The City adopted a revitalization strategy in 1999 to support improvements to the Historic Old Town, Vernon Street, and other aging areas of the city. This effort resulted in the adoption of the Riverside Gateway Specific Plan in 2006 and the Downtown Specific Plan in 2009. The intent of this investment was to return these areas, which to this day still serve as the center and core of the fabric of the City, to their former prominence. These efforts stimulated reinvestment in these areas, with improved streetscapes, as well as the development of new businesses and housing.
City Council identified further corridor planning and reinvestment as a Council priority, and in 2019 authorized staff to submit a grant application pursuant to Senate Bill 2 for this work. Senate Bill 2 established a permanent source of funding for planning activities that can demonstrate a connection to housing production. In the grant application brought to City Council, staff identified Atlantic Street, Douglas and Harding Boulevards, and Douglas and Sunrise Boulevards as key areas which are connected to each other, to the City’s downtown, to the Downtown and Riverside Gateway plans, and to vital transportation hubs. Staff proposed to develop separate but related Specific Plans for each of the corridor areas, with the purpose of streamlining and incentivizing redevelopment.
City Council’s decision to consider planning activities in these areas was also influenced by several controversial infill projects, including the proposed Dutch Bros coffee kiosk at 1017 Douglas Boulevard and the Old Town Lofts at 241 Nevada Avenue. The Dutch Bros project was denied and the Old Town Lofts project was approved, but a message heard from the community was a concern about sites developing one-by-one without a cohesive plan for the overall area. The proposed Commercial Corridor Plans project is an opportunity to develop these cohesive policies, design guidelines, and plans for each area.
Preliminary Draft Specific Plans
Based on feedback from the community received during outreach conducted over the last year (see the Public Outreach and Next Steps section of this staff report), work from supporting technical consultants, and internal review and discussion involving all affected City Departments and Divisions, staff has spent the last year developing the land use maps, permitted use tables, streetscape options, and text of the proposed Specific Plans. The preliminary drafts of the three plans were published on July 14, 2022 and are:
- Atlantic Street Corridor Specific Plan
- Douglas-Harding Corridor Specific Plan
- Douglas-Sunrise Corridor Specific Plan
The preliminary draft plans include the following chapters and content:
Chapter 2, Setting and Context – This chapter describes the history of the planning area, major factors that have influenced the design of the Specific Plan, the existing land uses and development patterns, and the existing design and character of the planning area.
Chapter 3, Land Use – This chapter focuses on the existing and proposed land use plan for the area, with an emphasis on the land use goals and overall vision for the area, and a description of the land use designations being used in the Specific Plan. The chapter includes land use maps and a permitted use table.
Chapter 4, Circulation – This chapter describes the pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular pathways within the planning area, defines the vision and goals to support circulation and connectivity in the planning area, and identifies the broader circulation plan and more specific frontage and roadway characteristics for the planning area. The chapter includes existing conditions, constraints, and opportunities maps, and streetscape options.
Chapter 5, Utilities and Infrastructure – This chapter describes the existing utilities and infrastructure which support the planning area, describes the goals to support the existing and proposed systems, and describes the plan to enhance and improve utilities and infrastructure to support the Specific Plan.
Chapter 6, Design Guidelines – This chapter describes the development regulations which will apply to residential and non-residential projects, available incentives to promote reinvestment, and frontage development standards.
Chapter 7, Implementation – This chapter describes how the Specific Plan will be applied to future development and uses within the planning area, including descriptions of the types of entitlements needed for development proposals, and the processes and procedures for revising or amending the Specific Plan.
Key maps, tables, and figures have been included in the preliminary draft Specific Plans, but the drafts are referred to as “preliminary” because additional supporting graphics, imagery, and tables are planned to be included in the next draft of each plan.
Proposed Key Features and Changes
- Multifamily residential uses permitted in commercial zones, instead of requiring a Conditional Use Permit.
- Land use changes to make land use consistent with existing zone districts.
- Replacement of Planned Development zone districts with a standard City zone district.
- On a few properties in each corridor, changing both the zone district and land use designation.
- Streetscape options to consider as part of future public improvement projects (crosswalks, medians, etc).
- Frontage design guidelines to apply to development and redevelopment, requiring improvements to sidewalks, landscaping, etc.
- Tailored design guidelines for multifamily developments, based on feedback from the community.
Consistent with other Specific Plans in the City, staff proposes to apply the Special Area (SA) overlay zone district to all properties within each Specific Plan. The overlay zone allows the application of the area-specific standards proposed within each Specific Plan, to modify or supplement the Zoning Ordinance and Community Design Guidelines.
Along with streetscape improvements and commercial reinvestment and redevelopment, the facilitation of housing – particularly in commercial areas – is a goal of the project. The areas where the City is anticipating housing are underused commercial parking lots, long-vacant commercial buildings, and the few vacant or underused properties. Infrastructure studies for the corridor plans have assumed a total of 50 units could be developed in the Atlantic Street corridor, 200 units could be developed in the Douglas-Harding corridor, and 600 units could be developed in the Douglas-Sunrise corridor. In the original grant application the City anticipated up to 400 units, with up to 50 in the Atlantic Street corridor, 250 in the Douglas-Harding corridor, and 100 in the Douglas-Sunrise corridor. However, the property owner of 201 North Sunrise approached the City interested in the potential to develop a large, market-rate, multifamily project so the anticipated units in the Douglas-Harding corridor was decreased to 200 and the anticipated units were increased to 600 in the Douglas-Sunrise corridor.
Supporting technical studies for the Specific Plans have assumed these units would be located on vacant or commercial properties in the Atlantic Street Plan area, located on South Harding or Harding Boulevard in the Douglas-Harding Plan Area, and on Sunrise Boulevard north of Douglas Boulevard in the Douglas-Sunrise Plan Area. General areas had to be selected for the purpose of pipe system evaluations, but the Specific Plans do not identify any specific sites as the sites where these housing units will or must be built. For commercial property where multifamily housing would be a permitted use, whether housing, commercial uses, or mixed uses are developed would be determined by the property owner and by market conditions.
Staff has also proposed the City’s policy requiring 10% of all new units be affordable not apply on a project-by-project basis. The Specific Plans identify the total number of affordable units needed for all three Specific Plans (up to 85 units, based on up to 850 units of capacity), which would allow the City’s policy to be satisfied by one affordable project, instead of requiring every project to include a few affordable housing units.
PUBLIC OUTREACH AND NEXT STEPS
May 2021: The community outreach effort for this project was carefully developed and began in earnest in May 2021, when the City distributed notice of the first open house for the project via mail, e-mail, the City's website, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the City's social media. Over 9,000 postcards with bright designs and graphics were mailed to everyone within the proposed project boundaries and to those within a half-mile walking distance. E-mail notices were sent to over 47,000 recipients on the City's existing e-mail lists. In the first week over 800 people visited the project website, and hundreds signed up on the project e-mail list.
June 2021: The open house was well-attended and intended to outline the City’s objectives for the project and seek early stakeholder input to further refine the scope of the project. The open house included live polling, a question and answer session, and a community values exercise to help develop a draft vision statement for each Plan Area. A recording of the open house is available for viewing here. Following the initial open house, a walking tour was launched to engage residents and community members about what they would like to see improved or added to revitalize the three targeted corridors. The tour was open from June 10 – 25, and could be taken virtually using images from key spots in the corridors, or by physically going to the key locations. Staff posted lawn signs and flyers at the locations with a QR code, which could be scanned by your phone to access the survey. The survey yielded a total of 648 community responses. A summary of the virtual tour can be found here.
December 2021: Based on feedback from the community, the next several months were spent developing materials for the project. On December 14, 2021 draft land use maps, zoning maps, and permitted use tables were posted to the project website for public review, with responses requested by January 12, 2022. Notice of these materials was sent to the project e-mail list and was posted to the project website.
February 2022: A virtual workshop was held on February 10, 2022. The workshop was advertised through an e-mail to the project mailing list two weeks before and one week before the workshop, was posted to the project website, was advertised on the City's social media (Twitter, Facebook, and NextDoor), and was published in the Roseville Press Tribune. Flyers were also handed out at businesses within the corridors. The first half of the workshop focused on the proposed land use plan, and included a question and answer session that focused heavily on housing. The second half of the workshop focused on streetscapes, and included live polling to get feedback on improvement priorities and public art programs, as well as a question and answer session. The workshop was well attended and included robust community discussion. A recording of the virtual workshop is available for viewing here.
April 2022: A community design guidelines survey was launched on April 25, 2022 and was open through May 8, 2022. The survey included design imagery and asked respondents what general building design styles were appropriate for each corridor. The survey also included a streetscape improvements question asking respondents to prioritize improvements based on cost. The survey had about 300 respondents and was advertised through the project e-mail list and project website.
A letter was then sent to property owners in April informing them of proposed changes to land use and zoning. The letters were specific to individual property owners, with the Assessor's Parcel Number identified and an explanation of the proposed changes provided. The letter also encouraged property owners to call, e-mail, or write us with any comments or questions, and emphasized that we were still early in the process, and nothing was finalized. A second copy of the letter was sent in May to all property owners who had not responded to the first letter. A third and final copy of this letter will be sent in August. The purpose of these letters was to ensure the owners of every property affected by zoning or land use changes received property-specific notice of the proposal, and multiple copies help ensure the letter is not simply overlooked or missed.
June 2022: In June a letter was sent out to every property owner and resident in the Plan Areas describing the proposal to use the Special Area overlay zone for the Specific Plans. We were contacted by some residents indicating that their neighbors had received the letter but they had not. We investigated these concerns and found an area where the parcel data led to some mailing address errors. These errors were corrected.
June/July 2022: City staff subsequently attended two community-led meetings to discuss the project and answer questions. The first meeting was held on June 30, 2022 by Support Our Local Area – Roseville (SOLA-R) from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and the second was held on July 7, 2022 as part of the Historic Sierra Vista Neighborhood Association regular meeting. Planning staff also staffed a booth at Downtown Tuesday Nights on June 28, 2022 and advertised materials about the project as well as general planning issues. Over 30 people spoke with staff over the course of the evening.
Notice of the release of the preliminary draft Specific Plans, the Planning Commission workshop on July 28, 2022 and this City Council workshop was provided in a postcard to every property owner and resident in the Plan Areas. The postcard notice was mailed on July 12, 2022 and the preliminary draft Specific Plans were published on July 14, 2022, with a request to provide feedback by August 11, 2022. Notice was also publicized on the project website, through the project e-mail list, and on the City's social media (Twitter, Facebook, and NextDoor).
In addition to all of the broad public outreach, through website updates, public meetings, open houses, and other group events and contexts, the project team has emphasized person-to-person communication. The staff team provides detailed and specific responses to the e-mails received in the project inbox at www.roseville.ca.us/corridorplans. Where an individual provides a phone number, our staff respond to the e-mail with a phone call. The letters we mailed also generated many phone calls from individuals wanting to better understand how the project might affect their property or their neighborhood. Engaging in conversation, not just communication, has been an ongoing goal of the project team.
The next steps include incorporating changes into the draft Specific Plans in preparation for the following tentative timelines:
- September – Publish revised Draft Specific Plans
- October – Planning Commission hearings
- November – City Council hearings