Friday, June 22, 2007

In the Zone

A commenter asked: "Growler, can you please put this to rest? Is the zoning in the Braddock Road area set or not?"

Good question.

In the early 1990s, much of the land around Metro was rezoned as CRMU-M or CRMU-H (commercial residential mixed use medium or high). These designations permit maximum floor area ratio of 2.0 and 2.5 respectively, with a special use permit. No change is being envisioned for these properties ... for now.

The single most important zoning change proposed in the new Plan is to upzone three spots: the Jaguar Properties' seven-acre parcel in the Northern Gateway, the Andrew Adkins site (which the City calls "Metro East"), and the Metro parking lot.

The City is proposing to rezone these as CDD or Coordinated Development Districts. And here's how the density and height could change:

Northern Gateway
Existing zoning: 1.5 to 2.5 FAR and heights of 77-90'
With CDD rezoning : maximum 2.5 FAR and heights of 50-150'

Metro Parking Lot
Existing zoning: 0.5 FAR and heights of 50'
With CDD rezoning: maximum 2.0 FAR and heights of 77'

Metro East (Adkins)
Existing zoning: 0.75 FAR and heights of 45'
With CDD rezoning: maximum 2.0 FAR and heights of 50-77'

Now approval of the Braddock Road small area plan doesn't make the zoning changes effective. It simply recommends these changes. Presumably once the plan is ratified, zoning attorneys will go ahead and file papers to make these changes happen.

And what does a CDD give the City? According to the draft plan:

The maximum height and density increases outlined in the Plan for these sites are based on the requirement that affordable housing will be built on site as part of the development. The specifics for these requirements are discussed in further detail in the Affordable Housing and Development Chapters. (Draft Braddock Road Metro Small Area Plan, p. 5-6)

So affordable housing appears to be driving the train.