Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting

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Meeting Date: 01/06/2022  
Submitted By: Brian Salvesen, Development Services

Agenda Item
PUBLIC HEARING/Shops at Lakefront Planned Development (PD-21-01366). Public hearing, discussion, and take action on a recommendation regarding a request to rezone approximately 4.56 acres of land, currently zoned as Light Commercial (LC), generally located at 2009 and 2011 Oak Grove Parkway, on the north side of Oak Grove Parkway, within Little Elm’s town limits, in order to establish a new Planned Development district based on Light Commercial (LC) district requirements with modified development standards, to allow a new commercial development. 
  • Staff Report
  • Open Public Hearing
  • Receive Public Comment
  • Close Public Hearing
  • Discussion and Recommendation
Generally located at 2009 and 2011 Oak Grove Parkway, on the north side of Oak Grove Parkway, within Little Elm’s town limits.
Planning Analysis
Subject property consists of an undeveloped parcel and a parcel containing a vacant residential structure, both currently zoned Light Commercial (LC). Due to the limitations of this site, in order to make it work financially, the property owner would need relief from various requirements of the zoning ordinance, and is therefore requesting to rezone the property to a new Planned Development district based on the Light Commercial (LC) district regulations with modified standards.

Recently, the Town has undergone a West Side Study that specifically identified the vision for the subject property as retail/commercial, in the form of neighborhood retail with restaurant or professional offices, not to exceed two stories in height. This is the first application for commercial development in this area post the study's findings, to be evaluated by the Administration for suitability within the West Side Study context.

The proposed project consists of five commercial buildings totaling 32,420 square feet, with an additional approximately 900 square feet of outdoor patio space for the two proposed restaurant tenants. The buildings are projected to be occupied by retail, restaurant, and medical office uses, as well as a restaurant drive-thru.
The property owner is proposing to meet all of the requirements outlined within the Light Commercial (LC) zoning district, with the following deviations:  
  • Rear yard landscape setback and tree planting
  • Shared dumpster across property lines
  • Dead end fire lanes on the east and west property line
  • Shared parking for the overall development
The following sections outline how the proposed development is deviating from the current standards. 

Uses. Retail, medical office, and restaurant uses are allowed within the Light Commercial (LC) zoning district.

Design Standards. The proposed elevations show the buildings to be constructed primarily of brick and stone, and minor metal and stucco accents. The proposed building design meets horizontal and vertical building articulation requirements, utilizes muted earth tones, and provides for a clear tripartite design. The current elevations were revised per the Commission's guidance in order to provide a more interesting architectural design, with an added tower element which resembles a lighthouse, closely tying into the Town's lakeside character. 
Landscaping. Since the last submittal, the property owner has revised the site plan to be able to provide as much tree planting as possible throughout the site, while still balancing between the provision of the appropriate number of parking spaces versus additional landscape islands. The property owner is also proposing a water feature and art installation meant to tie the theme of the proposed development with the surrounding community. Proposed landscape plans comply with most of the requirements listed in Section 106.06.18 with the exception of the following.

Proposed landscape plans do not provide a 20-foot rear landscape buffer with double row of trees planted within the required rear landscape edge along the residential adjacency, instead providing primarily 5 feet with a single row of trees. The land behind this property is a new single family subdivision, the Enclave at Oak Grove. A board on board screening fence, on top of a masonry retaining wall was constructed as part of the new subdivision, and due to the grade change totals approximately 10 feet in height from grade on subject property. Given the significant grade change and the limited depth of this property, the applicant is requesting relief from the required 20-foot rear landscape buffer with a double row of trees along the back of the property. 

Parking. Light Commercial district requires that retail and medical office uses be parked at one space per 200 square feet and restaurant uses at one space per 100 square feet (patios under 500 square feet are exempt from parking requirements). The proposed development consists of 5,070 square feet of restaurant space, requiring 51 parking spaces, and 25,835 square feet of medical office space and retail space, requiring 130 parking spaces; a total requirement of 181 parking spaces. The site plan shows a total of 191 parking spaces to be provided. The plans also show the provision fo the required 10 spaces for future electric vehicle charging station infrastructure. 

Additionally, the intent is to subdivide the property into five individual lots, with each lot containing a building and not being able to accommodate the appropriate number of parking spaces within that lot.  Given the mix of proposed uses and varying hours operation, the property owner is requesting shared parking across property lines.

Fire. The proposed plans show a dead end fire lane on the east and west side of the site in order to be able to tie into the future fire lane of future adjacent development. This is a standard requirement in the Town and the fire department has approved the proposed fire lane layout.

Dumpster. The property owner is proposing to subdivide the property into five separate parcels for the individual buildings. By doing so, the parcel containing Building #3, drive-thru coffee shop, is unable to accommodate an onsite double dumpster as required for each commercial property.  Instead, the property owner is requesting the allowance for Building #3 and Building #4 to share a double dumpster enclosure across property lines with the understanding that an agreement will be drawn up and signed in order to ensure cooperation and compliance between the two building owners.

Comprehensive Plan. The future land use of this area is identified as retail and commercial. This area is also part of the recently completed West Side Study which identified neighborhood retail/commercial type of uses as the vision of the frontages along this corridor. The proposed commercial development, to be occupied with future retail, medical office and restaurant tenants, aligns with the Town's vision for this area.
Recommended Action
The proposed development falls within the vision for future land use in this area and the property owner has worked with Staff in order to ensure the best site layout and building design. Since their original submittal, the property owner has significantly reduced the number of deviations from the Town’s development standards, narrowing the request down to just the following waivers:
  • Rear yard landscape setback and tree planting
  • Shared dumpster across property lines
  • Dead end fire lanes on the east and west property line
  • Shared parking for the overall development
Given the property's depth limitations and the applicants efforts to meet as many of the Towns requirements as feasible, Staff supports the request for approval as presented. The Planned Development process allows certain properties to customize certain development standards in order to accommodate a unique high quality development that would otherwise not be able to fit into the envelope of a typical zoning district. Staff believes' the property owner has provided an enhanced site and landscape design, with high quality, unique building aesthetic, and a development that would overall serve as the catalyst for exceptional redevelopment of this area. 
Staff recommends that the Planning and Zoning Commission review this request based on the impact and suitability of the proposed development within the context of the existing area, and the importance of the development standards from which the property is requesting to vary, as well as how the proposed development benefits the Town overall.
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