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Neighborhood Infill Overlay

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At the conclusion of the 2020 Downtown & Surrounding Neighborhood Housing Study & Strategy, staff from the Tulsa Planning Office continued meeting with community members to discuss how to address Zoning Code barriers to new housing development in existing neighborhoods. After hearing from residents and local home builders, it was determined that a zoning overlay could help ease the zoning-related burdens on housing development in these near-downtown neighborhoods.

What would the Neighborhood Infill Overlay do?

The Neighborhood Infill Overlay would allow for a variety of different residential housing types in a manner that is compatible with the size and residential character of surrounding properties. Current regulations make it difficult to build the types of housing that was historically abundant in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown a hundred years ago: duplexes, townhomes, multi-unit houses, quadplexes, and small apartment buildings. These housing types are commonly referred to as “Missing Middle” Housing because they are similar in size to detached homes but contain more than one unit, and they have typically not been built since the mid-1940s.

In January, we are hosting a series of meetings specifically for residents of neighborhoods near downtown where we are considering changes to the zoning code that would allow Missing Middle housing to be built once more, as it was when the neighborhoods were first built out. The proposed citywide changes and this Neighborhood Infill Overlay are intended to make it easier to build these kinds of neighborhood-scale residences. The regulations are also intended to promote housing types that accommodate households of varying sizes and income levels and provide for a more efficient use of residential land.

Below you’ll find a draft of the propose overlay text, which would be adopted as a text amendment to the zoning code. If approved, we would then work with neighborhoods and City Councilors to further define the boundaries the overlay would be applied to.
See the main page for a look at the process or view the initial proposed boundaries.

The overlay doesn’t require any action on part of property owners – if approved, it would open up more opportunities for property owners to build on their properties.

 

Near-Downtown Neighborhoods

If you live in one of the neighborhoods included in the initial proposed overlay area, join us for a virtual meeting on May 3 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to talk about the proposed overlay.

Draft Overlay Language

 

Section 20.080 Neighborhood Infill Overlay

20.080-A General

  1. Purpose and Intent – The Neighborhood Infill Overlay establishes zoning regulations that are intended to promote the development of alternative infill housing in established neighborhoods. The overlay allows for a variety of residential housing types in a manner that is compatible, in mass and scale, with the character of surrounding properties. The regulations are also intended to promote housing types that accommodate households of varying sizes and income levels and provide for a more efficient use of residential land.
  1. Applicability – Except as otherwise expressly stated, the Neighborhood Infill Overlay regulations of this section apply to RS-3, RS-4, RS-5, RD, RT, RM-0, RM-1, RM-2 and RM-3 zoning districts only within the boundaries of the Neighborhood Infill Overlay districts to all new permitted uses and structures and all building alterations and site modifications that require a building permit.
  1. Nonconformities – Nonconformities that exist within the overlay district are governed by the regulations of Chapter 80 except in residential zoning districts, a single detached house, duplex, or multi-unit house, where the particular residential building type is allowed by right or is allowed by special exception and a special exception has been granted, may be erected on a nonconforming lot without complying with the minimum lot area, minimum lot area per unit, minimum lot width, minimum street frontage or minimum open space per unit requirements of the subject zoning district, provided that at least 50% of the lot area remains as open space. All other lot and building regulations apply, except that detached houses, duplexes, or multi-unit houses may be erected on corner lots that are nonconforming with regard to lot width, subject to a reduced minimum street side building setback of 5 feet. Garages that are accessed through a side yard abutting a street must be set back at least 20 feet.
  1. Conflicting Regulations – All applicable regulations of the underlying base zoning district apply to property in the Neighborhood Infill Overlay unless otherwise expressly stated in the Neighborhood Infill Overlay regulations. For properties with approved development plans (PUD, CO, MPD, Optional Development Plan), the approved development plan and development standards apply.

 

20.080-B Use Regulations – Residential, Household Living
Residential, household living principal uses are allowed in the Neighborhood Infill Overlay district in accordance with Table 20-4.

  1. Permitted Uses – Residential, household living uses identified with a “P” symbol are allowed by right in the Neighborhood Infill Overlay district within the particular base zoning district, subject to compliance with any supplemental regulations identified in Chapter 40 and all other applicable regulations of this zoning code.
  1. Special Exception Uses – Uses identified with an “S” may be allowed and if reviewed and approved in accordance with the special exception procedures of Section 70.120.
  1. Prohibited Uses – Uses identified with an “–” are expressly prohibited. Uses that are not listed in the table and that cannot be reasonably interpreted (as stated in §35.020-E) to fall within any defined use category are also prohibited.
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What it means / does

This proposed section of amendments to the Zoning Code is entirely new and will only apply to those properties within neighborhoods later included in the adopted overlay boundary that are zoned as: RS-3, RS-4, RS-5, RD, RT, RM-0, RM-1, RM-2 and RM-3.

The specific boundaries of the overlay will be determined at a later date, and will include more public discussion. What’s being considered now are text amendments that would create the regulations.

Table 20-4: Neighborhood Infill Overlay District Use Regulations for Household Living

Base Zoning Districts:
USE CATEGORY
RS-
RD
RT
RM-
Subcategory
Specific Use
3
450123
RESIDENTIAL
Houshold Living (if in building type allowed in Table 20-4.5)
Single household
P [1]
P [1]P [1]P [2] [1]P [2] [1]P [2] [1]P [2] [1]P [2] [1]P [2] [1]
Two households on a single lot
S
P
S
P
S
P
PPPPPP
Three households on a single lot

P

P
S
P
S
P
PPPPP
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What it means / does

This table allows multiple houses on a single lot and allows Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by right in each of the listed zoning districts. See more about ADUs below.

Text highlighted in yellow are changes from the existing code.

“P” means permitted by right.
“S” means by special exception only.
“–” means prohibited.

 

  1. Table 20-4 Notes

The following notes refer to the bracketed numbers (e.g.,” [1]”) in (Table 20-4):
[1]   Accessory dwelling units may be allowed by special exception in RE and RS Districts on a lot occupied by a detached house. For supplemental regulations, see Section 45.031.

[2][1] Accessory dwelling units are allowed by right in RS, RD, RT, and RM, and RMH Districts on a lot occupied by a detached house. For supplemental regulations, see Section 45.031.

 

 

 

 

20.080-C Residential Building Types for Household Living
In the Neighborhood Infill Overlay district, within the particular base zoning district, household living uses must be located in the residential building types identified in Table 20-4.5. Descriptions of the residential building types and references to applicable regulations are found in Section 35.010.

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What it means / does

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a smaller residential building often used for aging parents, young professionals, and other independent people. They often take the form of small backyard cottages, garage apartments, basement apartments, or attic apartments.

This change would allow for an ADU to be built in certain residential districts, and not require any neighborhood input or special approval by the City.

Text highlighted in yellow are changes from the existing code.

Table 20-4.5: Neighborhood Infill Overlay District Building Type Regulations for Household Living

Base Zoning Districts:
USE CATEGORY
RS-
RD
RT
RM-
Subcategory
Specific Use
3
450123
RESIDENTIAL
Houshold Living (if in building type allowed in Table 20-4.5)
Single household
Detached house
P
PPPPPPPP
Patio House
P
PPPPPPPP
Townhouse
2-unit townhouse
S P
S PPPPPPPP
3-unit townhouse

P

P

P

P
PPPPP
Manufactured housing unit
S
SSSSSSSS
Manufactured housing subdivision
Mobile home
Mixed-use building
SSS
Vertical mixed-use building
SSS
Two households on a single lot
Duplex
S P
S PS PPPPPPP
Mixed-use building
PPP
Vertical mixed-use building
PPP
Three or more households on a single lot
Cottage house development

P

P
PS
P
S
P
PPPP
Multi-unit house

P

P

P

P
PPPPP
Apartment/condo

P [1]

P [1]

P [1]

P [1]

P [1]
PPPP
Mobile home park
Mixed-use building
PPP
Vertical mixed-use building
PPP
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What it means / does

This table allows multiple houses on a single lot and allows Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in each of the listed zoning districts without having to go through special approval processes. See more about ADUs below.

Text highlighted in yellow are changes from the existing code.

 

“P” means permitted by right.
“S” means by special exception only.
“–” means prohibited.

20.080-D Lot and Building Regulations 

In the Neighborhood Infill Overlay district, the lot and building regulations of Table 20-5 apply in the RS-3, RS-4, RS-5, RD, RT, RM-0, RM-1, RM-2, RM-3 base zoning districts to Duplex, Townhouse, Cottage House Development, Multi-unit House and Apartment/Condo building types. General exceptions to these regulations and rules for measuring compliance can be found in Chapter 90. Regulations governing accessory uses and structures can be found in Chapter 45.

Table 20-5: Neighborhood Infill Overlay District Lot and Building Regulations

Minimum Lot Area (sq. ft.)
Townhouse1,600
Duplex, Cottage House Development,
Multi-Unit House, Apartment/Condo
4,000
Minimum Lot Area per Unit (sq. ft.)N/A
Minimum Lot Width (feet)
Townhouse20
Duplex, Cottage House Development,
Multi-Unit House, Apartment/Condo
40
Minimum Street Frontage20 [1]
Minimum Open Space per Unit (sq. ft.)100
Minimum Building Setbacks (feet)
Street10 [2]
Side3 [3]
Rear10
Maximum Building Height (feet)35

Table 20-5 Notes

The following notes refer to the bracketed numbers (e.g.,” [1]”) in (Table 20-5):

[1] Minimum street frontage requirements apply to townhouse developments, not to individual townhouse units. Cottage house developments require minimum street frontage of 50 feet.

[2] Minimum setback for street-facing garage doors is 20 feet.

[3] No side setback is required for interior units in townhouse developments. Side setback applies to end units.

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What it means / does

Most of Tulsa’s neighborhoods built before 1960 have much smaller and narrower lots than what the Zoning Code currently requires of new neighborhoods. Changes are being proposed to align the requirements with the lot pattern of those older existing neighborhoods. The proposed table will allow new housing options to be built on the existing lots and maintain the neighborhood character.

20.080- E Parking Regulations

  1. Minimum Parking Ratios – The minimum parking ratios established in Section 55.020, Table 55-1 for a Household Living use are reduced by 50% in the Neighborhood Infill Overlay district.
  1. Location – The parking area is prohibited between building and street right-of-way (see Figure 20-2) on lots occupied by a Townhouse, Cottage House Development, Multi-unit House and Apartment/Condo.

Figure 20-2: Parking prohibited between Building and Street Right-of-Way
Figure 20-2: Parking prohibited between Building and Street Right-of-Way

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What it means / does

This change still requires off-street parking, but would reduce the minimum number of required parking spaces. This reduction provides greater flexibility for lots in older neighborhoods to be redeveloped.

Most residents rely on private automobiles for transportation, but there is an increased demand for living in urban neighborhoods that are well-connected with sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and access to public transportation options. 

Parking is one of the chief concerns we heard from people trying to build new housing in existing neighborhoods – the current minimum required parking often prevents housing development because the parking would take up too much of the lot to leave enough room for the residential building.