Recommended Language to be added to the Neighborhood Four Profile, page 59, Land Use Plan:
The area located south of the Willoughby residential development and north of Interstate 64 between Fifth Street Extended and Avon Street Extended, accessed via Bent Creek Road, is designated for Community Service/Mixed Use development. It is intended to fulfill a “town center” role by providing a commercial and employment focal point within Neighborhoods Four and Five. When developed, it should provide retail and employment opportunities while incorporating a flexible range of uses that may include but are not limited to commercial, professional office/industrial/light industrial, residential, live/work, open space and parkland, public amenities and spaces appropriate for such a commercial center. Compatibility with the scale and character of adjacent and nearby City and County neighborhoods should be maintained. Because of its location between three entrance corridors, at the confluence of Biscuit Run and Moore’s Creek, this site is of high aesthetic and environmental sensitivity and importance.
A. Several acres of elevated land located at the western edge of Tax Map 76M1 Parcel 2B, fronting the former Grand Piano and University Corporate Research Park access roads and extending north and south from the Bent Creek bridge along these roads contain woodland features considered to be significant to both the site and area. These features should be preserved as a visual buffer from Fifth Street Extended and be emphasized in site design. Existing vegetation, especially exemplary specimen or old growth trees, should be preserved on this tract. Rock formations sloping down to the existing roads should also be preserved. .
B. Bluffs and riparian forest along the existing Grand Piano access road/Moore’s Creek corridor should be protected to minimize adverse impacts to the creek from major grading activity. Low-intensity design should be used to help accomplish this protection.
D. A greenway along Biscuit Run and Moore’s Creek as recommended in the Comprehensive Plan Greenway Plan should be established. Greenway trails should be constructed and dedicated at the time of site development.
E. The existing vegetated buffer adjacent to the I-64 corridor should be preserved and enhanced. In addition to its screening function, this green buffer is an important aesthetic and natural resource that contributes to the appearance of the corridor.
F. The floodplain area northeast of the confluence of Biscuit Run and Moore’s Creek should become public open space for a natural area or multi-purpose field or other low-impact outdoor use.
G. Development of the property should incorporate principles of low impact development and sustainable design to support and enhance water protection efforts. Impervious area should be minimized through a site concept that emphasizes complementary uses, shared parking, and protection of critical resources. In particular, green roof technology should be considered as an appropriate and effective technology for managing stormwater on this site.
L. One of the new roads on the site should be designed as a main commercial street traversing the town center into this portion of the site. The road should have curbing, sidewalks, street trees, and other Neighborhood Model elements. To accommodate service traffic primarily, a second new road segment should be considered at the southern portion of the site.
M. The intersection of existing and new roads with the Bent Creek Bridge should be designed to avoid or minimize disturbance to the 100-year floodplain, stream buffer, and the preserved area located above and to the east of it.
N. Where considered important to the Willoughby residents, construction of a pedestrian bridge should be considered between the south side of Moore’s Creek and the Willoughby residential property.
O. The Community Service/Mixed Use “hybrid” land use designation for this area is intended to describe a commercial area which supports community and neighborhood needs and values. Uses should include retail, offices and other areas of employment, residential needs (housing and/or goods and services), environmental protection, and recreation. In acknowledgment of the size of the developable area, as well as environmental and aesthetic considerations, where large retail uses are planned, a mid-sized big box model is recommended on this site. Development of “super-sized” big boxes is not appropriate due to the site’s relatively small developable area, environmental sensitivity, high exposure to three Entrance Corridors, immersed location within older neighborhoods with established character and scale, and the desire to mix and balance uses on the site and create a bona fide town center. The size and scale of regional retail complexes in the northern urban area (“super-sized” big boxes, such as the existing Lowe’s store on Route 29 North) is not appropriate in this location. However, development may involve an expansion of the customary building limitations associated with the Community Service designation and no overall density limitation is established for the site.
P. The continuation of employment opportunities is significant and valuable in this location, particularly in the eastern portion of the site but also throughout the town center area. The existing Light Industrial use opportunities available under the current zoning should be used to support and encourage development of flex space and/or other employment-oriented uses along Avon Street Extended.
Q. Development on the site should balance retail with employment-based uses and other land uses.
R. Residential, live/work and/or small professional office uses are recommended along the bluff at the northern edge of the town center area. These uses should be sited to minimize disturbance to the natural features described under Environmental Protection (above). It may be appropriate for such uses to occur as infill opportunities, to further balance retail and commercial uses on the site.
S. A town center design should be a feature of the western commercial area. This area is intended to be a compact, high density area which mixes retail businesses, services, public facilities and civic spaces. Large footprint retail of a regional nature may be appropriate in the town center, if it is consistent with the Neighborhood Model principles. Specifically, the buildings should be oriented to major roads; designed, sized and massed with consideration for adjacent and nearby smaller uses in the Center and on the larger site; and parking should be relegated to the greatest extent possible.
T. The architecture, urban design and landscape treatment of the property should be carefully integrated to ensure that the visual interest, massing, scale and organization of the development contributes to the role of the site as a town center and commercial focal point for the Southern Urban Area. The town center area should provide a functional, attractive and distinct destination for shoppers, visitors, employees, and residents of the larger neighborhood with particular emphasis on pedestrian convenience. Architectural and landscape design guidelines should be prepared to address:
· The integration of building facades and rooflines;
· Architectural massing and form of individual buildings;
· Architectural materials and color;
· Design of parking areas;
· Design/landscape treatment of streets and interior travelways, pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular, including traffic calming;
· Buffers and screening in areas impacted by critical sight lines;
· Enhancements to preservation areas and open spaces and improvements to planned public civic and greenway areas;
· Street lighting, signage and hardscape features;
· Recreational and civic improvements.
U. The largest single big box footprint should not exceed 130,000 square feet including outdoor display, sales and storage areas (approximately the size of the existing Wal-Mart on Route 29 North), and development on the site should be limited to one use whose square footage exceeds 100,000 square feet. There is no limit on uses of less than 100,000 square feet.
V. Maximum total square footage of big-box structures, including outside display, sales and storage areas, is 230,000 square feet. If the big-box structures are developed in a two-story or greater configuration, this limitation may be adjusted upward. Buildings of increased footprint may be considered, and a corresponding increase in the total big-box square footage, subject to demonstration by the applicant that environmental and other impacts of such increased footprint can be offset by (a) design that is sensitive to architectural massing and quality, (b) building that complements the setting of the larger project, (c) parking and traffic accommodation that complements building form, pedestrian access, and building siting, (d) environmental design that enhances existing natural conditions within areas to be conserved, and (e) a commitment to a project phasing plan that ensures that a mix of retail and other uses of varying size and scale will be developed concomitantly with the expanded big box use.
W. Preference will be given to rezoning proposals that maximize the range and mixture of uses, along with a phasing plan that assures a mixture of uses and addresses all parts of the site during the development of the project.
Public Space and Public Facilities/Amenities
X. Provision should be made on the site for transit service and a park and ride facility.
Y. At least 10% of the gross site acreage should be devoted to amenities and 15% should be preserved or created as green space. Public amenities can be paved areas, such as plazas, courtyards or patios, landscaped areas such as parks or water features and/or natural areas left largely in their undisturbed state. Preserved areas should count toward both amenity and green space percentages.
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