This information is intended for all area engineers, architects, developers, surveyors, realtors, or others who often submit drawings and projects for review and approval from the City of Crestview Planning and Zoning Department. For the better part of the last year, Planning and Zoning staff have been working with our new city manager, the new Planning Board, and others on new regulations for planning and zoning as part of the brand-new Land Development Code. Those new regulations are on track through the City Council to take effect on February 24.
The majority of the changes to the LDC were to remove anything not development related, and to transfer engineering related specifications and technical data into another document (Crestview Engineering Standards Manual). The main theme that was maintained throughout the writing of the new code was to create it in a way so as to encourage growth and development of properties, to step out of the way of development as much as possible, and to provide guidance for long-term sustainable growth that will have a positive effect on all citizens. The goal is to determine what can be done to assist a developer while still maintaining the city’s small-town character and quality developments we want to keep. What follows are a broad sampling of some of those changes.
Here are a few of the more specific points that will be important for builders and architects to know:
- The number of zoning districts and regulations for each district have changed. In some cases, this results in larger building envelopes. There is a document attached that spells out the new zones and the setbacks, minimum and maximums for each, along with the densities.
- Density is no longer primarily controlled by the Future Land Use element: it is more specific under the zoning code. Zoning and future land use changes will also be more controlled and require more data and effort from the applicant to move forward.
- Apartments can be placed within the C-1 zoning district. C-2 remains commercial only. We have a limited supply of commercially zoned properties, so we need to maximize the commercial use as much as feasible.
- Apartments are also now allowed within the R-3 and MU zoning district. This significantly improves the potential for development of much needed apartment units.
- Light manufacturing is now allowed in C-1 and C-2. This is jobs! Heavy manufacturing is allowed in Industrial. This is many new jobs!
- A new zoning classification and new FLU element has been created called Mixed Use. This is a type of development opportunity that can include both a residential and commercial element on the same site.
- Mixed Use zoning allows for a number of commercial uses that can be considered low impact to the neighborhood. With little evidence from the outside, a person with a home in a Mixed-Use area can now legitimately operate a small barbershop or real estate office from their home. This was discussed at length and is due in part to the new world of COVID-19 that we now live in. However, this mixed use is held towards the center of town and adjacent to commercial zoning. This also creates additional opportunities for entrepreneurial efforts and small business success.
- There is a new table in Chapter 4 of the LDC that will provide a list of uses and what zone those uses are allowed in. In some cases, there will be created what is being called a Special Exception and a Supplemental Standards for that unique use.
- All definitions are now located in one chapter. This removes ambiguity and multiple meanings for the same words. Chapter 2 will be definitions.
- Definitions have been updated to follow case law and best practices from other municipalities. For example, there has always been a lot of confusion as to defining setbacks for corner lots.
- Lot Line, Front - Any lot line that abuts a public right of way
- Lot Line, Side - Any lot line that intersects a front lot line
- Lot Line, Rear - Any lot line that is not a front or side lot line
- This eliminates issues with corner lot setbacks
and, which way front faces and several other issues. In addition, it’s already withstood scrutiny and court cases in other municipalities. To further assist, plats from this point forward will have setbacks shown on them. This means no more questioning what the setbacks are.
- Building height used to be measured to the top plate of a structure. The challenge is putting the tape on that top plate on a finished structure. This was not possible. So, height is measured to the eave of the highest habitable floor. Again, the change was an effort to be more reasonable, effective, and understandable.
- Effort was made throughout the code to reference the Florida Building Code, Residential, current edition as much as possible. Rather than the LDC trying to define building specific items, we will follow the higher authority of the FBC. Again, it’s already withstood scrutiny through court cases and such throughout the state.
- Certain types of project reviews are now almost entirely completed by staff only and do not have to go through months of meetings for approval against a code that is easily read. This reduces project approval time down significantly. Another change in this aspect is that everything is accomplished digitally. There are no hard copies of plans required any longer.
- A new concept called an overlay district has been created for the downtown area. Called the Downtown Overlay District, this provides for different regulations of this area. As this area grows or expands, the regulations will change with that boundary expansion without having to go through code changes and updates. Another example is we will be creating an overlay district for the recently annexed Foxwood neighborhood. They will have some specific zoning regulations peculiar to that area only.
- Landscaping: No longer will a developer be able to remove an immense 52” oak tree and replace it with one 1.5” Crepe Myrtle. Replacement of trees has been changed to include the size of the trees being removed. Crepe myrtle is no longer on the list of acceptable trees for landscaping. That 52” oak will now have to be replaced with enough trees to equal 26” total and each tree must be at least 2” in size. Most of the other landscaping regulations have remained the same.
There are numerous other small tweaks and changes throughout the code. Again, it becomes effective on the 24th of February. The new zoning maps and new future land use maps also have the same effective date. Those two are already on the city GIS map as proposed. I am providing a link to the new LDC to this email along with the Crestview Engineering Standards Manual. They are draft until the effective date, although there are no changes expected. If you have any questions, please let me know.
Elgin A. Duley III (Trae)
Community Development Services
City of Crestview, Florida
198 Wilson Street North
(P O Box 1209)
Crestview, FL 32536
850-689-1618 ext 227