Lehigh Acres Land Development Regulations Community Planning Project

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1 Lehigh Acres Land Development Regulations Planning Effort Summary In July, 2010 Commissioner Frank Mann invited the Lehigh Acres community to start discussing how to achieve their recently adopted community planning vision. The vision, which was adopted March 2010, envisions a, vibrant residential and commercial community consisting of safe and secure single and multi family neighborhoods; vibrant commercial and employment centers; pedestrian friendly mixed use activity centers and neighborhood nodes; and adequate green space and recreational opportunities. The community is working to achieve this goal by working on a community wide planning effort including a diverse group of residents, business owners, and Lee County Community Development staff. Through this collaborative effort, we will develop a set of land development standards which meet Lehigh Acre s unique needs, demands, challenges, and opportunities. The standards that result from this effort will be incorporated into the Lee County Land Development Code, Chapter 33 and will help shape development in the Lehigh Acres community for years to come. Lehigh Acres Centers & Nodes Since that fist meeting in July, the working group has met twice. At the first meeting, the community planning group discussed what kind of development standards they wanted for their community. The information from that meeting has become the basis for development of the community s land development standards as it is being used to help shape the overall planning effort. First Work Effort: Mixed-Use Centers and Nodes The first work effort being developed as part of this effort is the development of form based development standards for the community s mixed use neighborhood, community, and downtown centers. This effort began with the Lehigh Acres Mixed Use Centers Workshop held September, 25, 2010 at the East County Regional Library. The information contained in this workshop report summarizes the discussion held at this workshop and helps provide a basis for development of the Lehigh Acres Compact Community Code Standards. The next Lehigh Acres Land Development Community planning workshop is scheduled for November 20, 2010 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the East County Regional Library. Please contact Kathie Ebaugh, Principal Planner, at or for more information. Page 1 Example of Mixed Use Center Small Table Discussion

2 Neighborhood Centers: Small Table Discussion Neighborhood Centers are intended to serve one or more neighborhoods and are characterized by small scale retail and services that include mixed use housing opportunities. These mixed use centers are characterized by a compact scale and a pedestrian friendly form, which encourages pedestrian access from adjacent neighborhoods. Neighborhood Centers are generally located at the intersections of two collector streets or a collector and a local street. Neighborhood Centers are typically between 3 to 5 acres; however, they may be as small as 1 acre when integrated within a neighborhood. The actual mix of uses is varied. It may include restaurants, coffee shops, offices, and small scale retail shops. It may also include a range of residential uses including attached, single family units; garden apartments and patio homes; apartments or condominium units that are above ground floor retail uses; and live work units. The mix of primary and secondary uses will vary based on adjacent uses, location, and access. Form Principles Active uses such as retail shops and restaurants are located at the ground level to generate pedestrian engagement. Housing above non residential uses provides opportunities for residents to walk, bike, or take transit to shopping, services, and employment. Mixed use housing is compatible in scale and type with the surrounding neighborhoods. Schools, parks, neighborhood facilities, open space, and other public spaces serve the needs of the neighborhood residents. Site layout and building orientation are formed with an emphasis on character and safety of the pedestrian and public realm, with buildings oriented to the street, parking placed behind, clear pedestrian connections, generous sidewalk widths, shade, low level lighting, and comfortable outdoor gathering places. Materials, architectural detailing, façade articulation, varied building heights, scale, graphics, landscaping, and other elements contribute to the neighborhood s unique identity that distinguishes it from other neighborhoods in Lee County. Energy efficient construction techniques, materials, designs, and other sustainable development strategies. Page 2

3 Neighborhood Centers Small Table Discussions Topic Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Commonalities Height Intensity/Massing 2 stories Tree tops No single family Multi-family with commercial Live-work buildings 3-4 stories 2 stories 0.7 FAR (Floor Area Ratio) 6-10 du/a (Dwelling Units Per Acre) 4-5 stories feet 10 du/a FAR Under 4 stories Under 10 du/a Under 0.7 FAR Proportion of Use Civic - Commercial - Residential Streetscape Features Sidewalks Passways with pavers Courtyard areas Ample greenspace Lot parking behind buildings No internally lit signs Shared-use paths Raised curbs along walkway Sidewalks Parks & kid activities Family-oriented uses Playgrounds On -street parking Residential garages Wide sidewalks Handicap accessible Handicap friendly Public spaces / park areas Street furniture Seating throughout Sidewalks Public spaces and parks Ample green space Lot parking behind buildings Lighting Low intensity Downward facing Directed lighting - public area No light loss from street Solar/LED Consistent w/ neighborhood Solar Well lit throughout Ample Directed Directed Solar/LED Consistent w/ neighborhood Landscaping Native street trees Planters Cluster Planting Native plants No sod groundcover South Florida friendly Minimal Canopy trees Open Space Varied Pedestrian friendly Varied Florida Friendly Transition Between Uses Passways between buildings Green neighborhood buffers Landscaped walls Soft use transitions Berms Parks, civic space, & water Parks, green & recreation space Diminish in intensities Seamless Parks, green & civic space Page 3

4 Community Centers: Small Table Discussion Community Centers should serve the needs of a group of neighborhoods or an entire section of the Lehigh Acres community. Each center is a destination that may include a grocery store or other anchor and compact residential, office, services, and mixed use development. They are typically between 20 and 50 acres in size. Community Centers are most appropriately located at the intersections of arterials and of collectors where they may be served by existing and planned future transit. While the mix of uses in most Community Nodes today is fairly limited to retail and office uses, in the future the community envisions that they should evolve to a more varied mix of uses as they redevelop over time. Form Principles Site plans address the possibility of transitioning to higher intensity, more integrated development where an integrated mix of uses is not currently achievable. Housing above non residential uses provides opportunities for residents to walk or take transit to shopping, services, recreation, and employment. Increased transit opportunities promote a more compact and wider range of mixed use housing choices. Schools, parks, community facilities, open space, and other public spaces serve the needs of the community residents. Community facilities may include mini parks and plazas, libraries, etc., in compact configurations that reinforce the form of the activity center. Site layout and building orientation are formed with an emphasis on character and safety of the pedestrian and public realm, with buildings oriented to the street; parking is on street or placed behind, clear pedestrian connections, generous sidewalk widths, shade, low level lighting, and comfortable outdoor gathering places. Walkable blocks of complete streets with frequent and clear pedestrian connections to transit corridors and stops, surrounding neighborhoods, parks, trails, and open space provide the framework for the development. Materials, architectural detailing, façade articulation, varied building heights, scale, graphics, landscaping, and other elements to contribute to the activity center s unique identity that distinguishes it from other centers in Lee County. Energy efficient construction techniques, materials, designs, and other strategies are consistent with sustainability Page 4

5 Community Centers / Centers Small Table Discussions Topic Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Commonalities Height 4-5 stories 3-4 stories 5 stories 6-7 stories feet Under 5 stories Intensity/Massing No single family/duplexes Multi-family apartments Rowhomes 1.0 FAR Minimum of 10 du/a 1.0 FAR 1.0 FAR Proportion of Use Civic - Commercial - Residential Streetscape Features Greater pedestrian access Walkways Alleys Shared use paths Plazas Raised curbs along walkway No parking lots On -street parking Animated signs Walkways between buildings Canopies on buildings Outdoor dining Benches Mobile vendors Parking behind/ over buildings Wide sidewalks Handicap accessible Handicap friendly Public spaces / park areas Street furniture Seating throughout High level pedestrian access Walkways Alleys Plazas No parking lots Lighting Intensity more than elsewhere Downward facing Higher up on buildings Directed lighting - public area No light loss from street Solar/LED Consistent w/ neighborhood Well lit throughout Solar lights Building lights Seating area lights Ample Directed Well lit throughout Decorative Solar lights Public area lighting Landscaping "City of Oaks" Native street trees Planters Cluster Planting Native plants No sod groundcover South Florida friendly Native plants Street trees Appropriate size for space Varied Pedestrian friendly Florida friendly Cluster planting Transition Between Uses Green neighborhood buffers Landscaped walls Soft use transitions Parks, civic space, & water Access ways to connect areas Sidewalks/Bike paths Transit hub Landscaping between areas Diminish in intensities Transportation options Page 5

6 Downtown Node: Small Table Discussion Downtown Node should serve the entire Lehigh Acres community as it provides the community a central core and economic center. The Downtown Node is unique in its scale, development intensity, and mix of uses, typically including large scale employment and retail uses, and compact residential development. They are typically between 50 and 150 acres in size. While Lehigh Acre s existing downtown area focuses almost exclusively on retail uses, in the future the area can be transformed in to a more vibrant place with a broader mix of uses. Lehigh Acre s Downtown is located in close proximity to an intersection of two of the community s most used roadways, but should be developed to minimize the impacts of traffic both internally and on proximate residential neighborhoods. Form Principles Building heights are tapered toward established residential neighborhoods. Housing located above non residential uses provides opportunities for residents to walk or take transit to shopping, services, and employment. Increased transit opportunities promote a more compact and wider range of mixed use housing choices. Schools, parks, community facilities, open space, and other public spaces serve the needs of community residents. Community facilities may include mini parks and plazas, libraries, etc., in compact configurations that reinforce the form of the activity center and create gathering places. Site layout and building orientation emphasize the character and safety of the pedestrian and public realm, with buildings oriented to the street, rear or on street parking, clear pedestrian connections, wide sidewalks, shade, urban lighting, and comfortable outdoor gathering places. Development is based on walkable blocks of complete streets with frequent and clear pedestrian connections to transit corridors and stops, surrounding neighborhoods, parks, trails, and open space. A variety of features establish a unique identity and pedestrian oriented character. Materials, architectural detailing, façade articulation, varied building heights, scale, graphics, landscaping, and other built environment form elements contribute to the activity center s unique identity that distinguishes it from other centers in Lee County. Energy efficient construction techniques, materials, designs, and other strategies are consistent with sustainability policies. Page 6

7 Downtown Nodes / Centers Small Table Discussions Topic Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Commonalities Height 4-5 stories 5-6 stories Intensity/Massing No single family / duplexes Minimal residential Live-work buildings 4-8 stories Highest in center Up to 12 stories 120' maximum Under 8 stories 3.0 FAR du/a 1.0 FAR Higher Intensities Proportion of Use Civic - Commercial - Residential No stand alone commercial Streetscape Features Pedestrian mall Sidewalks Passways with pavers Courtyard areas Ample greenspace Lot parking behind buildings Animated signs Shared-use paths Raised curbs along walkway Walkways between buildings Canopies on buildings Outdoor dining Benches Mobile vendors Landscape Islands Parking behind/ over building Wide sidewalks Handicap accessible Handicap friendly Small public space Courtyards Street furniture Seating throughout Wide sidewalks Handicap friendly Public spaces Street furniture Seating throughout Structure Parking Lined buildings Lighting Intensity more than elsewhere Downward facing Higher up on buildings Directed lighting - public area Well lit No light loss from street Solar/LED Consistent w/ neighborhood Decorative bases Solar Intesity based on use Outdoor areas well lit Ample Directed More intense than elsewhere Well lit throughout Decorative Solar lights Public area lighting Landscaping Transition Between Uses "City of Oaks" Flowers Less intense than elsewhere Planters Change in landscape Change in streetscape Parks and civic space Less foliage than other areas Native plants No sod groundcover South Florida friendly Parks, civic space, & water Minimal Street landscaping Landscape islands Native Sidewalks/Bikepaths Transit hub Roundabouts Landscaping between areas Varied Distinct to area Pedestrian friendly Less than other areas Diminish in intensities Florida friendly Cluster planting Transportation options Page 7

8 Next Steps The information from the Workshops will be used to guide the drafting of the Lehigh Acres Compact Communities Code. Based on the Lee County Compact Communities Code the Lehigh code will establish a set of form based development standards and regulations. Lee County Community Development staff will develop a conceptual regulating plan and generalized standards for the neighborhood centers, community nodes, and downtown area. The development of the conceptual regulating plan will involve the following work efforts: 1. Mixed Use Centers and Nodes Conceptual Regulatory Plan. The conceptual regulatory plan will achieve the preferred project strategy and community design pattern through the Chapter 32, Compact Communities Code standards that identifies the intended variety and location of transect zones and a preferred street/ block structure. Conceptual Regulatory Plan 2. Generalize Design and Development Standards. The regulations will include general parameters for design and development including: intensity, height, streetscape, landscaping, lighting, and transitions. Future Workshops Future workshops will review proposed concept regulations and discuss how the detailed regulatory plan required by Lee County LDC Chapter 32, Compact Communities Code ought to be developed and implemented through the site development process. The detailed regulatory plan identifies the final assignment of transect zones and the exact street/block structure, including specific street types and lot types. The next workshop schedule to discuss these issues is November 20, 2010 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the East County Regional Library. Detailed Regulatory Plan Lehigh Acres Community Planning Information More information about the Lehigh Acres community planning effort, including Chapter 32, Compact Communities Code, is available at the Lehigh Acres Community Planning section of the Community Development website: Page 8

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