Proposed ARB Guidelines Changes Information and FAQ
Read the proposed guidelines here or pick up a hard copy at City Hall
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the ARB suggesting guideline changes?
The Architectural Review Board has been operating under its current guidelines since 2014. In that time, the ARB has seen the guidelines succeed in balancing the community's interests with those of developers, but also be significantly challenged, especially in the past few years. To address the issues being raised by the community, the ARB requested permission from the Board of Aldermen to draft an update to the guidelines. A committee was formed comprised of ARB members and two aldermen, with their work beginning in 2020 and concluding in early 2023. The ARB believes the proposed guidelines better balance the needs of the community and those of developers and addresses several longstanding complaints, including large homes on small lots, storm water concerns, and houses that maximize size at the expense of materiality.
Why are the proposed guidelines so much longer than the current guidelines?
The proposed guidelines are intended to comprehensively address all aspects of the development planning process and provides several significant photographs and sketches to help developers better understand, interpret, and comply with the proposed guidelines. Additionally, several sections of the proposed guidelines are defined much more thoroughly than the current guidelines, including sections dealing with storm water mitigation, materials used in construction, and more.
What are the major differences between the current guidelines and the proposed update?
Some major changes in the proposed guidelines include the following:
Floor Area Ratio (FAR) changes:
Lots 7,999 sqf and smaller will have a FAR of .25/25%. These lots are eligible for up to 5% in additional FAR for meeting certain incentives defined in the guidelines. This is a decrease from the current FAR of .35/35% for these lots.
Lots 8,000-10,000 sqf will have a FAR of .30/30%. This is a slight decrease from the previous maximum of .35/35%.
Lots 10,000-20,000 sqf will have a FAR of .30/30%. This is the same as in the current guidelines.
Lots 20,000+ sqf will have a FAR of .30/30%. This is a slight increase from the previous maximum of .25/25%.
Storm Water Mitigation Changes:
The proposed changes include significant rules for storm water mitigation designed to lessen the impact of major additions and new home construction on neighboring properties and other downstream properties.
Major Additions: Major additions will be required to mitigate the impact of storm water by capturing and delaying the release of the storm water differential generated by construction of the addition.
New Home Construction: New homes will be required to capture and delay release of all storm water coming off of any area under roof on a site, including detached garages. This will significantly mitigate the impact of storm water on neighboring properties resulting from the increase in impervious surface on a lot after a new home is constructed.
Current guidelines contain no rules concerning greenspace requirements and maximum impervious surface limits. The proposed guidelines address this by requiring no more than 55% of a lot be covered by impervious surface and that no less than 40% of a lot be greenspace (50% in the front yard area).
The proposed guidelines contain limitations on siding materials used in construction and major additions, including restricting the use of vinyl siding, asphalt shingles (as a siding material), metal siding, glazed aluminum curtain wall, untreated, and flat veneer plywood.
If you have any additional questions about the proposed rules, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
FAR Modification/Bridge to new ARB Guidelines
While the Board of Aldermen continue to consider a comprehensive update to the Architectural Review Board guidelines, it is considering a modification to the existing guidelines by adopting a 0.30 FAR for all lot sizes. This would decrease the maximum FAR for lots under 10,000 sqf from 0.35 to 0.30 and increase the maximum FAR for lots over 20,000 sqf from 0.25 to 0.30. This modified FAR would take effect on January 1, 2024. These modifications will be considered for first reading at the August 7 BOA meeting.
Proposed Ordinance & FAR Guideline Modification