(Note: We will be discussing Chapter 13 of the Phoenix Zoning Ordinance entitled ‘Walkable Urban Zoning Ordinance over several articles)

How do I know what Phoenix will allow to be developed along the light rail corridor? Can I build a 10-story apartment building? Can a new hotel be built next to a light rail station? It has now been 10 years since the 1st light rail train sounded the departing bell and pulled out of a Station. Where can I learn more about the future rules that have been laid down?

These and many other questions can be answered with some digging into the relatively new Chapter 13 of the Phoenix City Zoning Ordinance.

Click on the link to Chapter 13

Phoenix spent a considerable amount of time and money to organize and develop written standards for builders and developers. It can be time consuming to understand a project, and it will take someone who is experienced and well trained to understand you and your project.

For example, you need to be aware of what a ‘Transect District’ is and what is means for your property. A ‘Transect District’ is defined in the Code as: ‘a framework, identifies a range of standards that encourage development that supports the levels of diversity, intensity and form that best integrate with surrounding neighborhoods while facilitating urban, pedestrian-supported transit oriented projects.’ The WU Code consists of 12 transect districts.

One of the more common Transect Districts is ‘T5:5’ This is defined as a ‘medium-high-intensity mixed-use fabric characterized by a broad mix of buildings that integrate retail, offices, live-work and residential units adjacent to the Light Rail Corridor, averaging 56 feet’. So generally speaking, a T5:5 is the Transect District that allows up to a 5-story building facing the light rail line. The City has already developed maps that show these areas and the height that is allowed.

The map below was developed and adopted by Phoenix for the Gateway area, located North and West of SkyHarbor Airport. You can easily locate property areas and the density and height Phoenix already allows on either side of the light rail tracks. It generally is organized to allow up to a 5-story building directly facing the tracks, then tapers down within a few blocks. A good example is a MultiFamily or apartment building.
(please email me for a PDF you can view or print).

Walkable Urban Map of the Gateway District

We will be discussing another part of Chapter 13, Walkable Urban Code in a following article.

Note: Bryan Watkins is a Broker at Light Rail Advisors, LRA Real Estate located in Tempe, AZ. The brokerage has more listings For Sale along the light rail corridor than any other firm. You can reach him at bryan@LRAphx.com or 480.734.7878.