Performance standards key in draft of Area Performance Planning ordinance

Performance standards are key components of the draft of the Area Performance Planning document, which strives to promote compatibility of uses for neighboring activities.

To this end, each principal activity classification – everything from single-family homes to schools, hospitals to manufacturing operations – has a separate set of recommended maximum compatibility standards that addresses aspects such as the height of the structure, buffers, setbacks, screening, noise, light and glare. Projects of varying degrees of intensity, various layouts, sizes, designs and shapes will find themselves within one of these principal activity categories. Determining compatibility standards for each specific principal activity will be outlined in a subsequent blog post, or you can read about them in the current draft of the ordinance by clicking here.

In annotated terms, here is a little more about some of the aspects addressed through performance standards:


Height regulations are based on the establishment of a height control slope. Initially, a 20-foot rise is permitted at the property line perpendicular to the property line. Then, based on the district concerned, and the activity involved, a height control slope is specified in terms of a ratio of vertical rise to horizontal distance. For example, a 2:1 ratio means that for every two feet of vertical rise, an additional 1foot of horizontal distance is measured off into the interior of the property.


A buffer is an area in which no activity is permitted other than necessary utility functions such as transmission lines, underground conduits, stormwater management devices, etc. A single driveway access may encroach upon this buffer when that driveway location is the only possible point of access for the parcel. This area is described by a linear measurement from the property line inward and will vary depending on the nature of an activity and its location.


Setbacks delineate certain open spaces on lots. These spaces are linear distances measured from the protected property lines inward. Buildings, other principal structures, or areas comprising the principal activity of the lot may not encroach into this space. A setback may accept an accessory activity such as parking, unless superseded by a buffer.


Screening consists of natural vegetation, landscaped vegetation (including planted berms), walls, or fences designed to lessen the visual interaction between adjacent activities or accessories. Vegetation used for screening must be evergreen, drought-tolerant, insect and disease resistant, and appropriate for the area.

Architectural Standards

These compatibility standards are designed to improve the compatibility of adjoining activities. For that reason, the more intense activities are required to meet larger compatibility standards. Architectural standards are offered as an alternative to compliance with the full extent of these restrictions.

To read more about each of these aspects and how they are a crucial component of the Area Performance Planning plan, I invite you to read the draft of the ordinance by clicking here.

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