4. Zoning Build-Out Analysis

4. Zoning Build-Out Analysis
Table 9-2. Total Acres by Zoning District -
2001
Town of Conway
Zoning District # Acres % of Total
Residential/Agriculture (RA) 30,884 69.5%
Village Residential (VR) 379 0.9%
Village Commercial (VC) 847 1.9%
Highway Commercial (HC) 2,213 5.0%
Industrial (I) 900 2.0%    
Mountain Conservation (MC) 7,100 16.0%
Resort/Recreation (RR) 2,100 4.7%
Total[2] 44,424 100.0%
Source: Town of Conway Assessment Records,
2001 and RKG Associates, Inc.

This section examines the town’s zoning regulations and the potential for future development within Conway. The zoning regulations are the primary determinant of land uses within the community. Currently, Conway’s land area is divided into seven zoning districts as illustrated on Map 9-2. These zones are accompanied by a set of development standards that define the size, location and density of permitted uses within various areas of the town. The seven zones are listed in Table 9-2 along with the approximate acreage of land area contained in each zone. In addition to the seven zoning districts listed in Table 9-2, the Town of Conway’s Zoning Ordinance lists three additional zoning districts which include the Shoreline Protection District (SP), Wetland and Watershed District (WW), and the Special Highway Corridor District (SHC). For the purposes of this build-out analysis, land in all zoning districts are evaluated, with the exception of the SP, WW, and SHC zoning districts.

The residential zones include the Residential/Agriculture (RA) and Village Residential (VR) zones. These zones contain about 31,200 acres representing approximately 71% of Conway’s land base. It should be noted that this analysis is based on zoning and property data provided by Conway’s Assessment Department. The property assessment and zoning data provided by the town is assumed to be reliable and has been verified to the extent possible. However, no warranty is given for its accuracy.

The two commercial zones, Highway Commercial (HC) and Village Commercial (VC) have a combined total of approximately 3,060 acres, or 7% of the town’s land base. The HC zone is focused along Conway’s busiest highway corridors which includes sections of Route 16 (along “the Strip”, north of North Conway Village and west of Conway Village), and a northern section of Route 302 in Redstone. The VC zone incorporates the core commercial areas in each of the three villages.

Conway currently has two industrial zoning districts – the Industrial 1 (I1) and Industrial 2 (I2) zoning districts. The I1 district is located along Hobbs Street in Conway Village, while the I2 district is located along East Conway Road in Redstone. Both industrial zones have a combined total of about 900 acres representing approximately 2% of the town’s land base. For the purposes of this build-out analysis, both the I1 and I2 zoning districts will be combined as these areas are designated for similar light industrial and commercial uses.

Map 9-2 Zoning

The Mountain Conservation zone (MC) is located in the northern portion of Conway and incorporates parcels at or above 800 feet in elevation. The MC district contains approximately 7,100 acres representing about 16% of Conway’s land area.

The Resort/Recreational zone (RR) is located in North Conway and incorporates the Mount Cranmore Ski Resort as well as some neighboring properties. The RR zoning district contains roughly 2,100 acres representing approximately 5% of Conway’s land base.

Future development potential in Conway can be estimated by identifying the amount of developable land that remains within each zoning district. The geographic information system (GIS), which includes the digital parcel and zoning maps as well as linkage to the computerized assessment database, was used to estimate development potential.

The build-out analysis examined the potential for future development of both residential and non-residentially zoned land in Conway. Within both of these categories the analysis identified the amount of undeveloped and “underdeveloped” land within each zoning district. The term “underdeveloped” refers to those properties that may already be developed, such as with a single family dwelling unit, but also have sufficient acreage to be further subdivided.

The residential build-out analysis, which is summarized in Table 9-3, evaluated development potential based on the number of single family dwelling units that could be constructed at three different levels of density. The first density level is the minimum lot size permitted by zoning. The Conway Zoning Ordinance indicates that the minimum lot size for land serviced by municipal water and sewer is one-half acre for the first dwelling unit developed. Each additional dwelling unit developed on the lot requires only 10,000 square feet (approximately one-quarter of an acre). Lots not serviced by municipal water and sewer must have a minimum of one acre of qualified[3] land per dwelling unit. Lots serviced by either municipal water or sewer require a minimum lot size of at least one-half acre of qualified land per dwelling unit. Although Conway’s Zoning Ordinance indicates that a minimum lot size for development could be one-half acre, for the purposes of this analysis, the first density level used is assumed to be one acre per dwelling unit. This density level was selected because most potentially developable land is located outside of areas serviced by municipal water and sewer, as well as the fact that most newly subdivided lots are seldom created at the minimum lot size density due to natural constraints and the shape of the parcel being subdivided.

The second density level used to calculate the build-out analysis was three acres per dwelling unit (medium density) which is based on the current average lot size of all improved parcels in Conway. For comparative purposes, the third and final density level used was five acres per dwelling unit (low density).

Table 9-3. Residential Build-Out Analysis by Zoning District: 2001
Town of Conway

  Zoning District
  Residential/Agriculture
(RA)
Village Residential
(VR)
Total
Part A. Potential Development on Vacant Land
Potentially Developable Acreage (1) 19,302 91 19,392
Additional Single Family Units based on 1 Acre Lot Size 14,476 68 14,544
Additional Single Family Units based on 3 Acre Lot Size 14,476 68 14,544
Additional Single Family Units based on 5 Acre Lot Size 4,825 23 4,848
  2,895 14 2,909
       
Part B. Potential Housing Development on Subdividable Land with Existing Housing Units
Subdividable Acreage with Existing Unit (2) 10,228 56 10,284
Potentially Developable Acreage (1) 7,671 42 7,713
Additional Single Family Units based on 1 Acre Lot Size 7,671 42 7,713
Additional Single Family Units based on 3 Acre Lot Size 2,557 14 2,571
Additional Single Family Units based on 5 Acre Lot Size 1,534 8 1,543
 

(1) Represents the gross undeveloped acreage less 25% for roads, utilities and natural constraints
(2) Represents any parcel over 3 acres with an existing dwelling unit

Source: Town of Conway Assessment Database and RKG Associates, Inc.

Part A of Table 9-3 indicates the amount of undeveloped acreage that remains in each residential zoning district, which includes all unimproved land parcels. The total undeveloped land in both residential districts is approximately 19,300 acres. This gross acreage estimate was then reduced by 25% to allow for the construction of roads, utilities, and natural constraints encountered during the subdivision process. This yielded a net developable acreage estimate of approximately 14,500 acres. Dividing this net acreage estimate by the high (1 acre), medium (3 acres) and low (5 acres) density levels within each district suggests that there is the potential for construction of between 2,909 to 14,544 single family homes on undeveloped land in Conway. A similar analysis was conducted for parcels that have an existing dwelling, but which are considered underdeveloped based on permitted zoning densities. Part B of Table 9-3 shows that there is an additional 7,700 net acres of potentially developable land available in these parcels after allowing for the existing residence[4] and the installation of roads, utilities and allowing for natural constraints. It is estimated that an additional 1,543 to 7,713 single family dwelling units could potentially be constructed on these parcels.

Typically the same type of build-out analysis, applying the GIS mapping and assessment database completed for residential zones, is applied to non-residential zones. In order to measure potential development density for non-residential zones, a floor area ratio (FAR) is used. This is the ratio that exists between the amount of building square footage and the size of the parcel. However, the GIS and assessment data obtained from the Town of Conway does not provide the geographic location (map and lot number) or size (square footage) of buildings within the town. Therefore, due to the lack of building size and location data, developing a buildout analysis based on a FAR is not possible.

2,854,077

Table 9-4. Potential Development on Non-Residential Vacant Land: 2001
Town of Conway

 
  HC VC I RR (3) Total MC (3)
Gross Undeveloped Acreage 1,092 148 394 1,011 347 2,991
Potentially Developable Acreage (1) 819 111 295 758 260 2,243
Average Floor Area Ratio (2) 8.% 10.% 5.% 2.% 2.% .%
             
Potential Square Footage of New Building Space 2,854,077 481,948 643,305 660,261 226,808 4,866,399
 
(1) Represents gross undeveloped acreage less 25% for roads, utilities and natural constraints
(2) Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is the ratio that exists between the amount of building square footage and the size of the parcel. Calculation of actual average FARs for each zoning district was not possible, therefore, an estimated average FARs was used.
(3) Both the RR and MC zoning districts contain about 6,700 acres of undeveloped land, the acreage values used in this analysis represent only acres that could potentially be developed due to severe development constraints.
Source: Town of Conway assessment database and RKG Associates, Inc.

Although data is not available to estimate the amount of underdeveloped land, it is possible to estimate the amount of undeveloped non-residential land. Table 9-4 indicates the amount of undeveloped land which remains in each non-residential zoning district. The total undeveloped land in non-residential zoning districts is about 3,000 acres[5]. This gross acreage estimate was then reduced by 25% to allow for the construction of roads, utilities, and natural constraints encountered during the subdivision process. This yielded a net developable acreage estimate of approximately 2,200 acres. Based on average estimated FARs for potential development in each zoning district, it is projected that approximately 4.8 million square feet of non-residential building space could be constructed in the future.

Summary and Conclusions of Build-Out Analysis

It should noted that the build-out scenarios presented here are based on existing regulations and a specific set of assumptions that are deemed appropriate for existing conditions. If Conway’s land use regulations are changed in the future, then potential build-out results would also be altered. None of the scenarios are intended to suggest an absolute potential for development in the town. This analysis offers a “big picture” perspective on the development potential in Conway and should serve as a starting point for a more detailed, site-specific analysis.

It should be emphasized that the projected range in the number housing units, which could potentially be developed in Conway, is very broad as it is based on the respective assumptions used within the analysis. The wide range in the number of potentially developable units is not typical and should not be considered realistic. However, what should be highlighted is that Conway has a considerable amount of land available for residential development. Based on Conway’s average absorption of approximately twenty single family dwelling units per year, it would take over 700 years to absorb just the vacant residential land under the high-density level (one acre lots), or over 240 years under the medium density level (3 acre lots), or about 140 years under the low density level (5 acre lots). It should be noted that these estimates are just for existing vacant land and do not account for land available in underdeveloped parcels.