Town Council To Consider Allowing Mixed-Use Permits Without Hearings

Town Council To Consider Allowing Mixed-Use Permits Without Hearings

By / Local News / Wednesday, 03 December 2014 05:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH  - The Carolina Beach Town Council will consider allowing mixed-use commercial and residential developments to be "permitted by right" at their upcoming December 9th, meeting. Mixed-use projects are currently required to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and Town Council for public hearings prior to the Council voting to issue a Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
According to Jeremy Hardison with the Town's Planning Department, "Town Council directed staff to amend the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) requirement for mixed use residential/commercial buildings. Conditional Use Permits can be perceived as time consuming and costly with unknowns of approval outcomes and what conditions may be placed on a project. Mixed use buildings are currently allowed by CUP in the  Mixed-Use MX, Central Business District CBD, Neighborhood NB, Highway Business HB, Marina Business MB, and Tourism T-1 zoning districts."
A proposed amendment would allow such developments smaller than 25,000 square feet and less than 50' feet in height to be "permitted by right" and not requiring a longer CUP process with associated public hearings and review by the Planning Commission and Town Council.
Hardison explained in a memo to Council Tuesday December 2, "The 2007 land use plan and the Carolina Beach Master Development plan encourages mixed use developments that generate year round retail, commercial, entertainment and recreational activity and provides amenities. Mixed uses located in the CBD should be more pedestrian friendly and residential is encouraged if subordinate to a commercial use."
He explained, "Mixed-use residential/commercial development has been in the ordinance since 2000. It requires commercial use on the first habitable floor. Mixed-use combines two or more types of land uses into a building or set of buildings that are physically and functionally integrated and mutually supporting. This can be some combination of residential, and commercial. Mixed-use areas often create a main street/downtown, activity center, or commercial corridor of a community. Ideally mixed-use areas promote opportunities for different housing types, bicycle and pedestrian friendly destinations."
Hardison said there has been interest over the years from developers seeking to build mixed-use projects in the downtown Central Business District. He explained, "With the districts zero setback requirement and lack of vehicular traffic in certain parts of the CBD parking is waived for commercial uses if public parking is located within 500 ft. of the use. Residential uses are required to provide for parking. Knowing this, the CBD lots that do not have vehicular access would need to develop off-premise parking areas. Currently non-contiguous parking lots require a CUP. This would need to be amended to keep the spirit of the amendment for mixed use structures to be permitted by right."
The zoning ordinance allows buildings in the CDB to be built up to the property line. Properties on the Boardwalk are not served by actual roads, they are accessible by pedestrian areas that carry the name of a road but do no permit vehicle traffic.
Hardison explained the Town's Master Development Plan adopted some years ago addresses parking and the overall design for the CBD.
The plan states:
1. Surface parking lots which are not well integrated or designed in a manner that supports the urban environment should be discouraged.
2. The Carolina Beach Master Development Plan encourages parking lots to be located outside the district.
3. Buildings should have pedestrian-oriented activities at ground level.
4. Encourages and promotes public/private partnerships and shared facilities to meet parking demand.
Hardison said to address parking in the CBD, the Planning Department came up with two options for the Planning Commission to consider.
One option is to create a Municipal Service District or implement Payment in lieu of parking policies. He explained  the pros of that option are:
- Develops funding for maintenance and acquisition of future parking.
- It creates a public/private partnership to meet parking demands.
The not so positive aspects would be:
- The town does not have an overall plan on managing parking in the downtown area   that includes stakeholder input.
- Currently there is not a system or plan to collect and allocate revenues.
Another option is to continue to require off street parking for residential uses and waive the parking for commercial uses.
The positive aspects are:
- Let’s the developer decides how to design his site to meet the residential parking requirement.
- Assurance that the residents will have a designated place to park and will not be parking in public parking spaces.
The not so positive aspects are:
- Continuous waivers of parking in the CBD without a plan to maintain and increase public parking will eventually result in a parking problem for our downtown area.
- The Town does not have a form based codes that addresses design standards on site layouts of where designated parking should be located and designed.
- Creates surface parking areas in the downtown area.
In 2009 the Planning Department conducted a parking study and found a total of 584 Town-owned parking spaces. That total was made up of 351 spaces in Town-owned Lots and 233 Town-owned On-street spaces. At that time it was verified that the total number of public spaces allowed for private use had for some time exceeded the number of Town-owned parking spaces actually available.
The conclusion of the study showed that the number of public parking spaces allowed for private use (724) in 2009, exceeded the number of public spaces available (584). Because of that, it was determined there was a deficiency of parking in the CBD.
By subtracting the available public spaces (584) from the amount allowed for private use (724), it was found that there was an over-commitment of 140 public spaces to private uses in the CBD.
Hardison said Planning Department staff revised development standards to allow for small scale residential and commercial mixed use buildings to be permitted by right where mixed us residential and commercial are currently allowed to keep impacts at a minimal. Large-scale development 25,000 square feet or larger and over 50’ feet in height would still require a Conditional Use Permit.
Hardison explained the Planning Commission recommended approval of the amendment and that it is consistent with the goals and objectives of the adopted Land Use Plan and other long range plans. However, the Planning Commission recommended the amendment state that, "no more than 10% of the first habitable floor can be devoted to customarily accessory uses that are incidental and subordinate to the above unit(s) with the exception of code requirements and remove a require for a CUP permit if less than 75% of the first habitable floor is devoted to commercial space."
Hardison explained, "Staff revised development standards to allow for small scale residential/commercial mixed use buildings to be permitted by right where mixed use residential/commercial are currently allowed to keep impacts at a minimal (attachment 1). Large scale development 25,000 sq. ft. or larger and over 50’ in height would still require a CUP."
The Town Council will consider the proposed amendment at their December 9th meeting at 6:30PM in the Council meeting room at Town Hall, 1121 N. Lake Park Blvd.

Author

Super User

Super User

Carolina Beach North Carolina

Breezy
86°F
SW at 25 mph /68%
Wednesday
70°F / 84°F
Thursday
70°F / 79°F
Friday
67°F / 80°F

 

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.