To: Chair and Members of Planning Board
From: Bob Galvin, AICP – Village Planner
CC: Walter Sevastian, Village Attorney; Don Yacopino, Building Inspector,
Re: Downtown Infill Residential Density
In recent months, the Planning Board has reviewed several proposed residential projects in the DMU zone. Generally, these proposals are in conformity with the goal of the Village’s updated Comprehensive Plan (2007) to encourage residential development in the downtown area. The Plan seeks to promote residential uses in the downtown as a way of adding to the street life, which in turn can increase safety and provide greater buying power for retail stores and restaurants. Moreover, many projects reflect the changing nature of uses from warehousing to residential along streets in the downtown area (i.e. Burd Street and western Main Street).
Many of the proposals have been received positively by the ARB and Planning Board. However, they have also required variance requests for some form of density relief. These requests primarily concern smaller, infill projects in the downtown. The density requirement for the DMU Zone is 30 dwelling units per acre with a maximum FAR of 2.0.The density requirement and the FAR maximum do not work well together and, in fact, appear to be in conflict.
The FAR of 2.0 is typically for downtown commercial districts in many of the Villages in the region. However, most communities do not use a density requirement to control building size and number of units. Many rely only on FAR limited by parking requirements and minimum size of dwelling units. When there are a number of similar variance requests, it is felt by many planners and code officials that there well may be an underlying problem in the zoning code. (Please see attached Memo on History of Density Variance Requests in the DMU Zone dated May, 2013.) While the Planning Board and other land use boards may react positively to such projects, it is very difficult to recommend a ZBA approval if the density increase being sought is significant.
Given this background, I reviewed the properties in the DMU zone from tax maps to determine approximate size. Approximately 75% to 80% of properties are at or below 15,000 square feet. The majority are in the 2,500 square foot range. If the Village may not be comfortable in either modifying or eliminating the current density per acre requirement in the DMU district, I would propose an Infill Residential approach that would attempt to address the issue of density variances for smaller properties in the DMU.
Proposal for Infill Residential Development in the DMU Zone
- Infill Lot Sizes are defined as 15,000 square feet or less
- Proposed Density: 3 residential units per 2,500 square feet of lot area
- Current Density of 30 units/acre would remain in place for those lots larger than 15,000 square feet
I have provided examples of the proposed density change for lots of varying sizes in the DMU.
Lot Size/Location Existing Density Infill Density Total (Infill w/Affordable Bonus)
2,500 sf 2 3 3
5,000 sf 4 6 6
7,500 sf 5 9 9
10,000 sf 7 12 13
12,500 sf 9 15 17
15,000 sf 10 18 20
150 Burd Street
(8,366 sf) 6 10 11
34,850 sf 24 N/A 26
35,720 sf 25 N/A 28