Chapter 18.260


18.260.010    General provisions.

18.260.020    Intent – Purpose.

18.260.030    Applicability.

18.260.040    Procedures for site plan review – Applications.

18.260.050    Contents of site plan.

18.260.060    General performance guidelines.

    Editor’s Note: Ord. No. 17913, §§ 1 – 6, adopted Nov. 5, 2002, a joint Shawnee County resolution and city of Topeka ordinance, provided for the inclusion of site plan regulations to the Topeka comprehensive zoning regulations. Inasmuch as the provisions of said ordinance were not specifically amendatory of the zoning regulations they have been included as TMC 18.260.010 – 18.260.060, at the editor’s discretion.

18.260.010 General provisions.

Site plan review shall be required, and an approved site plan is required before building permits or certificates of occupancy may be issued. The following regulations shall apply generally to all uses contained within the comprehensive zoning regulations which require site plan review. (Ord. 17913 § 1, 11-5-02. Code 1995 § 48-39.01.)

18.260.020 Intent – Purpose.

(a) Intent. The intent of these site plan regulations is to promote orderly growth and development in the city of Topeka and unincorporated Shawnee County; to ensure that development is done in a manner harmonious with surrounding properties, consistent with the general public welfare and with the policies in the comprehensive metropolitan plan; and the requirements of the comprehensive zoning regulations.

The site plan should address the following community goals: reduction in crime; promotion of architectural compatibility; neighborhood stabilization; blight prevention; conservation of historic and landmark properties; encourage economic development and conservation of value of property; secure safety from fire and other dangers; avoid undue concentration of population; improve the appearance of the metropolitan area; facilitate the provisions of transportation, water, sewers, schools, parks and open space, and other community and public improvements.

(b) Purpose. The purpose of these site plan regulations is to provide for a review of individual project site plans addressing:

(1) The project’s compatibility with its environment and with other land uses and buildings in the surrounding area, including historic structures and landmarks and the character of proposed open space and landscape improvements.

(2) The project’s proposed traffic circulation and parking system to provide for the convenient and safe internal and external movement of vehicles and pedestrians.

(3) The character and type of the project’s proposed community facilities where required.

(4) The location and adequacy of the project’s provision for drainage and utilities.

(5) The appropriate design and effective use of construction in order to reduce incidence of crime, and an improvement in the quality of life. (Ord. 17913 § 2, 11-5-02. Code 1995 § 48-39.02.)

18.260.030 Applicability.

A site plan approved in accordance with the provisions of this chapter shall be required prior to the issuance of a building permit in the following instances:

(a) New Construction. For any new construction of a principal structure which requires a building permit in any zoning district except single-family, two-family, and triplex units which are expressly exempted or for any new construction of a principal structure for institutional use in any district.

(b) Building Alteration. For any building alteration over 15,000 square feet, any alteration increasing the gross floor area of a building or buildings by 50 percent or more, any alteration increasing the height of a building by one story or more, or any alteration that results in a significant change to vehicular circulation or in the net reduction of off-street parking by 20 percent or more.

(c) Site Alteration. For any new parking or outdoor storage area, or any alteration increasing the area of a parking or outdoor storage area by 50 percent or more.

(d) Accessory Uses and Structures. Site plan review shall be required for accessory uses and accessory structures greater than 400 square feet, or when one or more structures result in the net reduction of off-street parking or a significant change to vehicular circulation. Accessory uses and/or structures may be reviewed in conjunction with the review of principal structures when such accessory structures are shown on the site plan.

(e) General Provisions. A site plan is required whenever a specific reference is made to these regulations in any other part of the code of the city of Topeka. (Ord. 20062 § 40, 4-18-17.)

18.260.040 Procedures for site plan review – Applications.

(a) Plans Required. The applicant shall submit 10 copies of legible and complete site plans. The review period for a site plan shall be no greater than 21 calendar days from the date of submission. Deadlines set by the planning department shall not be altered, reduced or varied except under unusual circumstances. If a decision regarding the site plan is not rendered by the planning director within the 21-day review period, the site plan shall be deemed approved. Revised site plans shall be received from the applicant within 14 calendar days of receiving review comments or the site plan shall be considered withdrawn. Based upon the extent of revisions, a longer period may be granted by the planning director for the submission of revised plans.

(b) Fees. Every site plan submitted for review shall be accompanied by a filing fee as established in the comprehensive zoning regulations. If a site plan is withdrawn or denied, the review fee is not refundable.

(c) Review and Appeals. After the site plan, related materials, and fees have been submitted, they shall be reviewed by the planning department which shall coordinate the review with other affected city/county departments and divisions for conformity to these regulations and other applicable regulations. Based upon the recommendations of the reviewing agencies, the planning director may approve a site plan, and if approved, shall state the conditions of such approval, if any. If the site plan is disapproved, the reasons therefor shall be communicated in writing to the applicant. The planning director’s approval or disapproval of a site plan may be appealed to the zoning and platting committee. The appeal shall be filed with the planning department within 10 calendar days of such action. Such appeal will be considered at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the committee.

(d) Revised Plans. If approved, the applicant shall make the necessary revisions, if any, and submit a final set of 10 site plans.

(e) Building Permits. A copy of the approved site plan shall be retained in the records of the planning department and all regulatory and occupancy permits shall conform to the provisions of said site plans.

(f) Amendments. Amendments or modifications to approved site plans shall be submitted to the planning department. Such amendments shall be required only when the amendment substantially changes the character and impact of the originally approved site plan. Such modifications shall be submitted in accordance with the procedures and requirements of these regulations and shall be distributed to the appropriate department for review.

(g) Time Limitation. An approved site plan shall become void unless a regulatory permit has been issued or use of the land has commenced within one year from the date of approval of this site plan. Upon request, revalidation of the site plan may be granted for an additional six months if all factors of the original site plan review are the same; provided, however, a written request for revalidation must be received by the planning director prior to expiration of the original one-year period.

(h) Penalties for Noncompliance. A stop work order shall be issued if any of the improvements required by the approved site plan are not constructed or installed during the development of the project. Certificates of occupancy will not be issued until the development is in full compliance with the approved site plan. A temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued where due to weather conditions required improvements cannot be constructed or installed. A temporary certificate of occupancy shall be issued for a period not to exceed six months.

(i) Presubmittal Meeting. Before filing an application for approval of a site plan, the developer is encouraged to confer with the planning department. Such action does not require formal application fees, or filing of a site plan or landscape plan, and is not to be construed as an application for formal approval. (Ord. 17913 § 4, 11-5-02. Code 1995 § 48-39.04.)

    Cross References: Planning department, TMC 2.25.090.

18.260.050 Contents of site plan.

(a) A site plan shall:

(1) Be prepared by an architect, engineer, landscape architect, or other qualified professional at a scale appropriate to the magnitude of the project which will permit notation of all required data. A signature block of the person preparing the site plan shall be included along with the person’s address and phone number;

(2) Contain a project title centered across the top of the plan sheet;

(3) Be prepared on plan sheets measuring at least 24-inch by 36-inch in size;

(4) Be arranged so that the top of the plan represents north, or if otherwise oriented, is clearly and distinctly marked along with the date of preparation and a vicinity map identifying the location of the subject property;

(5) Be accompanied by an electronic submittal of the site plan;

(6) Show boundaries and dimensions graphically, and contain a written legal description of the property; and show a written and graphic scale;

(7) Show the present and proposed topography of the area by contour lines at an interval of not more than two feet; and spot elevations of completed improvements;

(8) Show the location, type and size of existing utilities, culverts, and easements or adjacent to the site;

(9) Show, by use of directional arrow, the proposed flow of storm drainage from the site including drainage/retention ponds. Provide the supplemental stormwater information as required by city/county regulations, and provide on the site plan a site summary table which indicates: the area and percentage of the site proposed for development as buildings; development as a paved surface, undeveloped and planted with grass, ground cover, or other similar vegetative surface;

(10) Show the location and setback of existing and proposed structures indicating the number of stories, gross floor area, and location of all entrances to all structures. If the site is to be razed, the existing structures may be omitted;

(11) Show the location and dimension of existing and proposed curb cuts, curb radii, access aisles, off-street parking (including signage and parking spaces designated for the disabled), loading zones and walkways (including wheelchair ramps);

(12) Indicate the location, heights, and material for screening walls and fences;

(13) List the type of surfacing and base course proposed for all parking, loading, and walkway areas;

(14) Identify names and dimensions of all existing and proposed streets, including rights-of-way extending through or adjacent to the site;

(15) Show the location and size, and provide a landscape schedule for all perimeter and interior landscaping including grass, ground cover, trees and shrubs;

(16) Identify location, type, height, square footage and illumination of existing and proposed signage;

(17) Show and dimension the required number of off-street parking spaces, aisles, medians, and drives;

(18) Show the proposed type, location, height, directions, and intensity of illumination of proposed exterior lighting;

(19) Show the location, size and method of screening of trash storage areas;

(20) Identify any restrictions as shown on a recorded plat of subdivision;

(21) Identify boundary of the 100-year floodplain and base flood elevation;

(22) Identify location, type, and area of on-site sewage disposal systems;

(23) Identify location, dimension, and size of proposed recreation areas, open spaces, and other required amenities and improvements;

(24) Include a drainage report as required by the applicable department of public works;

(25) Architectural elevations, including a description of the exterior types of building materials and finishes;

(26) Include a stormwater management plan if required by Chapter 13.35 TMC; and

(27) Other information, as may be required by the planning director, in order to ensure the intent and purpose of this chapter are met.

(b) The planning director may waive any of the above-listed requirements if the requirements are determined to be unnecessary due to the scope and nature of the proposed development. (Ord. 19626 § 3, 8-23-11.)

    Cross References: Planning department, TMC 2.25.090; public works department, TMC 2.25.110.

18.260.060 General performance guidelines.

In considering and acting upon site plans, the planning director shall take into consideration the public health, safety, and welfare, the comfort and convenience of the public in general and the immediate neighborhood in particular. The following guidelines shall be considered in the evaluation of site plans:

(a) General Plan Conformity. The planning director shall review all site plans in accordance with the adopted comprehensive metropolitan plan and/or neighborhood plans for conformity with the adopted plans’ objectives, policies, and/or design guidelines.

(b) Circulation – Driveways, Sidewalks, Off-Street Parking, Loading, Curbs and Gutters. The planning director shall review all site plans for access and circulation features to provide mobility for people and goods to reach the site and circulate through it in a safe and efficient manner. All modes of transportation (pedestrian and automobile) must be considered in the site plan review.

(c) Landscaping and Buffers. All site plans shall provide for the landscaping and buffering of all building sites and parking areas. Review of landscaping and buffering is intended to protect and promote the public health, safety, and general welfare by preventing soil erosion; providing shade; protecting from excessive noise, glare, and heat; conserving natural resources of air and water; enhancing the overall appearance of development sites; and facilitating a convenient, attractive, and harmonious streetscape and community. All site plans shall comply with adopted landscape ordinances.

(d) Lighting. All site plans shall provide adequate lighting so as to assure safety and security. Lighting installations shall not have an adverse impact on traffic safety or on the surrounding area. Light sources shall be shielded, and there shall be no spillover onto adjacent properties.

(e) Public Health and Safety. Applicable emergency service agencies shall review all site plans to determine adequacy of access and other aspects of public safety, including crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) concepts such as natural surveillance, natural access control, and territorial reinforcement.

(f) Signs. The site plan shall conform to adopted sign ordinances and address the following considerations:

(1) Traffic Signals. No sign shall be maintained at any location which obstructs, impairs, obscures, interferes with the view of, or is confused with, any traffic control sign or device regardless of whether or not it meets other size, location, and setback requirements of adopted sign codes. Nor shall any sign interfere with, mislead or confuse traffic flow. A sign’s position, size, shape, content, color and illumination shall be considered when making such a determination.

(2) Sight Distance Triangles. No sign or any part of a sign other than a supporting pole or brace no greater than 18 inches in width or diameter shall be located lower than nine feet from grade within the area of any sight distance triangle.

(3) Landscaping. Signs proposed to be located within a landscaped area shall be located so as not to be obstructed from full-growth of landscaping. All sign base landscaping shall be of the nature and quality so as not to obstruct a motorist’s view of other vehicles moving within a parking lot or entering and exiting a driveway.

(4) Site Comprehension. Signs shall be designed and located to strengthen overall site comprehension through the use of comprehensive sign packages, where applicable, and the location of signs to clearly define points of access.

(g) Utilities. Ground mounted transformers and air conditioning units shall be screened if visible from the street or when adjacent to a structure on adjoining lot(s). All such units shall be located behind the front yard and side street yard setback lines.

(h) Floodway. Any development within floodways as identified on flood insurance rate maps (FIRM) shall comply with applicable city and county standards. General development guidelines include: anchorage to prevent flotation, construction with materials resistant to flood damage, floodproofing all utility and sanitary facilities, and designed so as to not increase surface elevation of the 100-year flood.

(i) Aviation. Any development located within prescribed aviation zones shall comply with applicable city ordinances and county standards. General development guidelines include the evaluation of height, dust, and lighting.

(j) Stormwater Drainage and Stream Buffers. Measures taken for erosion, pollutant, and sedimentation control shall conform to applicable city standards for stormwater management and stream buffers as required in TMC Titles 13 and 17. A stormwater management plan, if required by Chapter 13.35 TMC, shall be submitted, reviewed, and approved concurrently with the site plan.

(k) Trash and Recycling Containers. Trash containers, trash compactors, and recycling containers shall be screened from public view on a minimum of three sides. Screening may include landscaping, walls or fences of design and construction compatible with the principal building, or a combination of walls, fences, and landscaping. If possible, given the constraints of the site and buildings, areas for trash and recycling containers shall be oriented toward the interior of the site and not be located in building setbacks. Trash and recycling walls and fences exceeding seven feet in height shall not be located in required front yard building setbacks and in side yard setbacks adjacent to a street. The screening requirements of this section shall not apply to containers for clothing donations or publicly accessible recycling containers. (Ord. 20062 § 41, 4-18-17.)

    Cross References: Planning department, TMC 2.25.090.