Centers are compact, well-designed areas that concentrate a variety of land uses all in one place. Centers are also people-oriented living and working places that allow residents to walk to shops and perhaps a bus stop or other mass transit stations. Centers have been identified by the county where significant population and employment growth can be located, a community wide focal point can be provided, and the increased use of transit, bicycling, and walking can be supported.
These centers are intended to be compact and centralized living, working, shopping, and/or activity areas linked to each other by high capacity or regular bus service. The concept of centers is pedestrian orientation with pedestrian circulation, pedestrian scale and pedestrian convenience with a mix of uses.
An important component of a center is the public realm. The public realm are areas within the center that the public has access to for informal rest and recreation activities such as walking, sitting, games, and observing nature. The public realm, along with residential and employment uses, define a sense of place and give the center an identity.
On May 12, 2010, the County Council approved two ordinances relating to urban center development. Both ordinances became effective May 29, 2010. These regulations affect areas designated Urban Center and Transit Pedestrian Village on the Future Land Use Map of the county's Comprehensive Plan:
For more information on Urban Center policies, please see the county's Comprehensive Plan. View the Urban Center Development Submittal Checklist (PDF).