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Council amends UDSP

February 17, 2017

Single-story homes now will be included in the University District development after the Rohnert Park City Council approved amendments to the University District Specific Plan.

The amendments were, according to City Manager Darren Jenkins, in response to input from the public, which expressed a desire for single-story homes. The applicant and developer – Brookfield Residential Northern California, a division of Brookfield Residential Properties, Inc. – has requested amendments to University District Specific Plan to allow for a new housing type referred to as “age targeted, single story and pop-up single family detached homes.” The request isn’t meant to replace the currently allowed home designs, but to allow for a wider range of home types within the specific plan area. 

The council approved the amendments by a 4-0 vote, as Councilman Joseph Callinan was absent.

The proposed changes, according to a city staff report, will help address market demand for new one-story structures that are currently not available in the UDSP. The intent of the age targeted design is to create “single-story living” homes that reduce the need to go to a second story on a day-to-day basis, but to allow for the addition of second story "pop- up" space for secondary rooms for residents and/or guests. The applicant proposes minor reductions to the rear, side and front setbacks and open space requirements to allow for more ground floor square footage, more design flexibility and the ability to open up the interior of the lot for outdoor patio space. Home designs that internalize the patio space create more privacy – a desirable feature in smaller lot residential neighborhoods. 

“These are simple amendments…they really only amend two pages of the specific plan but they have big impact on what developer can do in terms of design of the product,” Rohnert Park Planning Manager Jeff Beiswenger said.

These proposed amendments would add a separate low density detached category for single story and pop-up homes: 

• Front-yard setbacks: 10-foot minimum setback for living areas of single story and pop-up structures. Garage setbacks would continue to be 18 feet. This reduced front yard setback allows for detached or separate entry. 

• Side-yard setbacks: 4-foot minimum with no encroachments. This matches the setbacks in the medium density land use category. Windows on the second level pop-up area would be clerestory if located at the minimum setback.

• Rear-Yard setbacks: 5-foot minimum setback for living areas and garages of single story structures and 10-foot minimum for the second level pop-up. If a pop-up is included it would step back from the property line, addressing privacy concerns and creating some design diversity in the home design. 

• Private open space square footage: The minimum required private open space would be reduced from 500 square feet to 400 square feet to allow for more building square footage for one-story structures. 

The University District Specific Plan Area includes approximately 300 acres. In 2014, the specific plan was amended to reconfigure the project layout. The project currently allows a maximum of 1,645 residential units and 100,000 square feet of commercial space. The specific plan includes 382 low density residential units on 66.88 acres.