Proposed Code Amendments – City of Chandler (.gov)

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Mayor Kevin Hartke
Welcome to Chandler, Arizona, the Community of Innovation. Come meet Mayor Kevin Hartke and the members of the City Council.
Mayor and Council
The City of Chandler’s Planning Division would like your input regarding the draft amendments to the City Code Chapter 35 Land Use and Zoning and Chapter 39 Sign Code. Proposed amendments pertain to residential and non-residential uses. The Code Amendment is entitled PLH23-0026 Cornucopia Code Amendment. All amendments are categorized as either Neighborhoods or Economic Vitality, as to align with the City Council’s Strategic Framework.
Feedback is requested by 5 p.m. Monday, January 15, 2024.
Areas in and around the downtown were given multi-family zoning in 1960 to align with conditions at that time. Many single-family lots located in those areas had a second dwelling for servant quarters, therefore, determined it was multi-family. 
Due to the blanket multi-family zoning over those neighborhoods, today single-family homes cannot be built on vacant properties or rebuilt in case of a fire, without obtaining a Use Permit.  While those areas are currently, single-family neighborhoods, all of those lots are legally non-conforming. 
In order to preserve the existing single-family neighborhoods in the downtown area, the proposed amendment would permit single-family dwelling by right on multi-family zoned properties not exceeding 12,000 square feet.
See pages 11-14 of rough draft.
The current code requires all parking areas on single-family lots to be connected to the required off-street parking spaces (i.e., garage or carport). Staff has seen this create a reoccurring issue for residents who want to add a driveway that leads to a gate on the property’s side yard.  Currently, the code does not allow parking on the driveway, unless it is connected to the garage. This encourages residents to pave over most of their front yard and creates less desirable curb appeal for neighborhoods.
Eliminate the requirement for on-site parking surfaces to be connected to the garage in order to reduce the amount of pavement used and provide more landscaping within residential front yards. 

See page 20 of the rough draft.
Under the 2020 approved zoning code amendments, guest quarters were permitted on single-family lots. Guest quarters did not permit built-in cooking facilities, (i.e. stove or oven). Residents overwhelmingly request to build ADU’s with full kitchens to house an aging parent or adult children. 
Guest quarters will still be permitted as defined above.
Permit accessory dwelling units on single-family lots meeting requirements of the accessory building, which one (1) accessory building is permitted per lot, must meet the property’s building setbacks, maximum height of fifteen (15) feet, and must be architecturally integrated with the main residence. The proposal requires one (1) additional uncovered off-street parking space not obstructing any required off-street parking for the main dwelling. In order to not change the character of the single-family neighborhood, ADUs shall not be used as short-term rental vacation property. 

See pages 29-30 of rough draft.
Home occupations are currently permitted within residential properties if completely conduced within the dwelling unit, by a member of the family residing therein, and no customers or employees are allowed to come to the dwelling.
Amend to permit additional uses such as but not limited to personal services, beauty services, photographer, consulting, or therapist allowing one employee and one customer appointment at a time to visit during the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The home occupation can occur within an accessory building or garage if the use does not replace required garage parking spaces. No home occupation shall be permitted that is noxious, offensive, or hazardous by reason of vehicular traffic, generation or emission of noise, vibration, smoke, dust, or other particulate matter, odorous matter, heat, humidity, glare, refuse, radiation, or other objectionable emissions.  

See pages 33-34 of the rough draft.
Currently, the zoning code requires a setback of five feet.  This setback was originally derived from the Building Code, which has since been amended to require a 3-foot setback. The pool setback is dictated by the building code, however, now the zoning code and building code are not the same. 
Remove required setback to align with the building code requirements; three feet from any horizontal plane.

See pages 31-32 of rough draft.
An open-air ramada is a structure open on the sides and supporting a roof used for the purpose of providing shade. Permitted open-air ramadas cannot exceed 150 square feet, the maximum height is ten (10) feet, and the setback five (5) feet from the property line. Currently, there is no limit to the number of ramadas that can be placed in a rear yard, however, they must be separated by one (1) horizontal foot. 
A majority of pre-manufactured ramadas or shade structures exceed the maximum square footage permitted per the current code.
Proposal to eliminate maximum square footage and limit total square footage of all ramadas to not exceed thirty (30) percent of the rear yard as measured from the back plane of the house; excluding accessory buildings which can occupy thirty (30) percent of the rear yard as well. Total lot coverage for the property shall be met. Maximum height and setbacks for ramadas will remain unchanged. Ramadas may have one solid wall not exceeding seven (7) feet in height used for the purpose of a media wall and shall exclude chimneys. 
Without the amendment, a property owner can currently cover the entire backyard with ramadas only separating them by one foot and meeting the five (5) foot setback from property lines. The proposed amendment although removing maximum square footage establishes the total area of a rear yard where ramadas can occur. 
See page 30 of rough draft.
The current code does not require minimum wall height or consider grade differences between adjacent developments. Potential grade differences could create privacy concerns.
For new developments abutting residential areas, add a requirement to maintain or provide a minimum six (6) foot-high perimeter wall, as measured from the highest grade within five (5) feet of the new wall.
See pages 30-31 of rough draft
The current code is silent but by policy when new development occurs adjacent to existing development staff avoids permitting double walls due to safety concerns. Developers insist on building a new wall adjacent to an existing perimeter wall to avoid having to work with adjacent property owners. Areas between the walls can range from centimeters to in some cases wide enough to access the area. Safety concerns include children or animals getting stuck between one wall compromising the other wall.
Prohibit double walls; the developer shall work with adjacent property owners to use or replace the existing wall. 
See pages 30-31 of rough draft.
The current code requires covered and uncovered parking spaces per unit based on bedroom counts. The code is silent on requiring guest parking spaces. Through the public hearing process, developers can request to deviate from the required parking spaces.
Developments that requested a deviation to the parking requirements have since been built and city staff now have observed a parking problem. Residents often park outside the development within neighboring streets as either parking is not available or the development charges residents an extra fee to park within the apartment complex.
The proposed amendment is to require 0.25 additional parking spaces per unit evenly distributed throughout the development for guest parking. Staff researched other municipalities and found Chandler’s parking requirements for multi-family is average, however, Chandler is one of the few cities that currently does not require additional spaces for guests.
The proposed code amendment would also prohibit apartments from charging a separate fee for parking spaces required by the code.
Some Council members had concerns the additional parking spaces would result in less landscaping or fewer units to be built.
See pages 20-21 of rough draft.
The current zoning code does not require designated guest parking spaces within residential development; this amendment is for all residential development excluding apartments.
While not currently in code, the staff is implementing a policy that requires developments to provide guest parking spaces evenly distributed throughout the development when on-street parking is not available. By codifying the policy, staff can continue to require adequate guest parking spaces within residential developments while at the same time provide more certainty to developers.
If on-street parking is not available, guest parking spaces evenly distributed throughout the development shall occur at the following rate: 
See pages 20-21 of rough draft.
The zoning code restricts the height, location, and size of satellite dishes within different zoning districts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates and protects requirements for satellite dishes. During a City Council Subcommittee meeting, a Council member raised concerns about completely eliminating satellite dish regulations. 
Staff proposes to amend the requirements for satellite dishes to protect visual impacts on neighboring properties while concurrently aligning with the requirements of the FCC in lieu of removing them completely. 

See pages 32-33 of the rough draft.
Developers are walking away from potential projects that would’ve improved older areas of the city because they require PAD and/or PDP amendments. The 8-month (average) process can’t be reduced without infringing on critical components such as staff review, neighborhood outreach or statutory notification periods for public hearings.
In order to facilitate infill and redevelopment in older areas of Chandler, the staff is proposing the ability to administratively review and approve waivers to building setbacks if the proposed design exceeds the intent of commercial design standards and the precedence for high-quality design in lieu of the public hearing process for commercial and industrial properties.
The amendment would encourage developers to provide higher quality designs in lieu of going through the 8-month public hearing process.
Certain City Council members and Planning and Zoning Commissioners expressed concerns about waiving the public process but were willing to look at criteria for allowing administrative approval.
In order to accommodate, encourage, or promote unusual, unique, or experimental methods of infill development or redevelopment for properties located within the Infill Incentive Area (properties located north of the SanTan 202 Freeway), the Zoning Administrator may reduce or waive front yard building setbacks prescribed herein after having made a finding in writing that such deviation, on balance, will result in environmental and design quality superior to that otherwise attainable without such deviation.
Criteria established to qualify for reduced setbacks, identifying buffers in place from residential, and minimum landscaping.
See page 15 of the rough draft.
Staff has seen a heightened request for more free-standing pads within larger developments due to consumer trends and the market. In order to accommodate desired development within the city, administratively allow more than one free-standing pad per arterial street if the proposed design exceeds the intent of commercial design standards and the precedence for high-quality design in lieu of the public hearing process.
Certain City Council members and Planning and Zoning Commissioners expressed concern with waiving the public process but were willing to look at criteria for allowing administrative approval.
In order to accommodate, encourage or promote unusual, unique, or experimental methods of development or environmental design, the Zoning Administrator may approve more than two free-standing pads per development after having made a finding in writing that such deviation, on balance, will result in environmental quality superior to that otherwise attainable without such deviation.
The intent of the following standard is to encourage creative and innovative design techniques, quality and merit administratively.
See page 27 of the rough draft.
Double drive-thru lanes have become very common in recent years.  The zoning code requires 150 feet of queuing from the start of the queuing lane to the pick-up window and also provides a minimum of six (6) vehicles from the order box to the start of the queuing lane for high turn-over users. Businesses would like to divide the required queuing length between two lanes. However, this could create traffic circulation issues when businesses close one of the lanes and cause queuing to spill onto adjacent parcels or streets.
The proposed amendment would require total minimum queuing to occur within one lane and any additional lanes would be extra, but not be counted towards the requirement.
The amendment would also replace six (6) vehicles with 120 feet to avoid unclear dimensions for developers.
See pages 26-27 of rough draft.
Businesses providing pick-up windows for preorders or online orders only request a shorter queuing lane as orders are prepared prior to the customer arriving on-site and customers are given a time for pick-up. Currently, the code does not differentiate between online orders or onsite orders and requires 150 feet for all queuing lanes.
The proposed amendment would require a minimum of sixty (60) feet of queuing from the start of the queuing lane to pick-up window for pick-up windows that are only used for preorders. Menu boards would be prohibited.
See pages 26-27 of rough draft.
Staff has seen multiple requests for shipping containers to be used for development. Current code prohibits the use of metal buildings if seen from arterial streets. The intent was to prohibit pre-manufactured metal buildings.
The proposed amendment would permit shipping containers if designed creatively with additional material for both residential and non-residential development.
See pages 26-27 of rough draft.
A Mid-Rise Overlay (MRO) is required for buildings exceeding forty-five (45) feet in height and processed through a rezoning. MRO was intended to regulate buildings five stories or taller. The issue is that 3 and 4-story buildings are frequently surpassing MRO heights because of increases in height between floors and of roof-mounted mechanical equipment. The intent is to allow 3 to 4-story buildings to increase the height of parapets to completely screen all roof-mounted equipment without having to obtain an MRO.
Increase the requirement for Mid-Rise Overlay from forty-five (45) feet to fifty-five (55) feet to accommodate the screening of large roof-mounted equipment. 
See page 2 of rough draft.
The current code requires all roof-mounted equipment to be completely screened from all views. For new development, the preference is to screen equipment by the top of the parapet. If a secondary screening method is used to screen equipment on an existing building, material and massing need to be architecturally integrated with the building’s design to avoid a box around a box.
Developers have claimed Chandler is more restrictive than other cities. Upon further review, other cities require complete screening as viewed from across the street. The potential code amendment is to not lessen screening requirements but to allow for flexibility for aging industrial business parks or situations where screening can be waived. 
In order to accommodate, third-generation users of aging industrial buildings within larger business parks not seen from arterial roads, the potential amendment would allow the Zoning Administrator to waive roof-mounted screening. As proposed, the code would continue to require equipment to be screened if the development is adjacent to residential or visible from an arterial street. No changes to commercial development.
Another consideration to this amendment would be to reduce the required screening for equipment if located so as to not be visible on buildings fifty-five (55) feet or taller. 
City Council wanted to ensure screening occurred adjacent to residential.
See page 26 of the rough draft.
Per the Sign Code, temporary banners shall not be displayed for more than thirty (30) days within each six (6) month period. Property owners have asked to display “For Lease” or “Space Available” banners as long as the suite is unoccupied.
Some Council members were not okay with an unlimited amount of time but were willing to establish a longer time for unoccupied spaces.
The amendment would establish a longer period of time, by allowing a one (1) year permit for banners over unoccupied spaces. The permit could be renewed yearly to assist in the maintenance of the temporary signs.
See page 35 of the rough draft.
The Sign Code is currently silent regarding murals. The concern is deciphering murals as either art or signage. Murals with associated text can be considered signage. 
The proposed amendment would clearly distinguish signage from murals by adding definitions and clarifying that images depicting a commercial messages are signs. Murals consisting of no commercial message, would be allowed by right.
Staff would provide a precursory review to ensure no commercial messages were depicted within proposed murals.
See page 34 of the rough draft.
Current code only classifies two types of medical regarding uses and parking; hospitals have three (3) spaces per bed and medical, dental offices, clinic one (1) space per one hundred and fifty (150) square feet. The medical market has evolved to include several outpatient services, which require different amounts of parking since they do not operate like a general doctor’s office serving multiple patients within an hour.
The proposed amendment would categorize types of medical uses and associated parking requirements. For specialist medical users or out-patient surgery centers, a parking ratio of one (1) space per two hundred (200) square feet is the recommended ratio by the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
See page 22 of the rough draft.
Industrial development has grown exponentially in the past five years. Currently, the city has approximately 2.4 million square feet of flex industrial buildings under construction. The current parking ratio for industrial is either: Manufacturing at one (1) space per one thousand (1,000) square feet; or 
Warehousing requires one (1) space per five hundred (500) square feet for the first ten thousand (10,000) square feet plus one (1) space/five thousand (5,000) square feet for the remaining warehouse. Both uses shall park office at a rate of one (1) per two-hundred and fifty (250) square feet.
Recent flex industrial developments have been attracting users that require more parking due to their mix of office, manufacturing and other similar more intensive uses.  As such, staff has been administratively requiring 2 spaces/1,000 sq. ft. on all flex industrial development for at least the last year. 
The proposed amendment would codify the parking ratio that staff has been administratively requiring; a minimum parking ratio of two (2) parking spaces per one-thousand (1,000) square feet. The proposed ratio would accommodate various industrial users including research and development and all ancillary offices.
See page 24 of the rough draft.
Three objectives proposed:
See attached rough draft Table of Permitted Uses.
The current code is silent regarding enforcement of Entertainment Use Permit or Use Permit renewal when time stipulation is due and an application for renewal has been submitted.
The proposed amendment clarifies that when an application is filed and under the review process, enforcement may be stayed.
See pages 3-7 of rough draft.
In 2018, Liquor Use Permits were eliminated and replaced with Entertainment Use Permits to regulate establishments that sold alcohol to the public and had entertainment activity. The exception was that bars would continue to require Use Permits even if they did not plan to have entertainment. 
The Arizona Department of Liquor issues two types of bar licenses; Series 6 Bar License and Series 7 Beer and Wine Bar License. Series 7 liquor licenses are utilized by establishments that do not create negative impacts on surrounding properties.
Examples of such establishments include Game Show Battle Rooms and Pickleball Kingdom.  Staff believes that the Use Permit requirement for bars was intended for Series 6 Bar licenses, which are the typical bar establishments that are more likely to impact surrounding properties.
The proposed amendment eliminates the requirement for a Use Permit for an establishment operating under a Series 7 Beer and Wine Bar License by defining a bar as an establishment with a Series 6 Bar Liquor License.
See page 1 of rough draft.
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