Friday, May 22, 2009

Draft Code: PRD Open Space

The other main area of discussion during last month's Planning Commission meeting was the development of standards for the design of open space within Planned Residential Developments (PRD).

The main interest was to address the difficulty inherent in reviewing open space plans for PRDs caused by the structure of the Code and limited direction it provided to assess proposed open space designs.

Resulting from that discussion, the following draft Code has been written to provide parameters for creating more accessible, usable, and visible open spaces within neighborhoods. The new regulations will define things such as minimum sizes and dimensions; provision of necessary connectivity for pedestrians; required amenities; and, integration of stormwater facilities. The Planning Commission will be reviewing this language as part of its regularly scheduled meeting next week.
_________________________________________– Design – Active Open space.
Common open space shall be provided for use as recreational, park or environmental amenity for the collective enjoyment by occupants of the PRD project, and designed as follows:
(1) Common open space shall comprise at least 10 percent of the gross area of the PRD;
(2) Common open space shall not include public or private streets, driveways, buffers, screens, perimeter landscaping, parking areas or the required or provided yards for buildings or structures;
(3) A minimum of 50 percent of all required open space in a PRD shall be “active” open space. Active open space provides opportunities for physical activity to residents of the PRD. Active open space must meet the following requirements:
(a) Be a minimum of 5,000 square feet in size to be counted toward the minimum 10 percent open space requirement. The space must also have a minimum width of 50 feet and depth of 90 feet.
(b) Have a minimum of 40 feet of frontage on a public street.
(4) Shall contain such accessory or complementary structures and improvements as are necessary and appropriate for the benefit and enjoyment of residents of the project, and shall include at a minimum:
(a) Pedestrian-oriented lighting
(b) Seating
(c) Signage indicating what the operational hours and rules for the use of the open space
(d) Trash can(s)
(e) An activity center such as children’s play structure, tennis courts, basketball courts, walking / bicycling paths or a trail-head kiosk at the entrance of a trail system. There are other types of activity centers other than those listed here which can be proposed by applicants. Any proposed activity centers within active open spaces shall provide exercise opportunities for residents of the PRD.
(5) Active open spaces must be visible and accessible to users, not hidden behind residential lots.
(6) Active open spaces must have pedestrian connections to both sides of a residential block on which it is located.
(7) All open spaces shall be privately-owned and maintained by the homeowners association.
(8) If a public open space or park is designated on the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan within the boundaries of a proposed PRD, it must be provided and can be credited toward the required 10 percent open space.
(9) Trails and adjacent open spaces can count toward the minimum required 10 percent open space requirement in PRDs, provided that the trails meet the requirements of OHMC section 19.XX.XXX.
(10) 50% of stormwater ponds may count as open space within the PRD. However, no more than 25 percent of the required 10 percent open space in a PRD may be stormwater pond. Ponds which are counted toward open space requirements must meet a high level of design and be an amenity to residents and must have all of the following characteristics:
Be landscaped. At least 75 percent of the pond basin (sides and bottom) shall be landscaped.
(a)Be a “wet-pond” not a “dry-pond.” Wet ponds provide both detention and treatment functions and contain some water during most parts of the year.
(b) Be surrounded by a trail or be located adjacent to another active open space, Locating children’s play structures next to ponds is prohibited.
(c) The pond must be curvilinear in shape, not rectangular.
(d) Only 30 percent of the pond may contain berming.
(e) Materials: no ecoblock shall be used in the construction of the pond. Baffles shall be made of aesthetically pleasing material.
(f) The slope of the pond shall be 3:1 or flatter and landscaped per requirement (a) above.
(g) The pond access shall be made of geogrid or other aesthetically pleasing materials. Gravel and asphalt shall not be used.
(h) No fencing shall be provided around the pond.

19.31.XXX Design – Passive Open Space. Passive open space is “non-active” open space which preserves natural areas and provides scenic amenities to a PRD. Passive open space shall meet the following minimum requirements:
(1) Passive open space may be no more than 50 percent of the total required open space in PRDs.
(2) Preserved natural areas, such as wetlands, streams, and woodlands may count as passive open space.
(3) Passive open space may include open fields and landscaped areas which are held in common by the homeowners association.
(4) All passive open spaces which count toward the minimum 10 percent open space in a PRD must be at least 5,000 square feet in area, with minimum dimensions of 50 feet wide by 90 feet deep.
(5) All passive landscape areas shall be accessible and visible to the residents of the PRD.

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