UDO Day 13: On the front. Frontages

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The Raleigh planning department released its draft Unified Development Ordinance April 6. The public has until June 6 to make comments before a public hearing June 7. In order to understand what’s in this new zoning code, the Record is reading it cover to cover and will be writing about what we find six days a week.

We see frontages every day, but never seem to give them much thought. A frontage is the way a building addresses the street, including how close it is to the road, if it has landscaping and where the parking is located. The purpose of a frontage is to give a street or neighborhood a specific look, preserve the existing character of an area and guide the look of future development.

Frontages are only used in mixed-use districts, but not every mixed-use district will have a frontage designated to it. Frontages are either suburban or urban in nature, but allow for a walkable environment.

More concise information on frontages can be found in Article 3.4 or here on the city’s Quick Guide to Frontages.


Let’s take a look at the different kinds of frontages in the draft UDO. Included are the types of buildings these frontages are intended for and, if applicable, a height limit.

Parkway (-PK)

  • A parkway has a heavily landscaped area between the building and the street.
  • All types of buildings can be assigned this frontage.

Detached (-DE)

  • A detached frontage keeps the character of a residential neighborhood, but offers light retail and service opportunities, such as banks and hair salons. It would be for areas near major roadways, which transition from residential to commercial.
  • Detached house, attached house, townhouse, apartment, civic building and open lot.
  • Three-story height limit

An example of the layout for a detached frontage.

Parking Limited (-PL)

  • A large parking lot in front of a building is an example of parking limited. This frontage is commonly seen in shopping centers.
  • Townhouse, mixed use building, apartment, general building, civic building, open space
  • Seven-story height limit

Green (-GR)

  • Sometimes it’s just impractical to have a building up close to the street. In some cases, parking between the street and the building isn’t desired. Enter solution: a pedestrian-friendly green frontage can be applied.
  • Townhouse, mixed use building, apartment, general building, civic building, open space

Urban Limited (-UL)

  • Similar to the green frontage, urban limited allows for parking on the side of the building.
  • Townhouse, mixed use building, apartment, general building, civic building, open space

Urban General (-UG)

  • When parking isn’t allowed on the side of the building, an urban general frontage can be used. Buildings are also pulled up to the edge of the street.
  • Townhouse, mixed use building, apartment, general building, civic building, open space

Shopfront (-SH)

  • Shopfront is something we’re all familiar with as we walk through downtown Raleigh. Retail storefronts are pulled up against large sidewalks, which encourage pedestrian traffic.
  • Mixed-use buildings, civic buildings, open lot

 

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