Auburn Boulevard Objective Design & Development Standards
Shortly after the City's incorporation, Auburn Boulevard was identified as a significant priority for the City due to land use challenges, roadway design issues, vacancy, and aesthetic concerns. In order to create a long-term vision for the future of the Boulevard, the City Council directed the development of a Specific Plan, called the Boulevard Plan. The Boulevard Plan creates a vision of a dynamic and livable Citrus Heights community. The Plan repositions the Boulevard as a set of connected districts that are becoming increasingly central to the Sacramento region. The Plan is a result of nearly two years of community input and discussion and is intended to further the goals and policies of Citrus Height’s General Plan, which are to create a walkable, lively, and prosperous city.
The concepts in the plan were derived from the objectives established by the community and stakeholders in workshops and meetings over a two-year period, ultimately adopted by the Council in 2005. The plan calls for a more urban environment than today with an overall design goal of “Create distinctive, high-quality living, working, and shopping environments that have attractive streetscapes, are pedestrian-scaled, and provide a sense of place and identity”.
The adopted Boulevard Plan includes Design Standards to support the vision that was established as part of the plan. This includes some objective standards (parking, setbacks (minimum and maximum), building height, building density, etc. as well as numerous subjective standards that influence the architectural massing, articulation, and similar.
Since the adoption of the Boulevard Plan, the state has passed a series of housing laws that essentially eliminate the use of subjective standards. Absent these subjective standards, the ability for the City to ensure architectural design meets the City’s vision for the plan is extremely limited.
In order to ensure the City can continue to apply architectural standards that support the vision of the Boulevard Plan, staff obtained a grant from the Sacramento Area Council of Government (SACOG) to transition existing subjective standards into objective standards. The City, along with a consultant, developed objective design and development standards for the review of multi-family and mixed-use development applications proposed within the Boulevard Plan Area. While the existing (2005) Boulevard Plan contains subjective design standards for new development, only objective standards may be applied pursuant to state law.
Objective design and development standards are defined under State law as “standards that involve no personal or subjective judgement by a public official and are uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant or proponent and the public official prior to submittal” (California Government Code, Section 65913.4).
Objective design standards (ODDS) are intended to be a tool in the response to State housing laws that reduce local control of development, intended to streamline housing production. ODDS are required to remove subjectivity; however, can still provide objective standards to ensure that the appearance of new development is compatible with the City’s vision.
The Objective Design and Development Standards for Auburn Boulevard are not intended to materially change the overall design intent established within the existing Boulevard Plan; rather the intent is to transition the subjective standards found within the Boulevard Plan into ODDS to be consistent with state law.