Land Development Code Update

Regulation of Historic Properties, Ordinance No. 572 summary as follows: This amendment revises the City’s Historic Preservation Program as described in Part II- Code of Ordinances, Chapter 2- Administration, Article III- Boards, Commissions and Committees, Division 3- Historic Preservation Board.  On June 25, 2013, the City Council directed staff to work with the Board to develop a preliminary preservation ordinance to protect historic assets in the city.  The amendment seeks to establish a process to review and approve building permits, which impact historic properties that is fair, efficient, and protects the city’s most significant resources.

Since 2004, the city has issued 32 permits to raze properties that are 50 years old or older.  Orange City’s National Historic District has lost six contributing structures of the 214 to demolition since creation of the district in 2004.  The sites of these former contributing structures remain vacant as no plan for redevelopment existed at the time of demolition.

The proposed amendment applies to structures that are 50 years old or older located within the proposed Historic Resource Map or listed on the Florida Master Site File (FMSF).  The Historic Resource Map boundary includes the area approved by City Council in 1997 and contains +/-1,100 acres.  There are 2,000 structures located within the boundary, 704 of which are 50 years old or older (146 commercial structures and 558 residential structures).

The amendment establishes a process to review and approve building permits that may impact historic resources located within the boundary limits.  Building permits that are determined to have a minor impact may be approved administratively without additional submittal requirements.  Minor impacts include demolition followed by replacement with no change in size or configuration, of small accessory structures, and/or of facades that are not visible from the right-of-way.

Any permit request that is determined to have more than a minor impact requires additional support documents from the applicant and review by the Historic Preservation Board. The amendment provides criteria and conditions of approval to guide the Board’s decision.  Preference is granted to property listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the Florida Master Site File.  Aggrieved parties may appeal the Development Services Director’s decision to the Board and the Historic Preservation Board’s decision to the City Council in accordance with Chapter 3 of the Land Development Code.

The amendment also provides provisions for demolition by neglect, which is a property owner’s failure to provide ordinary and necessary maintenance and repair of an historic property or resource.  It encourages intervention before code enforcement proceedings begin, and is offered in support of the property owner that may otherwise be unaware of the resources available to them.

The Historic Preservation Board reviewed and discussed the draft amendment at their regularly scheduled meetings of October 19, 2016, November 17, 2016, December 15, 2016 and January 19, 2017.  The Planning Commission held two discussion workshops on January 4, 2017 and February 1, 2017.  The Planning Commission forwarded to the City Council for approval on March 1, 2017.  The City Council adopted the ordinance on March 25, 2017.

Vehicle Parking and Maintenance Guarantees.

Summary of Ordinance No. 569 is as follows: An administrative text amendment that revised the standards of Chapter 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Orange City Land Development Code (LDC), as follows:

  • Provide a new definition of commercial motor vehicle at the request of Code Enforcement staff
  • Combine performance and maintenance guarantees into the same code section for clarity and efficiency
  • Reduce the amount required for maintenance guarantee of developer improvements to be dedicated to the public from 110% to 15%
  • Add “trailers” to the list of accessory vehicles that can be parked in R-1, R-2 and OT zoning classifications for clarity

Vehicle Parking:   The existing code does not allow the parking of “tractor trailers or trucks larger than one ton, commercial buses or similar vehicles” in residential zoning classifications.  Code Enforcement staff requested a text amendment to the LDC to provide a clearer definition and understanding of the vehicle type applicability.  The existing code does allow the parking of recreational vehicles and boats in residential areas, and Code Enforcement staff requests that we add trailers to the permitted vehicle list.

Maintenance Guarantees:  Today, the improvement guarantee requirements are located in three different chapters of the LDC, and in a few sections maintenance and performance guarantee standards appear as though they are interchangeable.  The amendment moves all improvement guarantees to Chapter 5- Development Orders, Development Permits, and Certificates of Occupancy, and deletes the text from Chapter 6- Subdivision Regulations and Chapter 7- Site Plan Review.  This is a housekeeping item to improve code clarity and efficiency.

The amendment also reduces the required maintenance guarantee amount from 110% of construction costs of improvements to be dedicated to the public, to 15%.  On November 1, 2016, the Technical Review Committee (TRC) reviewed the staff memorandum, which provided comparative guarantee rates of adjacent cities and counties and approved the 15%.  This amendment is necessary to fully implement the revised standard, so that Orange City is competitive with adjacent jurisdictions.

On January 4, 2017, the Planning Commission reviewed the amendment as a discussion item and had no proposed changes to the draft ordinance.

On March 1, 2017, the Planning Commission held a public hearing and recommended that the City Council approve the draft ordinance.  No one from the public spoke for or against the ordinance.

On April 11, 2017, the City Council approved the ordinance at first reading with amendment revising the definition of commercial motor vehicle from a gross combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds to a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,001 or more pounds.  This definition complies with the Federal Highway Administration classification- medium duty, class 4 vehicle and is consistent with code enforcement interpretation of the existing land development code standard.

On April 25, 2017, the City Council adopted the ordinance at second reading.

An administrative amendment to the Land Development Code, Chapter 8 regarding residential accessory structures.  The city receives frequent requests to allow metal utility sheds and carports on residential property.  The current code states that accessory structures must be in “keeping with the character of the area and consistent with the structural design of the principal building”. The design standard language is vague and subjective, which has led to inconsistent implementation throughout the years.     Staff seeks to provide enforceable design standards for larger, visible structures and flexibility for smaller, diminutive structures to accommodate the frequent homeowner requests.

Also, the existing code does not provide meaningful bulk and mass standards, as it simply states the accessory structures should be “clearly incidental and subordinate” to the primary structure.  The existing code does not limit the number or size of accessory structures that may be placed on any one lot.  Staff suggests an amendment to provide such standards to protect the residential character of local neighborhoods.  In summary, the amendment proposes the following:

  • Limit the size of any one accessory structure to 50% of the primary floor area
  • Add specific design criteria for structures larger than 120 square feet and visible from the right-of-way and adjacent property (similar roof and wall materials, pitch, and window treatments)
  • Exempt structures from the design standard if they are less than 120 square feet and located behind the primary structure and screened from view
  • Limit the cumulative floor area of all accessory structures to 75% of the primary structure on lots that are less than one acre, and to 100% on lots that are one acre or larger
  • Reduce setbacks for structures 120 square feet or less (previously reduced for structures 200 square feet or less)

On January 4, 2017, the Planning Commission discussed the proposed amendment and requested additional information regarding other jurisdictional codes and less stringent standards for larger lots.

On February 1, 2017, the Planning Commission reviewed the draft amendment and additional information provided by staff as a discussion item.

On March 1, 2017, the Planning Commission heard ordinance no. 571.  A motion was made to reduce the cumulative floor area of accessory structures on lots less than an acre from the proposed 75% to a maximum 60%.  The motion failed.  The motion to recommend that the City Council approve the ordinance as drafted passed 5:1.  No one from the public spoke for or against the ordinance.  However, staff received two letters of support.

On April 11, 2017, the City Council approved the ordinance with revision to add screening standards for small sheds as follows:

Accessory structures that are 120 square feet in size or less, and are 15 feet in height or less, do not have to match the primary structure’s materials and design as long as the structure is located behind the principal structure and screened from the right-of-way and adjacent properties by using fences, walls or hedges in accordance with section 8.7.4, or other similar screening methods.

The fence, wall and hedge standards of the Land Development Code cap the height to six feet in the rear and side yard, and four feet in the front and side street yard.  A 10’ X 12’ shed is typically 12 feet tall measured from average grade to the roof peak.  Therefore, the fence height restrictions of the Land Development Code will not completely screen the shed, but based on City Council consensus it is found adequate to protect community identity.

City Council adopted Ordinance No. 571 on April 25, 2017.


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