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What is the Roseville Commercial Corridors Project? Why is it needed?

The City invested significant time and resources in the downtown, historic old town, and other core areas of the City, which was facilitated by the City’s Downtown Specific Plan.  These areas have benefited from the resulting revitalized streetscapes, civic improvements, and new businesses.  City Council identified extending this investment of time and resources to other commercial corridors as a Council priority. Nearby the Downtown Specific Plan area are three of Roseville’s older commercial corridors: Atlantic Street, Douglas Boulevard and Harding Boulevard, and Douglas Boulevard and Sunrise Avenue. The Commercial Corridors Project will reimagine these corridors, establishing a vision for the future and appropriate development standards, regulatory incentives, and design standards.

Has the City conducted previous studies or planning efforts for these three corridors?

The City has reviewed each of the three commercial corridor areas to identify their existing land uses, zoning designations, and open spaces to determine potential opportunities and challenges. The Commercial Corridors Project is the City’s first formal land use planning effort focused specifically on these three corridors.

What types of developments are planned for the three corridors?

Approval of the Specific Plans does not approve development of any property. The Specific Plan is designed to facilitate and provide design guidelines for:

  • Commercial reinvestment – The plan will include process streamlining to encourage a property owner to update, repairs, or improve an existing building or site, by repainting, adding landscaping, replacing windows, or making other cosmetic improvements.
  • Commercial redevelopment – The plan will include design guidelines for when a property owner expands a building, constructs a new building, or replaces an existing building.
  • Multifamily development – The plan will allow multifamily residential as a permitted use of commercial property and will include process streamlining and design guidelines for multifamily development. The plans will also include supporting infrastructure studies to ensure there is sufficient capacity for up to 850 multifamily residential units, allocated to each Plan Area as follows: up to 50 units in the Atlantic Street corridor, up to 200 units in the Douglas-Harding corridor, and up to 600 units in the Douglas-Sunrise corridor.

Future development projects, including housing projects, will need to go through a future process to ensure that it meets the standards of the Specific Plans before it can go forward. The Specific Plans are just the first step.

How long will the Roseville Commercial Corridors Plan take to create?

This planning effort launched in May 2021 and will continue through 2022.

How do I get involved and learn more?

Public outreach and participation are key components of the Commercial Corridors Plan effort, and the City needs to hear from you! Stay up to date and learn about upcoming outreach opportunities at the Get Involved page. 

How will my property be affected?

Since this may be the question uppermost in people’s minds, we want to answer this question first. The changes we are proposing facilitate appropriate use of the land; they do not add barriers or restrictions that will negatively impact property owners. We will be conducting outreach to property owners throughout the process of developing this project. The changes shown on the preliminary draft maps (see below) are not final, and are subject to change based on feedback from the community. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions please contact the City by e-mail at [email protected].  We will be happy to hear from you.

What is a Specific Plan?

A Specific Plan is a planning document that establishes key goals for an area. Several of the key items addressed include:
  • Vision and Goals: This section answers key questions like what outcome is the plan trying to achieve and what does a successful plan look like?
  • Land Use: This section creates a land use plan that explains what kinds of uses are allowed and where they are allowed.
  • Design Guidelines: This section establishes design standards and streetscape plans that are tailored to the area. This is where we can set up standards and other guidelines that really help us to realize the vision of the plan. If someone is going to develop a site the plan will have established things like: should the building be more forward to the street? How deep or wide should the landscaping on the frontage be?
  • Implementation: This section establishes the processes for approval of projects. It also sets up incentives, like a faster process if they meet a certain design checklist, and other similar regulations.

What is a Land Use Plan?

The land use plan is a color-coded map with land use designations (e.g. Community Commercial) along with supporting text to describe the types of uses that are allowed in the mapped areas. The land use plan for the entire City is the General Plan, but this plan is very broad. The General Plan establishes citywide goals and policies and establishes land use designations over every property in the City. A Specific Plan provides an opportunity to create a more tailored vision and goals for a specific geographic area in the City. The land use map of the General Plan is amended whenever a new Specific Plan is adopted, to ensure there are no conflicts between the new Specific Plan and the General Plan land use maps.

The foundational purpose of a land use plan is to make sure incompatible uses (e.g. industrial uses and residential uses) are not next to each other, and that an area includes a healthy balance of uses to ensure a thriving and livable community. When land uses are perfectly balanced people can meet their needs for housing, jobs, services, transportation, and recreation without having to leave their community. This is easier to do when preparing a new land use plan for an undeveloped area, because you have the opportunity to create a plan from scratch. However, these corridors are already fully developed and the land use map is existing. In this case, as we envision a land use plan we are considering the following types of questions:

    • What kind of uses might the area be missing?
    • What uses do we want or need to see more of?

In our outreach to the community we heard members of the community say they’d like to see more shops, entertainment, restaurant, services, jobs, and housing options. We also heard people telling us they’d like to see more investment in existing buildings and spaces, to make the area more vibrant.

How is a Land Use Plan related to Zoning?

The land use plan of either the General Plan or a Specific Plan describes the broad categories of land use permitted in a given geographic area. The supporting text describes the types of uses ordinarily associated with the land use designation. For example, the General Plan describes the primary uses of the Community Commercial land use designation as follows: “Retail stores and businesses selling a full range of goods and services, including auto sales and repair, and commercial child care facilities.”

The Zoning Ordinance implements the land use plan. Each land use designation is associated with multiple implementing zone districts, which provide significantly more detail about allowed uses. The implementing zone districts of the Community Commercial land use designation are Neighborhood Commercial, Community Commercial, General Commercial, Highway Commercial, and Commercial Mixed Use. The Zoning Ordinance includes a permitted use table establishing the specific types of businesses permitted within each zone district. This is an important tool to ensure use compatibility and a healthy balance of uses. For example, the Neighborhood Commercial (NC) zone district allows uses such as a hair salon or neighborhood market, but does not allow uses like auto repair. The NC zone district is typically applied to small sites surrounded by residential neighborhoods, to ensure neighborhood-serving uses are within walking distance.

When we are talking about developing the land use plan for this project, we will be discussing the land use designation, the zone district, and the permitted use tables.

What do the City’s land use and zoning designations (e.g. LDR) mean?

The definitions of the City’s land use designations are within the City’s General Plan Land Use Element (Table II-3 on page II-14 and II-4 on page II-15). A summary of the land use designations and their definitions most relevant to the Commercial Corridors project is below, and a link to the General Plan Land Use Element is here.

  • Low Density Residential (LDR) – Residential at densities of up to 6.9 units per acre, with average lot sizes of 6,000 to 7,500 square feet.
  • Medium Density Residential (MDR) – Residential at densities of 7.0 to 12.9 units per acre.
  • High Density Residential (HDR) – Residential at densities of 13 units per acre or greater.
  • Neighborhood Commercial (NC) – Provides for basic commercial, retail, and services for the convenience of surrounding neighborhoods in walking distance.
  • Community Commercial (CC) – Provides a broad range of goods and services to a wide service area that expands well beyond walking distance.
  • Business Professional (BP) – Provides for offices and uses supportive of offices.

The definitions of the City’s zoning designations are within the City’s Zoning Ordinance (Title 19 of the City’s Municipal Code) and include permitted use tables, specifying the exact uses permitted in each zone district. The use type definitions and permitted use tables are within Municipal Code Chapter 19.10 through 19.18, organized by type of use (Chapter 19.10 is residential uses, etc). To find the use definition for each type of use (residential, commercial, etc), go to the main table of contents here, click on the use type of interest, and then select the “Purpose” section. To find the use tables for each type of use, go to the main table of contents here, click on the use type of interest, and then select the “Permitted Use Types” section. A brief description of the zone districts most relevant to the Commercial Corridors Project is below.

  • R1 – Single-Family Residential – Attached or detached single-family.
  • RS – Small Lot Residential – Attached or detached single-family on smaller lots.
  • R2 – Two-Family Residential – Two single-family homes, including duplexes.
  • R3 – Multifamily – A range of high density and multiple-family housing, including apartments, condos, townhomes, and similar.
  • BP – Business Professional – Office uses and uses related to and supportive of office uses.
  • NC – Neighborhood Commercial – Applied to properties in close proximity to residential areas, providing convenient retail and personal services.
  • CC – Community Commercial – Serves the principal shopping needs of the entire community.
  • GC – General Commercial – Commercial uses of a service or more heavy commercial character serving the entire community.
  • OS – Open Space – Public and private lands which are environmentally sensitive.
  • PR – Park and Recreation – Public or private recreation facilities.
  • P/QP – Public/Quasi-Public – Applies to land intended for education, religious assembly, governmental offices, municipal functions, and other publicly-owned facilities.
  • PD – Planned Development – A special purpose district established by Ordinance.

How do you draft a Land Use Plan?

Once you’ve developed a vision for the plan and answered questions about what kind of land uses you want to see, we examine the existing land use plan and the existing uses of the land, and then consider important follow-up questions, such as:
  • Is the existing land use plan acting as a barrier to uses we want to see?    
  • Are there places where the land use plan is inconsistent or doesn’t match the existing use of the land?  
  • Are the existing uses balanced and accessible to the community?    
  • If there are barriers, missing uses, or unbalanced uses, what can we do to facilitate change?

City staff worked on these questions and developed a first draft of the land use plan, including a map and a table of permitted uses. These changes are responsive to each of the questions asked, as described below.

Addressing Barriers

The City’s analysis determined the permitted use table of the Zoning Ordinance is acting as a barrier to certain project goals. For example, a mixed use project (i.e. a building with both housing and new commercial space) is not permitted by right in the City’s Community Commercial zone district. An applicant would need to change the land use and zone district or would need a Conditional Use Permit. This adds cost and time to a project. Therefore, to be responsive to community feedback and facilitate the uses desired in these areas, City staff are proposing the Specific Plans include permitted use tables tailored to each area. A description of changes to the permitted use tables are available for review here.

Addressing Inconsistencies

City staff examined each Corridor Plan area for the following types of inconsistencies: a mismatch between the land use designation and the underlying zone district (e.g. General Plan land use designation of Community Commercial and an underlying zone district of Single-Family Residential) or a mismatch between the land use or zone district and the use of the property (e.g. a property developed with an office with a General Plan land use designation of Low Density Residential).

Since the 1980s, the City has used the Specific Plan process to comprehensively plan development and ensure consistency between the land use designation and zone district. Older areas of the City were developed long before adoption of the City’s modern approach to planning and development, and so inconsistencies sometimes occur in these older areas.

Inconsistencies between the actual use and the permitted use of the land also typically only occurs in the older areas of the City. A use that was legally built but is not permitted by the current zone district is called “existing non-conforming.” While an existing non-conforming use is permitted to continue, the use cannot be expanded or changed, unless it is changed back to a conforming use.

The existence of inconsistent land use and zoning and/or existing non-conforming conditions can make it difficult to obtain financing for a property, and to redevelop, improve, or sell a property. Staff have carefully examined all of the planning areas to identify areas of inconsistency and propose corrections wherever possible. The preliminary draft of the proposed land use and zone district maps are available for review here.

Addressing Balanced and Accessible Uses

In addition to addressing barriers and inconsistencies, City staff also reviewed the permitted use tables and land use maps to determine whether changes could be made to improve the balance of land uses. For example, it is usually ideal to have the highest residential densities located adjacent to commercial areas. This provides an appropriate buffer and transition of uses that step down in intensity: a higher-capacity road fronted by businesses, followed by high density residential with easy access to services in the commercial area, and finally transitioning to medium and then low density residential uses as you move further from the main road. Some changes are proposed to the permitted use tables and land use maps to ensure an appropriate balance of uses. It is important to emphasize the changes facilitate appropriate use of the land; they are not intended to add barriers or restrictions that will negatively impact property owners.

Accessibility is being addressed through an ongoing effort the City is undertaking to review the primary streetscapes and circulation design in the plan areas. While a preliminary draft plan is not currently available, the City is actively working on preliminary conceptual plans to present to the community. The plans will include an existing conditions analysis, the identification of existing constraints and opportunities, and conceptual plans describing the types of improvements which could address the identified constraints and opportunities.

Facilitating Change

Each Specific Plan will include an Implementation chapter describing the procedures and processes for development in the plan areas. The City’s intent is to provide more streamlined processes for applications, which will lower costs, shorten timeframes, and provide greater certainty for applicants who are proposing to make improvements to their properties. A project would only be eligible for this streamlining if it is consistent with the design standards and policies of the Specific Plan. The Implementation chapter and design standards will be drafted after outreach has been completed on the land use plan and conceptual streetscapes plan.

Are you building low-income apartments?

The Specific Plan will not require that any housing constructed be 100% affordable or low-income housing.

While the City has not received any applications for commercial or residential development, there are four properties where the City has been approached with definite interest in developing something in the future. These are:

  • A commercial property at 201 North Sunrise Avenue in the Douglas-Sunrise corridor, where the owner is interested in developing up to 600 multifamily residential units. This property is within a commercial zone district and would currently require a Conditional Use Permit to develop with multifamily uses. Approval of the Specific Plan would remove the requirement for a Conditional Use Permit.
  • An existing apartment complex at 107 King Road in the Douglas-Harding Corridor, where the owner is considering developing additional units on a portion of the property which used to be a pool and recreational area. Though this property is owned by the apartment complex and has historically been a part of the apartment use, it is currently in the Single-Family Residential zone district and the Low Density Residential land use designation. Recreational facilities to support the apartments would be permitted, but the existing zone district would not allow additional apartment units. The corridors project is considering a proposal to change the zone district and land use to Multifamily Residential and High Density Residential, which would allow additional apartment units.
  • 1007 Douglas Boulevard, where an application for townhomes was approved.
  • 1017 Douglas Boulevard, where interest has been expressed in commercial development. One application for a drive-through coffee shop was previously received, but was denied by City Council.

Other Potential Development Sites (Vacant and Underused Sites)

Over the years, there have been other sites within each corridor where either owners or prospective owners have approached the City to ask about development potential, but so far, there have been no definite plans or applications filed with the City. Most of these sites are vacant or underused, and include:

  • Various commercial properties with large parking lots on the eastern side of Harding Boulevard, where interest has been expressed in commercial redevelopment.
  • 204 Harding Boulevard (Heritage Inn), where interest has been expressed in redevelopment.
  • 260 South Harding Boulevard, where interest has been expressed in commercial development, housing development, or mixed use (both commercial and housing) development.
  • Church-owned property on Atlantic Street where interest has previously been expressed in housing development, though not recently.
  • 124 Center Street, where recent inquiries have been received about housing development.

Are you building homeless shelters?

No. The City is not aware of any plans to build any new homeless shelters within any of the Corridor Plan areas.

How did you come up with 850 units? That seems like too many.

The 850 unit estimate is spread out over the three Corridor Plans. As mentioned above, the City was approached by the property owner of 201 North Sunrise about developing a 600-unit multifamily residential project, so staff chose that number for the Sunrise-Douglas corridor area. City staff did an analysis of the vacant and underutilized land located all over the City as part of its Housing Element process, completed last year. Staff based its assumptions for the Atlantic and Douglas-Harding corridors based on the amount of vacant and underused land located within each corridor.

Why are you putting the housing here and not in western Roseville/the developing areas?

We have planned for multifamily housing in other areas of the City. All of the newer Specific Plans in the western area of the City are designed so that approximately 30% of the units are developed at densities of 13 units per acre or higher (typically apartments) and 30% of the units are developed at densities of 7 to 12 units per acre.

Does multifamily (R3) zoning mean I HAVE to build multifamily or make my single-family home illegal?

No. Single-family uses are permitted in the multifamily zone district. Approval of the project would not make your home an illegal use or force you to change your home, but for some properties they may help you save time and money if you want to make certain improvements to your property (such as adding a front porch, an addition, a shed, etc.). If you don’t want to change anything, you don’t have to.

State housing laws – are they related to the Corridors project?

We’ve been receiving questions about various state housing laws and initiatives, and whether those are related to the proposed Specific Plans. A discussion of each is provided below.

Senate Bill 2

Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) established a permanent source of funding for planning grants. A wide array of planning activities are eligible, including updates to general plans, community plans, specific plans, and zoning ordinances, as well as environmental analysis and local process improvements. The only requirement is that the eligible activity must also demonstrate a connection to housing production, through process streamlining, infrastructure capacity, feasibility, or some other method.

City Council had already identified reinvestment and redevelopment in key commercial corridors as a Council priority and allocated City money for the planning. As originally envisioned, the plans would include a heavy focus on streetscape updates, reinvestment in and redevelopment of aging commercial properties, and would also facilitate housing, making it eligible for the planning grant funding. The statewide grant program provided an opportunity for the City to pursue the corridor planning at less cost to the City’s general fund. Staff applied for and received a $310,000 grant for the commercial corridors project.

Senate Bill 9

This bill is not related to the proposed Specific Plans. Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) was passed by the state legislature and became effective on January 1, 2022. The bill established a statewide regulation that permits two units on parcels within single-family residential zone districts and ministerial two-lot parcel maps (i.e. no Parcel Map entitlement) in single-family zone districts. This law affects all properties in the City within either the Single-Family Residential (R1) zone district or the Small Lot Residential (RS) zone district, where the City’s regulations permitted only one unit on each lot. The passage of SB 9 means that two units must be permitted, provided there is space on the lot to meet setbacks and other regulations.

The City, along with the League of California Cities and many other cities and counties in the state, strongly opposed this legislation. The City has been extremely vocal and continues to oppose legislation that eliminates local control in land use decisions. The City allocates considerable staff and financial resources to legislative affairs and lobbying efforts to protect the City’s interests. However, despite heavy opposition from cities and counties across the state, the bill was passed and is now law. At this time the City has no plans to take any legal action in response to specific state legislation, because it would be extremely costly and would be unlikely to succeed.

Senate Bill 10

This bill is not related to the proposed Specific Plans. Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) allows jurisdictions to adopt an ordinance allowing up to 10 units per acre if the land is in a “transit-rich area” or “an urban infill site.” The City is not pursuing any ordinances pursuant to SB 10 and has no plans to do so.

Housing Element and Regional Housing Needs Allocation

City Council identified corridor planning as a Council priority prior to the development and adoption of the City’s Housing Element. The corridors project was scoped in the spring/summer of 2019 and the application for grant funding was approved by City Council in fall of 2019. The Regional Housing Needs Allocation for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments region was adopted in in spring of 2020, and the City’s responsive Housing Element update began in the summer of 2020. The Commercial Corridors was listed as a strategy within the Housing Element because it was a project the City already planned to pursue, and it would help to meet housing goals.

What is “affordable housing”?

People sometimes hear “affordable housing” and think this is Section 8 housing, or housing for individuals struggling with homelessness. However, in 2021 households earning less than $73,000 annually qualified for affordable housing, which means this housing is for teachers, entry-level professionals, veterans, and seniors. So how is affordability determined?

Affordability is based on the County’s median income. The median income is the midpoint, not the average, which means that 50% of Placer County households are earning more than the median and 50% of households are earning less. A “low income” household is defined as a household earning 80% of the area’s median income. Since Placer County’s median income in 2021 was about $91,000 annually for a family of four, a low income household is one earning less than $73,000 annually.

It’s important to remember this when discussing affordable housing: this housing benefits elders in our community, young professionals, and folks in service jobs at the City’s local businesses. This type of housing is needed in order to have a healthy community.