There are many types of businesses and uses that make redevelopment exciting and prosperous for the community. However, there are several basic project types that describe most projects – knowing the key aspects of a project type will help plan for success. The key drivers of requirements for specific projects is usually Zoning and Building Code issues as summarized below, and addressed in the Zoning and Building Code topic areas.
- 1 & 2 family residential
- Multi-family residential
- Mixed Use
- Change of Use/Occupancy
1 & 2 family residential
These are the most common and usually the simplest types of projects. They are usually simple rehabs, or even just cosmetic updates, and the only approval required may be a building permit, or a Certificate of Appropriateness if in a Historic Preservation District. Many update projects include a rear addition or garage. Residential projects may also include acquisition of a vacant lot and construction of a new building. Both additions and new construction would require at least a check of the zoning code as part of the building permit process. Single family residences can be in any residential, and most commercial, zoning districts. Duplexes require a minimum R5A zoning district.
These projects usually range from fourplexes up to very large apartment complexes. In terms of renovations and rehab, as well as new construction, special attention must be paid to the zoning district designation, and therefore allowable density of units on the lot. Other requirements could include a minimum number of parking spaces. In terms of construction, special attention should be paid to basement units, as well as units on a 3rd floor or higher which could require a sprinkler system.
Commercial projects generally include any non-residential use and therefore must comply with the Kentucky Building Code (as opposed to the Residential Code) which can be complicated due to the higher levels of construction. Depending on the specific use and size, and architect and/or engineer may be required. Commercial projects also require higher levels of zoning such as C1 and C2, have higher parking requirements, and may require an engineer for site design.
Mixed Use projects can be quite dynamic and exciting. They can range from Live/Work arrangements, which are popular in urban areas, to other combinations of commercial uses. Generally the underlying zoning needs to allow the most intense use. Parking is calculated per each use and must be provided. The building code will also calculate occupant loads per each use, and fire rated separations may be required to separate the uses. The use of common areas such as lobbies, access corridors, and bathrooms is a common technique to provide services to multiple tenants.
Distilleries and small to medium batch brewing businesses are very popular but present some unique challenges. In terms of zoning as well as building code – the size relationship of the beverage production area to other areas, such as a gift shop, restaurant, etc makes a difference. The more that it is a beverage production facility; the more it is treated as an industrial use, and vice versa. A restaurant with a small batch brewing system is treated more simply like a restaurant. Bourbon and other “hard liquor” production uses (distilleries) usually involve flammable liquids in varying degrees and amounts. In terms of building code these liquids need to be carefully contained – once more than 120 gallons (240 gallons in a building with a sprinkler system) is used, the project will need to be considered High Hazard which has very stringent building requirements.
Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, taverns, and other eateries are extremely popular in our community and can really energize a neighborhood. Be advised however, that food establishments have specific requirements. C1 zones allow these uses, but a C2 is required for outdoor eating and entertainment. Parking will be more intense and can be complex, sometimes involving off-site parking agreements with neighboring property owners. Parking will need to be provided for outdoor diners as well as indoor diners. Sidewalk dining will need to be approved by Public Works. In terms of building code there will be required Type 1 hoods in the kitchen with outdoor exhaust. In terms of wastewater there will need to be grease traps. Other agencies with specific requirements include Solid Waste Management, and the Health Department.
Generally speaking, besides often requiring a lot of land and space for inventory, equipment, and truck access the key issues in industrial projects revolve around the specifics of the industrial use – storage vs. industrial production and manufacturing, noncombustible materials vs. combustible/flammable materials. These must be reviewed carefully to confirm proper zoning and building design.
Change of Use/Occupancy
Change of Use/Occupancy in redevelopment projects should be considered carefully as there can be significant impacts from a code compliance standpoint. Generally speaking uses and structures that were legally in existence under the codes in place at the time in which they constructed are considered legal, even if they do comply with current codes. (See also comments in the Zoning and Building Code sections about “grandfathering” and non-conforming rights.) Any changes or expansions to these uses, however, will need to comply with current codes. In some cases the current zoning or building codes may not allow expansion of a particular use based on zoning classification or building type. Else, the codes may require significant upgrades such as parking, restrooms, accessibility, sprinkler system, additional exits, etc.