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Downtown Specific Plan Concept Document

City of El Segundo

Inter-Departmental Correspondence

TO:Co-Chairs Bill Crigger and Mike Kretzmer, Members of the Downtown Task Force

FROM:James M. Hansen, Director of Community, Economic and Development Services

DATE:March 1, 2000

SUBJECT:Downtown Specific Plan Concept Document

The following is the Downtown Specific Plan Concept Document approved by the Downtown Task Force on February 22, 2000. The changes made by the Task Force are shown as double underline. Using this Concept Document, the Specific Plan will be prepared and presented to the Planning Commission, and then to the City Council. The Planning Commission and City Council will solicit further public input on the Plan.

VISION STATEMENT:

Downtown is the heart of El Segundo. It is the focal point for the community and one of the cohesive elements that ties the community together. The Vision for the Downtown is to:

  • Provide a better balance of uses.

  • Create a more thoughtful and creative use of public space.

  • Organize creative and consistent programming of events and public activities.

  • Create a consistent public-private partnership to market El Segundo’s assets to investors and customers.

  • Strengthen commitment to the strategic use of key parcels in the Downtown.

  • Create more attractive landscaping and street furnishings.

  • Improve signage.

    DOWNTOWN PHILOSOPHY AND CONCEPT:

    • Service residents, local employees and visitors.

    • Maintain a safe and secure environment.

    • Maintain architectural and economic diversity with a mix of retail, office, service and residential.

    • Maintain and enhance pedestrian friendly environment.

    • Enhance the "village" character.

    • Enhance the "Midwest-feel and the Gaslamp" (San Diego) character (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation).

    • Consolidate retail to encourage synergy between businesses and to facilitate pedestrian access.

    • Shrink Downtown retail area if supported by market analysis, converting non-core areas to a mix of offices and multi-family residential, to avoid the blight of vacancies.

    • Encourage a mixture of uses and "target" uses at strategic sites through financial incentives and pro-active marketing and advertising.

    • Encourage preservation of historically significant buildings on Richmond Street.

    • Enhance Civic Center Plaza, as the focal point of Downtown.

    • Continue to support and expand the farmers market.

    • Use design review process to achieve aesthetic goals.

    • Establish a Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) – 300, 400 & 500 blocks Main only (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation).

      DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS:

        General for all of Downtown:

        Uses

      • Permit outdoor newsstands, coffee carts, flower stands and similar uses; primary uses must be indoors.

      • Encourage alley side and upper level offices, for daytime customer base and pedestrian traffic.

      • Video arcades with less than 3 machines require an AUP, greater than 3 machines require a CUP.

      • Alcohol sales at restaurants and retail require an AUP.

      • Bars require a CUP.

      • Entertainment and dancing requires a special permit.

      • Drive-thru restaurants are prohibited.

      • Prohibit churches and service stations.

        Setbacks

        • Require zero setback between building and street on street level, except for pedestrian oriented plazas or architectural features, subject to design review.

        • Allow zero side and rear setbacks, for commercial and residential uses.

          Residential

          • Allow upper floor residential units, for 24 hour security and customer base.

          • Increase permitted residential units from 1 to 2 units per 25-foot wide lot.

          • Allow alley side and upper floor owner-occupied residential units (1 unit per 25-foot wide lot) (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation).

          • Establish minimum residential square footage.

            Heights

            • Allow 45-foot (3 story maximum) height (measured to the peak of the roof), require setbacks for new structures above 30 feet (2 stories) in height, providing a two-story street front building facade.

            Non-Conforming

            • Permit existing non-conforming uses to continue and be replaced with similar non-conforming uses, unless vacant for a period of time, at which time the new use must conform

            • Non-conforming industrial or similar uses may not be replaced with similar uses.

            • Non-conforming buildings may be expanded 20% or 15,000 square feet, whichever is less, and the addition must comply with current code.

              Density

              • Maintain 1:1 F.A.R.; except for Strategic Sites. Residential density is in addition to 1:1 F.A.R.

              • Maintain 1:1 F.A.R. (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation).

                300 and 400 blocks of Main Street:

                • Core of Downtown.

                • Resident oriented, pedestrian focused, retail and service uses; essential and complementary uses with a CUP.

                • Purpose – Stabilize and protect the retail-service character.

                • Retail only on street level.

                • Offices and other non-pedestrian oriented uses (clubs, schools, theaters, union halls, etc.) allowed behind street level and off of alleys.

                • Allow outdoor dining and gathering areas up to 200 square feet; greater than 200 square feet require a CUP. Require design review and development criteria.

                • Limit bank size.

                • Require minimum percentage of store front as windows.

                • Require window treatments that are open, inviting and visible to pedestrians.

                • Strategic Sites – Purcell Building (NW corner of Main and Grand) and NW corner of Main and Holly, to City parking lot – Financial incentives for target uses, destination uses only (i.e. – market, restaurant or similar use). F.A.R. 1:1.

                  300 block east side Richmond Street (former Ralph’s site):

                  • Key block (due to size and location) linking the Core 300 and 400 blocks of Main Street with the Historic 100 and 200 blocks of Richmond.
                    • Link to Main Street, Civic Center and Richmond Street with two pedestrian oriented alleys (handprint alley and Purcell driveway alley), with Plazas at each end.
                      • Create a "village" atmosphere.
                        • Require uses adjacent to pedestrian access ways (including internal access ways) to be pedestrian-oriented.
                          • Require design review, for consistency with goals.

                          • Retail only on street level. Non-retail uses ok temporarily; non-retail preferred to vacancy.
                            • Offices and other non-pedestrian oriented uses (clubs, schools, theaters, union halls, etc.) allowed behind street level and off of alley.
                              • Allow outdoor dining and gathering areas up to 200 square feet; greater than 200 square feet require a CUP. Require design review and development criteria.
                                • Limit bank size.
                                  • Require minimum percentage of store front as windows.
                                    • Require window treatments that are open, inviting and visible to pedestrians.
                                      • Allow 45-foot (3 story maximum) height (measured to the peak of the roof), require setbacks for new structures above 30 feet (two stories) in height. Require variety of heights.
                                        • Strategic Site-Target uses- Market (not necessarily a "specialty" market), retail (non-competitive with existing), Hi-tech retail, daytime entertainment and recreation, childcare (only as component of mixed-use), food service, mixed-use, and bed and breakfast (75 rooms maximum). Provide financial incentives.

                                          100 and 200 blocks Richmond Street:

                                          • Maintain, enhance and preserve historical "Old Town" character of original Downtown. Provide incentives to support and dis-incentives if not supportive.
                                            • Establish historical overlay district with design review for new construction in order to blend with the old.
                                              • Allow for flexibility of uses, with pedestrian orientation, including antiques, arts and crafts, retail, design, small bed and breakfast, services, offices, and residential.
                                                • Encourage and support filming and related uses.
                                                  • Allow residential on street level behind street front commercial (live/work).
                                                    • Allow outdoor dining and gathering areas up to 200 square feet; greater than 200 square feet require a CUP. Require design review and development criteria.
                                                      • Require window treatments that are open, inviting and visible to pedestrians, for retail uses only, while preserving historical character.
                                                        • Strategic Sites- Anthony’s Music Studio and City parking lot- Target uses- antiques, bookstores, arts and crafts, market at the street level, professional/design behind or above street front level. FAR 1.5:1 for City parking lot site. Provide financial incentives.

                                                          300 block West Richmond Street:

                                                          • Three Options:
                                                              1. Commercial Mixed-use- Maintain existing mixed- use environment, protecting the existing commercial retail-service uses. Limited residential (1 or 2 units per 25 foot wide lot) allowed only behind and above street front retail. Encourage antiques, arts and crafts, and mixed-use.
                                                              2. Multi-family (R-3) Residential- Allow high density residential with a 3-story height limit. No new commercial to compete with Main Street Core. Single-family residential or duplexes are not economically feasible, and not compatible with surrounding land uses.
                                                              3. Residential Mixed-use-Require a small amount of retail in front on the street level, with residential at the rear and on upper floors. Increase residential density (more than 2 units per 25-foot wide lot), with a cap on the total number of units allowed.
                                                            • Prohibit outdoor dining and gathering areas.:

                                                              100, 200, and 500 blocks Main Street:

                                                              • Transition and "Gateway" to Downtown Core.

                                                              • 500 block is gateway to the Library, high school, park and residential to the north, leading to the retail Downtown Core of the 300 and 400 blocks.

                                                              • Link to Downtown Core with streetscape – trees, signage, and pedestrian-oriented amenities.

                                                              • Allow flexibility and mixture of uses.

                                                              • Allow outdoor dining and gathering areas up to 200 square feet, greater than 200 square feet require a CUP. Require design review and development criteria.

                                                              • Non-conforming industrial or similar uses may be replaced with similar non-conforming uses.

                                                              • Strategic Site – Strip Mall, 200 block – Potential for adaptive re-use. Target uses, market, restaurant or similar destination only uses. Provide financial incentives.

                                                                STREETSCAPE:

                                                                • Purpose is to increase use of local businesses, provide a pedestrian-friendly environment, continue to provide a location for filming and provide services for residents.

                                                                • Enhance overall streetscaping; create inviting retail shop fronts, and aesthetic façade treatments.

                                                                • Require quality signage.

                                                                • Provide phased removal and replacement of street trees as budget and Downtown development dictate.

                                                                • Use a variety of trees to serve unique functions.

                                                                • Use large (mature) and smaller (younger) trees.

                                                                • Street trees in front of shops should be open canopies so that signs may be easily seen and historical facades are not hidden.

                                                                • Large trees with dense foliage may be desirable in areas where shade is needed.
                                                                  • Street trees should complement the streetscape and surroundings.
                                                                    • Street trees should be low maintenance including limited shedding, disease resistant, long lived, and provide visual interest.

                                                                    • The use of tree grates, irrigation and structured soil should be studied further.

                                                                    • Widen some sidewalks.

                                                                    • Use textured accent pavers or a mixture of pavers and concrete on sidewalks and walkways, for aesthetics, to slow traffic, reduce tripping hazard and liability, and for ease and cost effectiveness of repair if root damage in future.
                                                                      • Nodes: Create active vibrant focal points to tie the Downtown together at 1)Main and Grand and 2) Richmond and Grand.

                                                                      • Clean sidewalks regularly –(Addressed in design guidelines and Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation)

                                                                      • Provide facade improvements, architectural guidelines, enhance window treatments – (Addressed in design guidelines and Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation)

                                                                      • Improve lighting and provide "twinkle" lights in street trees –(Addressed in design guidelines and Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation)

                                                                        PARKING AND CIRCULATION:

                                                                        • Improve and standardize signage that welcomes visitors to Downtown and directs to parking.
                                                                          • Establish centrally located joint use/shared parking between businesses and the City, including off-site, to encourage and provide the opportunity for new development.

                                                                          • Investigate joint/shared use of Chevron parking sites.

                                                                          • Allow flexibility in parking standards, particularly residential development.
                                                                            • Provide more efficient use of public and private parking.

                                                                            • Provide adequate employee parking.

                                                                            • Maximize use of existing grades for multi-level or subterranean parking.

                                                                            • Possibly double-deck City Holly/Standard parking lot, as it has a significant grade differential.

                                                                            • Provide a parking structure on Holly for off-site joint-use as parking demand requires (B.I.D.) (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation).

                                                                            • Finance structure through business expansions (B.I.D.) (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendation).

                                                                            • Develop circulation plans that will slow, but not restrict vehicular traffic through Downtown.

                                                                            • Develop well signed, non-segmented, consolidated, circulation oriented, alley parking.

                                                                            • No parking between building and street.

                                                                              PHASING (Council Downtown Subcommittee recommendations):

                                                                              • Highest priority – 300, 400 & 500 blocks Main and former Ralph’s site.

                                                                              • Highest priority- Trim street trees to open up/lace out, then install "Twinkle" lights for Downtown street trees –(Addressed in design guidelines).

                                                                              • Form a Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) – parking, sidewalk and streetscape improvements.

                                                                              • Commence Plaza improvement (budget to be determined).

                                                                              • Install fiberoptics at the same time as street and sidewalk improvements.

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