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									                                                                                                                                                CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY




  density



                                     4
4.1 introDuCtion
The Downtown Core Area contains a broad range of building forms within                  Figure 19: Density (4:1) Expressed through built form – Example 1
its relatively compact area. These building forms range from low-scale historic
buildings along the waterfront and in the Historic Commercial District, to
a stronger concentration of newer high-rise buildings in the Central Business
District. The City has helped to guide this variation in building forms through
design criteria and development standards, including building height, building
setbacks, parcel coverage, and building density.
                                                                                                              4 storey building with 5,000 m²
Building density, commonly referred to as Floor Space ratio (FSr), is defined as                              of floor area on each storey.
the ratio between the total amount of gross floor area of a building and the area
                                                                                                              total floor area: 20,000 m²
of the parcel upon which the building is located on.

For example, if a developer wanted to construct a new building on a 5,000
square metre (m²) parcel of land that is zoned with a maximum density of 4.0:1
FSr, the developer could propose a building that has a maximum combined
floor area of 20,000 m², because this amount of combined floor area is equivalent
to four times the size of the parcel. The developer could theoretically configure
this building in a number of different ways, so long as the combined floor area
does not exceed 4.0:1 – for example, as a four-storey building with 5,000 m²
                                                                                        5000 m² parcel with
of floor area per storey (SEE FiGurE 19: DEnSiTY (4:1) EXPrESSED THrouGH BuilT ForM –
                                                                                        a density of 4:1
EXAMPlE 1), or an eight-storey building with 2,500 m² of floor area per storey
(SEE FiGurE 20: DEnSiTY (4:1) EXPrESSED THrouGH BuilT ForM – EXAMPlE 2).




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CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY



Figure 20: Density (4:1) Expressed through built form – Example 2                    1. By making a cash contribution to the Downtown Core Area Public realm
                                                                                        improvement Fund under the Density bonus system, which the City will use to
                                                                                        add or improve public amenities, such as public parks or streetscapes.
                                                                                     2. By purchasing unused density from the owner of a Heritage resource under the
8 storey building with
                                                                                        heritage Density transfer system. This system allows the owner of a Heritage
2,500 m² of floor area
                                                                                        resource in the Downtown neighbourhood to apply to the City for a Heritage
on each storey.
                                                                                        Density Transfer. if approved, the owner may then sell the Heritage resource’s
total floor area: 20,000 m²                                                             unused density to a developer; in return, the owner must rehabilitate and
                                                                                        seismically upgrade the Heritage resource and ensure it is legally protected.

                                                                                     4.2.1 DEnsitY framEWorK obJECtiVEs
                                                                                     This density framework is intended to:
                                                                                                 the different land uses, functions, building forms and the general
                                                                                         •	 reflect
                                                                                          physical context of each District.
                                                                                                   lower-density levels for the Historic Commercial District to
                                                                                         •	 Establish
                                                               5000 m² parcel with
                                                                                          respect and preserve existing Heritage resources and encourage the re-
                                                               a density of 4:1
                                                                                          development of lower-scale buildings that fit the local context.
                                                                                         •	 Keepbuilding mass lower in scale and bulk to reduce the impact of new
4.2 DEnsitY framEWorK                                                                     development on the historic character of the old Town Area, Chinatown
                                                                                          and the waterfront.
The Downtown Core Area Plan introduces a new framework for guiding building
density levels in the Downtown Core Area. This framework is intended to foster           •	 Focushigher-density development along primary transit corridors and
new development and re-development that will accommodate the demand for                   within areas that already have a concentration of higher density buildings.
office, residential and commercial space expected over the next 30 years, while          •	 Support   the maximum building height policies specified in this Plan.
also ensuring that:                                                                      •	 Establisha new regulatory/financial incentive tool to support heritage
     •	 Density   levels support and enhance the character of each District.              rehabilitation.
     •	 increased density is offset by the addition or enhancement of public
      amenities and benefits that both meet the needs of new residents and           4.3 non DEnsitY bonus arEa
      employees, and ensure that existing residents see benefits from higher         The maximum density levels displayed in the Density Map for the non Density
      density in their neighbourhoods.                                               Bonus Area are not “as-of-right” (SEE FiGurE 21: non DEnSiTY BonuS ArEA MAP).
               resources – so important to the character and economic
     •	 Heritage
                                                                                     They do not automatically mean all development will or should reach these
      strength of Victoria – are retained and rehabilitated, in balance with new
                                                                                     levels; rather, they are potential maximum density levels that must be considered
      development.
                                                                                     in conjunction with applicable zoning regulations, development standards,
The new density framework divides the overall Downtown Core Area into                design guidelines and other relevant planning policies, including those
two areas:                                                                           contained in this Plan.
     •	 The
          non Density bonus area, where new development is restricted to             For those areas labeled as “FSr Determined through Zoning” on Figure 21:
      a pre-determined maximum density level.                                        Density Map, the Plan does not establish a maximum density level. These are
     •	 TheDensity bonus area, where new development may be able to acquire          areas that vary in physical context and contain a number of important public view
      additional density over and above a pre-determined base density level          corridors. Density levels for these areas will be determined on a site-by-site basis
      in one of two ways:                                                            through a rezoning process that considers the policies contained in this Plan.


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                                                                                                        CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY




                                         4.4 non DEnsitY bonus arEa –
                                             poliCiEs anD aCtions
                                         4.4.1      Amend the Zoning Regulation Bylaw to reflect the maximum density
                                                    levels prescribed in this Plan.
                                         4.4.2      Consider any increases in density beyond the prescribed maximum
                                                    density through a rezoning process that ensures new development
                                                    does not conflict with the policies contained in this Plan.

                                         4.5 DEnsitY bonus sYstEm
                                         A Density Bonus System (allowed under s. 904 of the local Government Act)
                                         is a voluntary system under which a municipality provides a developer the
                                         opportunity to acquire additional building floor area in exchange for providing
                                         specific public amenities. The developer benefits by being able to potentially
                                         increase the size of a development, while the municipality benefits through the
                                         developer’s contribution toward, or provision of, needed public amenities that
                                         improve local vitality and provide direct and tangible benefits to the community,
                                         and that would otherwise be difficult for the municipality to provide.
                                         The Downtown Core Area’s Density Bonus System:
                                             •	 identifies    a general Density Bonus Area (SEE FiGurE 22: DEnSiTY BonuS ArEA MAP).
                                             •	 Divides  the Density Bonus Area into three sub-areas – Areas A, B, C – each
                                                 with a different base density and maximum density that reflects:
                                                     •	 The   existing character of each area.
                                                     •	 The   availability of land with development potential within each area.
                                                     •	 Each area’s ability to accommodate increased density and growth in
                                                      different built forms
                                                          need within each area for a number for specific public amenities
                                                     •	 The
                                                      and benefits.
                                                     •	 Theneed to provide a functional balance between residential and
                                                      office development across the Downtown Core Area.
                                             •	 Establishes  two methods for acquiring additional density: by making a
                                                 contribution to the Downtown Core Area Public realm improvement Fund,
                                                 or by acquiring unused density from a Heritage resource.
                                         (please note: While the Density Bonus System is intended to garner a range of
Figure 21: non Density bonus area map.   benefits and amenities for the community, it may only be capable of providing a
                                         portion of the public amenities that are required for the Downtown Core Area as it
                                         evolves and grows over the next 30 years. Additional funding sources or delivery
                                         mechanisms will be required to realize the balance of the required amenities.)



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CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY




4.5.1 DEnsitY bonus sYstEm obJECtiVEs
The Density Bonus System aims to:
     •	 Be   fair and transparent and increase certainty for all parties.
     •	 Achievepublic amenities that cannot be achieved by other
      regulatory or financial mechanisms, such as Development
      Cost Charges, Tax levies, or Development Permit conditions.
           specific types of public amenities, not general
     •	 Seek
      categories of use.
             varying needs for public amenities in different
     •	 identify
      geographic locations throughout the Downtown Core Area.
     •	 Apply where growth pressures are strong and land availability
      is limited, or when incentives for attaining the defined public
      amenities outweigh alternative development options.
     •	 Ensurethe amount of additional floor space gained as
      the result of the Density Bonus is commensurate with the
      monetary contribution toward, or actual cost of providing, the
      Density Bonus item or amenity.
              higher density development with public benefits and
     •	 Balance
      amenities.
     •	 Encouragethe rehabilitation and permanent protection of
      more Heritage resources.

4.5.2 DEnsitY bonus arEas
area a
Area A matches the boundaries of the Central Business District (SEE SECTion 3.
DiSTriCTS). it contains the highest densities of the Downtown Core Area, due to
the concentration of high-rise commercial, residential and office developments
primarily located along Douglas Street, Blanshard Street and Yates Street.
area a Vision: To accommodate higher density developments that will help to
strengthen the role and function of the Central Business District.

area b
Area B consists of four blocks located in the north Park neighbourhood bordered
by Pandora Avenue to the south, Caledonia Avenue to the north, Blanshard
Street on the east and quadra Street on the west. This small area has several
sites of underdeveloped and vacant land with opportunities for moderate           Figure 22: Density bonus area map.
increases in density levels.




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                                                                                                                                                   CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY



area b Vision: To accommodate higher density commercial and office                     area a Density bonus schedule
development along Blanshard Street, with medium density multi-residential and
                                                                                       base Density                         maximum Density
mixed-use development in the rest of the area – consistent with the area’s current
                                                                                       (floor space ratio fsr)              (floor space ratio)
character. The specified density levels in Area B will also serve to provide a
sensitive transition to the surrounding areas.                                         3.0:1 for commercial, office or      6.0:1 for commercial, office or residential
                                                                                       residential development              development located between the east
area C                                                                                                                      side of Douglas Street and the west side of
                                                                                                                            Blanshard Street
Area C consists of approximately 12 blocks located within the residential Mixed-
use District, running from Mason Street on the north, to Meares Street on the south,                                        5.0:1 for commercial, office or residential
quadra Street on the west and Cook Street on the east. Area C is adjacent to the                                            development located between the east side
Central Business District and is situated around the Yates Street transportation                                            of Blanshard Street and the west side of
corridor, which features a number of mid-rise and high-rise multi-residential,                                              quadra Street
commercial and office developments. The area includes most of the Harris Green
neighbourhood and the two blocks located along Pandora Avenue between Cook             area b Density bonus schedule
Street and quadra Street that are part of the north Park neighbourhood, and is         base Density                         maximum Density
home to a small number of isolated but significant Heritage resources.                 (floor space ratio fsr)              (floor space ratio)
area C Vision: To further intensify the area with multi-residential development in     3.0:1 for commercial, office or      5.0:1 for commercial, office or residential
order to support population projections, in balance with higher density commercial     residential development              development located along the east side of
and office development primarily focused along Yates Street.                                                                Blanshard Street
                                                                                                                            4.5:1 for commercial, office or residential
4.5.3 DEnsitY bonus sChEDulEs                                                                                               development elsewhere
in the Density Bonus Schedules for each Area below:
    •	 baseDensity represents an “as-of-right” density level – a developer can         area C Density bonus schedule
     develop up to this level without providing a bonusable item or amenity. To
                                                                                       base Density                         maximum Density
     gain additional density over and above the base density, the developer
                                                                                       (floor space ratio)                  (floor space ratio)
     must either make a monetary contribution to the Downtown Core Area
     Public realm improvement Fund and/or acquire unused density from the              2.5:1 for commercial, office or      5.0:1 for commercial, office or residential
     owner of a Heritage resource.                                                     residential development              development along Yates Street

    •	 maximum  Density is the overall cumulative density allowed on a site,                                                4.5:1 for commercial, office or residential
     including the base level density, additional Density Bonus and Heritage                                                development elsewhere
     Density Transfer (if applicable). The maximum density cannot exceed the
     specified maximum density for the Area, unless the City approves it through
     a re-zoning process that ensures new development does not conflict with
     the policies contained in this Plan.




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CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY




4.5.4 aDDitional DEnsitY                                                                4.6 hEritagE DEnsitY transfEr sYstEm
To acquire additional density over the base density in an Area, a developer may:
                                                                                        The owner of a Heritage resource that is (1) located within the Downtown
1. Make a Contribution to the Downtown Core Area Public realm                           neighbourhood and (2) identified on the City of Victoria Heritage register may
     improvement Fund                                                                   apply to the City for a Heritage Density Transfer. if approved, the owner will be
The Downtown Core Area Public realm improvement Fund will assist in funding             allowed to sell the resource’s unused density on the private market to one or more
various improvements that tangibly and visibly improve the physical condition,          non-heritage developments (receiver Sites) located within the Density Bonus Area
appearance and function of the public realm and provide a public benefit to the         (SEE FiGurE 22: DEnSiTY BonuS ArEA MAP), provided the transfer results in both:

overall surrounding area, such as:                                                          •	 The   rehabilitation of the Heritage resource, including seismic upgrading.
      •	 re-developingand enhancing streetscape designs with city rights-of-way                  legal protection of the Heritage resource under a heritage
                                                                                            •	 The
       to improve the Pedestrian and Cycling networks.                                       designation bylaw.
      •	 Enhancing landscaping and public amenities along city rights-of-way or         The amount of unused density that the developer of a receiver Site purchases
       within public parks and open space.                                              or receives cannot result in a density level on the receiver Site that exceeds
      •	 Acquiring   and developing new public parks and open space.                    the maximum density identified in the Density Bonus Schedules. receiver Sites
      •	 Developing   and enhancing the Harbour Pathway.                                cannot be Heritage resources.
      •	 Developing   and enhancing future rapid Transit stations.
                                                                                        unusED DEnsitY
Every three years, the City will create a list of eligible public realm improvement     For the purposes of this Plan, unused density includes:
projects as funding priorities. (The three-year time period will allow the City to
                                                                                            •	 residualDensity – the difference between the maximum density allowed
build up the fund.)
                                                                                             under the Zoning Regulation Bylaw and the actual amount of density that
                                                                                             exists on a parcel in the form of building floor space (expressed as a Floor
formula
                                                                                             Space ratio), and/or
The City will calculate the value of the contribution to the Fund as part of the
                                                                                                 heritage Density bonus – the portion of density above and beyond the
                                                                                            •	 the
Development Permit Approval Process, using the following formula:
                                                                                             maximum density that the City of Victoria grants to the owner of a Heritage
                                    Proposed amount                                          resource in exchange for the rehabilitation, seismic upgrading and legal
     Average land Value                                        Contribution Value            designation of the Heritage resource.
                              X     of Density Bonus      =
         ($ per m2)                                                   ($)
                                      floor area (m2)
                                                                                        hEritagE DEnsitY bonus
This formula takes into account the average commercial, office or residential land      The physical rehabilitation of Victoria’s Heritage resources is often economically
value as established and reviewed by the City of Victoria annually. The contribution    challenging, at least in part because of the high cost of seismic upgrading and
amount is generally representative of how much a developer would need to pay            the relatively low density of many of the historic buildings – the buildings simply
for additional land within the Downtown Core Area to accommodate the additional         cannot house many tenants. Currently, the City has an incentive program for
floor area that they are seeking, over and above the base density level.                heritage restoration that includes small capital grants for façade improvements
                                                                                        and multi-year reductions in property taxes. These two incentives are not,
2. Acquire unused Density from a Heritage resource                                      however, sufficient to make all heritage restoration projects viable.
A developer may buy unused density from the owner of a Heritage resource that
                                                                                        The Heritage Density Bonus provides the owners of Heritage resources with
is located within the Downtown Core Area, provided the owner of the Heritage
                                                                                        an additional option for finding the funds necessary to restore and preserve
resource applies to the City for, and the City approves, a heritage Density transfer.
                                                                                        their buildings.




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                                                                                                                                             CHAPTER FOUR: DENSITY



The Heritage Density Bonus cannot be used to accommodate further                   hEritagE transfEr EXamplE
development on the parcel where the Heritage resource is located, and all the      FiGurE 23: HEriTAGE DEnSiTY TrAnSFEr EXAMPlE illustrates the general concept
funds generated by the sale of the Heritage Density Bonus must be used to          of Heritage Density Transfer, as it would apply to a Heritage resource with
offset the costs of rehabilitation and seismic upgrading.                          a maximum (zoned) density of 3.0:1.
The City of Victoria will regulate and monitor the number of Heritage resources
approved to receive the Heritage Density Bonus to control the total combined       Figure 23: heritage Density transfer Example
amount of transferable Heritage Density Bonus accrued by Heritage resources
within the Downtown neighbourhood.                                                 maximum density as per
Eligible Heritage resources must demonstrate that they have taken advantage        zoning bylaw (3:1)
of other existing City of Victoria heritage financial incentives before they can
be awarded a Heritage Density Bonus. The amount of the Heritage Density                                               C
Bonus will be determined on a case-by-case basis through negotiation with the
                                                                                                                      b
City of Victoria.
The owner of a Heritage resource may use the Heritage Density Bonus only for                                          A
the purpose of a Heritage Density Transfer to a new development.
A Heritage resource that contains both residual density and Heritage Density
Bonus must transfer the entire amount of the Heritage Density Bonus prior to
being able to transfer any amount of residual density.

                                                                                    A: Actual Built Density                   not Transferable
hEritagE DEnsitY transfEr proCEss
Before the owner of a Heritage resource may sell or transfer unused density         B: residual Density (unused)              Transferable
to a receiver Site, the owner must:
                                                                                    C: Heritage Density Bonus (unused)        Transferable
1. negotiate with the City to determine the exact amount of unused density that
   will be transferred.
2. Submit a Heritage Density Transfer Agreement to the City for approval.
   This Agreement must:
             the scope, timing and details of the building rehabilitation and
    •	 Provide
     seismic upgrading.
    •	 identifythe amount of unused density that the owner proposes to transfer
     off-site, including residual Density and Heritage Density Bonus.
    •	 Specify    the location of the receiver Site.
             the owner’s agreement for the Heritage resource to be designated
    •	 Contain
     under a heritage designation bylaw, if it has not been already.
    •	 Guarantee that the owner will allocate all funds from the sale of unused
     density to the rehabilitation of the Heritage resource, including mandatory
     seismic upgrades, as stipulated and described in the Heritage Agreement.
    •	 includean application to re-zone the parcel where the Heritage resource
     is located to reflect the reduction in density that will occur once the
     Heritage Density Transfer is approved.

                                                                                                                   City of Victoria | DRAFT Downtown Core Area Plan   37

								
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