Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Transit Orientation Development T. O. D. Zoning in Lancaster Ca.

Over the past decade, the City of Lancaster has been updating its General Plan and Zoning Code along with other planning documents that include the Lancaster Design Guidelines, the Master Plan of Trails and Bikeways, the Downtown Specific Plan, and vision plans for selected areas – with the goal of making Lancaster a more sustainable, livable, walkable, bikeable and valuable community. A key strategy and central focus of this work has been to restore, intensify, and reanimate the City’s historic downtown and surrounding neighborhoods and corridors, an effort that has already yielded remarkable positive results in the form of the transformed Lancaster Boulevard (The BLVD) and a rebounding Downtown economy. The 2030 General Plan defines a set of Transit Village Planning Areas surrounding the Downtown core, and directs that new zoning standards be prepared for these areas to implement more walkable, mixed-use, transit-oriented development patterns. The City applied for and received a funding grant from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) – part of a larger Sustainable Communities grant that Metro received from the Strategic Growth Council – to prepare these T.O.D. Zones for the Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest Transit Planning Areas. These T.O.D. Zones provide a means of implementing the community’s vision and expanding the revitalization that is already under way by providing unique and focused development standards that enable and promote high quality, walkable, mixed-use and transit oriented neighborhoods surrounding The BLVD core and the Metrolink Station. They define development standards and use standards for the design of buildings and related site improvements in the areas. This zoning is vision-based and describes community expectations for the urban character and form of these neighborhoods. These place-specific zones encompass the subjects of land use and development intensity, but also include significant amounts of information about the design of the neighborhood streetscapes, the scale and form of new buildings, and the intended physical character of each area. They provide clear direction for how pedestrian-oriented streets and other public open spaces are made, and how private buildings are located and designed to physically shape and overlook those streetscapes and public spaces, fostering a strong sense of community security while encouraging pedestrian activity. Such are the foundation of transit-oriented places and neighborhood environments that build and hold their value over time. The T.O.D. Zones are based on general objectives, which are central to making safe, valuable, walkable transit-oriented urban places: This transit zone is between Ave I and Ave J running north to south along Division and diagonally along Sierra Hwy. It also encompasses some area west of Sierra Hwy and south of Lancaster Blvd (I-8). Within in this T.O.D zone there will be subzones such as SA Station Area, CC Corridor Commercial, EC Employment Commercial, and WD Workshop District. This is all part of the 2030 General plan. This area will eventually be more bike oriented and walkable with shops and services and a connection to the Metrolink. The area is currently developed and some areas do not conform to the current future plan. For example there are homes east of Sierra Hwy and South of Lancaster Blvd. They will not be destroyed, but they must at least conform to the prior zoning and codes. It is unlikely anyone can change their current zone to anything else but what would in the future conform to the T.O. D. So if you have a duplex then you will not be able to change the house to something else unless it is change to a new T.O. D zone.

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