AGENDA #11c

MEMORANDUM

 

TO:

Roger L. Stancil, Town Manager

 

FROM:

 

J.B. Culpepper, Planning Director

Gene Poveromo, Development Coordinator

George Small, Engineering Director

Kumar Neppalli, Engineering Services Manager

 

DATE:

 

June 27, 2007

 

SUBJECT:

 

Downtown Economic Development Initiative – Parking Lot 5, Special Use Permit Application (File No. 9788-27-3068)

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Tonight, the Council continues consideration of a Special Use Permit application proposing to construct a nine-story building, with 302,165 square feet of floor area, including 30,690 square feet of retail, and 140 residential dwelling units on property owned by the Town (Lot 5). The application proposes two levels of structured parking and a maximum of 340 parking spaces. The 1.92-acre, seven lot assemblage is located on the east side of Church Street between West Franklin and Rosemary Streets and is currently occupied by Town of Chapel Hill Parking Lot No. 5.

 

Prior to approval of the Downtown Economic Development Initiative – Parking Lot 5 Special Use Permit application, it is necessary that the Council take action on the accompanying Zoning Atlas Amendment application that proposes to rezone the site from the current Town Center-2 (TC-2) to the Town Center-3-Conditional (TC-3-C) zoning district. Please refer to the accompanying memorandum and the key issues of this memorandum for additional information on this matter.

This package of materials has been prepared for the Town Council’s consideration, and is organized as follows:

KEY ISSUES

 

We have identified the following key issues related to this development.

 

1.      Affordable Housing: A Council Member recommended that the applicant revise their affordable housing proposal. The applicant’s proposal included 15 percent affordable housing units as 21 one-bedroom units; or a combination of one, two, and/or three-bedroom units with the total number of bedrooms equal to 21 bedrooms. The Council Member recommended that the applicant consider: a) providing a number of units with more than one bedroom; b) increasing the overall number of total bedrooms (between 21 and 46 bedrooms); and c) that the total floor area for the affordable units should be approximately 12,000 s.f. of floor area in the original affordable housing proposal.

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response (Attachment 1). We believe the applicant’s revised affordable housing proposal is preferable in that it provides a greater number of bedrooms. We recommend that the applicant provide between 24 and 27 total bedrooms comprised of one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwelling units, with approximately 12,000 square feet of floor area, as part of their affordable housing plan, subject to Town Manager approval, prior to issuance of a Zoning Compliance Permit. Resolution A has been revised accordingly.

 

2.      Continued Affordability: A Council Member inquired about the concerns discussed in a June 12, 2007 letter from Orange Community Housing and Land Trust concerning limiting monthly condominium assessments and how homeowners will pay for special assessments.

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response (Attachment 1). We recommend that the Town Manager approve an affordable housing plan, with provisions for continued affordability, as stipulated in revised Resolution A.

 

3.      Urban Sprawl: During the Public Hearing a Council Member requested that the applicant provide a few articles that describing how high-density, mixed-use development limits urban sprawl.

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response with corresponding articles and quotations (Attachments 1 and 2).

 

4.      Sidewalk Widths: A Council Member inquired about the minimum sidewalk widths on each frontage of the site.

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response with corresponding graphic (Attachments 1 and 3).

 

5.      Public Space: A Council Member inquired about the relative size of public space around the proposed Parking Lot 5 plaza.

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response with corresponding graphics (Attachments 1 and 4).

 

6.      On-Street Vehicular Parking: A Council Member inquired about why on-street parking that had previously been proposed on Church and Franklin Streets is no longer part of the plan.

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response with corresponding graphics (Attachments 1 and 5).

 

7.      Plaza Design and Review: A Council Member inquired about handicapped access to the plaza on the West Franklin Street side of the building and that the final plaza design be reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Department, the Police Department, and the Downtown Partnership, to ensure that the public space is designed to maximize public use (i.e. public events, market carts, etc.).

 

Staff Comment: Please see attached applicant response with corresponding graphic regarding handicapped access (Attachments 1 and 6). We recommend that the plaza design, including handicapped access and lighting, be reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Department, the Police Department, the Downtown Partnership, and others as designated by the Town Manager. The plaza plan is subject to Town Manager approval, prior to issuance of a Zoning Compliance Permit. A stipulation to this effect has been included in Resolution A.

 

8.      Fiscal Issue: A Council Member wanted to see projections on which the applicant based the statement in their statement of justification for the accompanying Zoning Atlas Amendment, as follows: “By generating better than $1.2 MM in property and sales taxes for the region per annum and providing the Town with a income generating asset in the new parking deck, the Lot 5 project gives the Town of Chapel Hill a ready means of meeting fiscal demands for years to come.”

 

Staff Comment: The Town Finance Director prepared estimated cash flow estimates related to the Lot 5 development for the November 20, 2006 public hearing on the proposed Development Agreement (Attachment 7). These estimates were based on a total estimated property value of $75.665 million. The estimates included parking revenues from the garage, additional property tax revenue, and additional sales tax revenue. The projection indicated that total revenues would be over $1 million by year five following completion, and over $1.3 million by year 10.

 

The developer has estimated $1.2 million in annual property and sales taxes, based on the latest revised plans in May 2007, generated using a $330 per square foot revenue estimate.

 

We recommend that the Council use the more conservative estimates prepared by the Town Finance Director for purposes of estimating revenues from the project (Attachment 7). We also note that these revenue estimates were prepared for the purpose of estimating available revenue for debt service on the public parking deck, and that we estimated that cash flow becomes positive in about year four of the project.

 

9.      Trees: A Council Member expressed a desire that the applicant make some use of trees proposed for removal from the site, rather than sending the wood to the landfill as waste.

 

Staff Comment: The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership has volunteered to take the trees, and provide them to North Carolina artists, for artistic purposes. If the Partnership cannot convey the wood in a timely manner, we recommend that the applicant comply with Orange County Solid Waste Department’s regulations and recycle the wood as garden mulch, for example. We have included a stipulation to this effect in Resolution A.

 

10.  Public Space / Private Dwellings: A Council Member asked that language be inserted into deeds for the residential units so that property owners understand in advance that the public space that they will live around will have regular public performances and use.

 

Staff Comment: We recommend that the applicant include in each contract for the sale of a residential condominium unit and each deed of a condominium unit the following language:

 

“This unit is on the site of a development project that includes, at the corner of Church Street and Franklin Street, a Public Plaza. Programming for this Plaza includes outdoor fairs, musical performances, and other entertainment events. These scheduled events and other unscheduled activities during daytime and nighttime will generate light and noise which may be noticeable in this condominium unit.” We have included a stipulation to this effect in Resolution A.

 

11.  Bicycle Parking: A Council Member expressed concern about there being adequate Class II bicycle parking spaces in the public plaza if they are used by residents of the building who also have private locked parking spaces on the lower (P2) parking deck.

 

Staff Comment: We recommend that the applicant provide 10 additional Class II bicycle parking spaces (5 U-racks) on the public (upper) P1 parking deck.

 

12.  Twenty Percent Energy Efficiency Feature: A Council Member recommended that stipulation pertaining to energy efficiency and American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) standards be revised to include the approval of the Town Manager.

 

Staff Comment: We concur and have revised the energy efficiency stipulation in Resolution A to include approval by the Town Manager.

 

13.  Streetscape and Sidewalk Design: A Council Member noted that stipulations #20 and 22 may be in conflict as they relate to the old streetscape design standards and the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan currently being developed. The Council member suggested that it would be preferable to see the new design standards, rather than old, provide guidance.

 

Staff Comment: We concur and have revised the two stipulations pertaining to streetscape and sidewalk standards to include the language, “subject to consistency with the Downtown Streetscape Master Plan.”

 

14.  Plaza Vegetation: A Council Member inquired about the lack of proposed vegetation in the plaza area.

 

Staff Comment: In order to maximize the amount of functional space in the plaza, we understand the applicant proposes limited vegetated areas. Planting areas are being proposed on the western perimeter of the plaza and potted trees could be added to other parts of the plaza as well.

 

EVALUATION OF THE APPLICATION

 

The standard for review and approval of a Special Use Permit application involves consideration of four findings of fact that the Council must consider for granting a Special Use Permit. Based on the evidence that is accumulated during the Public Hearing, the Council will consider whether it can make each of the four required findings for the approval of a Special Use Permit. If, after consideration of the evidence submitted at the Public Hearing, the Council decides that it can make each of the four findings, the Land Use Management Ordinance directs that the Special Use Permit shall then be approved. If the Council decides that the evidence does not support making one or more of the findings, then the application cannot be approved and, accordingly, should be denied by the Council.

 

Tonight, based on the evidence in the record thus far, we provide the following evaluation of this application based on the four findings of facts that the Council must consider for granting a Special Use Permit. We believe the evidence in the record to date can be summarized as follows:

 


Finding #1: That the use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or promote the public health, safety, and general welfare.

 

Evidence in support: Evidence in support of this finding includes the following point from the applicant’s Statement of Justification:

 

 

 

Evidence in opposition: We have not identified any evidence offered in opposition to Finding #1.

 

Finding #2: That the use or development complies with all required regulations and standards of the Land Use Management Ordinance, including all applicable provisions of Articles 3 and 5, the applicable specific standards in the Supplemental Use Regulations (Article 6) and with all other applicable regulations.

 

Evidence in support: Evidence in support of this finding includes the following points from the applicant’s Statement of Justification:

 

 

Evidence in opposition: We have not identified any evidence offered in opposition to Finding #2. For discussion on the applicant’s proposed modification to regulations, please refer to the Modifications to Regulations section in this memorandum.

 

Finding #3: That the use would be located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or enhance the value of contiguous property, or that the use or development is a public necessity.

 

Evidence in support: Evidence in support of this finding includes the following points from the applicant’s Statement of Justification.

 

         The proposed Lot 5 development is in the heart of the Downtown retail and commercial district flanked on all sides by restaurants, retail, commercial offices and limited urban residential uses. Additionally, because the site is in the heart of Downtown with other older developments of similar size and scale, the proposed project will not be out of place and thus not detrimental to the surrounding properties. As for design, the location is ideal for a mixed use development of retail shops and new urban residences. Additionally, the protected, easily accessible covered subterranean parking deck is designed to provide for the collective parking need while encouraging pedestrian traffic throughout the area.” [Applicant’s Statement]

 

Evidence in opposition: We have not identified any evidence offered in opposition to Finding #3.

 

Finding #4: That the use or development conforms with the general plans for the physical development of the Town as embodied in the Land Use Management Ordinance and in the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Evidence in support: Evidence in support of this finding includes the following points from the applicant’s Statement of Justification.

 

 

Evidence in opposition: We have not identified any evidence offered in opposition to Finding #4.

 

We anticipate that further evidence may be presented for the Council’s consideration as part of the continued Public Hearing process. Please see the applicant’s Statement of Justification for additional evidence in support of the four findings.

 

MODIFICATIONS TO THE REGULATIONS

 

The applicant requests modification to the regulations in the Land Use Management Ordinance for each issue identified above. The Council has the ability to modify the regulations, according to Section 4.5.6 in the Land Use Management Ordinance, as follows:

 

“Where actions, designs, or solutions proposed by the applicant are not literally in accord with applicable special use regulations, general regulations, or other regulations in this Chapter, but the Town Council makes a finding in the particular case that public purposes are satisfied to an equal or greater degree, the Town Council may make specific modification of the regulations in the particular case. Any modification of regulations shall be explicitly indicated in the Special Use Permit or Modification of Special Use Permit.”

 

Detailed applicant requests for modifications to regulations are below followed by staff comments:

 

1.      Primary Building Height Regulations: The applicant is requesting a 10-foot modification to primary height regulations (Section 3.8-1) of the Land Use Management Ordinance, thereby increasing the primary height to 54 feet. The provisions of this section of the Ordinance require a primary building height (at the property line) of 44 feet in the Town Center-3 zoning district.

 

Staff Comment: We recommend that the Council modify the regulations in this case. We believe that it is reasonable to have a 54-foot primary building height on the West Rosemary and West Franklin Street frontages of the proposed building. We believe that the Council could make a finding that public purposes are satisfied to an equivalent or greater degree as a downtown “opportunity site” is being redeveloped, as identified in the Downtown Small Area Plan. We recommend modification to regulations to exceed the primary height of 44 feet, by 10 feet, for a total height of 54 feet. See table and graphic immediately below.

 

2.      Building Envelope Regulations: The applicant is requesting modification to the maximum building envelope permitted in the Town Center-3 (TC-3) zoning district. The applicant is requesting that the sides of the building envelope be steeper, or 1/0.25, thereby creating a larger volume and larger building on the Church Street (western) and interior (eastern) sides of the proposed building. Appendix A of the Land Use Management Ordinance defines the building envelope in Town Center Zoning districts as a slope of 1:1 on all property boundaries except West Rosemary Street which has a slope of 1:1.7. The slopes of the building envelope allow a maximum of 1 foot of rise for every 1 foot of run and a maximum of 1 foot of rise for every 1.7 feet of run on the northern (solar setback) property line. This request for modification to regulations would exceed the building envelope allowed by the Land Use Management Ordinance in the Town Center zoning district by allowing a larger envelope (volume), with steeper sides, to accommodate the proposed building.

 

Staff Comment: We recommend that the Council modify the building envelope regulations in this case. We believe that it is reasonable to have a larger building envelope on the Church Street frontage and interior boundary of the proposed building. We believe that the Council could make a finding that public purposes are satisfied to an equivalent or greater degree as a downtown “opportunity site” is being redeveloped, as identified in the Downtown Small Area Plan. We recommend modification to regulations to allow steeper sides of the building envelope, or greater volume, with a 1/0.25 slope. See table and graphic immediately below.

 

Downtown Economic Development Initiative:

Building Envelope Regulations in the Town Center-3-Conditional Zoning District

(Requested Modification to Regulations in Italics)

Town Center-3-Conditional Zoning District

West Franklin Street (South)

West Rosemary Street (North)

Church Street (West)

Interior Property Line (East)

Primary Building Height – At Setback Line

54 Feet

54 Feet

54 Feet

54 Feet

Building Envelope Slope*

1:1

1:1

1:0.25 (steeper)

1:0.25 (steeper)

Secondary Building Height (Maximum) – on Interior of Site

120 Feet

120 Feet

120 Feet

120 Feet

*Building envelope slope example – 1:1 indicates that a building can rise no more than 1 foot vertically for every 1 foot that it retreats horizontally from the setback line of the site, or 1 foot rise to 1 foot run.

 

 

In summary, the Town Council may modify one or more of the proposed modifications to regulations if it makes a finding in the particular case, that public purposes are satisfied to an equivalent or greater degree. The Town Council may deny one or more of the proposed modifications from regulations at its discretion. If the Council chooses to deny a request for modification to regulations, the applicant’s alternatives are to comply with regulations or request a variance from regulations.

 

SUMMARY

 

We have attached a resolution that includes standard conditions of approval as well as special conditions that we recommend for this application. With these conditions, we believe that the Council could make the findings regarding health, safety and general welfare, and consistency with the Comprehensive Plan. The Manager’s recommendation incorporates input from all Town departments involved in review of the application.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Based on our evaluation of the application and the information in the record, our recommendation is that, with the stipulations and modification to the regulations in Revised Resolution A, the application complies with the standards and regulations of the Land Use Management Ordinance.

 

Planning Board: The Planning Board met on May 22, 2007 and voted 6-0 to recommend that the Council approve the Special Use Permit, with adoption of Resolution A. A copy of the Summary of Planning Board Action is attached to this memorandum.

 

Transportation Board: The Transportation Board met on May 24, 2007 and voted 6-0 to recommend that the Council approve the Special Use Permit, with adoption of Resolution A. A copy of the Summary of Transportation Board Action is attached to this memorandum.

 

Community Design Commission: The Community Design Commission met on May 23, 2007 and voted 7-0 to recommend that the Council approve the Special Use Permit, with Resolution A. A copy of the Summary of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Board Action is attached to this memorandum.

 

Parks and Recreation Commission: The Parks and Recreation Commission met on June 20, 2007 and voted 9-0 to recommend that the Council approve the Special Use Permit, with Resolution A. A copy of the Summary of the Parks and Recreation Action is attached to this memorandum.

 

Revised Staff Recommendation: We recommend that the Council approve the Special Use Permit application with the adoption of Revised Resolution A with the following changes indicated below.

 

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information.

 

         Public Art Payment: We have deleted the stipulation requiring the applicant to provide a payment to the Town, representing 1 percent of the total project cost, for public art associated with this development proposal.

 

Staff Comment: We believe that the above stipulation is not necessary given that it is addressed in the Development Agreement between the Town and the developer.

 

         Compact Parking Spaces: We have revised the stipulation requiring that the applicant provide no more than 1) 15% compact vehicular parking spaces on the public P1 (upper) parking deck and 2) 20% compact parking spaces on the private P2 (lower) parking deck.

 

Staff Comment: We inadvertently did not include this language in Resolution A, pertaining to compact parking spaces, at the June 18 Public Hearing.

 

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information

 

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information.

 

         Twenty Percent Energy Efficiency Feature: We have revised the stipulation pertaining to energy efficiency to require that the Inspections Department and the Town Manager approve the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE) energy efficiency standard.

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information.

 

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information.

 

         Certificates of Occupancy: We have revised the stipulation pertaining to Certificates of Occupancy to include a provision for a phasing plan.

 

Staff Comment: We inadvertently omitted this typical language in Resolution A, pertaining to Certificates of Occupancy, at the June 18 Public Hearing.

 

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information.

 

 

Staff Comment: See Key Issues section above for additional information.

 

We recommend that the Council approve the Special Use Permit application with the adoption of Resolution A. Enactment of the accompanying Zoning Atlas Amendment application that proposes to rezone the site from the current Town Center-2 (TC-2) to Town Center-3-Conditional (TC-3-C) zoning district is required prior to the adoption of the application for the Downtown Economic Development Initiative – Parking Lot 5 Special Use Permit.

 

We believe that the proposed Special Use Permit with conditions in Resolution A and proposed modifications to regulations would comply with the requirements of the Land Use Management Ordinance, the Design Manual, and that the proposal conforms with the Comprehensive Plan.

 

Resolution B would deny the application.

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

1.      Applicant’s Response to Council Questions from June 18 Public Hearing (p. 27).

2.      Article and Quotations Provided by Applicant Regarding Urban Sprawl (p. 31).

3.      Color Site Plan Showing Variable Sidewalk Widths Around the Site (p. 46).

4.      Graphics and Table Comparing Proposed Public Space to Existing Local Public Space (p. 47).

5.      On-Street Vehicular Parking Graphics for Church and Franklin Streets (p. 51).

6.      Color Site Plan Showing Handicapped Access to Site (p. 53).

7.      Fiscal Estimates for Parking Lot 5 (p. 54).

8.      Email From Council Member Greene, Dated June 17, 2007 (p. 55).

9.      Advisory Board Summaries of Action (p. 56).

10.  Memorandum and Attachments from June 18, 2007 Public Hearing (begin new page 1).

 

 

Downtown Economic Development Initiative – Parking Lot 5

DIFFERENCES AMONG ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS

 

 

ISSUES

Revised Staff Recomm.

Planning Board

Transportation

Board

Comm. Design

Bicycle &

Pedestrian

Provision of Affordable Housing

 

Between 24 and 27 bedrooms comprised of 1 & 2 brm. units

NA

NA

NA

NA

Affordable Unit Parking Space Allocation

Onsite

 

Locate all spaces on private deck

 

NA

 

NA

 

NA

Affordable Housing: Parking Spaces/Unit Allocation

Comply With Parking Provisions in Ordinance

31 spaces for 21 affordable units

21 spaces for

21 units

NA

NA

Parking Deck Access Ramp

30-foot wide (accommodate 3 travel lanes)

Wide enough to provide one ingress and two egress lanes

30-foot wide (accommodate 3 travel lanes)

Wider ramp with 2 lanes

NA

Maximum % Compact Parking Spaces

20% on the private deck 15% on the public deck

NA

20%

NA

NA

Monitor Public Bike Parking

No

NA

Yes

NA

NA

Bicycle Parking Spaces

22 Class II Above Grade, 22 Class I on P2 (lower) deck, 22 Class I & 10 Class II on P1 (upper) deck

NA

Delineate Btwn. Uses

NA

Add 10 Spaces Above Ground

Bicycle Safety in Parking Deck

Add Signs

NA

NA

NA

Dedicate Bike Lanes

Payments for public art & programs

Art Payment in Development Agreement, $200,000 for public programming

$700,00 for art

$200,000 for public programming

NA

NA

NA

Future W. Rosemary St. Utility Plan Recomm.

Bldg designed to accommodate future utility plans where practical

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA = Issues not raised at Advisory Board meeting.