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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?

Building upon the vision outlined in the Downtown Specific Plan, the corridors will include mixed-use residential units with both affordable and market-rate housing, retail and office spaces, community gathering places, and public amenities.

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.

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.