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  Item # E.       
Meeting Date: 05/05/2021  
Requested by: Bayer Vella
Submitted By: Hannah Oden, Community and Economic Development
Case Number: 2002073

SUBJECT:
Approval of a proposed two-building expansion to the existing Oro Vista apartments located southeast of the La Canada Drive and Lambert Lane intersection adjacent to Noble Hops:

Item A: Revised Master Development Plan, proposed Conceptual Site Plan, and proposed Conceptual Landscape Plan

Item B: Proposed Conceptual Architecture
RECOMMENDATION:
Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of Item A (Attachments 1 and 2) and conditional approval of Item B (Attachment 3). The architectural elevations depicted in Item 3 were updated to incorporate conditions.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
The applicant is proposing a two-building apartment expansion on a vacant 0.88-acre parcel located within the Oro Vista Shopping Center at the southeast corner of the Lambert Lane and La Cañada Drive intersection as shown on the map to the right. The subject parcel is outlined in yellow.

The applicant is requesting approval of the following:

1) Item A: Revised Master Development Plan, conceptual site plan, and conceptual landscape plan for a proposed two-building apartment expansion consisting of two buildings (Attachments 1 and 2)
2) Item B: Conceptual architecture for the proposed expansion (Attachment

The property is located within the El Conquistador Country Club Planned Area Development (PAD) which established apartments as a permitted use in 1983. In 2003, a Master Development Plan was approved for the entire center and a restaurant was anticipated for this site. The proposed change from a single restaurant building to two apartment buildings is a substantial enough one to the site design that a revised and code compliant Master Development Plan and Conceptual Site Plan are required and subject to Town Council approval (Attachment 2).

The applications (Items A and B) have been reviewed for conformance with the Oro Valley Zoning Code, El Conquistador Country Club PAD, and the approved Master Development Plan which included multiple conditions associated with a 2003 grading waiver for the site (Attachment 4). The application conforms with all zoning and grading exception requirements, and the Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of Item A and conditional approval of Item B. 

 Each item is on the consent agenda because they entail application of a "ministerial action,"unlike a rezoning.  This term is applied to decisions that must be rendered entirely predicated on code compliance without individual preference or opinion. Furthermore, approval of ministerial decisions is legally required upon satisfaction of Town requirements.  This proposal meets all aspects of the zoning code including the use (apartments), building heights, number of parking spaces, setbacks, landscaping, and other code requirements. 

 
BACKGROUND OR DETAILED INFORMATION:
Per Section 22.9.D of the zoning code, the changes to the 2003 site design approval require consideration by the Planning & Zoning Commission and Town Council.

A. EXISTING CONDITIONS AND CONTEXT

Land Use Context:
The subject property is identified as Neighborhood Commercial/Office in the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan and is zoned Planned Area Development/El Conquistador - "Area D". The zoning permits apartments as well as commercial, office, and retail uses. 

Site Conditions:
  • Area of subject parcel: 0.88 acres
  • The vacant lot is currently used for overflow parking by Noble Hops but was not designated/paved as a parking lot
  • A berm with landscaping is provided along Lambert Lane as required by the 2003 grading exception
  • Surrounding development includes areas shown in the image below (subject parcel is outlined in yellow):


























Proposed Improvements
  • Expansion of the existing apartment development by two buildings and 16-units
  • One proposed single-story, 20-foot high building closest to Lambert Lane approximately 1,600 square feet in size
  • One proposed three-story, 38-foot high building at the southern property boundary approximately 26,000 square feet in size
  • A 25-foot building setback along the eastern property boundary and a 97-foot setback from the northern property boundary
  • A 25-foot landscaped buffer yard along Lambert Lane 
  • 36 parking spaces including two accessible spaces
  • One access point from the existing access drive
  • A pedestrian connection from the site to the multi-use path along Lambert Ln. 
  • Relocation of the public art on the site to the buffer yard along Lambert Lane with a pedestrian connection from the multi-use path to the art feature
  • Proposed apartments will utilize existing recreational amenities provided at the adjacent complex
Related Approvals
  • 1983: El Conquistador Country Club PAD established 
    • Subject parcel zoned as "Area D" which permitted apartment uses and allowed building heights up to 38-feet and three stories
  • March 2003: Grading exception approved to remove remnant hill from the site following construction of Lambert Lane and included conditions related to site development.  A complete list of conditions is included in Attachment 4 with staff responses. Key conditions applicable to this new site design are listed below.
    • The building setback on the subject parcel must be at least 90 feet from the northern property boundary. 97 feet has been provided.
    • Buildings "fronting" Lambert Lane must be limited to single-story and 24 feet. A 20-foot tall building is proposed accordingly. The zoning code definition of "Yard, Front" was utilized to implement this requirement.
    • Stair-step building heights to preserve views. Buildings step from 20 to 38 feet.
    • A 60-inch high landscaped berm must be provided where feasible along Lambert Ln. with understory plantings and 36-inch box trees. This has been represented.
  • August 2003: Master Development Plan approved for the entire shopping center, including the existing Oro Vista Apartments 
B. DISCUSSION/ANALYSIS

A zoning compliance analysis of the Conceptual Site Plan and Landscape Plan is provided in Attachment 5. A summary is provided below.

Item A: Revised Master Development Plan, Conceptual Site Plan and Conceptual Landscape Plan

Revised Master Development Plan

The change to two apartment buildings from the single restaurant building is a substantial enough change to the site design that a revised Master Development Plan (MDP) for the area is required concurrently with a building pad specific conceptual site plan review and is provided in Attachment 1. The revised MDP includes the conceptual site plan with updated parking calculations and total number of apartment units for the Oro Vista Center.

Conceptual Site Plan

The Conceptual Site Plan (Attachment 2) is for a 16-unit, two-building expansion of the existing Oro Vista Apartments on approximately 0.88-acres. The design of the development is consistent with the overall Oro Vista Center Master Development Plan, grading exception, and zoning requirements. 

Conceptual Site Plans are reviewed for their conformance to the Design Guidelines and applicable Design Standards in the Zoning Code. An analysis of each is provided in Attachment 5. Notable elements of review include:

Compatibility 

Apartments are a permitted use on the subject parcel and the site design meets the requirements of the Zoning Code and El Conquistador Country Club PAD. Working with staff to minimize view impacts, the applicant has arranged the buildings so that the tallest building (Building 1, 38-feet) is located at the southern edge of the parcel. The single story building, Building 2, is 20-feet tall and creates a stair-step effect to preserve mountain views from the Noble Hops patio and Lambert Lane. Building 2 is the building closest to Lambert Lane and is set back approximately 97-feet from the northern property boundary.

In order to maximize parking space numbers for tenants and minimize view impacts to Noble Hops customers, the buildings were positioned close together. A covered breezeway is established between the two as indicated in the architectural elevations. Building 2, the single-story building, is functionally and structurally separate from Building 1, the three-story building. Each must meet building and fire code requirements as distinct structuresThe design and placement of the proposed buildings is compatible with the larger Oro Vista Center. 

The 2003 grading exception included a number of conditions to help reduce the line of site from Lambert Lane and the Autumn Hill subdivision after the removal of a remnant hill. A complete list of conditions with a staff response is provided in Attachment 4 detailing how each condition has been addressed. Notably, the conditions included the following in italics with staff commentary provided below: 
  • "The restaurant PAD shall be set back from Lambert Lane in accordance with the proposed development (minimum of 90-feet from the property boundary)."
    • Building 2 (the one-story building) is setback approximately 97 feet from the northern property boundary and Building 1 (the three-story building) is setback approximately 145 feet.
  • "All fronting buildings along Lambert Lane and La Canada Drive shall be limited to single story and a maximum height of 24 feet to the top of the parapet." 
    • Building 2 is the "fronting" building along Lambert Lane in compliance with the Chapter 31 Zoning Code definition of "Yard, Front". It is 20 feet high.
  • "Stair step building heights and the use of stem walls for retaining shall be utilized to reduce the visual impact of the buildings and protect existing view corridors."
    • The site design utilizes a stair-step approach by providing a single-story building next to a three-story building. This aids in mitigating visual impacts from Noble Hops and the Autumn Hill Subdivision. Stem walls are also provided for building construction.
  • "Along the Lambert Lane frontage 36-inch box canopy tress and appropriate understory vegetation shall be planted in a manner to create a dense screen. The Lambert Lane frontage is defined as extending from the eastern property corner to the eastern edge of the Osco Drive."
    • The landscape plan calls for 36-inch box trees to supplement existing vegetation along Lambert Lane. Supplemental understory vegetation has been provided to satisfy the buffer yard requirement.
  • "Where ever feasible, a 60-inch high berm shall be constructed along the Lambert Lane frontage with a width to be determined to support the height."
    • The new public art location and proposed pedestrian connection to the multi-use path requires some disturbance to the berm, the extent of which will be determined during the final design stage. Aside from these improvements, the berm will remain undisturbed to the greatest extent possible to provide screening and a buffer between Lambert Ln. and the proposed development. 
Traffic and Parking

The proposed apartment use will generate less traffic compared to the restaurant currently identified in the Master Development Plan. The applicant has provided the required 36 parking spaces for apartment residents and guests. Code compliant parking has been provided for both the apartment expansion and the entire commercial portion of the center. 

The site is currently used for overflow parking for Noble Hops during peak business hours but has not been specifically paved for such. The applicant, who owns the Noble Hops building, has expressed interest in a valet service for the restaurant during peak times and reports that they will work further with their tenant.

It is worth noting that peak parking demand varies depending on the time of day, and demand is off-set. During the evening hours, the busiest time for Noble Hops, more parking is available within the complex as many businesses in the center are closed during that time. Conversely, earlier in the day when Noble Hops is less busy, more parking is available for these businesses while they are open during regular daytime hours.

Connectivity

Multi-modal connections are provided from the site to the multi-use path along Lambert Lane, the existing apartments for access to recreational amenities, and to the commercial areas of the larger center.

Open Space

The El Conquistador Country Club PAD requires 300 feet of useable open space per residential unit. The applicant has met this requirement through a combination of private patio and balcony spaces for each dwelling unit, an outdoor seating and cooking area on-site, the relocated public art, and the recreation area at the adjacent apartments. 

Conceptual Landscape Plan

The Conceptual Landscape Plan (Attachment 1) meets all Town Zoning Code and El Conquistador Country Club PAD requirements as detailed below:
  • Low water use, native plants are utilized as required by the Zoning Code
  • Existing mature vegetation along the northern required buffer yard will be maintained to meet the screening requirement. During the final design stage, vegetation may need to be transplanted or adjusted within the northern buffer yard to accommodate the pedestrian connection to the multi-use path along Lambert Ln. 
  • Vegetative screening has been provided next to the refuse enclosure to provide additional screening from the Noble Hops patio
  • Perimeter landscaping is provided along all sides of the site, with landscaping provided on the west side of the building that faces Noble Hops
  • Where vegetation is being removed east of the proposed parking lot, appropriate native plant salvage and mitigation will be required during the final site plan stage
  • The landscaping meets the Grading Exception requirements as detailed earlier in this report
Conceptual Architecture

The applicant's conceptual architecture submittal can be found in Attachment 3. Below are noteworthy design principles in italics followed by staff commentary.

Design: building architectural design shall be appropriate for the climate and characteristics of the Sonoran Desert, including indigenous and traditional textures, colors, and shapes found in and around Oro Valley. All development shall maintain and strengthen the high quality of design exemplified in Oro Valley through project creativity and design excellence. (Section 22.9.D.5.b.i)

The proposed architecture uses similar colors and materials found at the existing apartments and commercial buildings within the shopping center. The roof design, stone, and exterior colors are similar to the adjacent commercial building along Lambert Ln., and the design of the proposed apartments creates a consistent street scape. Similar colors and exterior stone are also found at the adjacent apartments, but the overall design is intended to create a compatible street scape with the adjacent commercial development.

Scale, Height and Mass: building scale, height and mass shall be consistent with the Town-approved intensity of the site, designated scenic corridors, and valued mountain views. Buildings shall be designed to respect the scale of adjoining areas and should mitigate the negative and functional impacts that arise from scale, bulk and mass. (Section 22.9.D.5.b.ii)

The building height is within the approved allowance per the El Conquistador Country Club PAD and is consistent with the existing apartments on the site. The design of the buildings is such that the single story building is setback over 90-feet from the northern property boundary and the three-story building is setback approximately 140 feet. By locating the tallest buildings towards the back of the site, view impacts from both Lambert Lane and the Noble Hops patio are minimized. 

The mass of Building 1, the three-story building, is mitigated for by varying the roofline and providing pop-outs and varying wall planes on the facades. By placing the single-story building in front, this creates a "stair-step" effect which adds dimension to the site design and helps break up the building mass.

Facade Articulation: all building facades shall be fully articulated, including variation in building massing, roof planes, wall planes, and surface articulation. Architectural elements including, but not limited to, overhangs, trellises, projections, awnings, insets, material, and texture shall be used to create visual interest that contributes to a building’s character. (Section 22.9.D.5.b.iii)

The applicant has provided "four-sided architecture" by varying the roof lines and fully articulating the building facades through the use of stone, covered walkways between the two buildings and outdoor living areas, a generous amount of windows on the south elevation, window awnings, and varied wall planes.

The Planning and Zoning Commission included a condition of approval that the orange color ("caramel apple") be changed to stone veneer on the north elevation facing Lambert Ln. with the objective of upgrading the appearance of the facade.

The applicant included additional stone on the north elevation, including the pop-out on Building 2 that faces Noble Hops. However, one "caramel apple" pop-out on Building 1 was changed to the "agate green" color and areas within the covered walkways were also changed to "agate green". Overall, the changes meet the intent of the condition and create further continuity along Lambert Lane. The revised architecture plans are included in Attachment 3 and a comparison is included in the image below.


















C. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Two neighborhood meetings were held for this proposal. The first meeting was in-person and held on February 26, 2020. There was significant public participation during this meeting, and key concerns included the following:
  • Concerns over parking availability for Noble Hops patrons
  • Concerns over mountain view impacts from the Noble Hops patio
  • Potential increase in traffic
Based on these concerns and meetings with the owner's of Noble Hops, the applicant revised the site plan significantly. Changes include the following:
  • The number of apartment units were reduced from 19 to 16.
  • The building configuration was changed so that the three-story building was placed at the back of the site to preserve mountain views. Please note, this was required to satisfy the grading exception condition.
  • The site design now meets the 90-foot setback requirement along Lambert Lane. Please note, this was required to satisfy the grading exception condition.
  • Shared parking opportunities exist for Noble Hops, including available parking at the shops along La Cañada Drive. Adequate parking is provided both for the proposed parking expansion and the entire Oro Vista Center.
  • The two new buildings were positioned closely together to minimize Noble Hops patio view and parking impacts.
A second neighborhood meeting was held via a fully interactive online Zoom meeting on February 10, 2021. No concerns were raised at this meeting by residents, and only a couple of clarification questions were asked of the applicant. Based on the applicant's revised site design and the results of the second meeting, the initial concerns raised by residents have been adequately addressed by the applicant.

Neighborhood meeting summaries can be found in Attachment 6. Furthermore, two letters received at the time of the first neighborhood meeting are included in Attachment 7.

Summary of Public Notice

Public notice has been provided:
  • Homeowners Association mailing
  • Post at Town Hall and on website
  • Postcard to all property owners within 600 feet
D. PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION

The Planning and Zoning Commission considered the applicant's proposals on April 6, 2021 at a public meeting. The Planning and Zoning Commission staff report can be found in Attachment 8 and the draft meeting minutes can be found in Attachment 9.

The primary focus of the discussion was the architectural facade on the north elevation facing Lambert Ln. and a condition of approval requiring more stone veneer to upgrade the appearance. This is described in greater detail earlier in this report. 

There was one speaker from the public at the meeting who asked if any of the proposed parking for the apartment expansion would be for Noble Hops. Clarification was provided that all parking spaces would be used by apartment residents and guests. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of Item A and conditional approval of Item B. For Item B, the conceptual architecture, a condition was added that on the north elevation, the orange color ("caramel apple") be replaced with stone veneer. A detailed explanation of how this condition was met is provided earlier in this report, and revised architecture plans are included in Attachment 3.

E. SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION

Per the El Conquistador Country Club PAD, apartments are a permitted use on the subject parcel and a code compliant site design must ultimately be approved by the Town. The Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the proposed site design, landscape plan, and architecture for compliance with the Zoning Code and PAD. Planning and Zoning Commission recommends approval of Item A and conditional approval of Item B.
FISCAL IMPACT:
N/A
SUGGESTED MOTION:
The Town Council may consider the following suggested motions:

ITEM A:

I MOVE to approve the revised master development plan, conceptual site plan and conceptual landscape plan for the proposed Oro Vista Apartment expansion, located southeast of the La Cañada Drive and Lambert Lane intersection, based on the finding that the proposal complies with the Zoning Code. 

ITEM B:

I MOVE to approve the conceptual architecture for the proposed Oro Vista Apartment expansion, located southeast of the La Cañada Drive and Lambert Lane intersection, based on the finding that the proposal complies with the Zoning Code. 


 
Attachments
Attachment 1: Revised Master Development Plan
Attachment 2: Conceptual Site Plan and Conceptual Landscape Plan
Attachment 3: Conceptual Architecture
Attachment 4: 2003 Grading Exception Conditions and Analysis
Attachment 5: Design Principles and Standards Analysis
Attachment 6: Neighborhood Meeting Summaries
Attachment 7: Letters of Concern
Attachment 8: Planning and Zoning Commission Staff Report, 4.6.2021
Attachment 9: Draft Planning and Zoning Commission meeting minutes, 4.6.2021


    

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