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A. Streetscape And Frontage Area Improvements:
1. The area within the public right of way between existing or planned curb lines and the streetside property line shall be improved for pedestrian circulation, streetscape amenities, and landscape space consistent with provisions of the riverfront crossings district master plan and the city's sidewalk standards and tree requirements. In the riverfront crossings and eastside mixed use districts, street trees shall be planted in the public right of way between the public sidewalk and street curb, according to the tree species and planting specifications of the city forester. One overstory tree is required for every thirty feet (30') of lot frontage, but not less than one tree per lot. Smaller trees may be approved by the FBC committee in locations where overstory trees would interfere with overhead utilities. If any of these provisions conflict, the more specific standard shall apply.
2. The private frontage area, which is the area between the property line and the plane of any street-facing building facade, shall be improved consistent with section 14-2G-4, "Frontage Type Standards", of this article. Within the private frontage area, outdoor storage and work areas, mechanical equipment, accessory buildings, or other improvements that detract from the quality of the pedestrian environment are prohibited. The placement of walls and fencing shall comply with the applicable frontage type standards. In the west riverfront subdistrict the private frontage area may differ as described in the subdistrict standards.
3. All areas of the site that are not used for buildings, parking, vehicular and pedestrian use areas shall be landscaped with trees and/or plant materials. A landscaping plan for such areas must be submitted at the time of site plan review.
B. Pedestrian Streets:
1. Buildings may front on a pedestrian street, where provided, in compliance with the requirements in sections 14-2G-3, "Subdistrict Standards", and 14-2G-4, "Frontage Type Standards", of this article. In such a case, the pedestrian street is considered a primary street, and as such, all provisions of this article that apply to primary streets shall also apply to pedestrian streets. In cases where a pedestrian street is illustrated on the regulating plan as a primary street and for Ralston Creek frontages illustrated on the regulating plan, a pedestrian street is required, and must be designed according to the following standards. In the case of a Ralston Creek frontage, the required stream corridor buffer may be included in the required pedestrian street right of way or public access easement.
2. Pedestrian streets shall be designed to meet the following standards:
a. Public Pedestrian Street:
(1) Public pedestrian streets shall be located within a public right of way and function like a street, but be limited to nonmotorized traffic.
(2) Buildings shall front on and be accessed from the public pedestrian street through an allowed frontage type.
(3) Public pedestrian streets shall be at least forty feet (40') in width and intersect with, be perpendicular to and visible from a public street right of way and be owned by a government entity. Additional right of way width may be required beyond the minimum based on location and the amount of pedestrian traffic anticipated.
(4) Public pedestrian streets may provide for pedestrian travel through a block to other neighborhood destinations, such as parks, riverfront areas, trails, schools, and neighborhood commercial areas.
b. Private Pedestrian Street:
(1) Private pedestrian streets shall be designed as publicly accessible thoroughfares that function like residential streets but are limited to nonmotorized traffic.
(2) Residential buildings shall front on and be accessed from the private pedestrian street through an allowed frontage type.
(3) A private pedestrian street shall be established through a shared public access easement that shall be at minimum thirty feet (30') wide and intersect with, be perpendicular to and visible from a public street right of way.
c. Ralston Creek Frontages:
(1) The required thirty foot (30') stream corridor buffer shall serve as the pedestrian street right of way or public access easement and shall function like a street, but is limited to nonmotorized traffic.
(2) Buildings shall front on and be accessed from the pedestrian street through an allowed frontage type.
(3) The required public trail may serve as a sidewalk that provides access to building frontages. In addition, a separate sidewalk may be constructed on a raised terrace along the building frontages to provide better access to residential units that are elevated above the flood hazard level.
d. General Standards: A creative and unique streetscape along the pedestrian street is encouraged based on the type and scale of the buildings along the frontage and the amount of pedestrian traffic anticipated. Streetscape design shall be approved by the FBC committee and must meet the following minimum standards:
(1) To ensure public safety, pedestrian scale lighting is required along any pedestrian street per city requirements as determined by the FBC committee.
(2) Depending on the location and the design of the development, provision for emergency vehicle access may be required. If required, a central paved pathway must be provided that is at least twenty feet (20') wide and remains free of obstructions.
(3) Each pedestrian street, except for Ralston Creek frontages and pedestrian streets that require a central twenty foot (20') fire lane, shall include at least two (2), minimum six foot (6') wide public sidewalks separated by a central green space. For pedestrian streets that exclusively serve residential building types, one centrally located minimum ten foot (10') sidewalk flanked by green space may be approved by the FBC committee. See subsection B2c of this section for sidewalk requirements for Ralston Creek frontages.
(4) Street trees must be planted at the same ratio as required for a regular street right of way, although trees may be clustered or spaced according to the streetscape design plan approved by the FBC committee.
(5) Any areas that are not intended for pedestrian pathways shall be landscaped or used for pedestrian amenities, bicycle parking, seating areas, public art, sidewalk cafe seating, and similar. Landscaped areas may be designed to provide stormwater conveyance.
C. Pedestrian Passageways:
1. For buildings with nonresidential uses and facades longer than two hundred feet (200') along a primary street, publicly accessible pedestrian passageways from primary streets to and through the interior of the block are required to provide pedestrian access from parking areas at the rear of buildings to street frontages.
2. Passageways shall be designed to meet the following standards:
a. Passageways shall be twenty feet (20') minimum in width and twelve feet (12') minimum in height;
b. Upper floors may continue over the passageway. Open air passageways are also allowed;
c. Passageways should be designed to preclude normal vehicular access and preferably be separate from other emergency vehicle accessways to the interior of the block;
d. If a pedestrian passageway is provided in conjunction with a midblock driveway, the pedestrian walkway shall be separated from vehicular traffic by raising and curbing the walkway. Bollards and/or landscaping may also be required to improve safety in high traffic volume situations;
e. Pedestrian passageways serving projects with ground floor residential use may be for the sole use of building tenants and secured with gates;
f. To ensure safe and secure use, passageways shall be designed to provide clear lines of sight, little or no variation in enclosing wall planes, adequate light levels, and shall be kept clean and clear of debris.
D. Street Screens:
1. Where street screens are required in section 14-2G-3, "Subdistrict Standards", of this article, a wall that meets the following standards shall be built for the purpose of enhancing security or for screening a parking lot or side yard area from public view.
2. Street screens shall be designed to meet the following standards:
a. Street screens shall be constructed coplanar with or recessed maximum two feet (2') from the street-facing facade.
b. Street screens shall be a minimum of five feet (5') in height but shall not exceed the height of the ground floor facade.
c. Street screens shall be constructed of masonry or other high quality wall material complementary to the adjacent building facade. A decorative wrought iron or metal fence that faithfully imitates wrought iron may be approved by the FBC committee, provided the intended purpose of the street screen is achieved.
d. Street screens may have openings for approved driveways and pedestrian passageways.
e. Street screens over fifteen feet (15') in length shall be articulated and/or be enhanced by landscaping to provide visual interest along the street frontage.
E. Open Space Requirement For Projects With Residential Use:
1. On lots that contain multi-dwelling buildings, apartment buildings, and/or mixed use buildings that contain multi-family or group living uses, usable open space shall be provided on each lot at a ratio of ten (10) square feet per bedroom, but not less than four hundred (400) square feet, according to the standards set forth in this subsection.
2. For the purpose of this section, "open space" is defined as having the following characteristics:
a. Open air, outdoor space accessible for shared use by occupants of residential units on the property, except as allowed for indoor activity space, as noted below;
b. Designed to preserve privacy for individual dwelling units;
c. Improved to support passive recreation, leisure activities and informal gathering;
d. Includes amenities such as seating, shade trees, planters, gardens, and/or other improvements to support passive recreation or leisure activities;
e. Located in one or more clearly defined, compact areas, with each area not less than four hundred (400) square feet, with no dimension less than twenty feet (20') and no slope greater than ten percent (10%);
f. Separated and buffered from vehicular use areas through the use of landscaping and/or garden walls or fencing.
3. Paved areas and bicycle parking areas shall not be counted toward usable open space, except that paved paths no wider than five feet (5') and pervious pavement designed exclusively for passive outdoor recreation may be included within the defined open space area.
4. Private frontage areas may not count toward the open space requirement, except for forecourts, as noted below.
5. Shared garden and patio space located on upper floor terraces, rooftops or podiums (on the top level of a parking garage) shall count toward the open space requirement, provided these areas are designed with green features, such as planters or functional green roofs, contain outdoor seating and other appropriate amenities, are free of any obstructions, screened from rooftop mechanical equipment, and are improved and available for safe and convenient access to all residential occupants of the building. Security and close monitoring of any such space is required to ensure the safety of residents and the public. The city reserves the right to restrict or close such a space and require the owner to pay a fee in lieu if such space is deemed a public hazard or nuisance.
6. A forecourt meeting the standards above shall count toward the open space requirements, provided:
a. It complies with the forecourt frontage type standards in section 14-2G-4 of this article;
b. It is square or rectangular in form with a minimum side dimension of twenty feet (20') and no side greater than 1.5 times the dimension of another side;
c. It includes amenities such as seating, shade trees, planters, gardens, and/or other improvements to support passive recreation or leisure activities;
d. Its elevation is not lower than grade or higher than the ground floor finished floor elevation.
7. Indoor activity space may count for up to fifty percent (50%) of the required open space, provided the indoor activity space meets the following requirements:
a. The space is accessible for shared use by occupants of residential units on the property;
b. It is designed to preserve privacy for individual dwelling units;
c. It is improved to support recreation and leisure activities and informal gathering and as such is separate and distinguishable from entry areas, storage areas, mailroom, and other areas not devoted to recreation and leisure activities;
d. Each indoor activity area is not less than two hundred twenty five (225) square feet, with no dimension less than fifteen feet (15');
e. A minimum of forty percent (40%) of the combined surface area of all the walls is transparent and at least one wall is an exterior wall with minimum forty percent (40%) window coverage. If located on the top floor, transparent skylights may be counted toward the transparency requirement.
8. The payment of a fee in lieu of providing the required usable open space may be requested by the developer in cases where there is practical difficulty meeting the standards. A fee in lieu of the open space requirement may be requested according to the following procedures and requirements:
a. At least fifty percent (50%) of the open space requirement must be met on site, either as usable outdoor space and/or as indoor activity area meeting the minimum dimensional requirements as stated above, unless the lot contains residential development of twenty (20) or fewer bedrooms. In such a case, up to one hundred percent (100%) of the open space requirement may be satisfied with a payment in lieu;
b. The developer must request payment in lieu of open space at the time of site plan review;
c. The fee must be paid in full prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit;
d. The fee shall be equal to the fair market value of the land that otherwise would have been required for the open space. The fair market value of the land shall be determined by a qualified real estate appraiser who is acceptable to both the city and the developer. The appraisal cost shall be borne by the developer.
e. All such fees shall be deposited in either the riverfront crossings district east (for properties located east of the Iowa River), the riverfront crossings district west (for properties located west of the Iowa River), or the eastside mixed use open space account. All payments will be used to acquire or develop public open spaces, parks, recreation facilities and greenways/trails that are located within the applicable riverfront crossings open space district. For the eastside mixed use district funds shall be used within the central planning district - subarea A.
F. Building Design Standards:
1. Facade Composition:
a. Building facades shall be designed with a base, middle, and top, as illustrated in figure 2G-42 of this section. The ground floor facade, or in the case of taller buildings the facade of the first few stories, composes the base. The building elements and features above or including the uppermost occupied floor, including parapet walls and eaves, compose the top. The top of buildings shall be delineated with some form of cornice expression, either with trim material, brackets and panels, eave details, or accentuated masonry. The base of a building shall be distinguished from the middle through the use of string courses, cornice expression, or installation of awnings or canopies. Where the exterior wall material changes along the vertical plane of the building, the materials must be separated by a horizontal band, such as a belt course, soldier course, band board or other trim appropriate to the building materials being used.
b. To break up building facades along street frontages, facades shall be divided vertically into bays, as illustrated in figure 2G-42 of this section. Facade bays shall be twenty feet (20') minimum and thirty five feet (35') maximum in width and establish a rhythm of vertical modules unified by a complementary rhythm of windows and window groupings. Facade bays shall be distinguished by varying fenestration patterns, recessing wall planes, varying building materials, or establishing a rhythm of architectural elements such as pilasters or window bays. Where the exterior wall material changes along the horizontal plane of a building, the change must occur on an inside corner of the building wall. In the eastside mixed use district, the standard in subsection F1d of this section applies instead of this standard.
c. To avoid flat, continuous, and overly long upper floor facades, the maximum length of an upper floor facade shall be fifty feet (50'). Articulation between continuous upper floor facade sections shall be accomplished by recessing the facade two feet (2') minimum for a distance of at least ten feet (10') along rear and side facades and three feet (3') minimum for a distance of at least ten feet (10') along front facades, as illustrated in figure 2G-42 of this section. If an upper story facade is recessed more than five feet (5'), said distance shall be increased to at least twenty feet (20'). If balconies are constructed within the recessed area, the distance between the outside edges of any balconies that face each other across the recessed area shall be a minimum of eighteen feet (18'). In the eastside mixed use district, the standard in subsection F1d of this section applies instead of this standard.
d. In the eastside mixed use district, building facades greater than forty feet (40') in width must be broken into modules that give the appearance of smaller, individual buildings, as illustrated in figure 2G-42B of this section. Each module must meet the following standards. In no case shall a mixed use building, commercial building, multi-dwelling building or apartment building be greater than sixty feet (60') in width along primary street frontages unless designed as a building with a landscaped forecourt frontage and building wings that do not exceed sixty feet (60') in width along primary street frontages, as approved by the FBC committee.
(1) Each module must be no greater than thirty feet (30') and no less than ten feet (10') in width and must be distinguished from adjacent modules by a variation in the wall plane of at least two feet (2') in depth along rear and side facades and at least three feet (3') in depth along front facades.
(2) Each module must have a corresponding change in the roofline.
(3) As appropriate to the chosen architectural style of the building, each module must be distinguished from the adjacent module by at least one of the following means: variation in material colors, types, or textures; variation in the building and/or parapet height; variation in the architectural details such as decorative banding, reveals, stone, or tile accents; variation in window pattern; variation in the use of balconies, recesses, or bay windows.
e. Architectural style in the eastside mixed use district: Buildings must be designed in a manner that is consistent with a historic architectural style typical of residential buildings in the central planning district. However, building facades that are visible only from public alleys are not subject to these standards. The applicable architectural styles are as follows: Italianate; Queen Anne; colonial revival; craftsman; craftsman bungalow; American foursquare; prairie style; period revival; and eclectic. The applicant must indicate in detail how each of the following architectural elements in the proposed building are consistent with one of these architectural styles:
(1) Form and mass of the building;
(2) Roof configuration and pitch;
(3) Style and placement of windows and doors;
(4) Window and door trim, eave boards, frieze boards, and other trim;
(5) Porch and entrance features;
(6) Building details and ornamentation.
f. To create a seamless transition between the facades of a building at a street corner, both street-facing facades shall be designed with equal architectural quality and detail as illustrated in figure 2G-43 of this section. Buildings shall reinforce street corners by repeating facade elements such as signs, awnings and window and wall treatments on both sides of the building facing the corner. Additional corner emphasis with chamfered or rounded facades, corner entries accentuated through changes in design treatments, materials, canopy projections, roof or parapet forms, or through other architectural method is encouraged on street corners. Where additional corner emphasis is provided that extends vertically to the top of the building, the upper floor step back requirement may be waived or adjusted by the FBC committee.
g. For any exterior building wall that faces a street, park, forecourt, plaza, public trail, the Iowa River or Ralston Creek, a minimum of twenty five percent (25%) of said wall between the ground floor and the top of the wall shall be comprised of doors and transparent windows, with the following exceptions:
(1) For buildings with storefront and urban flex frontages, this standard applies only to upper floors with the ground floor meeting fenestration requirements for these frontage types.
(2) Side facades built to the property line that will abut an adjacent building, but that are temporarily within public view, are exempt from this requirement.
h. Along street-facing facades and facades that face the Iowa River, Ralston Creek, plazas, open space or trails, blank walls greater than fifteen feet (15') in length are not allowed. Elements such as windows, doors, columns, pilasters, changes in material, artwork, or other architectural details that provide visual interest must be distributed across the facade in a manner consistent with the overall design of the building.
2. Building Entries:
a. Primary entries to ground floor building space and to common lobbies accessing upper floor building space shall be accessed through an allowed frontage type located along street-facing facades with preference given to entries along facades facing primary streets. Building entries along rear and side facades or from parking garages may not serve as principal building entries. Buildings with more than three (3) street-facing facades shall have building entries on at least two (2) sides.
b. For buildings that contain residential dwelling units, there must be at least one main entrance on the street-facing facade that provides pedestrian access to dwelling units within the building through an allowed frontage type. For buildings with more than two (2) street frontages, building entrances must be provided along at least two (2) street frontages and at least one of those entrances must be along the primary street. Access to dwelling units must not be solely through a parking garage or from a rear or side entrance.
c. Entries on street-facing facades shall be sheltered by an awning, canopy, a recessed doorway, portico, and/or a porch as appropriate to the frontage type, and shall be distinguished by facade recesses or variations in facade design appropriate to the frontage type as set forth in section 14-2G-4, "Frontage Type Standards", of this article.
d. Primary residential entries shall be demarcated with a transom and sidelight windows, pilasters and pediment, door surround and raised cornice, or a combination of these treatments.
e. For storefront and urban flex frontages greater than one hundred feet (100') in length, at least one usable building entry shall be provided for every fifty feet (50') of frontage. This requirement shall not apply in the west riverfront subdistrict.
f. Unenclosed or partially enclosed exterior stairways to upper floor building space are not permitted. Unenclosed, exterior corridors on upper floors are not permitted.
g. Along street frontages, sliding doors are prohibited as building entries. Sliding doors may not be used as a primary means of entrance to any residential building or residential unit.
a. Windows in residential buildings or the residential portions of mixed use buildings shall comply with the following standards:
(1) Individual window units that are visible from a public street, pedestrian street, or public park, plaza or trail shall have a height that is at least 1.5 times greater than the width of the window unit, as illustrated in figure 2G-44 of this section.
(2) Individual window units may be located side by side, or ganged, in a wider window opening, but the width of the opening may not exceed its height, as illustrated in figure 2G-44 of this section.
(3) Windows may be grouped, but individual window units shall be separated by minimum three and one-half inch (31/2") trim, as illustrated in figure 2G-44 of this section.
(4) Bathroom, kitchen, skylights, and decorative windows, such as stained glass and ocular windows, are not required to meet the above dimensional standards.
(5) Windows on facades shall be double or single hung, hinged casement, pivoted, projected, or fixed.
(6) Windows shall be accentuated with facade treatments, recesses, and trim appropriate to the wall material and architectural style of the building. Windows in walls constructed of masonry, stucco, or similar shall be recessed a minimum of two inches (2") from the facade and accentuated with sills and lintels or other similar treatment. In walls not constructed of masonry, stucco or similar, windows must include minimum three inch (3") trim. If simulated muntins are used they shall be affixed to the exterior of the windows.
4. Story Heights:
a. For all mixed use and nonresidential buildings, the minimum ground floor floor-to-structural ceiling height is fourteen feet (14'). For live-work townhouses, the minimum ground floor floor- to-structural ceiling height is eleven feet (11').
b. Upper floors shall not exceed fourteen feet (14') floor to floor.
5. Building Materials:
a. Buildings shall be constructed of durable, high quality materials. Table 2G-8 of this section lists allowable exterior finish materials, the portion of the building on which they are allowed, and any specific standards that apply. The FBC committee shall review the proposed palette of building materials to ensure compliance with these standards and to ensure that materials and colors form a cohesive design for the building as related to the mass and scale of the building, the building type, frontage condition, and proposed architectural style.
b. All building facades within public view of a street, pedestrian street, plaza, park, public trail, Ralston Creek, or the Iowa River shall use materials and design features similar to or complementary to those of the front facade.
Permitted Building Materials
Permitted Location/Application Of Material
Top Of Building
Middle Of Building
Base/Bottom Of Building
Storefront And Urban Flex Frontages
Permitted Building Materials
Permitted Location/Application Of Material
Top Of Building
Middle Of Building
Base/Bottom Of Building
Storefront And Urban Flex Frontages
EIFS/synthetic stucco/hand laid stucco6
Fiber cement siding/panels3
Precast concrete panels5
Tile, stone/stone veneer1
Translucent, fritted glass/window film8
1. Any brick or stone veneer must be of a quality, thickness, durability, and design that faithfully imitates full wythe masonry and allows windows and entryways to be recessed to meet the standards.
2. Shall be used in conjunction with a palette of materials and shall not comprise more than 33 percent of any facade within public view of a street, pedestrian street, plaza, park, public trail, Ralston Creek frontage, parking area, or the Iowa River. Except for burnished/polished or glazed units, CMU is not generally allowed for storefront and urban flex frontages. However, if approved by the FBC, architectural CMU, such as split face, ground face, and rock face, may be used as an accent material on the storefront/urban flex frontage level.
3. For buildings that exceed 3 stories in height, these materials shall only be used in conjunction with a palette of materials and shall not comprise more than 33 percent of any facade within public view of a street, pedestrian street, plaza, park, public trail, Ralston Creek frontage, parking area, or the Iowa River. Not generally allowed for storefront/urban flex front applications; however, high quality, smooth faced versions may be approved by the FBC as accent materials.
4. Shall be used in conjunction with a palette of materials; shall be a heavy gauge, nonreflective metal. Durability and maintenance of the material shall be carefully considered if used on the ground level floor or in high use areas.
5. Shall incorporate horizontal and vertical articulation and modulation, including, but not limited to, changes in color and texture, or as part of a palette of materials. This category does not include tilt-up concrete wall construction, which is not allowed.
6. May only be used for architectural detailing above the ground floor.
7. Shall be used in limited quantities as an accent material or as a means of visual screening. Shall not count toward minimum fenestration requirements.
8. May be used for architectural detailing and signage. Other than for decoration and signage, use of these materials on a storefront level is discouraged. For storefront and urban flex frontages, if use of these materials on ground floor windows reduces the transparency and blocks views into the interior of a building, said windows shall not count toward the minimum fenestration requirements of the ground floor of the building. Window film shall not be applied to required storefront windows in a manner that reduces transparency and blocks views into the interior of the storefront.
9. Glass used for storefronts or urban flex frontages should be as clear and transparent as possible and individual lites for display windows should be as large as possible to invite views into the interior of the commercial space. Transom windows are encouraged above storefront display windows. Residential window types, closely spaced mullions, and punched windows are not allowed for storefront or urban flex frontages. Low-E glazing will reduce transparency, so is discouraged for storefronts or urban flex fronts, but if used, the glass chosen should have a high visible light transmittance and low reflectivity.
6. Roof Design:
a. The following building types may have flat or pitched roofs; however, mansard roofs are discouraged and shall not be permitted on single-story buildings. Buildings over three (3) stories in height shall have flat roofs.
(2) Apartment building.
(3) Multi-dwelling building.
(4) Live-work townhouse.
(5) Commercial building.
(6) Mixed use building.
(7) Liner building.
(8) Civic or institutional building.
b. The following building types shall have pitched roofs. Mansard roofs are not permitted.
(1) Cottage home.
(2) Row house.
c. All roof edges shall be accentuated with eaves in a manner proportionate to the size of the building and length of the wall. Buildings with flat roofs shall be enclosed by a parapet wall and decorative cornice.
7. Awnings And Canopies:
a. Awnings and canopies may project over the public sidewalk with a minimum eight foot (8') clearance above the sidewalk, but shall not project in a manner that will interfere with utilities, street trees, or other important right-of-way features.
b. Awnings shall be constructed of a durable material such as canvas or metal that will not fade or tear easily. Plasticized, rigid, or curved awnings or mansard style canopies are prohibited. On storefront frontages, awnings must be open ended to allow views along the frontage.
c. Awnings shall not be internally illuminated and any signs shall be illuminated by fixtures located above the awning and directed downward.
8. Mechanical Equipment:
a. Outdoor mechanical, electrical, and communication equipment, including heating, air conditioning, and ventilation equipment; venting and vent terminations for commercial hoods; electric meters; electrical and communications equipment and panels; and similar features shall be placed on the roof or to the rear of buildings. Such equipment shall not be placed in private frontage areas. Except for venting and vent terminations for commercial hoods, said equipment may be located along the nonstreet side of buildings, if it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the FBC Committee that it is impractical to locate such equipment on the roof or to the rear of the building. Venting for commercial hoods shall be internal to the building and terminations shall be located on the roof or may terminate through an exterior wall that abuts an alley right-of-way. If there is practical difficulty locating horizontal vent terminations for kitchen fans, bathroom fans, and gas fireplaces for individual residential dwelling units on the roof or to the rear or side facades, they may be allowed on front facades as long as they are designed to blend with the exterior building facade, as approved by the FBC Committee.
b. All such equipment must be screened from public view by architectural finished screen walls and enclosures consistent and complementary to the exterior facade of the building.
c. If within public view, rooftop mechanical penthouses shall be designed to complement the design of street-facing building facades and shall be clad on all sides in the same materials as used on street-facing facades.
d. Packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units and other similar mechanical units that are integrated into and behind the wall plane of a building and covered and screened from view with a decorative guard that is integrated into the design of the building wall are allowed on any side of a building.
e. Dumpsters and recycling bins must be located in areas that are not visible from public streets and may not be located in a right-of-way.
G. Building Height Bonus Provisions: The building height bonus provisions provide an incentive for developments to incorporate features that provide a public benefit or that further important goals and objective of the downtown and riverfront crossings master plan according to the eligible bonuses set forth in this section.
1. Review Process: Request for building height bonuses will be reviewed by the FBC Committee through the design review process according to the following rules. If Level II design review is required the proposal must also be approved by the City Council:
a. Bonus height up to two (2) additional stories above the applicable subdistrict height standard may be approved through a Level I design review.
b. A Level II design review is required for a height bonus that exceeds two (2) stories above the maximum height established for the applicable subdistrict.
c. A Level II design review is required for open space height transfers, historic preservation height transfers and public right-of-way height transfers.
d. Multiple height bonuses or transfers may be applied to one (1) site, however, the resulting height may not exceed the following maximums:
(1) Fifteen (15) stories maximum for properties within the South Downtown, University, and Park Subdistricts.
(2) Twelve (12) stories maximum for properties within the West Riverfront Subdistrict that have frontage along the Iowa River.
(3) Eight (8) stories maximum for properties within the Central Crossings and South Gilbert Subdistricts.
(4) Five (5) stories maximum for properties within the Gilbert Subdistrict and properties within the West Riverfront Subdistrict that do not have frontage along the Iowa River. For properties in the West Riverfront Subdistrict north of the Iowa Interstate Railroad, seven (7) stories maximum for property within 200 feet of the railroad right-of-way. However, bonus height is not allowed on lots that abut a residential zone. (Ord. 16-4675, 9-20-2016)
(5) Height bonuses are not allowed in the Eastside Mixed Use District and Orchard Subdistrict. (Ord. 16-4675, 9-20-2016; amd. Ord. 17-4705, 5-16-2017)
(6) In no case shall the building height exceed the maximum height allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
e. All requests for bonus height shall meet the applicable approval criteria. All proposals shall demonstrate excellence in building and site design, use high quality building materials, and be designed in a manner that contributes to the quality and character of the neighborhood. The resulting development must meet all other applicable zoning standards. Bonus height is granted solely at the discretion of the City based on the quality of the proposal. For buildings receiving height transfers or granted bonus height, additional upper floor stepbacks may be required to help reduce the mass and scale of the building as it relates to surrounding development and public open space.
2. Open Space Height Transfers: The following transfer of development rights and corresponding height bonus provides an incentive for the development of needed public open space as envisioned in the downtown and riverfront crossings master plan:
a. Eligibility: The open space height transfer is an option for sites that meet the following criteria:
(1) Minimum size of the open space dedication is twenty thousand (20,000) square feet; and
(2) The site must have sufficient frontage on a public street or future public street so that it is highly visible and accessible to the public or is land that can be added to an existing park or land that is suitable for development into a park node along a stream or river corridor trail; and
(3) The site is designated on the riverfront crossings regulating plan as green space; or if the site is not designated as green space on the regulating plan, the applicant must demonstrate through a level II design review process that the site is ideally located to serve the need for public open space for people living or working in the area and the city parks and recreation department approves the site.
(1) The area designated for the open space must be dedicated to the city as a public park.
(2) All buildings and structures that will not be retained for park purposes must be removed and the land graded and seeded to the satisfaction of the city, unless the city council approves an alternative arrangement.
c. Transfer Of Development Rights:
(1) The floor area that results from multiplying the number of stories allowed at the sending site as specified in the applicable subdistrict standards by the acreage of the sending site may be transferred to one or more eligible site(s) within the riverfront crossings district. For example, if the land being dedicated for public open space is located in the park subdistrict and is twenty thousand (20,000) square feet in size, then one hundred twenty thousand (120,000) square feet of floor area (20,000 x 6) may be transferred to one or more eligible sites and the resulting building or buildings on the receiving sites may exceed the height limit of the respective subdistrict, within the limits established in this section.
(2) The resulting building or buildings on the receiving site(s) may not exceed the maximums stated within subsection G1d of this section.
3. Historic Preservation Height Transfers: The following transfer of development rights and corresponding height bonus provides an incentive for the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic properties:
a. Eligibility: The historic preservation height transfer is an option for sites that meet the following criterion:
(1) The site from which the height transfer is requested (sending site) is designated as an Iowa City landmark, eligible for landmark designation, registered on the national register of historic places, or listed as a historically significant building as determined by the survey and evaluation of the historic and architectural resources for the vicinity.
(1) If the sending site has not already been designated as an Iowa City landmark, the applicant must apply for and obtain approval of this designation as a condition of the transfer of development rights; and
(2) All historic buildings and structures on the sending site must be preserved against decay, deterioration, and kept free from structural defects by the owner or such person, persons, or entities who may have custody or control thereof, according to the provisions of section 14-3B-7, "Prevention Of Demolition By Neglect", of this title.
c. Transfer Of Development Rights:
(1) The floor area that results from multiplying the number of stories allowed at the sending site as specified in the applicable subdistrict standards by the acreage of the sending site may be transferred to one or more eligible site(s) within the riverfront crossings district. For example, if the land being preserved as a historic landmark is located in the central crossings subdistrict and is twenty thousand (20,000) square feet in size, then eighty thousand (80,000) square feet of floor area (20,000 x 4) may be transferred to one or more eligible sites and the resulting building or buildings on the receiving sites may exceed the height limit of the respective subdistrict, within the limits established in this section.
(2) The resulting building or buildings on the receiving site(s) may not exceed the maximums stated within subsection G1d of this section.
4. Public Right-Of-Way Height Transfers: The following transfer of development rights and corresponding height bonus provides an incentive for dedication of land for public rights-of-way necessary to realize the vision of the Riverfront Crossings master plan:
a. Eligibility: The public right-of-way height transfer is an option for sites that meet the following criterion:
(1) The land proposed for dedication (sending site) is needed in order to construct or improve rights-of-way necessary to realize the vision of the Riverfront Crossings master plan.
(1) The subject land must be dedicated to the City for use as public right-of-way.
(2) All buildings and structures on the land to be dedicated must be removed, unless the City Council approves an alternative arrangement.
c. Transfer Of Development Rights:
(1) The floor area that results from multiplying the number of stories allowed at the sending site as specified in the applicable subdistrict standards by the acreage of the sending site may be transferred to one or more eligible site(s) within the Riverfront Crossings District. For example, if the land being dedicated for public right-of-way is located in the South Gilbert Subdistrict and is twenty thousand (20,000) square feet in size, then one hundred twenty thousand (120,000) square feet of floor area (20,000 x 6) may be transferred to one or more eligible sites and the resulting building or buildings on the receiving sites may exceed the height limit of the respective subdistrict, within the limits established in this section.
(2) The resulting building or buildings on the receiving site(s) may not exceed the maximums stated within subsection G1d of this section.
5. Height Bonus For Class A Office Space: Two (2) additional floors of building height may be granted for every floor of Class A office space provided. To qualify for this bonus, the office space must be located on floors above the ground floor of the building and meet the definition of Class A office space as stated below. Only nonresidential uses shall be allowed in the designated Class A office space. As defined by the Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA), Class A office space is space that is of a quality that is attractive for premier office users with rents above average for the area. Class A office buildings have high quality standard finishes, state of the art systems, exceptional accessibility and a definite market presence. (Ord. 16-4675, 9-20-2016)
6. Height Bonus For Public Art: One additional floor of building height may be granted for a contribution to the City's public art program equal to one percent (1%) of threshold value of the project. Threshold value is the sum of all construction costs shown on all building permits associated with the project, including site preparation. For alterations to existing development, the threshold value is the sum of all construction costs as defined above plus the value of existing improvements to the property, as listed in the City Assessor's records. Funds contributed shall be used by the City for public art within the Riverfront Crossings District as approved by the Public Art Committee. (Ord. 18-4770, 11-20-2018)
7. Height Bonus For Leadership In Energy And Environmental Design: Up to four (4) additional floors of building height may be granted for projects that are designed to meet high standards with regard to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship, according to LEED or other similar environmental or energy efficiency rating system. In general, the higher the level of energy efficiency or environmental stewardship demonstrated, the greater the bonus. The amount of bonus granted will be based on the overall quality of the project. Bonus height may also be granted for projects that are designed to minimize the impact of stormwater runoff on the environment through the use of bioswales, rain gardens, greenroofs, rainwater harvesting, and stream bank stabilization and restoration along Ralston Creek or the Iowa River, as described in the Riverfront Crossings District subarea plan adopted in April 2011. Any such green feature(s) must be designed using Best Management Practices and demonstrate to the satisfaction of the City that the design will be successful given applicable factors, such as soil conditions, access to sunlight, topography, etc. A long term maintenance plan must accompany any proposal for such green features.
8. Height Bonus For Student Housing: Up to five (5) floors of additional building height may be granted for projects that are ideally located and designed to provide a high quality living environment for college students.
a. Location: To qualify for this bonus, projects must be located on land that:
(1) Is within the University Subdistrict, South Downtown Subdistrict, or the West Riverfront Subdistrict; and
b. Management, Design And Amenities:
(1) An enforceable plan for on site management and security must be submitted to and approved by the City;
(2) For projects with two hundred (200) or more bedrooms, professional twenty four (24) hour on site management and security must be provided. A professionally staffed management office/reception desk must be provided in the entrance lobby of the building;
(3) Interior and exterior usable shared open space must be provided with amenities that create a high quality living environment for students. The management plan must include adequate provisions for management, maintenance, and security of such spaces;
(4) A secure bicycle parking/storage area shall be provided and maintained within the building or parking garage;
(5) The owner shall maintain a valid rental permit and comply with all applicable City codes;
(6) The City reserves the right to inspect the property to verify compliance with these provisions.
9. Height Bonus For Hotel Space: One additional floor of building height may be granted for every floor of high quality hotel space. The additional building height may be used for additional hotel space or for other uses. The resulting building must demonstrate excellence in building and site design as demonstrated through use of high quality building materials, architectural detailing, building amenities, landscaping and streetscaping elements, and similar.
10. Height Bonus For Workforce Or Affordable Housing: Up to five (5) floors of additional building height may be granted for projects that designate a minimum of fifteen percent (15%) of the dwelling units within the development as "affordable housing", as defined in section 14-2G-8 of this article and regulated in accordance therewith.
11. Height Bonus For Elder Housing: Up to five (5) floors of additional building height may be granted for projects where all or a portion of the dwelling units are designed to provide a high quality living environment for elders or persons with disabilities. The project must satisfy the following criteria:
a. The development is designed for use and occupancy by elders and/or persons with disabilities;
b. All individual dwelling units and any communal space must be handicap accessible, as defined in the Iowa Administrative Code;
c. No more than ten percent (10%) of all individual dwelling units within the project can contain more than two (2) bedrooms;
d. Prior to issuance of the building permit, the owner must submit an affidavit to the City that all designated dwelling units will be reserved for and occupied by elders and/or persons with disabilities;
e. The units may be renter or owner occupied. If rented, the owner shall maintain a valid rental permit, unless the use is licensed by the State of Iowa; and
f. The City reserves the right to inspect the property to verify compliance with these provisions. (Ord. 16-4675, 9-20-2016)
H. Minor Adjustments:
1. The FBC Committee may approve deviations from the building placement and parking, loading, and service area placement standards set forth in section 14-2G-3, "Subdistrict Standards", of this article. Standards greater or lesser than the ranges allowed may be approved in the following circumstances, provided the approval criteria listed below are met: (Ord. 17-4731, 11-21-2017)
a. For publicly accessible outdoor plazas;
b. For irregular lots that make meeting the requirements impractical or infeasible;
c. For buildings along Ralston Creek;
d. For liner buildings, civic, or institutional buildings where unique building needs or site constraints make it difficult to fully comply with the standards;
e. For buildings along pedestrian streets designed to maximize access to and views of the Iowa River; or
f. For other special circumstances, provided that the intent of the standard and the Downtown and Riverfront Crossings Master Plan or Central District plan, whichever is applicable, is met. (Ord. 16-4675, 9-20-2016)
g. Approval criteria:
(1) There are unique characteristics of the site or neighboring properties that lend to alternative design approaches or that make it difficult or infeasible to meet the requirements; and
(2) The proposed placement of the building, parking, and service areas fit the characteristics of the site and the surrounding neighborhood, are consistent with the intent of the standard being modified and the goals of the Downtown and Riverfront Crossings Master Plan or Central District plan, as applicable, and will not detract from or be injurious to other property or improvements in the vicinity. (Ord. 17-4731, 11-21-2017)
2. The FBC Committee may approve deviations from the facade continuity requirements set forth in section 14-2G-3, "Subdistrict Standards", of this article, for buildings with forecourts at primary building entries, open air pedestrian passageways connecting public sidewalks to rear yard parking, or driveways on sites without secondary street, cross parcel, or alley access to parking and service areas, or for small or irregularly shaped lots where there is practical difficulty meeting the standard. In such cases, additional and/or enhanced screening and landscaping may be required to ensure a pleasant and comfortable pedestrian environment along street frontages.
3. The FBC Committee may approve deviations from the requirements set forth in section 14-2G-4, "Frontage Type Standards", of this article, to accommodate buildings located on steeply sloped sites or within flood hazard zones, where meeting the requirements is impractical or infeasible, or to make minor adjustments to elements of a frontage to ensure they are proportional to the scale of a building. If warranted and approved, deviations may include the following:
a. Floor height of stoops, porticoes, porches or terraces may exceed the maximum;
b. The finished ground floor elevation of the building may exceed the maximum;
c. Garden walls enclosing terraces or forecourts may exceed the maximum height;
d. The terrace frontage may be configured as a stepped terrace with two (2) levels above grade;
e. Allow additional width and depth for portico frontages in order to create proportional entryways for large multi-dwelling or civic/institutional buildings; or
f. Minor deviations from window coverage standards for storefront frontages on small buildings located on corner lots, where full compliance on both frontages may not be feasible.
4. Where accessibility standards cannot be met using the standards herein, the FBC Committee may approve deviations to allow adherence to Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Deviations may include lowering the height requirements of frontages and finished ground floor elevations, and accommodating wheelchair accessible ramps. (Ord. 16-4675, 9-20-2016)
5. The FBC Committee may approve deviations from the facade stepback requirements set forth in section 14-2G-3, "Subdistrict Standards", of this article or building design standards set forth in subsection F of this section, provided the following approval criteria are met:
a. The building includes an alternative design solution that equally or better meets the intent of the specific standard being modified; and
b. The building is uniquely designed to fit the characteristics of the site and the surrounding neighborhood, is consistent with the goals of the Downtown and Riverfront Crossings Master Plan or Central District plan, as applicable, and will not detract from or be injurious to other property or improvements in the vicinity; and
c. The building demonstrates excellence in architectural design and use of durable materials; and
d. There are unique characteristics of the site or neighboring properties that lend to alternative design approaches, or that make it difficult or infeasible to meet the requirements; or the proposed building is designed true to a specific architectural style and adherence to the building design standards would be impractical or compromise the building's architectural integrity; and
e. For requests for waivers of an upper floor stepback requirement, the building must include an alternative means of visually breaking up the vertical plane of the building.
6. In mid-block locations, the FBC Committee may waive the minimum building height standard to allow for a 2nd story pedestrian courtyard (an area surrounded by building facades on at least 3 sides), provided a screen wall that is at least as tall as the second story building facade is constructed co-planar or recessed a maximum of three feet (3') from the street-facing facade. The screen wall may either be constructed of high quality building materials that faithfully imitate an architecturally- finished exterior building facade with complementary window openings and articulation, or constructed as a decorative screen wall with a semi-transparent, open pattern, where the top of the screen wall aligns generally with the top of the second story. For purposes of regulating signage, the screen wall will be considered a building wall. (Ord. 17-4731, 11-21-2017; amd. Ord. 20-4840, 12-15-2020)