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Summary of Changes to ESLO

1.  Relocation of ESLO and Modified Ordinance Hierarchy

  • The ordinance is relocated from Article VII, General Provisions to Article VI, Supplementary Districts.
  • Design standards are consolidated.  Density Transfer, Cluster Development and Amended Standards will be found under a new “Sensitive Design Options” heading.

2.  Modified the Method of Calculating Natural Area Open Space (NAOS)

  • Use of Table A is required and existing Table B, is eliminated.
  • Identification of NAOS locations and boundaries is specified.

3.  New Section Addressing Maintenance and Enforcement of NAOS

  • Ordinance clarifies the purpose of NAOS and reinforces that it is to remain completely natural without raking or enhancements.  Criteria are established for limited maintenance where invasive or non-indigenous plants and weeds have been introduced, where public trails are contiguous with NAOS, and where Rural/Metro requires defensible space for fire safety.
  • Penalties for misuse of grading and destruction of desert habitat are introduced.

4.  Changed NAOS Reductions

  • Eliminated reduction of required natural area open space for providing golf courses or similar turf areas in development projects.
  • Eliminated reduction of required NAOS for dedicating Conservation Area (CA) easements.
  • Added reduction of required natural area open space for those lower desert sites with minimal slopes where it is demonstrated that there are limited environmental conditions.

5.  Limited Use of Density Bonus Provisions

  • Limits the use of the density bonus provision to R1-43 through R1- 190 residential zoning districts.
  • Modified criteria encouraging applicants to provide meaningful additional open space.

6.  Increased Lot Size Threshold for Providing Common Tract NAOS and Clarified On-Lot NAOS

  • Amended the ordinance to increase the minimum lot size threshold from 12,000 square feet to 22,000 square feet for required common tract open space.
  • Added “on-lot” NAOS design standards.
  • Provided clarification on the use of construction envelopes as a viable means of preserving undisturbed NAOS.

7.  Amended Development Standards

  • The administrative approval section is revised to give the City’s Development Review Board the authority to approve amended development standards in certain cases (instead of staff administrative approvals).
  • Certain density transfer and cluster development cases will also require DR approval.
  • Minimum lot sizes, minimum setbacks and minimum lot widths may be reduced by 25% by the Development Review Board without a City Council hearing.

8.  McDowell Sonoran Preserve Guidelines

  • Design guidelines for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve boundary are introduced.
  • Added references to the Preserve in ordinance.

9.  Modified Submittal Requirements

  • ESL submittal requirements are consolidated and simplified.

10. Modified Maps and Definitions

  • New ESL Landform and Protected Peaks and Ridges Maps replace the ESL Special Features Maps.
  • Some features, formerly identified on maps are added to the Definitions Section of the ordinance.

11. Height restrictions

  • Max. height for buildings in R-1 districts in Lower and Upper desert landforms is 24’.

12. Restrictions on LRV of building materials and colors

  • Maximum of 35% Light Reflective Value in all landforms.