Chapter 18.36
GENERAL PROVISIONS – FLOOR AREA RATIO INCENTIVES

Sections:

18.36.010    Purpose.

18.36.020    Permitted locations of FAR incentives.

18.36.030    Maximum FAR permitted through FAR incentive review.

18.36.040    Public benefits and FAR incentives.

18.36.060    Review process.

18.36.070    Minor adjustments in final site plans.

18.36.080    Applicability of development standards.

18.36.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide floor area ratio (FAR) incentives to developers of lands within the community business center (CBC) overlay zone in exchange for public benefits to help achieve comprehensive plan goals of economic development, affordable housing, open space protection, and energy conservation, by:

A. Defining in quantified terms the public benefits that can be used to earn FAR incentives;

B. Providing rules and formulae for computing FAR incentives earned by each benefit;

C. Providing a method to realize the development potential of sites containing unique features of size, topography, environmental features or shape; and

D. Providing a review process to allow evaluation of proposed FAR increases and the public benefits offered to earn them, and to give the public opportunities to review and comment. (Ord. 2007-364 § 2).

18.36.020 Permitted locations of FAR incentives.

A. FAR incentives shall be used only on sites within the CBC overlay zone.

B. Cultural uses supported in whole or in part with money derived from publicly approved levies shall be exempt from minimum FAR requirements. (Ord. 2009-415 § 3; Ord. 2007-364 § 2).

18.36.030 Maximum FAR permitted through FAR incentive review.

Within the community business center overlay zone, the maximum FAR permitted through FAR incentive (FARI) review shall be 2.5:1 in the downtown transition (DT) and downtown core (DC) zones and 4:1 in the mixed use (MU) and mixed use commercial (MU-C) zones. (Ord. 2017-564 § 21; Ord. 2007-364 § 2).

18.36.040 Public benefits and FAR incentives.

A. The public benefits eligible to earn increased FAR, and the maximum incentive to be earned by each benefit, are set forth in subsection (D) of this section. The FAR incentive is expressed as additional bonus FAR earned per amount of public benefit provided.

B. Bonus FAR may be earned through any combination of the listed public benefits.

C. Residential development in R-24 zone with property-specific development standards requiring any public benefit enumerated in this chapter shall be eligible to earn bonus FAR as set forth in subsection (D) of this section when the public benefits provided exceed the basic development standards of this title.

D. The following are the public benefits eligible to earn bonus FAR through FARI review:

BENEFIT

FAR INCENTIVES

1. BELOW-GROUND OR STRUCTURED PARKING

The FAR may be increased by 0.25 if at least 75 percent of total required parking provided on site is provided below ground or in structured parking. Structured parking must be designed in accordance with the Community Business Center Design Guidelines (Chapter 18.22 NMC).

2. OPEN SPACE

The FAR may be increased by 0.75 if two percent of the project’s total construction cost is devoted to a public open space acquisition fund.

3. CIRCULATION AND ACCESS ENHANCEMENTS

The FAR may be increased by 1.0 if a through-block connection in the form of a pedestrian esplanade or public/private access road is provided. The connection must be at least 12 feet wide, must be located mid-block, may accommodate vehicles, and must be designed in accordance with the Community Business Center Design Guidelines (Chapter 18.22 NMC).

4. PEDESTRIAN AMENITIES

The FAR may be increased by 1.0 for provision of at least two major pedestrian amenities in combination with at least three minor pedestrian amenities as specified below.

a. Major pedestrian amenities include the following:

1. Additional sidewalk setback along the entire street frontage of the development site, which is at least five feet in width, and within which outdoor seating and landscaping are provided. Landscaping provided in such a setback may also be counted towards FAR benefit 6 below.

2. Public art including sculpture, murals, inlays, mosaics, friezes, or bas-reliefs. Each feature must be located for public view but not hinder pedestrian traffic. Each feature must be appraised at a value that is at least one percent of the value of building construction. Documentation of building costs and appraised value of the art or water feature must be provided. Alternatively, a contribution equal to one percent of building construction costs may be made to a public art fund. In addition, a feature valued at less than one percent of building construction costs may be combined with a contribution to a public art fund to achieve the required one percent threshold. All works of public art must be incorporated into the design review submission.

 

3. Water features, which are accessible or visible to pedestrians from an adjacent sidewalk or plaza. Each feature should be designed to use water efficiently with low water loss from evaporation and wind. Each feature must be appraised at a value that is at least one percent of the value of building construction. Documentation of building costs and appraised value of the art or water feature must be provided. All works of public art must be incorporated into the design review submission.

b. Minor pedestrian amenities include the following:

1. A combination of two street furnishings, including, but not limited to, fixed seating, bicycle rack, trash receptacles, kiosk, newspaper stand, and public art, that meet the requirements of the Community Business Center Design Guidelines (Chapter 18.22 NMC) and comply with any applicable city-approved standards. Up to four street furnishings may be provided to satisfy two of the three required minor pedestrian amenities.

2. Bus shelters that comply with transit agency requirements.

3. Ground level detail enhancements that exceed what is required in NMC 18.22.070(B)(6) of the Community Business Center Design Guidelines (e.g., more than three of the listed elements).

4. Building entry enhancements that include at least two of the following elements: weather protection beyond that required in NMC 18.22.070(B)(4) of the Community Business Center Design Guidelines, landscaping (including planters), window displays, fixed seating, ornamental lighting, public art, distinctive paving, or an architectural element that offers visual prominence, such as a marquee sign.

5. A public space at a building entry, on a street corner, or other location that is visible and accessible from either a public sidewalk or pedestrian connection. No dimension shall be less than 10 feet, and total usable space is to be no less than 200 square feet, not including adjacent public right-of-way. Such public space must be designed in accordance with NMC 18.15.130. This space must be available to the public at least for the period between 7:00 a.m. and dusk.

5. GREEN BUILDING

The FAR may be increased by 0.6 for achieving a certificate from programs such as Living Building Challenge, KC Build Green or Salmon Safe.

The FAR may be increased by 0.8 for achieving a LEED gold rating.

The FAR may be increased by 1.0 for achieving a LEED platinum rating.

The FAR may be increased by 50 percent of the above levels when a building has not been certified by the United States Green Building Council, but the director determines that the building meets the equivalent LEED certification rating.

6. LANDSCAPING

The FAR may be increased by up to 0.5 FAR by providing landscaping in areas visible to the public and/or in the public rights-of-way adjacent to the property according to the following:

0.1 for 10 percent of total street frontage* landscaped.

0.2 for 20 percent of total street frontage* landscaped.

0.3 for 30 percent of total street frontage* landscaped (up to five percent may be provided with vegetated vertical walls).

0.4 for 40 percent of total street frontage* landscaped (up to 10 percent may be provided with vegetated vertical walls).

 

An additional 0.1 may be earned for each 1,000 square feet of green roof, 2,000 square feet of pervious pavement or 2,000 square feet of retained vegetation (for a total of 0.5 FAR maximum).

* The street frontage is determined by calculating the total square footage of area between the first floor facade and the curb, including planting strips within the public right-of-way that are adjacent to the property. If a through-block connection is provided, landscaping provided as part of the through-block connection may be counted towards meeting this incentive, but does not need to be included in the total street frontage area baseline from which it is calculated. Vegetated vertical walls can be similarly used to meet landscape area incentives, subject to the limits identified above. The director may determine that existing landscaping within the public right-of-way meets the intent of the Community Business Center Design Guidelines and related zoning code standards, must be retained and will not be counted towards achieving an FAR bonus.

7. OTHER PEDESTRIAN AMENITIES

The community development director may approve other major or minor pedestrian amenities in place of those listed above.

a. “Major” Criteria. An amenity will only be considered as “major” if it is of equal or greater public benefit than one or more of the major amenities listed above and should not be valued at less than one percent of the total site construction costs.

b. Two or More Major Amenities. The director may also allow an applicant to provide a major art or water site feature with a value less than one percent of the construction costs if the applicant provides two or more major site features and the design commission determines such multiple major site features will have an equal or greater public benefit.

c. Other Site Features. Examples of other amenities include contribution to a public art or design project within close proximity to the new construction, or contribution to a public/private partnership, such as street improvements, that result in the development of a community-oriented public gathering place.

8. CIVIC AND CULTURAL USE

Mixed use developments which include an applicable civic and/or cultural use may have the permitted base floor area increased by 1.0 square foot for every 1.0 square foot of floor area of the civic and/or cultural use provided.

(Ord. 2017-564 § 22; Ord. 2012-457 § 6; Ord. 2009-417 § 2 (Att. 1); Ord. 2009-415 § 4; Ord. 2008-392 § 14; Ord. 2007-364 § 2).

18.36.060 Review process.

A. All FAR incentive proposals shall be reviewed concurrently with a primary proposal to consider the proposed site plan and methods used to earn extra FAR as follows:

1. For the purpose of this chapter, a primary proposal is defined as a proposed subdivision, conditional use permit, site plan review or commercial building permit;

2. When the primary proposal requires a public hearing, the public hearing on the primary proposal shall serve as the hearing on the FARI proposal, and the reviewing authority shall make a consolidated decision on the proposed development and use of FARI;

3. When the primary proposal does not require a public hearing under this title or the city’s subdivision code, the FARI proposal shall be subject to the decision criteria for conditional use permits outlined in Chapter 18.44 NMC and to the procedures set forth for director review in this title; and

4. The notice for the FARI proposal also shall include the development’s proposed FAR and a general description of the public benefits offered to earn extra FAR.

B. FARI applications which propose to earn bonus FAR by dedicating real property or public facilities shall include a letter from the applicable receiving agency certifying that the proposed dedication qualifies for the FAR incentive and will be accepted by the agency or other qualifying organization. (Ord. 2007-364 § 2).

18.36.070 Minor adjustments in final site plans.

When issuing building permits in an approved FARI development, the department may allow minor adjustments in the approved site plan involving the location or dimensions of buildings or landscaping, provided such adjustments shall not:

A. Increase the FAR;

B. Decrease the amount of perimeter landscaping (if any);

C. Decrease residential parking facilities (unless the FAR is decreased);

D. Locate structures closer to any site boundary line; or

E. Change the locations of any points of ingress and egress to the site. (Ord. 2007-364 § 2).

18.36.080 Applicability of development standards.

A. Floor area ratio incentive (FARI) developments shall comply with height and dimensional requirements of the underlying zone in which they are located.

B. FARI developments shall provide on-site recreation space as follows:

1. Projects that include affordable housing units are subject to the recreation space provisions in NMC 18.14.180(B).

2. All FARI proposals shall provide recreation space for market rate or bonus units at levels consistent with Chapter 18.14 NMC. (Ord. 2017-564 § 23; Ord. 2012-457 § 7; Ord. 2007-364 § 2).