The Cross Access Connection text would apply to commercial and community facility developments and enlargements in those zoning districts where large developments with large parking lots can be built: C4-1, C8, and M districts in Staten Island. The proposal would require that adjacent parking lots be connected to each other so traffic could move from one parking lot to another without re-entering roads.
For new developments the requirements would apply when:
- 70 percent or more of the floor area (FAR) would be occupied by a commercial or community facility use; and
- At least 18 accessory parking spaces or at least 6,000 sq. ft. of parking area is provided.
For enlargements the requirements would apply when:
- At least 70 percent of the resulting floor area would be occupied by a commercial or community facility use; and
- The enlargement would result in a total of at least 18 accessory parking spaces or a total of at least 6,000 sq. ft. of parking area.
The proposed text would require that before the Department of Buildings issues a building permit for a project requiring a Cross Access Connection, the Chair of the City Planning Commission must certify that:
- The connection connects with an open parking area to either an existing open parking area that has at least 18 accessory outdoor parking spaces or is greater than 6,000 square feet or connects to an adjacent vacant zoning lot.
- Connections are provided at zoning lot lines that are coincident for at least 60 feet with another zoning lot.
- The connection is at least 22 feet in width and at least 23 feet from a street line.
- The connection is an extension of a travel lane in the proposed parking lot and the connection aligns with a Cross Access Connection that has been previously constructed on an adjacent property.
- The connection has a slope of no greater than 15 percent.
- The connection is not placed where a building on an adjacent property is within 50 feet of the lot line which would hamper traffic movements within the parking lot.
- The connection is placed in an area which will not require the removal of significant natural features such as wetlands or trees with a caliper of six inches or more.
When a Cross Access Connection is required an easement for ingress and egress to adjacent lots must be recorded by the property owner at the Richmond County Clerk.
The Chair of the City Planning Commission can, by certification to the Department of Buildings, waive the cross access connection if:
- Grade changes between adjacent properties would cause a connection of greater than 15 percent;
There are buildings or other structures on an adjacent lot that are within 50 feet of the subject property, or
- Significant natural features like 6” caliper trees or wetlands exist on the site
Construction of Cross Access Connections
The construction of a Cross Access connection is a two-part process that requires separate actions by two different property owners. The requirements only apply when a property owner builds a new development or enlarges an existing development. The first property owner would be required to record an easement and build their half of the connection. The adjacent property owner would be required to build their half, if and when they build a new development or enlarge an existing development. In the interim, the first property owner may use the location of the Cross Access connection for up to three required parking spaces. These spaces would no longer be required when the Cross-Access Connection is provided.
Illustrative Examples of a Cross Access Connection
1. Two Vacant Lots in a C4-1, C8, or M district in Staten Island.
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2. When Lot A is developed, the owners must record an easement and build their half of the Cross Access Connection on their property. The location of the Cross-Access may be used for required parking until the Connection is opened to the adjacent lot. Lot B remains vacant. Note, if Lot B were occupied by an existing development and parking lot, the owners of Lot B would not be required to open the Cross Access until they proposed to enlarge their existing operations.
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3. When Lot B is developed, the owners must record an easement and build their half of the Cross Access to connect to the previously recorded Cross Access Connection on Lot A.
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Cross Access Detail
In situations where constructing a Cross Access Connection would be difficult due to site constraints, the City Planning Commission may, by Authorization allow a waiver of the requirement or the adjustment of the dimensions of the Cross Access Connection. The Commission would be able to request reports from license engineers or landscape architects when considering modifications or waivers. In order to grant the Authorization the Commission must find that::
- The irregular shape of the lot precludes the construction of the connection; or
- Site constraints necessitate the placement of a building or an enlargement that precludes a cross access connection.
South Richmond Special District (SSRDD) Changes
As part of the text amendment the SSRDD requirements for Planting and Screening for Open Parking Areas would be changed. Specifically, the zoning lot line landscaped buffer will be reduced from seven feet to four feet within SSRDD. The street line landscaped buffer will remain unchanged at 7 feet, as will all other regulations pursuant to the recently adopted design regulations for parking lots.
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