3.2.13 Transit-Oriented Development – Residential

Intent: The transit-oriented residential district is established to support higher density residential communities that include a rich mix of retail, restaurant, service, and small employment uses within a pedestrian village format. Land consuming uses, such as large lot housing and large retail outlets are excluded from this district. The TOD-R may be located on developable and redevelopable parcels generally found within the ½ mile catchment area of designated rapid transit station sites. Nothing in these regulations shall preclude application of the TOD-R beyond the ½ mile radius when site-specific development plans demonstrate efficient resident access to a rapid transit station. The district establishes a primarily residential village within a 10-minute walk of a M.I.S designated transit station that serves a residential population of sufficient size to constitute an origin and destination for purposes of rapid transit service.

a) Permitted Uses

Uses permitted by right

  • bed and breakfast inns
  • boarding or rooming houses for up to six roomers
  • dormitories
  • family care homes
  • inns
  • multi-family homes
  • greenway
  • single family homes
  • transit stations

Uses permitted with a Special Use Permit

  • any non-residential use permitted by right or with conditions where size of first floor area exceeds 15,000 SF, (9.47)
  • any permitted non-residential use or collection of non-residential uses that exceeds the maximum permitted in the district by paragraph e) 5) of this section, (9.47)
  • parking lot or structure as principal use (9.47)
  • schools, (9.47)
  • solar energy facility, minor residential, as follows: located on the facade elevation facing public street or common access; or located on the roof slope above the facade of the structure facing public street or common access (9.54)
  • solar energy facility, minor free-standing non-residential, (9.54)
  • solar energy facility, minor rooftop non-residential on a roof slope facing a street that is noticeable (9.54)
  • wind energy facility, minor (accessory) (9.53)

Uses permitted with conditions

  • banks, up to 6,000 SF of gross floor area
  • religious institutions up to 300 seats in the largest place of assembly, (9.8)
  • civic, cultural, and neighborhood recreation facilities up to 15,000 SF of gross floor area, minimum FAR of.35
  • conference centers, up to 15,000 SF of gross floor area, minimum FAR of.35
  • day care centers up to 8,000 SF of gross floor area (9.11)
  • essential services 1 and 2, (9.14)
  • government buildings up to 8,000 SF of gross floor area, minimum FAR of.35
  • indoor motion pictures, limited to one (1) screen
  • offices, general, medical, professional, minimum FAR of.35
  • personal, professional, and technical services up to 8,000 SF of gross area, minimum FAR of.35
  • research and development services, minimum FAR of.35
  • restaurants without drive-through windows, up to 8,000 SF of gross floor area, minimum FAR of.35
  • retail establishments, up to 8,000 SF of gross area, minimum FAR of.35
  • squares, plazas, or other formal open spaces not exceeding ½ acre in area
  • stalls or merchandise stands for outdoor sale of goods at street front (encroachment onto sidewalk may be permitted by agreement with town); outdoor storage expressly prohibited15.
  • taverns and bars, up to 6,000 SF of gross floor area, minimum FAR of.35
  • transit shelters, (9.39)
  • workshops and studios for the design and manufacture of art, craft and artisan products, up to 8,000 SF of gross area, minimum FAR of.35

15Items for sale are returned to building at end of each business day; goods not brought in at close of business day are considered outdoor storage.

b) Permitted Building and Lot Types

  • apartment
  • attached house
  • civic
  • detached house on lot of 5,000 SF or less
  • mixed use16
  • storefront
  • workplace

16The mixed use building duplicates the shopfront building type and has at least two occupiable stories; at least 50% of the habitable area of the building shall be in residential use, the remainder shall be in commercial use. However, when an existing residential building is redeveloped to a mixed-use, at least 40% of the habitable area shall be in residential use.

c) Permitted Accessory Uses

  • accessory dwelling, (9.1)
  • day care home (small), (9.11)
  • home occupation, (9.19)
  • parking lot as an accessory to any permitted principal use, on the same lot or on an abutting lot, according to the standards of Article 6
  • solar energy facilities, minor non-residential; on a flat roof, roof slopes not facing a street and building integrated solar panels on roof slopes facing a street that are not noticeable (9.54)
  • solar energy facilities, minor residential; located in the established rear or side yards or roof slopes (9.54)
  • accessory uses permitted in all Districts (8.11)

d) General Requirements

1) To integrate the larger scale of buildings in transit-oriented developments into the existing built fabric of the community, the edge conditions of paragraph f) 6), below shall be met.

2) Along existing streets, new buildings shall create a transition in spacing, mass, scale, and street frontage relationship from existing buildings to buildings in the Transit Oriented Residential district.

New buildings are expected to exceed the scale and volume of existing buildings, but shall demonstrate compatibility by varying the massing of buildings to reduce perceived scale and volume. The definition of massing in Article 12 illustrates the application of design techniques to reduce the visual perception of size and integrate larger buildings with pre-existing smaller buildings.
Nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted to conflict with the building design element provisions as found in GS 160A-381(h) for structures subject to the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.

3) On new streets, allowable building and lot types will establish the development pattern.

4) Within a TOD-R zoning district, a minimum average density of 15 dwelling units per acre shall be achieved; residential density shall be calculated by dividing the total number of housing units planned by the number of acres designated for residential use, net of streets.

5) A master subdivision sketch plan shall be provided with any application for development approval. It shall comply with the standards of this district and with the most detailed development policies and/or plans adopted by the Town Board for the station’s catchment area. The master plan shall include a topographic survey and shall show the location and hierarchy of streets and public open spaces, location of residential, commercial, and civic building lots, street sections and/or plans, approximate unit count, square footage on non-residential buildings and uses, proposed building heights, an outline of any additional regulatory intentions, phasing, and any other information, including building elevations, which may be required to evaluate the interior pedestrian environment and conditions at project edges. Phasing of development to provide for future horizontal and vertical intensification to meet the standards of this section is permitted. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 6.320 of the Huntersville Subdivision Ordinance, approval of the master sketch plan will be administrative.

6) A single building on an existing lot shall comply with the standards of this district and with the most detailed development policies and/or plans adopted by the Town Board for the station’s catchment area, but shall require zoning and building permits only.

7) See Section 8.16, Standards for Residential Lot Widths, Alleys, Garages and Parking in Residential Districts

e) Development Provisions

1) Minimum Development Size: None

2) Maximum Development Size: None

3) Residential Density: Within a TOD-R zoning district, a minimum average density of 15 dwelling units per acre (net of streets) shall be achieved; residential density shall be calculated by dividing the total number of housing units planned by the acreage of all lots that are designated for residential use. When designing the site, higher densities (18 du/a and greater) should be concentrated within approximately ¼ mile walking distance of the station site while lower densities (6 du/a and greater) may be placed beyond the approximate ¼ mile walking distance. The maximum density permitted on any lot in a TOD-R is 40 units per acre (net of streets).

4) Special parking provisions for residential development in the TOD-R:                                                                                                                                     

Efficiency Apartment
 1 space/unit
 2 space/unit
One or Two Bedroom Apartment /
Attached House
 1 space/unit
 2 space/unit
 Other Dwelling Units
 1 space/unit
 2 space/unit

5) Siting requirements for non-residential development: All non-residential development shall be oriented to provide direct pedestrian access from the transit station by way of the public street system, designated pedestrian paths, or any combination of the two. In addition, the locational standards below shall apply.

  • Within a 1/4 mile walking distance of the station site, a master subdivision sketch plan may include up to 10,000 square feet of retail/services/commercial/office development for each 250 dwelling units master planned in the 1/2 mile catchment area.
  • If placed in a TOD-R district, religious institutions without shared parking, schools, and neighborhood recreation facilities, up to the maximum size permitted in the district, should be located between the 1/4 mile and 1/2 mile walk of the station site.
  • Without regard to station proximity, day care centers and religious institutions with shared parking provisions that meet the size provisions of the TOD-R are permitted.

f) Design Provisions 

1) Neighborhood Form

The illustration below shall guide the general arrangement and distribution of uses in the project.

TOD-R Illustration

Reprinted with permission from PAS Report Number 468, copyright December, 1996 by the American Planning Association, Suite 1600, 122 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603-6107

  • The area of the project shall be divided into blocks, streets, lots, and open space.
  • Similar land uses shall generally front across each street. Dissimilar categories shall generally abut at rear lot lines. Corner lots which front on streets of dissimilar use shall approximate the setback established on each fronting street.

2) Streets

  • Public streets shall provide access to all tracts and lots.
  • Streets and alleys shall, wherever practicable, terminate at other streets within the neighborhood and connect to existing and projected streets outside the development. Cul-de-sacs shall not exceed 250 feet in length, must be accessed from a street providing internal or external connectivity, shall be permanently terminated by a vehicular turnaround, and are permitted only where topography makes a street connection impracticable. In most instances, a “close” or “eyebrow” is preferred to a cul-de-sac. Vehicular turnarounds of various configurations are acceptable so long as emergency access is adequately provided.
  • No block face may exceed 500 feet in length without a dedicated alley or pathway providing through access for pedestrians.
  • Utilities shall run along alleys where alleys are provided.
  • Streets shall be organized according to a hierarchy based on function, size, capacity, and design speed; streets and rights-of-way are therefore expected to differ in dimension. The proposed hierarchy of streets shall be indicated on the submitted master subdivision sketch plan. Each street type shall be separately detailed. Street types illustrated in Article 5 represent the array of elements that are combined to meet the purposes of neighborhood streets: building placement line, optional utility allocation, sidewalk, planting strip, curb and gutter, optional parallel parking, and travel lane(s). Alternative methods of assembling the required street elements will be considered to allow neighborhood street designs that are most appropriate to setting and use. Proposed routing for private vehicles and feeder buses entering and leaving the station area shall be shown.
  • To prevent the buildup of vehicular speed, disperse traffic flow, and create a sense of visual enclosure, long uninterrupted segments of straight streets should be avoided. Methods: (1) a street can be interrupted by intersections designed to calm the speed and disperse the flow of traffic (Article 5) and terminate vistas with a significant feature (building, park, natural feature); (2) a street can be terminated with a public monument, specifically designed building facade, or a gateway to the ensuing space; (3) perceived street length can be reduced by a noticeable street curve where the outside edge of the curve is bounded by buildings or other vertical elements that hug the curve and deflect the view; (4) other traffic calming configurations are acceptable so long as emergency access is adequately provided.

3) Buildings and Lots

  • Every building lot shall share a frontage line with a street urban open space; lots fronting directly onto a formal open space (i.e., without intervening street) shall be provided rear alley access.
  • Consistent build-to lines shall be established along all streets and urban open space frontages; build-to lines determine the width and ratio of enclosure for each public street or space. A minimum age build-out at the build-to line shall be established on the plan along all streets and urban open space frontages.
  • Building and lot types shall comply with Article 4. However, notwithstanding the height restrictions of Article 4, Building and Lot Types, new buildings in the Transit Oriented Residential district are limited to thirteen (13) stories or on hundred eighty-two (182) feet in height, whichever is greater. New buildings in the Transit Oriented Residential District within one (1) mile of the Town Center Zoning District are limited to four (4) stories or forty-six (46) feet in height, whichever is greater. Minimum building height is twenty-six (26) feet, measured at the eave line.
  • Large-scale, single use facilities (conference spaces, theaters, athletic facilities, for example) shall occur behind or above smaller scale uses of pedestrian orientation. Such facilities may exceed maximum first floor area standards if so sited.

4) Open Space Open Space is defined as any area which is not divided into private or civic building lots, streets, rights-of-way, parking, or easements that diminish the utility or aesthetic quality of the space. Design of urban open space shall comply with Article 7.

5) Parking Lot Landscaping Parking lot landscaping shall comply with Article 6.

6) District Edge Conditions Along any boundary of a TOD-R district that abuts a pre-existing subdivision of 20 or more single-family detached homes, one of the following edge conditions shall apply to abutting lot boundaries, however no buffer or wall shall be allowed to block extension of a street from existing development into a planned TOD-R development.

a) A free-standing structure or the end unit of an attached structure on lots along the common boundary shall be limited to two stories or 26 feet in height, whichever is less, or

b) A semi-opaque buffer shall be constructed along the common boundary, on the site of the developing use. The width of the buffer shall at a minimum equal ½ the height of the abutting building in the TOD-R district, or

c) A 6’ masonry wall may be constructed by the developer along the common lot boundaries, in which case the width of the buffer may be reduced to the width of the wall.

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Zoning Ordinance Table of Contents