Plaza Space Ordinance Amendments The City of Ashland is in the process of holding public hearings to evaluate the standards for private outdoor plaza space for new development of buildings greater than 10,000 square foot in area within the downtown area. Currently, the City’s zoning code requires new buildings of a size of 10,000 square feet or larger to provide 10% the area of the building in outdoor plaza space.
For example, a 10,000 square foot building would be required 1,000 square feet (10%) of plaza space. A good example of this standard being applied to a recent development is the outdoor space adjacent to Pony Espresso Café along Lithia Way. This multi-story building was built in 2014 and is approximately 16,000 square feet in size. The development of this site included over 1600 square feet of outdoor plaza space in front of and to the west side of the building. This seating area is under private ownership and available for use by patrons, employees and to some degree the general public at the discretion of the property owner.
The Historic Commission, Planning Commission, and City Council will hold public hearings on a proposed ordinance amendment that would remove the requirement for outdoor plaza space for developments subject to the large scale building design standards in the downtown area.Draft Ordinance
The proposed amendments to the plaza space requirements for large scale developments (buildings over 10,000 square feet) would apply in the downtown area only. This would include both the C-1-D (downtown) zoning designation and properties within the Downtown Design Standards Overlay.
If approved, will the proposed ordinance allow for buildings to be taller in the downtown than is currently allowed?
No, the proposed amendment does not change the allowable building height maximum which currently allows buildings to be 40' in height, or up to 55 feet in height with approval of a conditional use permit.
If approved, will the proposed ordinance affect the central downtown Plaza or other public open spaces?
No, the proposed amendment only relates to outdoor areas on private property. Public-owned and maintained open space, including the downtown central Plaza, would not be affected by the ordinance if approved.
If approved, will the proposed ordinance allow buildings to be bigger in the downtown?
Yes, new or redeveloped large scale buildings (greater than 10,000sq.ft.) would essentially have the potential for up to 10% more internal floor area, equal to the area that would otherwise have been dedicated as private outdoor plaza space. However, the maximum size of a building allowed (45,000sq.ft) would not change and still sets a upper limit on building size.
If approved, will the proposed ordinance allow new buildings in the downtown to be built right up to the sidewalks edge?
The proposed amendment does not change existing setback requirements. Buildings in commercial zones, including the downtown, currently can be built up to their property lines with zero setback requirements. Additionally within the downtown the zero setback is currently required to ensure buildings are not setback from the sidewalk and are thus reflective of the historic pattern of development (18.4.2.060.C.2).
March 17, 2020: City Council Public Hearing ( First Reading)