Gateway Area Traditional Neighborhood Design Guidelines

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Town of Gilbert Gateway Area

Traditional Neighborhood Design Guidelines

April 27, 2004


The design purpose of the Gateway Character Area as defined in the Gilbert General Plan is as follows: The Gateway Character Area describes desirable physical characteristics that will enhance Gilbert’s unique identity and bring back traditional neighborhoods. It provides for traditional village/neighborhood design concepts in exchange for higher densities. It promotes pedestrian/ bicycle/ transit-oriented design, and integrates residential, commercial, employment, schools, places of worship, and parks with rail and bus transit, bikeways, and pedestrian paths. It affords an opportunity for small-scale urban agriculture. 

Applicability and Use of Guidelines: These Guidelines are for the use by the development community when designing a project in the Gateway Character Area. The Planning & Zoning Commission, Design Review Board and staff will use the Guidelines to implement the LDC and General Plan in their review. These Guidelines set forth the expected design needed to meet the General Plan goals for projects in the Gateway Character Area. However, flexibility and innovation are strongly encouraged. To that end, the use of the words shall and must have been purposely avoided. Each application should demonstrate to what extent it incorporates these Guidelines. Applications that do not meet specific applicable guidelines will need to justify how their proposed design will improve the project by better meeting the intent of the General Plan, LDC, and these Guidelines. All applications for zoning in the Gateway Area should utilize the PAD process.


1. ROW - Local Streets--Back of curb; Arterials and Collectors—Follow LDC.

2. House/Lot Type - House/lot types are defined as those that differ significantly from one another. Some examples are provided below:

A. Point of access: rear; front recessed garage; side entry garage;

B. Number of stories;

C. Z-lot: 3-pack or 2-pack;

D. Lot size variations of 20’ (width) or more;

E. House size variations of 1,000 square feet or more;

F. Significant architectural variation by including distinctive themes roof line variation and massing; and

G. Attached or detached units.


1. Access:

• INTENT: De-emphasize front load garages. 
• GUIDELINE: A. below should be utilized for 50% of the units (PAD proposals under 20 acres are exempt from this requirement). Options A, B, C, D & E below may be used for the remaining 50% of the units.

A. Rear garage with alley access; 

B. Garage 18 feet behind living space with front access; 

C. Side loaded garage with front access;

D. Front load garages recessed between 18 feet and a minimum of 6’ for a maximum of 20% of thePAD; and

E. "3-pack or two-pack” designs that de-emphasize garages through one of the following:

• 2 car tandem garage.
• Architectural features such as single-bay doors, recessed doors and detailing around opening.

2. Front Porch or Balcony:

• INTENT: Create diversity of product and traditional design that enhances social interaction and invites people to the front of their homes. 
• GUIDELINE: All units should have at least one of the following:

A. Front Porch (Encouraged on at least 50% of all units. Should be a minimum useable size of 48 square feet with a minimum clear interior dimension of 6 feet and enclosed with a low wall or fence.); 

B. Balcony (With a minimum clear interior dimension of 4 feet and 24 square feet.); and

C. Other similar features that accomplish the intent. 

3. Sidewalk:

• INTENT: Pedestrian friendly location to encourage walking along streets.
• GUIDELINE: Utilize detached sidewalks on all street frontages and pedestrian plazas except at intersections where two ramps should be used and on corner lots on side street.

4. Front Yard Walls/Fences:

• INTENT: Allow fencing in traditional front yard areas.
• GUIDELINE: walls/fences of 24” – 36”, 2’ behind sidewalk.

5. Privacy Walls (6’):

• INTENT: Increase openness of front yard areas.
• GUIDELINE: No privacy walls should be placed within 5 feet of the front façade except under unique situations.

6. Cul-de-sacs:

• INTENT: Use a grid street system for maximum connectivity.
• GUIDELINE: Design site using a grid street network unless use of a cul-de-sac is unavoidable and then only with a focal point at the end.

7. Entryway:

• INTENT: Accentuate entryways
• GUIDELINE: Entryway100% visible, oriented to and accessible from street/pedestrian plaza/parks.

8. Parking:

• INTENT: Provide for guest parking.
• GUIDELINE: If on-street is restricted and required parking minimums are not met, provide guest parking areas within 350’ with maximum of 8 spaces in a group.

9. Setbacks, Front: 

• INTENT: Bring homes and porches closer to sidewalks by allowing a smaller setback from the right-of-way line.

A. Living Area = Rear access – 16’ (10’ from center line of pedestrian parkway for interior alley court); Front access – 18’;

B. Porches = Rear access – 14’ (10’ from center line of pedestrian parkway for interior alley courts); Front access – 16’;

C. Garage, front = 18’ behind front of structure; 6’ behind front of structure if part of a “3-
pack or 2-pack”; and

D. Garage, side entry = 16’.

10. House/Lot Type Series Mix:

• INTENT: Encourage a wide mixture of house/lot types

A. If over 200 units in PAD, minimum 2 house lot type (no more than 55% of any one series);

B. If over 300units in PAD, minimum 3 house lot type (no more than 45% of any one series); and

C. If over 400 units in PAD, minimum 4 house lot type (no more than 35% of any one series).

11. Rear Façade:

• INTENT: Create design variety and interest along alleys.
• GUIDELINE: Visually diversify rear façades by using architectural/design/structural features such as:

A. An offset between floors on two -story units of 3- feet for a minimum of 50% of the width of the rear elevation is strongly encouraged;

B. Enhance a portion of the rear façade to prevent a “single” or “flat” plane; and

C. Other similar features that accomplish the intent.