19-1028 v3.X Small Urban Site Not Physically Able to Meet the Requirements of Urban Agriculture On Site
Part 1: We are doing a small, urban townhome/condominium project in Fort Collins, Colorado called L'Avenir. The site is 4,600 SF in downtown, so Transect 5 with a FAR of 2. We are planning 4 units with a total gross square footage of 10,000 SF and building floor plate of 2,610 SF (.56 lot coverage) with 20' x 92' paved access drive leaving, at most, 1'-6 wide linear planting equalling 138 SF at the ground plane. By the ILBC definitions, we need to provide 5% of the project area for Urban Agriculture which is 4,600 SF x .05 = 230 SF. We have also planned 3' x 4' planting beds on the second floor decks of each unit which would give us another 48 SF, so would fall short by 44 SF.
Part 2: The majority of the area we have to plant is in the north facing, 138 SF linear bed. We are worried that not much will grow there and, in addition, there are limits to the growing season in Northern Colorado, so production would be for only about 4 months out of the year.
Question: Since we have a limited growing area on-site, with sub-optimal orientation (north), and a short growing season, is it possible to have the HOA contract with a local CSA to provide shares in lieu of on-site growing? This seems to us a better solution to have the site engage with reliable, local farmers to meet the Urban Agriculture requirement.
The basis for the required area of urban agriculture is the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), which is derived using the following equation: FAR = Gross Building Area/Project Area (see 3.1 Early Project Guidebook for guidance on determining the Project Area). While the team has not specified the Project Area, it has provided the site area, which can be used for the Project Area as a worst case scenario.
Using a Gross Building Area of 10,000 sf and a Project Area of 4,800 sf results in a FAR of slightly over 2. The urban agriculture requirement for a FAR of 2, is 2% of the Project Area, which in this case is 96 sf (4,800 x .02).
The four 3' x 4' planting beds will provide 48 sf. There appear to be opportunities on or adjacent to the site to accommodate the remaining 48 sf, such as adding 12 sf of vertical planting area to the roof decks, using the planting area shown on the east facade, gaining permission from the City to permit planting blueberries or strawberries, or fruit or nuts trees in the planting strip to the north.