City Island Avenue
The mid-section of City Island Avenue, between
Bay and Carroll streets, contains a pedestrian-oriented
mix of residential and commercial uses. Within
the core, at least three blockfronts have older
attached buildings, ranging in height from one
to five stories, with ground-floor glazed and
transparent storefronts and apartments or offices
above. Buildings like these could not be replicated
today, because they exceed the maximum allowable
FAR. Under the existing zoning (R3-2/C1-2 and
R3-2/C2-2), which allows a maximum commercial
FAR of 1.0, new development tends to be a one-story
commercial establishment with adjacent parking.
Current character of City Island commercial area.
Typical development under existing FAR.
Expected development under proposed text.
The following provisions would be added to the
City Island Special District zoning text to facilitate
mixed-use buildings with ground-floor commercial
and one or two floors of residences above.
Require ground floor commercial uses within
the village core
- In all commercial overlay districts on
City Island Avenue:
- - no longer count ground floor commercial
floor area in mixed-use commercial/residential
buildings that front on City Island Avenue,
effectively increasing the maximum allowable
FAR to 1.6
- - require parking for residential uses but
waive parking requirements for restaurants that
require fewer than 15 spaces, similar to the
existing parking waiver for other commercial
- - require glazing for at least 50 percent
of the total surface area of the ground-floor
wall for commercial and mixed-use developments
- - require that security gates be at least
75 percent open
Regulations for Residence Districts
Residences on City Island are predominantly one-
and two-family detached houses, the majority with
pitched roofs. Detached garages in the rear of
the side lot ribbon are also typical on the island.
In several areas of City Island small bungalows
or cottages are clustered together on a single
zoning lot, a higher density development pattern
that respects neighborhood character but that
is not permitted under existing zoning. The following
text amendments would allow for continuation of
these prevailing building forms.
Increase minimum roof pitch to seven (7)
inches vertical for every foot of horizontal on
detached residential buildings. This proposal
will ensure that new roof pitches would be consistent
with existing ones, and create more useable interior
space in the attic.
Pitched roof with usable attic space
Shallow-pitched roofs on new semi-detached
Provide a 100 square-foot floor area bonus
for a detached garage in the rear of the side
By City Planning Commission authorization,
allow for the clustering of one- or two-family
detached houses with shared parking and shared
private open space on existing large zoning lots
(25,000 sf or greater).
Many homes have detached garages
Urban Design Regulations for Parking Lots
Parking and Screening
The City Island Special District zoning text contains
screening requirements for parking lots accessory
to commercial uses. The Department proposes to
tighten the requirements in order to create more
attractively screened and landscaped parking lots
and to provide for appropriate buffering between
parking lots and adjacent uses, especially residences.
In addition, the proposal would prohibit front
yard parking on City Island Avenue and would encourage
consistent building streetwalls and a pedestrian-friendly
Prohibit front yard parking on all non-waterfront
lots for all uses on City Island Avenue.
Require enhanced landscaping and screening
for all parking lots containing ten (10) or more
parking spaces. Depending on whether a parking
lot fronts a street, adjoins a residential use,
or adjoins a commercial use, the requirements
will vary with regard to fencing and shrubbery.
In most cases chain link fences will not be permitted
unless they are located in a planting strip and
are screened with shrubbery.
to the Waterfront
New requirements for large waterfront properties
would enhance waterfront public space and strengthen
east/west access to the waterfront, a particular
benefit for the many island residents who do not
live on the waterfront and who now have limited
opportunities for direct access to it.
Require a modest public access and waterfront
sitting area for new residential developments
on lots 65,000 square feet and over with a minimum
100 feet of shore frontage. This proposal is in
keeping with the original intent of the Special
District, to strengthen City Island’s connection
to the water and water-related uses.