The Lewisville Planning and Zoning Commission met on Tuesday, March 7 to approve amendments to the Unified Development Code that would ensure adequate space for commercial uses in the future.
The Unified Development Code was adopted in November 2022 and went into effect on Dec. 1, 2022. Over the past few years, the market for multifamily use in Old Town Lewisville has increased, but the commercial market is still evolving and will likely take several years before ground floor retail is viable in most locations, said Michele Berry, Planning Manager for the City of Lewisville.
In order to ensure adequate space for commercial uses when the market demand arrives, city staff proposed code amendments that would add new standards so that ground floor space along Church Street, College Street, Main Street, and Mill Street can be easily converted to commercial uses in the future.
These are often called “flex-space” or “retail-ready” and can be used for residential dwelling units until the property owner wants to convert the space to commercial uses.
City staff added four standards that apply to the first 24 feet of ground floor space for all multifamily developments along Main Street, Church Street, College Street, and Mill Street, which are currently zoned Old Town Mixed Use Two or Old Town Center. There are currently 93 properties that these standard changes might impact and letters were sent to those property owners.
The four standards are to have a ceiling height of no less than 12 feet, to install one-hour fire separation between the area that may become commercial and the residential area, to have ground floor architecture reflecting a vernacular storefront design with a minimum 60 percent glazing, and to provide space on the exterior for future signage.
These standards will increase construction cost initially, but they will allow for flexibility for the ground floor space to adapt to market changes in an economical manner, Berry said.
The amendments align with the Old Town Transit-Oriented Development Master Plan, which recommends commercial uses along these major streets in Old Town.
The planning and zoning commission opened the public hearing and will continue it until they have a chance to meet again on March 16 to discuss these Unified Development Code amendments.
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Arianna Morrison is a reporter for Star Local Media, covering the communities of The Colony, Little Elm, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound and Coppell. Email her with story ideas and more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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