vary from standard zoning district or other ordinance regulations;

(7)    Environmental, technical and economic/market feasibility studies, as appropriate;

(8)    Engineering plans, including site grading, street improvements and public utility extensions as necessary; and

(9)    A phasing schedule for the development and the public and private improvements proposed for each phase of development.

(c)    Development proposed consistent with an adopted precise plan may require subsequent entitlements, including but not limited to zoning administrator permits, conditional use permits, design review permits and subdivision approvals. Development proposed that is not consistent with the original P district approval shall be considered to be an amendment to the P district and shall be processed as set forth in Section 18.110.110. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.060 Procedure – Initiation by city.

(a)    P district zoning may be initiated by motion of the city council or planning commission, or initiated at the direction of the planning manager; provided, that the body initiating the rezoning finds that the area to be rezoned meets the purpose of a planned district as set forth in Section 18.110.010 and the requirements of Section 18.110.020. Written notification to property owner(s) within the proposed P district of the city’s intent to rezone property to the P district shall be required prior to the planning commission hearing on the rezoning action.

(b)    The city shall not be required to provide preliminary or precise site plans to establish P district zoning on a site; however, the approval of the P district shall include an exhibit that provides policy direction and guidance for future development proposals.

(c)    Any subsequent development proposed in an area zoned P pursuant to this section shall be initiated by the owner(s) of the property and shall be subject to all requirements set forth in this chapter. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.070 Findings required.

(a)    Findings for Property Owner-Initiated Districts. Where a P district is initiated by the property owner, the planning commission may recommend the establishment of a P district, and the city council may by ordinance establish a P district, provided the city council finds:

(1)    The P district is consistent with the city’s general plan and any applicable community or specific plan;

(2)    The precise plan and supplementary documents incorporate and conform to the required standards of Section 18.110.020 and, where applicable, Section 18.110.030;

(3)    The uses proposed will not be detrimental to present and potential surrounding uses;

(4)    The project provides suitable and adequate connections and capacity for both circulation and infrastructure to surrounding properties;

(5)    Existing or proposed utility services are adequate for the development;

(6)    Any exception or modification from standard ordinance requirements will encourage a desirable living environment and is warranted by the design and amenities incorporated in the precise plan or provided to the community at large; and

(7)    The project substantially conforms to any applicable design guidelines.

(b)    Findings Required for City-Initiated P Districts. When a P district is initiated by the city pursuant to Section 18.110.060, the planning commission may recommend the establishment of a P district, and the city council may by ordinance establish a P district, provided the city council finds:

(1)    The property is in a study area or area of interest identified by the general plan, and because of the need for specific project design to achieve the objectives of the general plan, the property can best be developed as a P district; or

(2)    The property has a unique size, shape, topography, historic character, landscape feature or known environmental or other development constraint or its relationship is close to parcels with such a feature or constraint. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14; Ord. 04-2016 § 25, 3-1-16.)

18.110.080 Planning commission and city council action.

(a)    The planning commission may recommend approval or conditional approval of a preliminary and/or precise plan rezoning if it can make the findings required in Section 18.110.070. If the findings cannot be made the application shall be denied. A planning commission denial shall be final on the date following the expiration of the appeal period unless an appeal to the city council is timely filed by the applicant pursuant to Chapter 18.300.

(b)    The city council may accept or modify the recommendation of the planning commission if it can make the findings required in Section 18.110.070. An action to approve a P-district shall include conditions of approval to ensure the completion of those public improvements and grants of easement proposed on the approved precise plan or in other P district documents. If the findings cannot be made the application shall be denied. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.090 Development within P districts.

Many existing P districts require applicants to obtain various entitlements before proceeding with development. In order to ensure consistent and orderly development, the following provisions will apply to all P districts:

(a)    P districts established after April 3, 2014, shall clearly describe any subsequent entitlements required (i.e., zoning administrator or conditional use permit and/or design review permit) for both new development and any modifications to constructed development.

(b)    P districts approved prior to April 3, 2014, shall comply with the following procedures despite references to “major or minor amendments” in the approved P district or precise plan:

(1)    Land Use Permits. When a P district requires an amendment for a use of land, the property owner shall apply for a zoning administrator permit (Chapter 18.275) unless the P district specifies review by the planning commission in which case the owner shall apply for a conditional use permit (Chapter 18.230).

(2)    Design Review Permits. When a property owner seeks approval for new site or building development or modification to constructed development, the property owner shall apply for a design review permit pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 18.235. The reviewing authority for design review permits within a P district shall be the zoning administrator, unless the P district specifies a different approval authority.

(c)    Land Use Determinations. All requests for a use determination shall be made in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 18.250 (Modifications and Interpretations of Zoning Standards – Findings). (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.100 P districts above the toe of the hill line.

(a)    Minor Additions and Exterior Site and Building Alterations to Existing Developed Parcels above the Toe of the Hill Line. The zoning administrator shall consider and act upon all requests for additions or alterations that would not cause the primary building to exceed 7,500 square feet in area or add an accessory structure that does not exceed 600 square feet in area, unless the zoning administrator determines that the application warrants consideration by the planning commission. The planning commission shall review any primary building (inclusive of attached garage) that proposes to exceed 7,500 square feet in area and any accessory structure that exceeds 600 square feet in area. The approval authority may grant approval if it makes the findings required by subsections (e)(1) and (2) of this section, and such addition shall not be subject to the provisions of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002.

(b)    New Development Not Encompassed by Subsection (a) of This Section and Located above the Toe of the Hill Line. The planning commission shall review all new development, except that the zoning administrator may review all new accessory structures under 600 square feet in size unless the zoning administrator determines that the application warrants consideration by the planning commission. The approval authority may grant approval if it finds that such new development conforms to all provisions of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002, regardless of whether the P district was established before or after the enactment of the Initiative, and if it makes the findings listed in subsection (e) of this section.

(c)    Developments Crossed by the Toe of the Hill Line. Where a parcel in a P district is crossed by the toe of the hill line1 and development of a primary structure is proposed, such development shall be evaluated by staff according to the “Hill Area Initiative Checklist” to determine if the development substantially complies with the Hill Area Initiative of 2002.

(1)    If the development does not substantially comply with the Hill Area Initiative of 2002, then such development shall be subject to the regulations of the applicable P district and all provisions of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002; or

(2)    If the development substantially complies with the Hill Area Initiative of 2002, then such development shall be subject to the regulations of the applicable P district but shall not be subject to all provisions of the Hill Area Initiative of 2002.

(d)    Applications for development referred to in this section shall be accompanied by plans sufficient to describe the nature of the proposed project and such other pertinent information as may be necessary to review the proposed project. Applications for development above the toe of the hill line shall describe how the proposed project complies with the general plan, Section 18.130.050 (development standards of the hillside combining district), the applicable provisions of Chapter 18.55, (O-S) Open Space District, and the Hill Area Initiative of 2002; except that projects described in subsections (a) and (c)(2) of this section shall not be required to describe how they comply with the Hill Area Initiative of 2002 but rather how they comply with the requirements set forth in the P district.

(e)    The approval authority may grant approval only if it finds:

(1)    That the project is in compliance with the original P district approval including adopted development standards, conditions of approval and applicable design guidelines;

(2)    Where no specific design guidelines are incorporated within a P district or the P district guidelines do not address a particular design concern, that the project is in conformance with the requirements of Chapter 18.235 (design review);

(3)    If located above the toe of the hill line, that the project conforms to the applicable provisions of Chapter 18.55, (O-S) Open Space District, and Section 18.130.050 (development standards of the hillside combining district). If there is a conflict among these standards, the standards set forth in Chapter 18.55 shall prevail. Notwithstanding the above, standards which implement the Hill Area Initiative of 2002 shall not apply to projects described in subsections (a) and (c)(2) of this section. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

18.110.110 Amendments.

An amendment is a substantive change to an approved P district and is processed as a rezoning. Examples of amendments requiring a rezoning include increased development density or intensity; substantial changes in the location or distribution of development; and/or substantive changes to conditions of approval. The following are exempt from the rezoning process: “major and minor amendments” referenced in Section 18.110.090(b), land use determinations referenced in Section 18.110.090(c), and minor modifications made subject to review and approval of the planning manager that are in keeping with the intent of the original P district approval. The planning manager is vested with the authority to determine if proposed development within a P district is a substantive change that requires a rezoning. (Ord. 9-2014 § 17, 3-4-14.)

[Notes Applicable to Chapter 18.110]

1    This term is defined in Chapter 18.25.