A. Purpose and Intent. Commercial and employment developments should have a positive impact upon the streetscape. For example, buildings made of unadorned concrete block or painted with bright primary colors used to attract attention can create an undesirable effect upon the streetscape.
Landscaping and site design for commercial and employment zones is somewhat different from that required for residential zones. The requirement for outdoor spaces is much less. The primary function is to improve the project’s appearance, enhance the City’s streetscape, lessen the visual and climatic impact of parking areas, and to screen adjacent residential uses from the adverse impacts which commercial uses may cause.
One area in which Ashland’s commercial differs from that seen in many other cities is the relationship between the street, buildings, parking areas, and landscaping. The most common form of modern commercial development is the placement of a small buffer of landscaping between the street and the parking area, with the building behind the parking area at the rear of the parcel with loading areas behind the building. This may be desirable for the commercial use because it gives the appearance of ample parking for customers. However, the effect on the streetscape is less than desirable because the result is a vast hot, open, parking area which is not only unsightly but results in a development form which the City discourages.
The alternative desired in Ashland is to design the site so that it makes a positive contribution to the streetscape and enhances pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The following development standards apply to commercial, industrial, non-residential and mixed-use development. The application of the standards depends on what area of the City the property is located. Generally speaking, areas that are visible from highly traveled arterial streets and that are in the Historic District are held to a higher development standard than projects that are in manufacturing and industrial area.
B. Basic Site Review Standards. Except as otherwise required by an overlay zone or plan district, the following requirements apply to commercial, industrial, non-residential and mixed-use development pursuant to section 18.5.2.020. See conceptual site plan of basic site review development in Figure 18.4.2.040.B.
1. Orientation and Scale.
a. Buildings shall have their primary orientation toward the street and not a parking area. Automobile circulation or off-street parking is not allowed between the building and the street. Parking areas shall be located behind buildings, or to one side. See Figure 18.4.2.040.B.1.
b. A building façade or multiple building facades shall occupy a large majority of a project’s street frontage a illustrated in Figure 18.4.2.040.B, and avoid site design that incorporates extensive gaps between building frontages created through a combination of driveway aprons, parking areas, or vehicle aisles. This can be addressed by, but not limited to, positioning the wider side of the building rather than the narrow side of the building toward the street. In the case of a corner lot, this standard applies to both street frontages. Spaces between buildings shall consist of landscaping and hard durable surface materials to highlight pedestrian areas.
c. Building entrances shall be oriented toward the street and shall be accessed from a public sidewalk. The entrance shall be designed to be clearly visible, functional, and shall be open to the public during all business hours. See Figure 18.4.2.040.B.1.
d. Building entrances shall be located within 20 feet of the public right of way to which they are required to be oriented. Exceptions may be granted for topographic constraints, lot configuration, designs where a greater setback results in an improved access or for sites with multiple buildings, such as shopping centers, where other buildings meet this standard.
e. Where a building is located on a corner lot, its entrance shall be oriented toward the higher order street or to the lot corner at the intersection of the streets. The building shall be located as close to the intersection corner as practicable.
f. Public sidewalks shall be provided adjacent to a public street along the street frontage.
g. The standards in a-d, above, may be waived if the building is not accessed by pedestrians, such as warehouses and industrial buildings without attached offices, and automotive service stations.
2. Streetscape. One street tree chosen from the street tree list shall be placed for each 30 feet of frontage for that portion of the development fronting the street pursuant to subsection 18.4.4.030.E.
a. Landscape areas at least ten feet in width shall buffer buildings adjacent to streets, except the buffer is not required in the Detail Site Review, Historic District, and Pedestrian Place overlays.
b. Landscaping and recycle/refuse disposal areas shall be provided pursuant to chapter 18.4.4.
4. Designated Creek Protection. Where a project is proposed adjacent to a designated creek protection area, the project shall incorporate the creek into the design while maintaining required setbacks and buffering, and complying water quality protection standards. The developer shall plant native riparian plants in and adjacent to the creek protection zone.
6. Expansion of Existing Sites and Buildings. For sites that do not conform to the standards of section 18.4.2.040 (i.e., nonconforming developments), an equal percentage of the site must be made to comply with the standards of this section as the percentage of building expansion. For example, if a building area is expanded by 25 percent, then 25 percent of the site must be brought up to the standards required by this document.
C. Detailed Site Review Standards. Development that is within the Detail Site Review overlay shall, in addition to the complying with the standards for Basic Site Review in 18.4.2.040.B, above, conform to the following standards. See conceptual site plan of detail site review development in Figure 18.4.2.040.C.1 and maps of the Detail Site Review overlay in Figures 18.4.2.040.C.2-5.
1. Orientation and Scale.
a. Developments shall have a minimum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.50. Where a site is one-half an acre or greater in size, the FAR requirement may be met through a phased development plan or a shadow plan that demonstrates how development may be intensified over time to meet the minimum FAR. See shadow plan example in Figure 18.4.2.040.C.1.a. Plazas and pedestrian areas shall count as floor area for the purposes of meeting the minimum FAR.
b. Building frontages greater than 100 feet in length shall have offsets, jogs, or have other distinctive changes in the building façade.
c. Any wall that is within 30 feet of the street, plaza, or other public open space shall contain at least 20 percent of the wall area facing the street in display areas, windows, or doorways. Windows must allow view into working areas, lobbies, pedestrian entrances, or displays areas. Blank walls within 30 feet of the street are prohibited. Up to 40 percent of the length of the building perimeter can be exempted for this standard if oriented toward loading or service areas.
d. Buildings shall incorporate lighting and changes in mass, surface or finish to give emphasis to entrances.
e. Infill or buildings, adjacent to public sidewalks, in existing parking lots is encouraged and desirable.
f. Buildings shall incorporate arcades, roofs, alcoves, porticoes, and awnings that protect pedestrians from the rain and sun.
a. Hardscape (paving material) shall be utilized to designate “people” areas. Sample materials could be unit masonry, scored and colored concrete, grasscrete, or combinations of the above.
b. A building shall be setback not more than five feet from a public sidewalk unless the area is used for pedestrian activities such as plazas or outside eating areas, or for a required public utility easement. This standard shall apply to both street frontages on corner lots. If more than one structure is proposed for a site, at least 65 percent of the aggregate building frontage shall be within five feet of the sidewalk.
3. Buffering and Screening.
a. Landscape buffers and screening shall be located between incompatible uses on an adjacent lot. Those buffers can consist or either plant material or building materials and must be compatible with proposed buildings.
b. Parking lots shall be buffered from the main street, cross streets, and screened from residentially zoned land.
4. Building Materials.
a. Buildings shall include changes in relief such as cornices, bases, fenestration, and fluted masonry, for at least 15 percent of the exterior wall area.
b. Bright or neon paint colors used extensively to attract attention to the building or use are prohibited. Buildings may not incorporate glass as a majority of the building skin.
D. Additional Standards for Large Scale Projects. In the Detail Site Review overlay, developments that are greater than 10,000 square feet in gross floor area or contain more than 100 feet of building frontage shall, in addition to complying with the standards for Basic (18.4.2.040.B) and Detail (18.4.2.040.C) Site Review, above, conform to the following standards. See conceptual elevation of large scale development in Figure 18.4.2.040.D.1 and conceptual site plan of large scale development in Figure 18.4.2.040.D.2.
1. Orientation and Scale.
a. Developments shall divide large building masses into heights and sizes that relate to human scale by incorporating changes in building masses or direction, sheltering roofs, a distinct pattern of divisions on surfaces, windows, trees, and small scale lighting.
b. Outside of the Downtown Design Standards overlay, new buildings or expansions of existing buildings in the Detail Site Review overlay shall conform to the following standards.
i. Buildings sharing a common wall or having walls touching at or above grade shall be considered as one building.
ii. Buildings shall not exceed a building footprint area of 45,000 square feet as measured outside of the exterior walls and including all interior courtyards. For the purpose of this section an interior courtyard means a space bounded on three or more sides by walls but not a roof.
iii. Buildings shall not exceed a gross floor area of 45,000 square feet, including all interior floor space, roof top parking, and outdoor retail and storage areas, with the following exception.
Automobile parking areas located within the building footprint and in the basement shall not count toward the total gross floor area. For the purpose of this section, basement means any floor level below the first story in a building. First story shall have the same meaning as provided in the building code.
iv. Buildings shall not exceed a combined contiguous building length of 300 feet.
c. Inside the Downtown Design Standards overlay, new buildings or expansions of existing buildings shall not exceed a building footprint area of 45,000 square feet or a gross floor area of 45,000 square feet, including roof top parking, with the following exception.
Automobile parking areas locate within the building footprint and in the basement shall not count toward the total gross floor area. For the purpose of this section, basement means any floor level below the first story in a building. First story shall have the same meaning as provided in the building code.
2. Public Spaces.
a. One square foot of plaza or public space shall be required for every ten square feet of gross floor area, except for the fourth gross floor area.
b. A plaza or public spaces shall incorporate at least four of the following elements.
i. Sitting Space – at least one sitting space for each 500 square feet shall be included in the plaza. Seating shall be a minimum of 16 inches in height and 30 inches in width. Ledge benches shall have a minimum depth of 30 inches.
ii. A mixture of areas that provide both sunlight and shade.
iii. Protection from wind by screens and buildings.
iv. Trees – provided in proportion to the space at a minimum of one tree per 500 square feet, at least two inches in diameter at breast height.
v. Water features or public art.
vi. Outdoor eating areas or food vendors.
3. Transit Amenities. Transit amenities, bus shelters, pullouts, and designated bike lanes shall be required in accordance with the Ashland Transportation Plan and guidelines established by the Rogue Valley Transportation District.