18.42.010 Purpose.

18.42.020 Village Center development.

18.42.030 Objectives.

18.42.040 Standards and requirements for development.

18.42.050 Application procedure.

18.42.060 District design criteria.

18.42.070 Reservation of authority to require age restriction.

18.42.080 Severability.

18.42.010 Purpose. The purpose of the planned unit development-Village Center zoning district is provide an area for village-oriented economic development according to design criteria particular to the district. The district is intended to provide for a diversity of compatible land uses and development densities in a scale and character similar to that of traditional New England town centers. The entire district shall be planned as an integrated, coordinated development project, the components of which shall include residential uses at different densities, neighborhood businesses, professional offices, retail uses, governmental uses, and recreational facilities. The district is intended to facilitate joint or common use of parking, common use and maintenance of open space and recreational facilities, conservation of land and provision of open space through the clustering of buildings and activities, and lower infrastructure costs through increased use densities. A master plan must be approved by the planning board before any development takes place.

(Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part))

18.42.020 Village Center development. The district is intended to provide for a mix of residential, commercial and other uses surrounding a Village Green located generally in the western portion of the district. Residential uses in descending order of density and/or intensity of use are intended to be located further away from the Village Green, with multi-household uses closer to the Village Green, and single-household uses located further away from the Village Green. The intent of this section is to limit the number of street access points from the district to Route 138, and minimize visual impact from the district through the location of vegetative buffer zones, recreational uses, and other non-structural features. The planning board may permit residential units to be located above the businesses in the business center area of the district.

(Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part); Ord. dated 6-5-12)

18.42.030 Objectives. The objectives of the planned unit development-Village Center district are to:

A. Encourage the development of a mix of residential, commercial, and public uses that retains a sense of the rural landscape of the town and provides an environment consisting of a gathering place for town residents and visitors along with useable open space, greenways, and recreational facilities;

B. Provide a concentrated area of land use that promotes sustainable development patterns in a traditional village center scale and context;

C. Maximize opportunities for flexibility in the design and development of residential areas that would not be possible through conventional application of ordinance requirements; and

D. Encourage and promote variety in the development of land, especially with regard to housing choices in the town;

E. Allow for efficient provision and effective use of physical improvements and municipal services relative to land use development;

F. Limit and control access of new development on town and state roads so that traffic safety and circulation are not affected adversely;

G. Provide an open space plan for the district that incorporates pathways, walkways and bike trails throughout the development that links to a larger open space greenway plan for the community and the county;

H. Assure the clustering of uses and parking areas on the most appropriate developable land within the district;

I. Assure that the design of new structures, parking areas, and landscaping is compatible with the natural topography and features of the site and the existing character of the town; and

J. Provide for an efficient procedure to insure appropriate, high quality design and site planning. (Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part))

18.42.040 Standards and requirements for development.

A. Site design details, including but not limited to landscaping and open space networking, shall be approved by the planning board. Public improvements shall be constructed in conformance with the requirements of the land development and subdivision regulations and any other applicable municipal ordinance.

B. Fifteen percent (15%) of the residential development permitted in the district shall be deed-restricted low or moderate income units. The units shall comply with sections 18.18.030, 18.18.050 A., and 18.18.50 C. of this title. No residential dwelling unit in the district shall have more than two (2) bedrooms.

C. A minimum of forty percent of the business or commercial area in the district shall be devoted to open space or recreational uses. Streets, parking areas, required yards, or utility easements shall not occupy the required open space and recreational area.

D. The total density and building bulk of development in the district shall not exceed the density and bulk regulations set forth in this section. However, the planning board may waive or modify lot dimensions, building setbacks and lot areas if it finds that such waiver or modification would result in a more functional and desirable use of the property.

E. The planning board shall approve the shape, site, location and use of open space. An open space, conservation, and pathway or walkway plan shall be a component of the master plan. Conservation or preservation easements for open space shall be conveyed to the town of Richmond pursuant to Title 34, Chapter 39 of the Rhode Island General Laws.

F. Approval and development of the district shall take place in phases established by the planning board. The planning board shall establish the physical limitations and time limitations applicable to each phase at the time of master plan approval.

(Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part); Ord. dated 6-5-12)

18.42.050 Application procedure.

A. A master plan for the entire district must be approved by the planning board prior to the subdivision and development of any portion of the district.

B. Approval of a master plan shall be according to the procedure provided for approval of major subdivisions and land development projects under Article 5 of the Richmond land development and subdivision regulations. The planning board may require information in addition to that required by the land development and subdivision regulations, provided that the reason for requiring such information is accompanied by findings of fact and reduced to writing. At the master plan application stage, the applicant shall submit to the planning board evidence that the proposed design is consistent with the intent and requirements of this section, and how it relates to surrounding land uses.

C. At the preapplication stage of review, the applicant shall submit the following information in addition to that required by the pre-application checklist for major land developments or major subdivisions:

1. Location map showing the proposed project within the context of a one-quarter mile area, with existing streets and community facilities, approved projects and existing land uses;

2. Proposed land uses, population densities and building intensities;

3. Proposed circulation pattern, indicating all public and private streets;

4. Proposed parks, recreational facilities and open spaces;

5. A land use marketability study of proposed commercial uses;

6. Identification of the developments construction phasing; and

7. Relation to future land uses in the surrounding area and comprehensive plan;

8. Anticipated impact of the proposed development on the existing environment and municipal services.

D. The approved Preliminary Plan shall show general locations of all proposed buildings. The procedure for development plan review shall be governed by Sec. 18.54.090. During development plan review, the planning board shall review final architectural renderings of building exteriors and other final design elements, including landscaping, for compliance with the provisions of this title. The planning board may require a traffic impact analysis, an environmental assessment, or an environmental impact statement, in accordance with Section 3.5 of the land development and subdivision regulations.

(Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part); Ord. dated 2-16-10; Ord dated 6-5-12)

18.42.060 District design criteria.

A. Architectural Standards.

1. The architectural design of buildings, structures, and site lay out will be visually compatible with a historic New England village in scale and character, including building materials, massing, density, window arrangement, and roof lines.

2. A diversity of roof heights, gable orientations and volumes in new buildings shall be considered. Buildings shall be designed with traditional roof forms that are compatible with the character of the town, including but not limited to gambrel, gable and hipped roofs commonly found in the town and other small New England towns.

3. Architectural elements such as dormers shall be in proportion to the overall building and surrounding buildings. Exaggerated or excessively large architectural elements shall be avoided. Traditional and contemporary architectural detailing that creates variety, interest and texture on new buildings and additions and that is compatible with the character of the town is encouraged.

4. Traditional building materials such as shingles, wood clapboards, brick and stone shall be used for the exterior of new construction and additions. For buildings visible from existing town streets, the architectural design and exterior materials used shall be compatible with a traditional New England village character. Under no circumstances shall corrugated metal buildings be allowed.

5. Residential structures shall be clustered in village-like groupings to provide a distinctive neighborhood character. Buildings shall be oriented to the street, with front yards and entryways that provide convenient access to sidewalks and paths.

6. Large-scale development shall take the form of village-like groupings of small-scale buildings, rather than large individual structures or box-like buildings set back on a large expanse of paved parking.

7. Service areas and mechanical equipment shall be placed to the rear or side of buildings in visually unobtrusive locations. Service areas shall be screened through landscaping or structural elements at a minimum of five feet in height, to prevent direct views from adjacent properties or from public or private streets used by the general public.

Mechanical equipment shall be screened through walled units or integrated into architectural features of the buildings.

B. Open Space.

1. Design and layout of the district shall incorporate elements such as “town greens” and public spaces adjacent to Route 138. Such public spaces serve as a buffer between the Village Center and Route 138, and highlight the building design when viewed from outside the zone.

2. Additional public greens and common areas shall be located in residential areas to provide useable open space and park-like settings in a neighborhood context.

3. To promote pedestrian connections and activity, a walkway or trail/path system shall be incorporated between the Village Center and residential areas. The path system shall be an active and enjoyable outdoor space that provides linkages throughout the district. The path system shall be designed to provide a safe connection for pedestrians and bicyclists, and also serve as a unifying element between the different development areas in the district.

4. Design of the pathway system shall also give consideration to creating linkages to adjacent neighborhoods, and to town and statewide trails, bikeways and pedestrian facilities. This pathway system shall be delineated in the open space greenway plan for the development.

5. An open space buffer of at least seventy-five (75) feet is required in the planned unit development-Village Center district where it abuts the Flex Tech district. The buffer shown in the approved preliminary plan shall be maintained if land in the Flex Tech zoning district is re-zoned to another district.

6. Tree and shrub planting is open space and recreation areas shall be selected as suitable for their use in the interest of creating an aesthetically pleasing environment, and shown on a landscaping plan by a licensed landscape architect. The plantings selected shall be from those suggested in the publication entitled "Sustainable Trees and Shrubs for Southern New England" by the faculty of the University of Rhode Island and Massachusetts Cooperative Extension dated 9/19/93, as may from time to time be revised, or other recognized treatises.

C. Utilities.

1. On-site utilities shall be located underground unless the planning board waives or modifies this requirement pursuant to Article 8 of the land development and subdivision regulations.

2. Utility and drainage areas shall be landscaped and incorporated into the natural features of the land and open space network.

D. Circulation Standards.

1. Building orientation shall be along street frontages. Parking shall be located to the sides and rear of buildings, rather than at the front, unless the planning board determines in particular situations that such an arrangement would be impracticable.

2. Where feasible, access and parking lot entryways shall be aligned to create direct intersections, providing efficiency and safety for vehicles entering and exiting the site.

3. Roadways and internal vehicle circulation corridors shall be designed to accommodate the type and volume of vehicles that are expected to enter during the peak period.

4. Shared access driveways and parking areas shall be required for nearby uses that have different hours, days, or seasons of peak parking demand. The planning board may waive or modify parking requirements where the applicant can demonstrate that adequate parking is available on a shared basis. The planning board may require written easements or other legal assurances to enforce shared parking arrangements.

5. Design of internal parking and roadways shall be looped rather than dead-ended to allow for efficient circulation.

6. Parking areas shall be designed with internal landscaped islands and exterior landscaped buffer areas to soften the visual impacts of parking areas. A landscape plan conforming to Section 13.8.2 of the land development and subdivision regulations shall be submitted for parking areas. The planning board may waive or modify parking construction requirements where the applicant can demonstrate that use of pervious surfaces for overflow parking is feasible.

7. Parking areas and garages are not permitted in required buffer areas, open space areas or required landscape areas unless otherwise approved by the planning board. Parking areas shall be located in order to protect views from adjacent properties and abutting streets.

8. A maximum of one off-street parking space for each 208 square feet of non-residential floor area shall be required unless otherwise approved by the planning board. On-street parking is permitted and on-street parking located adjacent to the frontage of a building may be used to satisfy minimum off-street parking requirements.

9. Pedestrian and bicycle circulation networks shall be constructed to provide safe access through the district, especially between buildings and parking areas. Paving and ground surface treatments shall reinforce and define pedestrian circulation and bicycle direction and patterns. Materials may be simple, but shall have a level of patterning and detail through change in materials, color or scoring patterns.

10. Street-trees shall be provided along all pedestrian and bicycle corridors, along with the planting of ground cover. The street tree canopy shall appear tight, formal and planted in clusters at entry areas and plazas. Ground surface materials shall be natural and soft, and remain low, well below sight lines of pedestrians.

11. Pedestrian lighting shall be incorporated into the design of parking areas and along pedestrian and bicycle ways. Additional lighting may be used to reinforce architectural edges as well as highlight special elements. Nighttime illumination shall provide for safety and security of residents and visitors to the Village Center. All lighting shall be compatible in appearance with the design and architecture of the district. Where other lighting is deemed necessary, low intensity light shall be used. All lights shall be capped and directed away form adjacent properties and roadways. All exterior lights shall comply with Section 13.8.2 of the land development and subdivision regulations.

12. Parking areas shall include bicycle parking racks in locations that are safely segregated from automobile traffic.

13. The planning board may require construction of facilities or improvements outside the district if the board finds that the proposed development will affect the general health, safety or welfare of the town and off-site improvements will mitigate this impact. The board shall identify the need for such improvements based upon the information the applicant has submitted, studies done of the area, knowledge of the impacted area, reports from technical experts, and the comprehensive plan.

(Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part); Ord. dated 8-19-08; Ord. dated 2-16-10; Ord. dated 6-5-12)

18.42.070 Reservation of authority to require age restriction. Each year on October 1, the town administrator shall obtain from the Chariho regional school district the number of students enrolled in district schools or charter schools and living in the district. If twelve (12) or more such students are living in the district when one hundred eighty (180) or fewer residential units are occupied, or if the total number of such students exceeds 0.0625 per household at any time after more than one hundred eighty (180) residential units are occupied, the town council shall have the authority to require some or all of the subsequently-constructed residential buildings in the project to be designated as age-restricted housing for persons fifty-five years of age or older in a manner that complies with 42 U.S.C.A. § 3607 and 24 CFR § 100.304. The Final Plan approval for any land development project in the district with residential units shall include the provisions of this section.

(Ord. dated 6-5-12)

18.42.080 Severability. If any provision of this section or of any rule, regulation or determination made thereunder, or the application thereof of any person, agency or circumstance, is held invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of the section, rule, regulation or determination and the application of the provisions to other persons, agencies or circumstances shall not be affected thereby. The invalidity of any part or parts of this section shall not affect the validity of the remainder.

(Ord. dated 11-19-02 (part); Ord. dated 6-5-12)


R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 45-24-47; 45-53-1 et seq.

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