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Meeting Date: April 24, 2001 

Subject/Title: Policy discussion on the orientation of new residential lots to “front on,” “side on,” or “rear on” arterial and collector streets, specifically in subdivisions proposed for the area of Fairview Avenue and Apricot Way. 

Submitted by: Community Development Department, Oshinsky/Leana 

Approved by: Jon Elam, City Manager

Provide direction to staff on these new projects and/or establish a city policy on the creation of new residential lots along arterial and collector streets.

The Community Design Element in Brentwood’s 1993-2010 General Plan established a policy of minimizing the use of sound walls along thoroughfares. The policy states, “The use of sound walls along thoroughfares is often necessary to maintain noise standards. However, the City’s preferred method of attenuating adverse noise levels is to utilize a combination of frontage roads, earth berming and larger building setbacks along thoroughfares in new subdivision design.” 

Predicated on anticipated traffic volumes, following the opening of the Highway 4 Bypass, along that portion of Fairview Avenue north of the relocated Sand Creek Road, the City approved several tentative maps in SPA ‘L’/PD-26 that incorporated “front on” lots along the east side of Fairview Avenue. This was done in part to help preserve the rural “look” of existing home sites along the west side of Fairview Avenue while at the same time eliminating the need for another wall. Recognizing that the Bypass might not be operable for some time, the lots fronting Fairview Avenue were required to have circular driveways or hammerhead driveways thereby allowing vehicles to directly access the street without having to back onto it.

Once Community Development staff was informed by recent traffic analyses, undertaken in conjunction with the General Plan Update, that the opening of the Bypass will not reduce substantially the traffic volumes along some of our major corridors (most noteworthy Fairview Avenue and Brentwood Blvd.), it became necessary to rethink the rationale of having new lots fronting, siding or backing onto major streets, whether they be arterials or collectors.

Three new tentative subdivision maps in the area of Fairview Avenue and Apricot Way led us to ask the question, “are we creating future problems if we continue our past practice of “front on housing” in these areas. Staff asked these applicants to prepare an area traffic study to look at future travel patterns, and address the front on housing issue.

The attached traffic analysis, prepared by Fehr & Peers, analyzes the concern with the basic conclusion that “front on “ housing is a “quality of life” issue for residents rather than a safety or operational issue when traffic volumes are under 10,000 to 12,000 Average Daily Trips (ADT) for two lane roadways. 

As a general rule, volumes under 3,000 ADT receive few resident complaints. Up to 5,000 ADT, residents begin to complain more, and above 7,000 ADT complaints become more frequent. This information was presented to the Planning Commission at a recent workshop for the three new subdivision maps. As a result of the anticipated traffic volumes along Fairview Avenue north of Sand Creek Road and along Apricot Way, the Planning Commission agreed with the staff recommendation to design lots abutting Fairview as “back on” lots since traffic volumes will be high, but based on the traffic study, and with anticipated reduced volumes along Apricot Way, “front on” and “side on” lots would be acceptable. 

Community Development staff has asked the project engineer to incorporate traffic calming measures into the design of Apricot Way and Fairview Avenue to minimize potential impacts to the residents living along these corridors. 

Staff is continuing to process these three tentative maps with the direction given to us by the Planning Commission. If the City Council has a different opinion on this design, staff needs to know so that we can provide another direction to the project applicants.

Area map reflecting the proposed 3 subdivisions
Traffic analysis prepared by Fehr & Peers
Policy 3.2.7 from the Community Design Element of the General Plan
Staff report to the Planning Commission for the workshop on these subdivisions
Reduced copies of the 3 tentative maps and the suggested traffic calming measures

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