Chapter 8
TC Town Center District

3.801 Intent.

This district is designed to promote a mix of uses within a dense development of land of an exceptional aesthetic quality that encourages the congregation of people, creating new and innovative interdependent residential, office, shopping, and entertainment environments that complement each other and gain economic advantage from a close proximity and well organized relationship to each other.

A prime characteristic of this district is a core of intense pedestrian activity. Most persons entering the district will come by automobile and typically will park once to carry out several errands. This essential interdependence of activities is given preference in the regulations and the future planning of the district over those types of activities where the customer normally does business as a single purpose trip and desires to park his automobile immediately adjacent to the establishment.

Uses or activities that tend to be incompatible with the intent of this district (drive-thru restaurants for example) shall be appropriately restricted if not prohibited altogether.

Exterior building materials, signage, lighting, landscaping, and other features of the project, shall be designed to provide an environment of high quality and complementary building and site design. The provisions that follow place special emphasis upon regulations, design standards, and improvements that tend to reduce the large-scale visual impact of buildings, to encourage tasteful, imaginative design for individual buildings, and to create a complex of buildings compatible with each other and neighboring residential areas in terms of design, scale and use. To unify the building sites and their architecture, landscaping and other site amenities as a design element will play a key role in creating and conveying a user friendly environment, as well as to ensure compatibility of neighboring uses.

3.802 Permitted Principal Uses.

The following uses are permissible when conducted within fully enclosed buildings, unless otherwise specifically provided:

A.    Offices for: lawyers, realtors, architects, engineers, accountants or tax consultants, and similar professional businesses; executive, administrative, professional, non-profit organizations; judicial, law enforcement or governmental agencies; banks or credit unions; commercial and civic organizations; public or private utilities; news media, sales; and similar functions or occupations.

B.    Research, design, development, and testing facilities for technological, scientific and business establishments, contained solely within completely enclosed buildings.

C.    Medical and dental offices, including outpatient clinics, medical laboratories, but not including veterinarian establishments.

D.    Hotels, auditoriums, theaters, display halls, art galleries, cultural centers, health or exercise clubs, courts, libraries, museums, or similar places of assembly.

E.    Data processing, computer programming, software development, and archival services.

F.    Miscellaneous business services such as consumer credit reporting agencies, mailing lists and stenographic service, business management and consulting services, lithographic, blueprinting and other document reproduction services etc.

G.    Commercial, business and/or technical schools and other training facilities located completely within an enclosed building.

H.    Banks, credit unions and similar financial services, excluding those with drive-up services (See below – Section 3.804).

I.    Studios for radio or television broadcasting, musicians, dancing instruction, photography and artists, including artisan fabrication, such as wood, glass or metal working, model making, rug weaving, lapidary work, and cabinet making, using only hand-held and/or table mounted manual and electric tools.

J.    Personal service establishments, such as, but not limited to, repair shops (watches, radio, television, shoe, etc.), tailor shops, beauty parlors, barber shops, interior decorators, and photographers.

K.    Any retail business whose principal activity is the sale of new merchandise in an enclosed building, excepting uses such as the following, which tend to detract from or interfere with a high intensity of pedestrian activity: firearm sales, automobile sales, trailer coach sales, motorcycles sales, gasoline service stations, and other retail businesses which require a workshop for assembly, fabrication or repair for a successful operation. However, sales of packaged alcoholic beverages are prohibited unless otherwise permitted pursuant to Section 3.804 of this Zoning Ordinance.

L.    Retail dry cleaning establishments or pickup stations, provided that odorless cleaning fluid is used, all dry cleaning is limited to that material and clothing picked up over the counter of such premises.

M.    Restaurants, tea rooms, cafes, and other establishments serving food or beverages, including those with accessory outdoor seating, excepting those with drive-in or drive-thru facilities.

N.    Multiple-Family dwellings, either as the exclusive occupant of a building or as a mixed use with a permitted non-residential use.

O.    Day care facilities.

P.    Police and/or Fire stations.

Q.    Outdoor parks, playgrounds, skating rinks, tennis courts and passive recreation areas primarily for use of those residing, working or patronizing the businesses located within, this district. Outdoor concerts, broadcasts, plays or other outdoor entertainments are subject to Special Exception Permit, pursuant to Section 3.804 of the Zoning Ordinance.

R.    Indoor recreational facilities, places of amusement, entertainment, or recreation, such as dance halls, commercial or private clubs, discotheques, cabarets, bars, taverns, billiard or pool halls, bowling alley, or rental halls for meeting, banquets or social occasions, or similar indoor recreational uses shall not be located within 300 feet of a lot or site-condominium unit upon which a detached single-family residence is located.

3.803 Permitted Accessory Buildings, Landscaping, Lighting, Parking, Signs, Structures, Uses, and Utilities.


A.    Multi-story off-street parking structures, provided their exterior appearance is generally obscured by other building areas from single-family dwellings and principal pedestrian/assembly areas and provided any exterior wall, of said parking structure, located within 300’ of and visible from a lot or site condominium unit upon which a detached single-family dwelling exists, shall be solid and/or otherwise improved, to the satisfaction of the Planning Commission, so as to prevent spillover of light and noise generated from within said parking structure from being observed from said residential property.


B.    Property not utilized for buildings, structures, parking lots, decks, patios or other improved outdoor seating areas and/or improved roadways, driveways or walkways, and no less than 14% of the aggregate area, in addition to any landscape buffer required below at paragraph D, within the overall development located within this district shall be landscaped with living trees, shrubs, flowers, grass and/or ground cover. Wetland areas may be retained in their natural condition. All plant materials shall have access to a source of water for irrigation and shall be maintained in a healthy condition.

C.    Within the required setback from any property line adjacent to or separated by a street, right-of-way or similar easement for vehicular travel, from a lot or site condominium unit upon which a detached single-family residential dwelling exists, the following buffer shall be installed:

1.    A 4’ high berm (excepting approved passage-ways for pedestrian movement) landscaped with 1 tree and 1 shrub being provided for every 5’ of the lineal dimension of said buffer, with at least one-half of the required trees being an evergreen variety; OR

2.    if a interior roadway/driveway is located between the on-site buildings located nearest to the neighboring residential properties and the effected property line, then: a continuous (excepting approved passage-ways for pedestrian movement) 6’ high stone or masonry wall (to match exterior material of the nearest building), setback 5’ to 10’ from said interior roadway/drive on that side nearest the neighboring residential property, with 1 tree and 1 shrub, being predominantly provided between said wall and the effected property line, for every 10’ of the lineal dimension of said buffer, with at least one-half of the required trees being an evergreen variety; may be substituted for the landscaped berm described above at “(a)”.

D.    Except as provided above, all surface off-street parking lots shall be screened along their perimeter by a buffer strip of at least a ten-foot (10’) width, landscaped with at least one tree for every thirty feet (30’) of buffer strip length. The City Planning Commission may approve an alternative screening mechanism, such as a 42” high brick or stone (to match exterior material of related building) wall, during Site Plan Review.

E.    Except as provided above, for every 50’ along all streets, rights-of-way or similar easements for vehicular travel, one (1) or more tree(s), shall be provided, accented by provision of annual and/or perennial flowers.

F.    Evergreen trees shall be at least a 5’ height at the time of their planting. Large deciduous trees shall be at least a 2” caliper at the time of their planting. Ornamental deciduous trees shall be at least a 1 3/4” caliper at the time of their planting.

G.    The Planning Commission may modify or waive the minimum landscaping, buffering or wall requirements, when it determines that such a modification will serve the same intent and provide more effective circulation and traffic movement, or will enable a more reasonable and desirable building setting and site design.


H.    Lighting shall provide for the safe and efficient illumination of a site in order to maintain vehicle and pedestrian safety, site security, and accentuate architectural details. However, awnings shall not be internally lit.

I.    Distinctive luminaries and decorative supportive structures may be employed along public streets given contribution to the Department of Public Utilities of replacement parts equal to or greater than 10% of the total luminaries and 5% of the total supportive structures installed.


J.    Since the intent of this district is to promote dense development of land of an exceptional aesthetic quality, off-street parking shall be primarily provided within multi-level parking structures (see above paragraph #1, under accessory “BUILDINGS”). Surface off-street parking shall not exceed 10% of the required and actual parking provided for any building, and shall not be permitted within 25’ of A or B Street or within 10’ of any other street, right-of-way or similar easement for vehicular travel. Given a conclusive shared parking analysis, the aggregate number of required off-street parking spaces, shared between a number of different uses, may be reduced by the Planning Commission in the Site Plan Review process.


K.    All signs shall be designed so as to be integral and compatible with the architecture and landscaping components of the development, and are subject to Site Plan Review pursuant to Article 6, Chapter 20 of the Zoning Ordinance.

    Signs in the TC district shall comply with the requirements for signs in the C-2 district. See Article 1 for sign regulations.

STRUCTURES (other than buildings)

L.    Ornamental metal fencing, or brick walled enclosures, of up to an 8’ height. However, location of said fencing or walled enclosures shall not be within 10’ of any property line, right-of-way or similar easement unless specifically approved during Site Plan Review by the Planning Commission.

M.    Transformers, electrical or mechanical equipment and other similar permitted incidental equipment shall be mounted on the interior of a building wherever possible. Exterior location of such structures or equipment that may be visible from any street, right-of-way or similar easement for vehicular travel, or residential use, or district within which a residential dwelling is a permitted use, shall be setback at least 25’ from all streets, rights-of-way or ‘similar easement for vehicular travel and at least 15’ from any other property line, and shall be screened with either plantings or a durable non-combustible enclosure which are unified and harmonious with the overall architectural theme, and meet utility provider standards for location and maintenance.

N.    Communication antennas, wireless telecommunication antennas and similar incidental non-accessory antennas may be mounted within or upon existing buildings or structures, as provided for above. However, free-standing structure(s) supporting communication antennas, whether accessory or non-accessory, require Special Exception Permit, pursuant to Section 3.804 of the Zoning Ordinance.

O.    Loading docks and refuse collection facilities should be located within the envelope of the building they serve. Otherwise, loading docks and/or refuse collection enclosures shall be incorporated into the overall design of the building and the landscaping so that the visual and acoustic impacts of these functions are fully contained and out of view from adjacent properties and public streets. Wherever possible, said loading docks and refuse collection enclosures shall be located on that side of the building opposite of, or as far removed as possible from, all neighboring residential uses and districts within which detached single-family residential dwellings are permitted. All screening shall be comparable in style and quality to the principal materials of the building and landscape and otherwise comply with Section 4.408 of this ordinance. Outdoor storage, excepting that referenced above, shall be strictly prohibited.


P.    An outdoor cafe service operated by an establishment that sells food and/or beverages for immediate consumption, located within the adjacent building may be permitted, subject to the following conditions:

1.    An outdoor cafe shall be located directly in front of or adjacent to the principal establishment. An outdoor cafe that extends beyond the building frontage of the principal establishment shall require the permission of those business owners who operate within the adjacent building frontage.

2.    If an outdoor cafe is located along a public or private sidewalk, or pedestrian pathway, a minimum of five (5) feet of unobstructed, pedestrian access along said sidewalk or path shall be maintained.

3.    An outdoor cafe shall be allowed only during normal operating hours of the principal establishment.

4.    The exterior of the premises shall be kept clean, orderly and maintained or the permit may be revoked. All food preparation shall be conducted inside of the principal establishment.

5.    The City shall not be held liable or responsible for any type of damage, theft or personal injury, which may occur as a result of a sidewalk cafe operation.

6.    All outdoor cafes shall comply with applicable laws and regulations of the City, County, and the State.

Q.    Interior storage, lounge, waiting room, laundry or similar use when ancillary to and within the same building as a Permitted Principal Use or a use permitted by Special Exception Permit, and occupying no more than 30% of the total useable floor area of the building.

R.    Characteristically quiet and non-odiferous outdoor entertainments or open air business uses, such as art or book fairs, book readings, skating rinks (without outdoor musical broadcasts) flower vendors, portrait painters, and similar activities when on private property located at least 300’ from a lot or site-condominium unit upon which a detached single-family residence is located, and when developed in planned relationship within the Town Center District, subject to Site Plan Review.

S.    Home occupations subject to the requirements of Section 2.536.

T.    Any use customarily incidental to the permitted use.


U.    All exterior on-site utilities, and communication devices, including but not limited to drainage systems, sewers, gas lines, water lines, and electrical, telephone, and communications wires and equipment, shall be installed and maintained underground whenever possible.

V.    On-site underground utilities, and communication devices, shall be designed and installed to minimize disruption of off-site utilities, communication devices, paving, and landscape during construction and maintenance.

3.804 Uses requiring Planning Commission Special Exception Permit.

A.    Public utility buildings, telephone exchange buildings; electric transformer stations and substations; gas regulator stations with service yards, but without storage yards, as required to provide necessary services to the businesses and residents in the district.

B.    Wireless telecommunication or similar facilities requiring free-standing structure(s) supporting communication antennas. Such facilities shall be setback a distance equal to their height from all lots or site-condominium units upon which a detached single-family residential dwelling is located.

C.    Facilities incorporating drive-up services, including restaurants, banks, pharmacies, dry cleaners and other retail and service operations.

D.    Sales of packaged alcoholic beverages.

E.    Antique dealers.

F.    Retail stores or services, not otherwise permitted and conclusively found to be compatible with the intent of this District.

G.    Open air business uses as either a principal or incidental use, other than those otherwise permitted above, when developed in a planned relationship within the Town Center District, and subject to Site Plan Review.

H.    Outdoor entertainments, within areas designated for such use on an approved Site Plan, as either a principal or incidental use, other than those otherwise permitted above, including musical broadcasts or concerts, theatrical presentations, carnivals, dances or similar activities. Such outdoor entertainments shall not be located within 500 feet of a lot or site-condominium unit upon which a detached single-family residence is located.

3.805 Architectural and Development Regulations/Standards.


Exterior materials shall be predominantly low maintenance face brick or stone, with ornamental metal accents. Pitched roofs shall have a metal surface or decking complimentary to the architectural detail of the building. No more than 10% of the exterior finish may be Dryvit, E.I.F.S. or similar material.

Building Facades

Building facades shall incorporate windows, arcades, recesses, balconies, projections, cornice work, decorative finish or similar features providing architectural interest and/or detail along appropriately substantial portions of their length. Blank walls shall not face a public plaza, street, sidewalk, right-of-way or similar easement for vehicular or pedestrian travel. Glass curtain walls and spandrel-glass strip windows shall not be used above the ground floor as the predominant style of fenestration for buildings in this district. This requirement shall not serve to restrict the use of atrium, lobby or greenhouse-type accent features used as embellishments to the principal building.

Storefronts shall be individually designed for each retail shop, and shall be integrally designed with the upper floors to be compatible with the overall facade character. Buildings with multiple storefronts shall be unified through the use of architecturally compatible materials, colors, details, awnings, signage and lighting fixtures. Ground floor retail, service and restaurant uses shall have large pane display windows, however, such windows shall not exceed seventy-five (75) percent of the total ground level facade area.

Roof soffits shall be elaborated with decorative supporting brackets or other details.

Primary building entrances shall be recessed, or framed by a sheltering element such as an awning, arcade or portico in order to provide shelter from the summer sun and winter weather, or otherwise clearly defined.

Special architectural features, such as bay windows, decorative roofs, colonnades or other covered walkways, trellises, canopies, fabric awnings and entry features may project into a required setback, provided that they are not less than eight (8) feet above any public or private walkway. Building setbacks shall be improved with seating, landscaping, pavers, tables, decorative lighting, water features and/or artworks. No such improvements shall encroach into a right-of-way or similar easement(s) for vehicular travel unless specifically authorized by a license agreement with the City and/or other entities favored by said easement(s).

Building Roofs

There shall be variations in roof lines to reduce the massive scale of the structure and add visual interest.

Parapets shall enclose flat roofs at least 42 inches high, or higher if required to conceal mechanical equipment. In instances where flat roof areas can be viewed from above, care should be taken that all roof vents, roof-mounted mechanical equipment, pipes, etc., are grouped together and painted to match roof color to reduce their appearance. Location of such mechanical equipment shall be as far removed from all neighboring residential uses as is possible.

Pedestrian Pathways and Sidewalks

Pedestrian pathway and sidewalk systems shall provide safe, all-weather, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing means of pedestrian movement between adjacent districts, as well as on-site circulation and shall be an integral part of the overall site design concept. Sidewalks are typically required along all roadways and elsewhere as determined necessary by the Planning Commission. Pedestrian pathway connections to parking areas, buildings, other amenities and between on-site and perimeter pedestrian systems shall be planned and installed wherever feasible. All paths and sidewalks shall be a minimum of five (5) feet in width, and paved pursuant to the City’s design standards. Sidewalks may be excluded from public rights-of-way where a permanent easement abutting said rights-of-way, of a dimension as determined by the City Engineering Division to be necessary to accommodate at least a 5’ wide sidewalk, is provided for public pedestrian use, in a form acceptable to the City Law Department that obligates the property owner to improve and maintain in perpetuity such easement pursuant to City standards, including all necessary repair and snow removal. Auto entrances to parking areas shall be located to minimize pedestrian/auto conflicts.

Street Design

Streets, or similar easements for vehicular travel, shall comply with the requirements of the City Engineering Division and all Design Standards provided by Sections 106-126 through 106-132 of City Code. Typically, streets, or similar easements for vehicular travel which intersect with a State or County rights-of-way, or other A or B Streets shall be considered Collector Streets with respect to said design standards. However, the City Planning Commission, subsequent to their consideration of the recommendations of the City’s Engineering Division and Traffic Safety Committee, may modify said standards, pursuant to Section 106-4 of City Code.

3.806 Area, Height, Bulk and Placement Regulations.

A.    The minimum gross area required for application of the provisions of this Town Center District shall be 25 acres and subject to coordinated ownership or control.

B.    Al buildings and off-street parking areas shall be setback from rights-of-way or similar easements for vehicular travel or pedestrian movement at least:

1.    15’ from any A or B Street;

2.    25’ from any property line adjacent to or separated by a street, right-of-way or similar easement for vehicular travel, from a lot or site condominium unit upon which a detached single-family residential dwelling exists; and

3.    Within any and all given block(s), the equivalent of 20% of the building street frontage shall be setback 30’ OR 25% shall be setback 24’ OR 50% shall be setback 12’ OR 100% shall be setback 6’ to provide opportunities for landscape enhancement, seating or passive recreation areas to be incorporated within the streetscape.

C.    All interior roadways shall be setback at least 25’ from any property line adjacent to or separated by a street, right-of-way or similar easement for vehicular travel, from a lot or site condominium unit upon which a detached single-family residential dwelling exists.

D.    No visual obstruction shall be permitted between 30” and 8’ above grade, in a manner that would interfere with traffic visibility:

1.    Within twenty-five feet (25’) of the intersection of all streets, rights-of-way or similar easement(s) for vehicular travel; or

2.    Within ten feet 10’ of the intersections of a driveway with a street or alleyway, or similar easement for vehicular travel. However, where volumes and/or speed of traffic are exceptionally low, and after consideration of a recommendation of the City’s Traffic Safety Committee, the Planning Commission may reduce the required clear vision dimension specified in above paragraph “a” from twenty-five feet (25’) to no less than ten feet (10’).

E.    No building shall be less than 30’ in height. Furthermore, all structures and buildings, or portion(s) thereof, shall be setback a distance equal to or greater than 2 times their height, from all lots or site-condominium units upon which a detached single-family residence is located. Building height is also subject to the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

F.    The distance between buildings, and portions (see above illustration of acceptable building step back) or attachments thereto, shall not be less than twenty (20) feet; and wherever the average height of two buildings exceeds forty feet (40’) the minimum separation between said buildings shall be increased by one (1) additional foot for every five feet (5’) said average height exceeds forty feet (40’).

G.    The required minimum useable floor area per dwelling unit shall be as follows:

Two or more Bedroom Dwelling Unit    

1,000 sq.ft.

One Bedroom (including Efficiency) Dwelling Unit    

800 sq.ft.

3.807 Planning Commission Site Plan Review; Approval or Rejection, Commencement and Completion of Construction.

A.    Preliminary Site Plan – As a preliminary step toward Site Plan approval regarding contiguous property under common ownership or control located within the Town Center (TC) District, an applicant may present to the Planning Commission, a Preliminary Site Plan within which the applicant specifically identifies certain aspects of said Preliminary Site Plan for which the applicant is seeking the Planning Commission’s approval. The applicant shall follow the Site Plan Review requirements of this Zoning Ordinance with respect to all aspects of said Preliminary Site Plan for which the applicant is seeking approval, while providing less detail with respect to the other aspects of the proposed development than would be necessary for Site Plan approval.

    The Planning Commission shall review the Preliminary Site Plan to determine whether it meets the intent of the TC District and whether the applicant’s specified aspects of the Preliminary Site Plan satisfy the applicable standards and requirements of the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Woodlands Preservation Ordinance or other applicable provisions of City Code. The Planning Commission may then approve, approve with conditions or reject the proposed Preliminary Site Plan expressing in writing and/or drawings as to the findings of fact and the reason for the decision, with a statement of any conditions or limitations to which an approval is subject. Those aspects so approved by the Planning Commission may be unaltered in subsequent Site Plans duly submitted by the applicant within five (5) years (unless said period has been duly extended) of the Planning Commission’s approval of said Preliminary Site Plan, as necessary to proceed with the proposed development. An extension for a specified period may be granted by the City Planning Commission upon good cause shown if such request is made to the City Planning Commission at the time of application or afterwards.

B.    Site Plan Review – The Planning Commission shall review and approve, approve with conditions, or reject the proposed Site Plans of all proposed development in accordance with all applicable standards and requirements of the City’s Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Woodlands Preservation Ordinance, and other applicable provisions of City Code. A Site Plan that complies with the specifically approved aspects of a Preliminary Site Plan, which has been approved by the Planning Commission within the past five years (unless said period has been duly extended), and with all other applicable standards and requirements of City’s Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Woodlands Preservation Ordinance and other applicable provisions of City Code, which are not in conflict with said specifically approved aspects of said Preliminary Site Plan, shall be approved.

    Where a Site Plan proposes phased construction over a period of several years, a phasing plan shall be included with said Site Plan that identifies the extent of each phase as well as its estimated date of commencement. Each successive phase may rely upon the previous phase(s), but not upon future phases, for necessary infrastructure, off-street parking or other improvements necessary to comply with the City’s development regulations and to ensure protection of the health, safety and welfare of the residents and businesses therein, as well as the general public. To ensure completion of required improvements, the City is authorized to impose performance guarantees or require a cash or surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit acceptable to the City in an amount determined to be sufficient to complete the improvements provided for in a given Site Plan. Construction shall be commenced within one (1) year following Site Plan approval by the Planning Commission and phases of said development shall proceed substantially in conformance with the schedule set forth by the applicant as a representation during Site Plan Review. If construction is not commenced within such time, or if phases of said development do not proceed substantially as approved, the Site Plan shall expire and be null and void. However, an extension for a specified period may be granted by the City Planning Commission upon good cause shown. Moreover, in the event approval of the Site Plan has expired, the City Planning Commission shall require a new application and appropriate fee that shall be reviewed in light of an approved Preliminary Site Plan and then existing and applicable ordinance provisions.