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(a) Purpose. The purpose of this Section is to preserve, enhance, and promote attractive, clearly defined street frontages that are pedestrian-oriented, and fine-grained, and that are appropriate and compatible with the buildings and uses in Neighborhood Commercial Districts, Commercial Districts, Residential-Commercial Districts, and Mixed Use Districts.
(1) Development Lot. A "development lot" shall mean:
(A) Any lot containing a proposal for new construction; or
(B) Building alterations that would increase the gross square footage of a structure by 20 percent or more; or
(C) In a building containing parking, a change of more than 50 percent of the building's gross floor area to or from residential uses, excluding residential accessory off-street parking.
(2) Active Use. An "active use" shall mean any principal, conditional, or accessory use that by its nature does not require non-transparent walls facing a public street or involves the storage of goods or vehicles.
(A) Residential uses are considered active uses above the ground floor; on the ground floor, residential uses are considered active uses only if more than 50 percent of the linear residential street frontage at the ground level features walk-up dwelling units that provide direct, individual pedestrian access to a public sidewalk, and are consistent with the Ground Floor Residential Design Guidelines, as adopted and periodically amended by the Planning Commission.
(B) Spaces accessory to residential uses, such as fitness or community rooms, are considered active uses only if they meet the intent of this section and have access directly to the public sidewalk or street.
(C) Building lobbies are considered active uses, so long as they do not exceed 40 feet or 25 percent of building frontage, whichever is larger.
(D) Public Uses defined in Section 102 are considered active uses except utility installations.
(c) Controls. The following requirements shall generally apply, except for those controls listed in subsections (1) Above Grade Parking Setback and (4) Ground Floor Ceiling Height, which only apply to a "development lot" as defined above.
In NC-S Districts, the applicable frontage shall be the primary facade(s) that contains customer entrances to commercial spaces.
(1) Above-Grade Parking Setback. Off-street parking at street grade on a development lot must be set back at least 25 feet on the ground floor and at least 15 feet on floors above, from any facade facing a street at least 30 feet in width. Parking above the ground level shall be entirely screened from all public rights-of-way in a manner that accentuates ground floor uses, minimizes mechanical features and is in keeping with the overall massing and architectural vocabulary of the building. In C-3 Districts, parking above the ground level, where permitted, shall also be designed to facilitate conversion to other uses by maintaining level floors and a clear ceiling height of nine feet or equal to that of the adjacent street-fronting active uses, whichever is greater. Removable parking ramps are excluded from this requirement.
The following shall apply to projects subject to this section:
(A) when only one parking space is permitted. if a space is proposed it must be within the first 25 feet of the building;
(B) when two or more parking spaces are proposed, one space may be within the first 25 feet of the building;
(C) when three or more parking spaces are proposed, all parking spaces must be set back at least 25 feet from the front of the development.
(2) Parking and Loading Entrances. No more than one-third of the width or 20 feet, whichever is less, of any given street frontage of a new or altered structure parallel to and facing a street shall be devoted to parking and loading ingress or egress. In NC-S Districts, no more than one-third or 50 feet, whichever is less, of each lot frontage shall be devoted to ingress/egress of parking. In RED Districts, no more than one garage door shall be permitted per lot, and the garage door shall be limited to no more than 10 feet in width. Street-facing garage structures and garage doors may not extend closer to the street than a primary building facade unless the garage structure and garage door are consistent with the features listed in Section 136 of this Code. The total street frontage dedicated to parking and loading access should be minimized, and combining entrances for off-street parking with those for off-street loading is encouraged. The placement of parking and loading entrances should minimize interference with street-fronting active uses and with the movement of pedestrians, cyclists, public transit, and autos. Entrances to off-street parking shall be located at least six feet from a lot corner located at the intersection of two public rights-of-way. Off-street parking and loading entrances should minimize the loss of on-street parking and loading spaces. Off-street parking and loading are also subject to the provisions of Section 155 of this Code. In C-3 Districts, so as not to preclude the conversion of parking space to other uses in the future, parking at the ground-level shall not be sloped, and the floor shall be aligned as closely as possible to sidewalk level along the principal pedestrian frontage and/or to those of the street-fronting commercial spaces and shall have a minimum clear ceiling height of 14 feet or equal to that of street-fronting commercial spaces, whichever is greater. Removable parking ramps are excluded from this requirement.
(3) Active Uses Required. With the exception of space allowed for parking and loading access, building egress, and access to mechanical systems, space for active uses as defined in Subsection (b)(2) and permitted by the specific district in which it is located shall be provided within the first 25 feet of building depth on the ground floor and 15 feet on floors above from any facade facing a street at least 30 feet in width. Building systems including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing features may be exempted from this requirement by the Zoning Administrator only in instances where those features are provided in such a fashion as to not negatively impact the quality of the ground floor space.
(4) Ground Floor Ceiling Height. Unless otherwise established elsewhere in this Code:
(A) All ground floor uses in UMU Districts shall have a minimum floor-to-floor height of 17 feet, as measured from grade. Ground floor Residential Uses shall also be designed to meet the City’s Guidelines for Ground Floor Residential Design.
(B) Ground floor Non-Residential Uses in all C-3, NCT, DTR, Chinatown Mixed Use, SPD, RED-MX, WMUG, MUG, MUR, WMUO, CMUO and MUO Districts shall have a minimum floor-to-floor height of 14 feet, as measured from grade.
(C) Ground floor Non-Residential Uses in all RC districts, C-2 districts, RED districts, and NC districts other than NCT, shall have a minimum floor-to-floor height of 14 feet, as measured from grade except in 40-foot and 50-foot height districts, where buildings shall have a minimum floor-to-floor height of 10 feet.
(5) Street-Facing Ground-Level Spaces. The floors of street-fronting interior spaces housing non-residential active uses and lobbies shall be as close as possible to the level of the adjacent sidewalk at the principal entrance to these spaces. Street-facing ground-level spaces housing non-residential active uses in hotels, office buildings, shopping centers, and other large buildings shall open directly onto the street, rather than solely into lobbies and interior spaces of the buildings. Such required street-facing entrances shall remain open to the public during business hours.
(6) Transparency and Fenestration. Frontages with active uses that are not PDR must be fenestrated with transparent windows and doorways for no less than 60% of the street frontage at the ground level and allow visibility to the inside of the building. The use of dark or mirrored glass shall not count towards the required transparent area. Buildings located inside of, or within an unobstructed line of less than 300 feet of an Urban Bird Refuge, as defined in Section 139(c)(1), shall follow glazing requirements within Section 139(c) of this Code.
(7) Gates, Railings, and Grillwork. Any decorative railings or grillwork, other than wire mesh, which is placed in front of or behind ground floor windows, shall be at least 75 percent open to perpendicular view. Rolling or sliding security gates shall consist of open grillwork rather than solid material, so as to provide visual interest to pedestrians when the gates are closed, and to permit light to pass through mostly unobstructed. Gates, when both open and folded or rolled as well as the gate mechanism, shall be recessed within, or laid flush with, the building facade.
(d) Exceptions for Historic Buildings. Specific street frontage requirements in this Section may be modified or waived by the Planning Commission for structures designated as landmarks, significant or contributory buildings within a historic district, or buildings of merit when the Historic Preservation Commission advises that complying with specific street frontage requirements would adversely affect the landmark, significant, contributory, or meritorious character of the structure, or that modification or waiver would enhance the economic feasibility of preservation of the landmark or structure.
(Added by Ord. 69-87, App. 3/13/87; amended by Ord. 72-08, File No. 071157, App. 4/3/2008; Ord. 298-08, File No. 081153, App. 12/19/2008; Ord. 85-10, File No. 091271, App. 4/30/2010; Ord. 63-11, File No. 101053, App. 4/7/2011, Eff. 5/7/2011; Ord. 196-11 , File No. 110786, App. 10/4/2011, Eff. 11/3/2011; Ord. 199-11 , File No. 110785, App. 10/7/2011, Eff. 11/6/2011; Ord. 42-13 , File No. 130002, App. 3/28/2013, Eff. 4/27/2013; Ord. 22-15, File No. 141253, App. 2/20/2015, Eff. 3/22/2015; Ord. 105-17, File No. 170156, App. 5/26/2017, Eff. 6/25/2017; Ord. 129-17, File No. 170203, App. 6/30/2017, Eff. 7/30/2017; Ord. 202-18, File No. 180557, App. 8/10/2018, Eff. 9/10/2018; Ord. 296-18, File No. 180184, App. 12/12/2018, Eff. 1/12/2019)
Section header and division (a) amended; former divisions (b)(2)A.-D. redesignated as (b)(2)(A)-(D); divisions (c), (c)(1) and (c)(2) amended; Ord. 63-11, Eff. 5/7/2011. Division (c)(4)(B) amended; Ord. 196-11 , Eff. 11/3/2011. Division (c)(6) amended; Ord. 199-11 , Eff. 11/6/2011. Divisions (c)(2) and (c)(4)(B) amended; Ord. 42-13 , Eff. 4/27/2013. Division (b)(2)(D) amended; Ord. 22-15, Eff. 3/22/2015. Division (c)(4)(A) amended; Ord. 105-17, Eff. 6/25/2017. Divisions (c)(4)(A) and (B) amended; Ord. 129-17, Eff. 7/30/2017. Divisions (c)(4)(A), (c)(4)(C), and (c)(6) amended; Ord. 202-18, Eff. 9/10/2018. Divisions (a), (c), and (c)(4)(B) amended; Ord. 296-18, Eff. 1/12/2019.