Sunday, March 15, 2009

Street Variance - Performance Criteria

For the Planning Commission review of a variance application for street sections, the intent is to make a determination if the proposed street section is a “good” or acceptable street design. That determination will be based on specific performance criteria. 

Applicants would not be permitted to eliminate required elements without demonstrating how they are providing an equal or better level of design as a substitute. The review criteria may be similar to the following discussion examples:

1) Provision for alternative modes on both sides of the street. A development that abuts an open space with a trail on one side of the street may be able to provide the trail in place of the required sidewalk. 

Similarly, an applicant may wish to provide a bike path instead of a sidewalk on the side of street where no houses front. Both of the above are examples of “good” design because the applicant is substituting for required elements, not eliminating them altogether, and still providing non-vehicular transportation and pedestrian access facilities.

2) Landscape element provided or wider sidewalk in lieu. There are many ways landscaping can be provided along streets, either in traditional planters, in center landscape islands, or in LID bio-retention facilities. 

Eliminating the landscaping element without providing something in lieu would not be acceptable, as there is no element to replace the characteristics and purpose of the landscaping.

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