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    3.    
Planning Commission Regular
Meeting Date: 05/17/2018  
Subject:    PC 18-7, Site Plan Medical Office Building, 116XX Round Lake Boulevard, Wilkus Architects
From: Scott Harlicker, Planner

INTRODUCTION
The applicant is requesting site plan approval for a 20,540 square foot office building. The project will also require approval of design flexibility for Floor to Area Ratio (FAR), building entrance facing the primary street and percent of ground floor windows facing the primary street.
ACTIONS
Conduct a public hearing
Recommendation by Planning Commission
Decision City Council on: June 5
60 DAY RULE
The applicant submitted this application on:  April 9th

To comply with the requirements of Minnesota Statute §15.99, the City must approve or deny the application by: June 8th
LOCATION
The property is located at 116XX Round Lake Boulevard, the northwest corner of Round Lake Boulevard and Coon Rapids Boulevard.
 
 
  Existing Use Comprehensive Plan Zoning
Subject
Property
Vacant Commercial Mixed Used PORT/ River Rapids Overlay District
North Town Homes High Density Residential High Density Residential
South Office Commercial Mixed Used PORT/ River Rapids Overlay District
East Round Lake Boulevard N/A N/A
West Apartments High Density Residential High Density Residential
DISCUSSION
The applicant is proposing to construct a 20,540 square foot two story office building and associated parking. The site is 2.38 acres in size and is currently undeveloped except for a shared stormwater management basin along Round Lake Boulevard. The site will have two driveways from Round Lake Boulevard, one of them is shared with the adjacent properties to the south.

 
Dimensional Requirements
PORT Wellness
Proposed
Site Area –  N/A 2.38 acres
Lot Coverage  - 80% Impervious surface maximum Impervious surface coverage is 61.5%
Floor to Area Ratio – .6
 
.20 (See discussion design flexibility)
Parking – medical office, 1 space/300 square feet (68 spaces required) 121 total spaces
Setbacks                                            Required            
Bldg from Round Lake  Boulevard              50' min
Bldg from north property line                       10’ min
Bldg from south property line                       10' min
Parking from Round Lake Boulevard           20'  min
Parking from north property line                   10’ min  
Parking from south property line                     5' min

135 feet
59 feet
50 feet
87 feet 
10 feet

  5 feet

The site is located along Round Lake Boulevard and is within the River Rapids Overlay District (RRO). The RRO includes development guidelines that govern development within the District.  This proposal will be compared for consistency with those design guidelines, as well as site plan criteria found in Section 11-304.8.
 
Site Plan Criteria

 
Required Finding - Chapter 11-304.8 - General Requirements for All Site Plans Staff Analysis and Comments
(1) Be compatible with surrounding land uses OK - The proposed site plan is compatible with the adjacent land uses.
(2) Preserve existing natural features whenever possible OK - There is an existing stand of trees on the west end of the site that will be preserved.
(3) Achieve a safe and efficient circulation system OK – The drive aisles are of sufficient width to allow for safe and efficient traffic circulation.
(4) Not place excessive traffic loads on local streets OK – Traffic generated by the project will access on to Round Lake Boulevard. The street can handle the traffic generated by this building.
(5) Conform to the City’s plans for parks, streets, service drives, and walkways OK – There is a sidewalk along Round Lake Boulevard. No additional improvements are required.
(6) Conform to the City’s Goals and Policies OK – The proposal is consistent with the Master Plan for Port Wellness and the land use designation of Commercial Mixed Use.
(7) Achieve a maximum of safety, convenience, and amenities OK – An internal sidewalk system connects the building entrances with the parking lot and the building with the sidewalk along Round Lake Boulevard. Parking lot lights will have shields and cut offs so that the light is directed away from adjacent properties. The lighting plan will comply with city ordinance.
(8) Show sufficient landscaping OK – See discussion below. 
(9) Not create detrimental disturbances to surrounding properties OK – The project will not create disturbances which will be detrimental to the surrounding properties.
(10) Meet Title 11 OK - See shared parking discussion below
(11) Show efforts to conserve energy whenever practical OK

River Rapids Overlay Development Guidelines
 
RRO Standards (Chapter 11-1003) Proposed
Two-Story Expression
Pitched roofs, dormers, gables containing windows
OK – The building is two stories. There are changes in materials and colors to distinguish between them.
Building Massing
Staggered components, columns,   recessed entry areas, avoid long, even facades
OK – The building height is staggered. Horizontal and vertical variations are provided by a raised stone tower at the southeast corner.
Facades
Articulated building facades, 20 to 30 intervals
OK – The different building materials, windows, and recessed entrance provide articulation to break up the facades of the building.
Varied Roof Shapes
Variety (pitched roofs, dormers, chimneys, parapets, cornices)
OK – The stone tower provides a break in the roofline.
 
Focal Features
Focal element (canopies, porticoes, overhangs, arches, recesses/projections, peaks/parapets over doors) on each building

 
OK – The tower is the focal feature of the building. The recessed the entrance and the large windows in the upper stories over the entrance help identify it.
Canopies/Awnings/Entry Treatments
Entries or focal features facing public streets

 
OK – See discussion below regarding design flexibility.
Building Materials
High-quality materials (brick, natural stone, stucco, textured cast stone, fiber-cement siding; no steel panels, aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass siding); 30% of facades facing a street must be brick or natural stone.

 
OK - The exterior of the building includes a  variety of materials. Exterior materials include two types and colors of fiber cement siding and cultured stone. There is a precast veneer base. The building elevations facing Round Lake Boulevard exceeds 30% brick or stone. Attached is a photo of a similar building constructed by the applicant using the same  materials as this one.
 

 
Windows and Doors
Primary street level façade between 3 and 8 feet above grade must be 60% glass
OK - See flexibility discussion below.
Outdoor Spaces
Plazas, seating areas, outdoor furniture

 
OK– Outdoor seating areas will be incorporated near the west building entrance as well as the front entry. The design of the furniture should be consistent between both areas.
Parking
Locate parking to rear or sides of buildings.

 
OK – The bulk of the parking is on the side and rear yards. There is a single row of parking on the side facing Round Lake Boulevard.
Pedestrian/Bicycle Access and Circulation
Complete system from public ROW to buildings; minimum 5' wide sidewalks

 
OK – Internal sidewalks are provided. A sidewalk connection from Round Lakes Boulevard along the south shared access to the building is proposed.
Urban Design Furniture/Amenities
Compatible furniture/amenities (benches, trash receptacles, pedestrian-scale lighting, bicycle racks)

 
NO - Trash receptacles should be provided near the seating areas and bike rack should be provided near the front entrance.
Landscaping and Screening OK - See discussion and table
Lighting
Accent lighting for building facades; compatible with applicable standards

 
N/A – No accent lighting is proposed for the buildings.

Landscaping

There is a wooded area at the west end of the site that is being preserved. A row of 28 black hills spruce, interspersed with eight maples line the north property line and screen the project from the adjacent townhomes. Seven maple street trees are provided along Round Lake Boulevard and four river birch will be planted between the stormwater pond and the parking lot. A mix of shrubs are and perennials proposed along Round Lake Boulevard. The pond will be seeded with a wetland seed mix. There are existing shrubs along Round Lake Boulevard should be preserved where possible.

Foundation plantings are proposed around the building. Plantings should be provided along the south wall between the entrance and wrap around the east end of the building. This area is the focal point of the building and is visible from the intersection of Coon Rapids Boulevard and Round Lake Boulevard. The open areas around the building include a mix of ornamental trees and overstory trees.

The four parking lot peninsulas and larger ones near the building include a mix of trees. The dumpster enclosure is screened  with a mix of shrubs and ornamental trees.

Signage

No ground sign is proposed. The wall signs shown on the building elevations are for reference only and are not being approved at this time. They require separate permits.

Shared Parking

There are three parcels that share the south access from Round Lake Boulevard. This access was installed when adjacent office building was constructed. When the adjacent building to the south was designed and approved, the planned second phase included shared parking with the lot currently under consideration for development. The parking lot was installed with that in mind. It included a drive aisle that does not comply with the required five foot parking setback and extends onto the applicant's site. The code allows for parking encroachments provided a shared access agreement is executed. A shared access agreement between the applicant and the adjoining property will be entered into to accommodate the existing situation. The applicant's site plan does comply with the five foot parking setback. The existing bituminous curb will be improved to concrete curb and gutter.

Design Flexibility

Section 11-903.12(3) states that the Planning Commission may recommend approval of an alternative approach to meeting any of the design standards in this section if an applicant demonstrates the following:

  • Such modification is necessary to respond to site conditions;
  • Will result in better integration of uses or additional public amenities, and
  • Will further the intent of this Section.

Floor to Area Ratio (FAR)

The code requires a FAR of .6, the applicant is proposing a FAR of .2 Staff is recommending the Commission approve the .2 FAR. A .6 FAR would require a 62,202 square foot building which in turn would require 207 parking spaces. The granting of design flexibility is warranted because the site can not accommodate density required to reach a .6 FAR. The .2 FAR will allow for development at an intensity suitable for the site.    

Entry to Building Facing Round Lake Boulevard

The code requires that that the main entrance to the building face the primary street, on this site the primary street is Round Lake Boulevard. The applicant may substitute a focal feature for the main entrance when it is not feasible for the main entrance to face the primary street. The main entrance as proposed faces south, towards the main parking area. The configuration of the site and the existing stormwater pond limit the layout of the site and the placement of the main entrance so that it faces Round Lake Boulevard. To mitigate the south facing entrance, the applicant would like to substitute the stone tower as the focal feature. The stone tower will be visible from the intersection of Round Lake Boulevard and Coon Rapids Boulevard.

60% of the wall facing Round Lake Boulevard must be transparent between the height of 3 to 8 feet above grade

The code requires for retail and office uses 60% of the wall facing the primary street be transparent between the height of 3 to 8 feet above grade. The applicant is proposing that 40% of the designated area be transparent. The applicant distinguishes proposed medical treatment office from traditional office uses. They acknowledge the need for natural light and windows, but need to balance that with the need for patient privacy. In addition, sections along the east wall include wall mounted utility spaces and structural supports that limit the placement of windows. The building itself is setback about 135 feet from Round Lake Boulevard. The area between the building and the street includes a stormwater pond, maple street trees along Round Lake Boulevard and a row of birch trees between the pond and the parking lot.

 

RECOMMENDATION
In Planning Case 18-7, the Commission move to recommend approval of the site plan with design flexibility with the  conditions and the findings for granting flexibility listed below:

Conditions for Approval
  1. Compliance with Title 11 Land Use Regulations.
  2. All Engineering comments be addressed.
  3. A site security agreement be executed.
  4. All sign require separate permits and are not approved as part of this site plan approval.
  5. A shared access agreement be executed and approved by City Attorney for form and content.
  6. All landscaped areas must be irrigated.
  7. Foundation plantings be included along the south wall, east of the front entrance and continue around the corner to the east side.
  8. Parking lot lights will have shields and cut offs so that the light is directed away from adjacent properties. The lighting plan will comply with city ordinance.
  9. The design of the outdoor furniture should be consistent between both seating areas.
  10. Trash receptacles should be provided near the seating areas and bike rack should be provided near the front entrance.
  11. The existing bituminous curb along the existing drive aisle will be improved to concrete curb and gutter.
  12. There are existing shrubs along Round Lake Boulevard must be preserved and incorporated into the landscape design where possible.
     

Findings for Design Flexibility

Floor to Area Ratio (FAR)
The granting of design flexibility is warranted because the site and can not accommodate density required to reach a .6 FAR. The .2 FAR will allow for development at an intensity suitable for the site.    

Entrance facing the Primary Street
The configuration of the site and the existing stormwater pond limit the layout of the site and the placement of the main entrance so that it faces Round Lake Boulevard. To mitigate the south facing entrance, the applicant would like to substitute the stone tower as the focal feature. The stone tower will be visible from the intersection of Round Lake Boulevard and Coon Rapids Boulevard.

Percent Ground Floor Transparency Facing Primary Street
The applicant acknowledges the need for natural light and windows, but need to balance that with the need for patient privacy. In addition, sections along the east wall include wall mounted utility spaces and structural supports that limit the placement of windows. The building itself is setback about 135 feet from Round Lake Boulevard. The area between the building and the street includes a stormwater pond, maple street trees along Round Lake Boulevard and a row of birch trees between the pond and the parking lot.

 

Attachments
Location Map
Development Plans
Building Elevations
Applicant's Narrative
Picture of Otsego building
Perspective Building Views

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