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What is the central city Specific Plan?

The Sacramento Central City Specific Plan will provide greater detail for where the housing will be located, what it will look like, integration with transit and other mobility options, needed infrastructure improvements, the desired amenities to support additional residents, and how the infrastructure will be paid for.

What are the boundaries of the project?

The Central City Specific Plan area is bound by the Sacramento River to the West, the American River to the North, Highway 80 to the East, and Highway 50 to the South.

How long will the specific plan take to create?

The Central City Specific Plan recently launched in the summer of 2016 and will continue to early 2018. The project’s environmental analysis will determine how long it will take the team to finish.

what is the difference between the central city specific plan and the downtown specific plan?

In November 2017, the City changed the name of the Downtown Specific Plan to the Central City Specific Plan.  While the Downtown Specific Plan is a guide that paves the way for more housing throughout the City, the plan also includes strategies to encourage varied housing options that reflect Sacramento’s diversity.  The City wants to maintain distinctive characteristics of the City’s neighborhoods and enhance their livability. The Central City Specific Plan offers different strategies for different neighborhoods.  Changing the name to the Central City Specific Plan better reflects these principles.

What is transit-oriented development?

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is the creation of mixed-use walkable communities built around a strong transportation network. TOD communities are highly walkable and rely on a strong network of amenities and resources that promote thriving urban environments.

What is a specific plan?

A specific plan is a comprehensive planning document that develops guidelines and policies for land use decisions for prescribed geographic areas.

What is higher density housing?

To substantially increase the number of housing units in the Central City area, higher density housing will need to be built. Higher density does not exclusively refer to high-rise buildings. The definition of density depends on the context in which it is used.  For Central City Sacramento, higher density simply means new residential development at a density that is higher than single family home or attached townhomes.

The image on below depicts different types of housing densities. For Central City Sacramento, higher density can be anything between 18-36 to 150+ dwelling units per acre. 

This image shows six different density types by acreages in order to show how filled up one acre can get.

What is Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and why is FAR important to urban infill?

What is a “floor area ratio” or FAR? The best way to define an FAR is to give an example. An FAR of 1.0 means that the developer is allowed to build the equivalent of a one-story building over the entire lot, or a 2-story over half the lot. An FAR of 2.0 means the developer is allowed to build the equivalent of a two-story building over her entire lot, or a 4-story over half the lot.

While the FAR examples given above that exceed 1.0 may seem very dense, keep in mind that in most cases an FAR of 1.0 would not allow the developer to build one story over the entire lot, as other local development code regulations would also require space for landscaping/open space, parking, setbacks, etc.

A truly walkable community that creates healthy transit require FARs to be at least 1.5 to 3.0. Most of the cities that we all love to walk in have FARs that are probably well over 3.0.  Low FARs create unwalkable large spaces that are more car-scaled than people-scaled.

This image shows nine samples of Floor Area Ratios that show three different iterations of what a ratio can look like