Design Guideline Update for Olde Town Arvada

CITY COUNCIL ADOPTS UPDATED DESIGN GUIDELINES AND ZONING

Project Overview:

The City of Arvada has updated the Design Guidelines and zoning for Olde Town Arvada. In 1998 the Arvada Downtown Historic District was established and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Subsequently, in 2004, the Design Guidelines for Olde Town were adopted and a process overseeing development in the district and surrounding conservation area were developed.

Anticipation of the arrival of commuter rail and the location of a transit station in the heart of Olde Town resulted in the adoption of the Arvada Transit Framework Plan in 2007. Plan implementation strategies included the exploration of amendments to the Design Guidelines for Olde Town Arvada. These amendments would be supportive of development that is both sensitive to maintaining the character of the Downtown Arvada Historic District and the character of a transit oriented development. In addition, several years of work with the Design Guidelines have identified the need to update and reorganize the adopted document.

Scope of Study Area:

The project area includes all of the lands within the Arvada Downtown Historic District, the Olde Town Conservation Area, and the portion of the Olde Town Station Area Plan designated as "Mixed-Use Olde Town."

The Planning Approach:
An essential component of the study involved the community’s assistance in framing a future vision for the Olde Town area. The City conducted community workshops to solicit input from the business community, residents and neighbors. The workshops focused on analyzing the physical opportunities and constraints, building height policies, preservation policies, a proposed draft of the updated guidelines, potential rezoning of the area and defining the “Grand View” from Olde Town. Following all of the input received from the community, a final draft of the design guidelines has been prepared.  In order to implement these guidelines, amendments to the City’s Land Development Code have also been prepared.  These amendments are centered around the creation of the Olde Town Zoning District.  The new zoning district will replace the existing zoning which is primarily B-3 (Central Business).  This zoning district is to be comprised of seven sub-districts which are designed to reflect the underlying character of the unique pockets of the Olde Town area.  For example, the residential pockets on the east side of Yukon Street and in the Grant Place block have a very different character from the Olde Town commercial core along Wadsworth Boulevard and Grandview Avenue.  The new zoning recognizes and celebrates these differences. Properties within the Olde Town area will be rezoned into one of the seven sub-districts as reflected below. (Click on image for larger version)

Proposed Zoning District

Generally, the uses you have today will still be allowed.  The Olde Town area as a whole is proposed to remain a mixed use area, while the code will refine the location of permitted uses to reflect the appropriate character of each sub-district.  Development standards in the proposed code will be form based and will focus primarily on a structure’s physical form in order achieve the urban form desired for the Olde Town area. Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, and the form and the mass of buildings in relation to one another.  

 On December 18, 2012 the Arvada Planning Commission held a public hearing regarding the proposed guidelines, code amendments and property rezonings.  In response to concerns raised by property owners, staff recommended that  the OT-RR Subdistrict boundary be modified to exclude the residentially zoned properties and that the allowed uses in the OT-RN Subdistrict be revised to include “eating & drinking establishments” excluding “fast food restaurants with drive-thru” .  Planning Commission made a recommendation of adoption to City Council.  Staff is recommending an additional change which would increase the overall allowable building width along the Park, allow a 5 story accent (encroachment) within the 10-25’ setback along the Park and Ralston Road, and increase the width of building frontage allowed within the 5-10’ setback along the Park.  A typo regarding the number of feet that results in a two story structure has been corrected as well as removing the footnote disallowing the vertical accent along the Park.  These changes are reflected on pages 23-24 of the proposed amendments to Article 6 of the Land Development Code.  On February 4, 2013, City Council unanimously adopted the updated Design Guidelines, the Land Development Code Amendments and the rezoning of the Olde Town properties.

 Project Contact:

The Olde Town Design Guidelines Project is being administered by the Planning Division of the Community Development Department. For more information about the project, please contact:

Cheryl Drake
Senior Planner
cheryl@arvada.org
720-898-7435