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§ 4.400  CONSERVATION (“CD”) OVERLAY DISTRICT.
   (a)   Purpose and intent.
      (1)   The City of Fort Worth has many unique and distinctive residential neighborhoods and commercial areas which contribute significantly to the overall character and identity of the city but may lack sufficient historical, architectural or cultural significance at the present time to be designated as a historic district. The city council recognizes the need to preserve, protect and enhance the value of these areas and wished to provide a means of conserving the distinctive atmosphere or character of areas by protecting or enhancing their significant architectural or cultural attributes through the establishment of conservation districts.
      (2)   Tex. Local Government Code § 211.003 authorizes the City of Fort Worth to regulate and restrict the construction, alteration, reconstruction or razing and of buildings and other structures in “designated places and areas of historic, cultural or architectural importance and significance.” The conservation district provides for the establishment of regulations concerning the conservation of existing buildings and new construction and their settings in designated places of architectural or cultural importance and significance. It is recognized that there are areas in the city where the application of conservation district zoning could assist in the conservation of architectural and cultural attributes and thereby contribute to the stability or stabilization of these areas:
      (3)   The provisions of this article are intended:
         a.   To protect and strengthen desirable and unique physical features and design characteristics;
         b.   To promote and provide for economic revitalization;
         c.   To protect and enhance the livability of the city;
         d.   To reduce conflict and prevent blighting caused by incompatible and insensitive development, and to promote new compatible development;
         e.   To stabilize or enhance property values;
         f.   To provide residents and property owners with a planning tool for future development;
         g.   To encourage and strengthen civic pride; and
         h.   To ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and redevelopment of the city.
   (b)   Zoning classification and authority.
      (1)   Designation is a means for property owners to initiate and implement programs for the conservation or revitalization of neighborhoods and commercial areas. The conservation overlay district and its regulations shall be applicable to each property within the district in addition to the regulations of the base underlying zoning classification where the property is located.
      (2)   Separate ordinances are required to designate each conservation district. Ordinances designating each district shall identify the designated boundaries, applicable designation criteria and design standards for that district.
      (3)   Any zoning district may be followed by the suffix “CD,” indicating that such zoning district is subject to the use and development regulations of both the designated district and the conservation district design standards. The zoning designation for property located within a conservation district shall consist of the base zone symbol and the overlay district symbol “/CD” as a suffix.
      (4)   Designation of an area by the city council as a conservation district (“CD”) is intended as a zoning overlay which supplements the primary underlying zoning district classification. The permitted uses of the property shall be determined and controlled by the use regulations set forth for the primary zoning district classification for the property. Property designated as a conservation district may have additional overlay designations.
      (5)   The height of structures and minimum dimensions of lots and yards shall be determined by the regulations set forth for the underlying, primary zoning district classification except where height and area regulations are specified in conservation district design standards adopted by the city council. No conservation district can restrict height to less than two stories over the entire footprint of the original structure.
      (6)   If there are any conflicts between the adopted design standards of the conservation district and any provision of the zoning ordinance, the provisions of the adopted design standards of the conservation district shall apply.
      (7)   If there are any conflicts between the provisions of this article and any other provision of the zoning ordinance, the most restrictive regulation shall apply in the absence of a specific directive to the contrary.
   (c)   Procedures for establishing a conservation district.
      (1)   Following a request for designation of a conservation district, the planning and development department shall develop a conservation plan for the proposed district that includes:
         a.   Statement of purpose and intent;
         b.   Maps indicating boundaries, age of structures and existing land use within the proposed district;
         c.   Maps and other graphic and written materials identifying and describing the distinctive neighborhood and building characteristics and goals of the proposed district;
         d.   A list of all property owners (with legal addresses), neighborhood associations and/or other organizations representing the interests of property owners in the proposed district; and
         e.   Design standards.
      (2)   All property owners within the proposed district shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in drafting the conservation plan, which will be approved as part of the zoning ordinance creating a conservation district.
      (3)   Authority to initiate. A zoning application for designation as a conservation district must be filed with the planning and development department. An application shall be initiated either:
         a.   By petition (form provided by the planning and development department) signed by the owners who collectively own more than 50% or more of the individual tracts, parcels or platted lots, to be located within the boundaries of the proposed district, and the request of the owners who collectively own 50% or more of the land area, excluding streets and alleys, to be located within the boundaries of the proposed district. Two or more platted lots developed together shall be counted as one lot. Each vacant platted lot of sufficient size to be developed under the current zoning designation for the property shall be counted as one lot; or
         b.   By the city council.
   (d)   Designation criteria. To be designated as a conservation district, the area must meet the following criteria:
      (1)   Contain a minimum one block length (both sides of the street); an exception for one block face (one side of the street) may be allowed when different land uses or development patterns exist on the opposite side of the street;
      (2)   At least 50% of the land area in the proposed district is presently improved, unless created to preserve a special or natural streetscape characteristic; and
      (3)   Possess two or more of the following distinctive features that create a cohesive identifiable setting, character or association:
         a.   Scale, size or type of construction;
         b.   Lot layouts, setbacks, street layouts, alleys or sidewalks;
         c.   Special natural or streetscape characteristics, such as creek beds, parks, greenbelts, gardens or street landscaping; or
         d.   Abuts or links designated historic landmarks and/or districts.
   (e)   Design standards.
      (1)   The conservation plan approved as part of the zoning ordinance creating a conservation district shall include objective design standards for new construction of any building or structure, or the relocation or rehabilitation to the street facade of an existing building or structure. The design standards shall be applied administratively by city staff.
      (2)   The conservation plan and requisite design standards shall not apply to those activities which constitute in-kind replacement or repair, ordinary repair and maintenance that is using the same or similar material and design.
      (3)   The design standards for the conservation district shall include, at a minimum, the following elements governing the physical characteristics and features of all property (public or private) within the proposed district:
         a.   Building height, number of stories (may not restrict to less than two stories over the entire footprint of the original structure);
         b.   Lot coverage;
         c.   Lot size;
         d.   Front and side yard setbacks; and
         e.   Driveways, hardscape covering.
      (4)   In addition, the design standards may include, but shall not be limited to, the following elements:
         a.   Building orientation;
         b.   General site planning (primary, ancillary structures);
         c.   Garage entrance location;
         d.   Street trees;
         e.   Height of fences and walls;
         f.   Right-of-way (exceeding public works standards);
         g.   Principal elevation features; and
         h.   Building form.
      (5)   The proposed standards shall be submitted with the application to the zoning commission and the city council. No conservation district may be established in the city unless the city council first approves the design standards for the district in accordance with this article.
      (6)   Copies of the approved standards shall be on file in the planning and development department and in the deed records of the county in which the property is located.
      (7)   Any modification of adopted design standards must be approved by the city council following the same procedure used for promulgation of the original standards. Invalidation of any of the standards shall not affect the validity of any other portion.
   (f)   Public hearing.
      (1)   At least ten days prior to the zoning commission public hearing, notices of the time and place of the meeting shall be mailed to all addresses of property owners and residents shown on the application, to any additional addresses of properties in the proposed district as shown on the last approved city tax roll, and to any registered neighborhood associations located within the proposed district. Notice may be served by depositing the same, properly addressed and postage paid, in the United States mail.
      (2)   No area shall be designated as a conservation district without the recommendation of the zoning commission. The zoning commission shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed designation within 45 days after receipt of the application for designation and the proposed conservation plan by the planning and development department, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable. The hearing shall be in the same manner and according to the same procedures for amending the zoning map as set forth in Chapter 3, Article 5.
      (3)   City council hearing. The city council shall give notice and conduct its hearing on the zoning commission’s recommendation concerning the proposed conservation plan within 45 days of receipt of the recommendation of the zoning commission, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable. The city council shall review the conservation plan and shall approve the same, with or without modifications, at the public hearing on the proposed designation. The city council shall give notice, follow the publication procedure, hold the hearing and make its determination in the same manner and according to the same procedures for amending the zoning map as set forth in Chapter 3, Article 5.
      (4)   If the owners of at least 20% of an area nominated for designation or located within 200 feet of a proposed conservation district protest such designation by submitting a written, signed protest, the affirmative vote of at least three-quarters of all members of the city council is required in order for the designation to take effect.
   (g)   Recording of designations on zoning map. Upon designation of an area as a conservation district, the city council shall direct that the designation to be recorded on the official zoning maps of the city.
   (h)   Filing of designation and guidelines in property records. Record of designation of an area as a conservation district and the corresponding district guidelines shall be recorded in the official property records of the county in which the property is located by the planning and development department.
   (i)   Administration/enforcement. No building permit shall be issued for new construction or any alteration or addition to the street facade of an existing building or structure within a designated conservation district without the submission and approval of design plans and the issuance of a certificate of appropriateness by the director of planning and development or his or her designee. All work performed pursuant to a certificate of appropriateness shall conform to any requirements included herein. It shall be the duty of the planning and development and code compliance department to assure compliance. If work is performed that is not in accordance with the certificate of appropriateness and verification by the building official, the building official shall issue a stop-work order and all work shall immediately cease. No further work shall be undertaken on a project while a stop-work order is in effect. Properties located in a conservation district that are designated “HC” historic and cultural landmark or “HSE” highly significant endangered shall comply with the most restrictive regulation.
   (j)   Appeal; penalties.
      (1)   Any owner dissatisfied with the decision of the director planning and development or his or her designee to deny a certificate of appropriateness shall have the right to appeal the decision to the board of adjustment. The request for appeal must be made within ten calendar days after receipt of notification of such action, by filing a written notice of appeal with the city secretary and the planning and development department. The board of adjustment may authorize a variance from the design standards of a conservation district if it is determined that the variance will not be contrary to the public interest (refer to Review Procedures, § 3.400 Variances). The board of adjustment shall schedule a hearing on such appeal within 30 days after receipt of the notice of appeal, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable.
      (2)   Any person, firm or corporation who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects or refuses to comply with the provisions of this article shall be fined not more than $2,000 for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.
      (3)   The provisions of this section shall apply in addition to other enforcement procedures or penalties, which are available at law or in equity.
(Ord. 18900, eff. 11-10-2009; Ord. 20159-04-2012, § 1 (Exh. A), passed 4-3-2012)