Eastlake Nonresidential Zoning Changes
Starting in late summer 2021, the city will be preparing a new nonresidential zone district and overlay district for the Old Town Eastlake area intended to provide greater flexibility for nonresidential lots to adapt to potential commercial opportunities created by the new Eastlake at 124th Station.
Eastlake Zoning Background
2003 Eastlake Subarea Plan and Existing Eastlake Zoning. In 2003, the city adopted an Eastlake Subarea Plan. Based on plan recommendations, separate zoning districts were adopted for Eastlake in order to preserve the area's character and provide guidance for appropriate revitalization.
2017 Eastlake Subarea Plan Zoning Recommendations. With the coming of the North Metro Line and its anticipated impacts on Eastlake, the city undertook an update of the subarea plan, which was adopted in 2017. One of the implementation steps in the 2017 Eastlake Subarea Plan called for the rezoning of the predominantly nonresidential area in Old Town Eastlake to facilitate revitalization of the commercial area to serve Thornton residents, employees, transit users, and visitors. Currently, this area has four nonresidential zoning designations including Eastlake Business, Eastlake Service, Eastlake Office, and Eastlake Transit-Oriented Development.
Proposed 2021 Zoning. In accordance with the recommendation of the 2017 Eastlake Subarea Plan, the city is now proposing an Eastlake Mixed Use Zone District with an Eastlake Service Overlay District that will consolidate the uses in the existing Eastlake commercial and service zones to allow specified landowners more flexibility in how they use their lot and remove restrictions on the types of commercial uses based on location.
Proposed Eastlake Mixed Use Zone District
Old Town Eastlake Area
The 2017 Subarea Plan recommended consolidating the Eastlake Business, Eastlake Office, and Eastlake Service zones into one Eastlake Mixed Use zone district. The existing Eastlake Transit-Oriented Development zone district concentrated to the west of the railroad tracks is not part of this rezoning proposal. The goal of consolidating the three zones is to allow landowners more flexibility in how they use their lot and to remove restrictions on use types based on location. The city would also consider rezoning the property on the southeast corner of the intersection of Birch Street and First Street from residential to commercial. This change aligns with the commercial/service character of the north portion of First Street. This lot would not have a service overlay (as described further below) because it can serve as a transition between the service-oriented buildings on First Street and the residential lots on Birch and Second Street.
Commercial Lots in Eastlake Village
To the east of York Street, there are three additional commercial lots that could be considered for rezoning to Eastlake Mixed Use that are outside of the Old Town Eastlake area. These lots are located in the Eastlake Village Subdivision and currently zoned Neighborhood Services. These commercial lots may be appropriate for inclusion because of their proximity to Old Town Eastlake, their prominent location at a key gateway intersection for Eastlake, the relocation of the Eastlake Post Office in 1997 to the northernmost of these parcels, and their orientation to front York Street. The inclusion of these businesses in the Eastlake Mixed Use area would not affect the existing businesses but it could prohibit certain uses allowed in a Neighborhood Services zone district such as drive-throughs.
Proposed Eastlake Service Overlay District
The 2017 Eastlake Subarea Plan also recommends creating a Service Overlay District where there are currently service businesses (existing Eastlake Service zone) in order to support local businesses and historic land uses. An overlay district is similar to a regular zoning district in that it provides development regulations within a specified boundary. However, these districts are special zones that lie on top of existing zoning districts to modify the underlying district requirements. The Eastlake Service Overlay would be overlaid on top of the underlying Eastlake Mixed Use zone district and would cover only the lots with existing service uses. Overlay zones are used to provide either greater or lesser restrictions than the underlying zoning classification.
This Eastlake Service Overlay District would encourage small scale service uses to locate and expand, but staff will likely be recommending that these uses be required to go through the Specific Use Permit process to ensure compliance with design guidelines and to facilitate compatibility with neighboring development. Industrial uses would not be recommended since they are not in keeping with Eastlake's small town ambiance.
Properties Eligible for Rezoning
Lots being considered for the new zoning are identified on this map. Once the new zoning regulations are drafted, the city will contact all property owners whose lots are identified on the map to discuss the potential changes. The new zoning would require City Council approval. If approved, the city would offer applicable property owners the option for a city-initiated rezoning. The new zoning would be optional and property owners can choose to retain their existing zoning or apply to rezone their property at any time in the future. The rezoning would not impact existing uses but rather expand the options for permitted land uses if a property desired to redevelop in the future.
This webpage will be updated as new information becomes available. For more information, you may also contact the Policy Planning Division through email at email@example.com or by phone at 303.538.7295.