Quality Planned Development – Standards

QUALITY PLANNED DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS
Adopted by the West Houston Association Board of Directors January 25, 2011. Revised as Version 01.2012

RESIDENTIAL STANDARDS
In order to be considered for Quality Planned Development distinction, residential developments must conform to the following minimum standards:

  1.  A master home owners association shall be established in order to promote community involvement, maintain common areas and to enforce restrictions and covenants.
  2.  Restrictive covenants shall be established for the purpose of maintaining the character and appearance of the development and ensuring proper maintenance. These covenants shall be recorded with the county clerk’s office.
  3.  Landscaped buffer areas having a minimum width of ten (10) feet must be provided immediately adjacent to the right-of-way of all major thoroughfares and collector streets. These areas must be planted with a combination of trees, shrubs, ground covers and turf. Irrigation for all non-native plant materials must be provided by a properly installed and functional irrigation system. All landscaped areas must be maintained to reasonable standards.
  4.  Sidewalks having a minimum width of four (4) feet shall be provided along all local public streets. Major thoroughfares within a development do not require sidewalks if alternates such as an extensive trail system and pedestrian crossing facilities are provided to tie the communities together.
  5.  Detention basins should be designed and constructed as an amenity and should be free form and natural in appearance. Areas adjacent to detention basins should be extensively landscaped and should incorporate pedestrian trails and recreational features where appropriate.
  6.  All developer installed signage shall be of uniform appearance. No temporary, bandit, banners, A-frame, mobile or portable signage shall be permitted.
  7.  Any vacant land or proposed commercial areas under common ownership and located within 1000 feet of any entry point to the development must be deed restricted to comply with the minimum requirements established for commercial development established herein. If commercial or residential deed restrictions are not yet in place on the proposed commercial property, the design guidelines for these areas must be in place and the developer must submit a letter stating the intent to place commercial restrictions on such properties, create a commercial property owners association and apply the commercial design standards.
  8.  All multi-family developments shall comply with the commercial development established herein.

In addition to the minimum standards, residential developments must meet a minimum of three (3) of the following requirements:

  1.  The minimum width of landscaped buffer areas along major thoroughfares and collectors is increased to a minimum of twenty (20) feet.
  2.  A cohesive or uniform fencing program using high quality materials and workmanship shall be provided along all external major thoroughfares and collector streets. (i.e. developer installed vs. builder installed)
  3.  All residential units must be located within one quarter (1/4) mile of a park or open space area having a minimum size of 20,000 square feet. The open space must be visible and accessible by a sidewalk.
  4.  All developer installed lighting shall comply with “night sky” standards and shall be erected and maintained so that light is confined to the property and will not cast direct light or glare upon adjacent properties.
  5.  Any above ground water or wastewater facilities shall be screened from view with an opaque wood fence, masonry wall or evergreen landscape buffer.

COMMERCIAL STANDARDS
In order to be considered for Quality Planned Development distinction, commercial developments must conform to the following minimum standards:

  1.  Restrictive covenants shall be established for the purpose of maintaining the character and appearance of the development, establishing a minimum standard of materials and construction and ensuring proper maintenance. These covenants shall be recorded with the county clerk’s office.
  2.  A master commercial property owners association shall be established in order to maintain common areas and to enforce restrictions and covenants.
  3.  Landscaped buffer areas having a minimum width of twenty (20) feet must be provided immediately adjacent to the right-of-way of all major thoroughfares and collector streets. These areas must be planted with a combination of trees, shrubs, ground covers and turf. Irrigation for all non-native plant materials must be provided by a properly installed and functional irrigation system. All landscaped areas must be maintained to reasonable standards.
  4.  Sidewalks having a minimum width of four (4) feet shall be provided along all public streets. Variances would be allowed on an individual review if along major thoroughfares pedestrian access is accommodated by access through an adjoining commercial area unless terrain or street right of way features prohibit. If multiple commercial parcels are contemplated, sidewalks are required.
  5.  Pedestrian connectivity to adjacent development shall be provided where appropriate.
  6.  Amenitized detention areas are strongly encouraged. Any non-amenitized detention areas should not be located within two hundred (200) feet of a public right-of-way when possible. If this is not possible for engineering reasons, the detention area must be screened from view of adjoining public rights-of-way by means of hard and/or soft landscaping elements.
  7.  Parking areas shall be screened from view of adjoining public streets by means of hard and/or soft landscaping elements.
  8.  Loading areas must be kept separate from pedestrian and vehicular traffic and screened from view of adjoining public rights-of-way.
  9.  All trash dumpsters must be stored in enclosed facilities and integrated into the design of buildings to the extent possible.
  10.  All mechanical areas, including roof mounted equipment, shall be screened from view of adjoining public rights-of-way.
  11.  All signage shall be of uniform appearance. No temporary, bandit, banners, A-frame, mobile or portable signage shall be permitted. Real estate for sale or lease signs are permitted.
  12.  Signs may be used for identification purposes only. No advertising shall be permitted on signs.
  13.  For developments containing more than one business, one (1) multi-tenant sign shall be allowed for every three hundred fifty (350) feet of public street frontage. Variances will be individually judged on whether or not all signs on the property conform to a single plan and standard as set forth in design guidelines and whether controls are in place to establish and maintain an esthetically pleasing quality.
  14.  Multi-tenant sign height shall not exceed twelve (12) feet along major thoroughfares and six (6) feet along collector or local streets as measured from finished grade (including base). Maximum width of multi-tenant signs shall be eight (8) feet. Variances will be individually judged on whether or not all signs on the property conform to a single plan and standard as set forth in design guidelines and whether controls are in place to establish and maintain an esthetically pleasing quality.
  15.  Individual business signs shall be limited to one (1) sign per frontage. Individual business signs shall have a maximum height of four (4) feet from finished grade (including base) and a maximum width of six (6) feet.
    Variances will be individually judged on whether or not all signs on the property conform to a single plan and standard as set forth in design guidelines and whether controls are in place to establish and maintain an esthetically pleasing quality.
  16.  One street tree shall be provided along public right-of-ways for every thirty (30) feet of frontage.
  17.  One parking lot tree shall be provided for every ten (10) parking spaces provided. Each parking space must be within 120 feet of a tree.

MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT

Projects that fit into the category of “mixed use”—compact, higher density of retail and residential—shall be independently reviewed against the following criteria.

  1.  Mixed use developments should contain a mixture of residential, retail commercial, and/or office uses that adhere to a single and coherent development plan by a single master developer/owner whether or not subsequent elements are developed by other entities. Buildings should relate appropriately to adjacent developments and streets to create a pedestrian friendly environment and encourage connectivity.
  2.  The development must have a compact, high density footprint with significant functional and physical incorporation of multiple uses in close proximity. The integration of roadways, buildings, pedestrian walkways, landscaping and open spaces should create a safe, human-scale streetscape. Uses that “activate” the street should be encouraged, such as outdoor dining spaces, porches, patios and landscape features.
  3.  The development must have high quality prescriptive architectural standards that create a cohesive project identity that is enforced through restrictive covenants in place or planned on future expansions on all design and construction elements.
  4.  The residential components may contain a diverse mix of single family, townhomes, and multi-family apartments and condos as long as the scale and design of adjacent uses is compatible with each other.
  5.  Parking facilities shall be designed to enrich and support the streetscape and shall not create a barrier to pedestrians. On-street and shared parking is encouraged.