Why is a Zoning Overlay being reviewed?

The Site Plan and Architectural Review application for the EKN Appellation Hotel proposes a hotel building that exceeds the current maximum building height, lot coverage, and FAR (Floor to Area Ratio) allowed by the City’s General Plan and IZO (Implementing Zoning Ordinance). When an application is received that does not comply with current land use or development standards, there are three options:

  1. Modify the project to comply with current development standards;
  2. Withdraw the project application; or
  3. Request to change the development standards through General Plan and/or Zoning Amendments.

Staff presented EKN Appellation Hotel with these options, and the applicant chose to submit General Plan and Zoning Amendment applications proposing to change the development standards. Staff recommended that the applicant propose a zoning overlay, an approach that would provide the City with the opportunity to review current development standards and consider how modifications to these development standards may advance General Plan goals and policies for the Downtown area. Staff felt that creating an overlay within the downtown district was the best land use tool to address requests for increased building intensity and infill within the Downtown.

It is not uncommon for the City to use an applicant’s request and funds to amend the General Plan and/or Zoning Amendment to further City Council goals. This was achieved recently with the Hampton Inn application that required amendments to the parking standards in the IZO. Rather than just amend the Ordinance to address the Hampton Inn’s needs, the Planning Commission and City Council adopted amendments that provide greater flexibility for parking minimums for all future applications which addressed Council’s goal of reducing parking minimums.

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