Fremont Community Joint Zoning Ordinance

Table of Contents

Chapter 6: Residential Districts

Article 3: Estate Residential District (R-3)

Type of District: Form-Based

Section 6-3.01: Purpose and Intent

The Estate District is comprised of residential neighborhoods on larger lots, located in areas that begin a transition to the more rural and agricultural areas in neighboring townships. It is made up of a mix of homes, but leaning more toward outlying urban or rural residences. It is characterized by the presence of natural landscape features, a greater amount of open space, and greater building setbacks.

Section 6-3.02: Development Objectives

Development objectives in the Estate Residential District include:

  • Maintaining a stable, single-family residential environment.
  • Creating an open space character while accommodating low-density residential development.
  • Allowing a modest mix of non-residential uses intended to address the needs of the District.

Section 6-3.03: Uses

Purpose and Intent

While a modest mix of land uses is permissible, it is the intent of the District to maintain a low-density residential environment. With some exceptions, nonresidential uses will be limited to those that are intended to serve the immediate neighborhood.

Uses Uses by Right Development Requirements Special Land Uses Development Requirements
Educational None
Residential Detached single family See Chapter 3 “General Provisions” Attached single-family
Accessory dwelling unit
Home occupations As accessory use see Chapter 3 “General Provisions” Bed and breakfast home
Community Garden

Residential Care Adult foster care family home
Adult foster care small group home
Family day care home Group day care home
Day Care Center (commercial) Only allowed in either a church or school
Hospice Residence
Government & Institutional Park, plaza, square, playground, walkway and similar uses
Religious institution
Financial, Medical and Professional Office and Related Services None
Artist/craft studio Permitted only in structures that are residential in character. UFA for any single building shall not exceed 5,000 sq. ft.
General & professional office
Medical & dental clinic Permitted only on properties that abut a non-residential use.
Entertainment & Recreation None
Restaurants: Drive-through windows /services are not allowed. Permitted only on properties that abut a non-residential use or on property used as a conforming non-residential use. Usable floor areas shall not exceed 8,000 sq. ft. Outdoor seating is not permitted.
Golf Course

Section 6-3.04: Siting

Purpose and Intent

The siting provisions of this District are intended to create a residential setting with more open space while ensuring that permitted structures contribute to its character.

Siting Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
Building Placement and Projections Required Building Line (RBL) The RBL shall be consistent with the established dimension of existing main buildings. The RBL for a new structure or addition shall be equal to or the average of the front setbacks of existing main buildings within two-hundred 200 ft. of the lot where the front yard setbacks are established. Where there is no established dimension, the RBL shall be thirty 30 ft. The RBL may be varied up to ten 10 ft. where necessary to account for changes in grade, landscape features, or other physical obstruction that does not permit the RBL to be met.
Buildings may occupy any portion of the lot behind the RBL, provided other setbacks are met.
An attached garage may extend in front of the principal structure as long as it does not extend in front of the required RBL.
The building façade shall occupy no less than twenty-four 24 ft. of the RBL length, exclusive of side yard setbacks, unless a garage is located in front of the main building.
On corner lots the RBL shall be met on both frontages.
Building Placement and Projections Side yard setback Buildings: 15 ft.
Driveways: If located in the front, driveways shall be set back at least five 5 ft. from a common lot line. If located on a corner lot, driveways shall be at least twenty-five 25 ft. from any block corner or other driveway. A shared driveway may be permitted where existing conditions allow.
The driveway setback from the corner may be varied up to ten 10 ft. where necessary to account for changes in grade, landscape feature, or other physical obstruction.
Rear yard setback 25 ft.
Projections No part of any buildings, except overhanging eaves, awnings, balconies, bay windows, front porches (and the habitable space above it), and stoops, as specified by this ordinance, shall encroach beyond the RBL. A ramp meeting ADA requirements may be placed forward of the RBL or in a setback, provided that it is located at least three 3 ft. from any lot line.
Bay windows shall project not more than thirty-six 36 inches beyond the RBL; shall maintain an interior clear width of at least four 4 ft.
The sections of the building façade at the RBL may include jogs of not more than 18 inches in depth, except as specified by this district to allow bay windows and balconies.
Balconies shall not project into a required setback.
Lot Requirements Minimum lot area 10,000 sq. ft.
Minimum lot width 90 ft.
Lot coverage At least twenty percent 20% of the total buildable area shall be preserved as contiguous open area on every lot, located behind the RBL.
Variances and Deviations: Siting Variances Placement of buildings, parking areas, driveways or projections resulting in a RBL or setback that is less restrictive than the above requirements, other than administrative departures.
All lot requirements
Deviations All others

Section 6-3.05: Building Elements

Purpose and Intent

The intent of regulating building elements is to ensure compatibility with the single-family, large lot character of the areas included in this District.

Building Elements Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
Height Maximum of 2 ½ stories
Residential Ground Story Interior Height The finished floor elevation shall be no less than two 2 feet above ground elevation once construction is complete.
The first story shall have a maximum interior floor to ceiling height of sixteen 16 ft. At least eighty percent 80% of the first story shall have an interior floor to ceiling height of at least eight 8 ft.

Residential Upper Story Interior Height The maximum interior clear height (floor to ceiling) for stories other than the ground story is 12 ft.
At least eighty percent 80% of each upper story shall have an interior clear height (floor to ceiling) of at least eight 8 ft.

Commercial Single story only.
Height (Cont.) The height requirements may be exceeded by parapet walls not over four 4 ft. in height, chimneys, television and radio antennas, cupolas, spires or other ornamental projections.
Additional habitable space is permitted within the roof where configured as a half story.
Façade Variations Nonresidential buildings A maximum of forty 40 ft. of RBL frontage shall be continuous as a single (attached) building, except for corner lots, which shall not exceed eighty 80 feet. There shall be a gap between adjacent frontage buildings of not less than ten 10 ft.
Windows/ Transparency Building facades facing public streets shall have a minimum of twenty percent 20% and a maximum of sixty percent 60% of window and door openings.
Transparency requirements shall apply to the area of the façade between two 2 and ten 10 ft. above grade of the building. Only clear or lightly tinted, non-reflective glass in windows, doors, and display windows shall be considered transparent.
Façade transparency requirements do not apply to religious institutions and similar assembly uses, provided that the façade is enhanced by architectural detailing, artwork, landscaping or similar features.
Window openings and window panes shall be taller than they are wide or be divided into segments that are taller than they are wide.
Exterior steel barriers and other security devices are not permitted. If they are located inside a building, they may not be visible from the outside during business hours. Security devices may be permitted for those uses required by law to provide them.
Building Elements Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
Roof Type Pitched roofs shall be moderately steep and symmetrically sloped no less than 4:12 and not more than 12:12, except that entry ways may have slopes of not less than 2:12. Public buildings are exempt.
Roof Type Flat roofs shall not be visible when viewed from the street level in the immediate vicinity of the building and shall be enclosed by parapets a minimum of forty-two 42 inches high, or as required to conceal mechanical equipment.
Exterior Building Wall Materials Durable building materials, simple configurations and solid craftsmanship are required. Eighty percent (80%) of the building façade (after transparency requirements are met) visible from public streets shall be constructed of the following materials:
  • Brick
  • Fiber cement siding equivalent or better siding
  • Gypsum reinforced fiber concrete (for trim and cornice elements only)
  • Metal (beams, lintels, trim elements and ornamentation only)
  • Split faced block (piers, foundation walls and chimneys)
  • Stone
  • Wood lap siding
  • Vinyl siding
Solar panels
Awnings shall be made of a canvas material or similar material, and shall be opaque to light (no under or in canopy illumination showing through). Similar materials shall be approved before use. Vinyl awnings are not permitted.
Entry Nonresidential uses A visible and usable building entrance is required for a building’s frontage on the primary street; the street providing the principal frontage for nonresidential buildings that is most intensively used by pedestrians or patrons.
The entrance shall be clearly identified using an awning, paving treatments, change in roofline or other features, such as porticos, arcades, arches, and integral planters. Other methods, such as unique color treatments or other similar means may be approved provided that the same effect is achieved.
Entry Nonresidential uses Main building entrances and exits shall face the street and may be recessed.

Residential uses Each lot/ground floor façade unit shall include a stoop or a front porch. The stoop or porch may be covered.
A stoop may project forward of the RBL and be not more than five 5 ft. deep and eight 8 ft. wide (including steps). Dimension and size of the stoop or porch may be varied to account for various architectural and design considerations, provided that usability and function are not impaired.
A front porch may project forward of the RBL and be between eight 8 and ten 10 ft. deep, with a width not less than fifty percent (50%) of the façade at the RBL. Front porches may not be enclosed unless approved by the Zoning Administrator. A front porch may be enclosed if approved by the Zoning Administrator if it satisfies the setback requirements and if it is in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.
Variances and Deviations: Building Elements Variances Maximum building height and/or number of stories
Entry projections forward of the RBL, other than administrative departures
Deviations All others

Section 6-3.06: Accessory Provisions

Accessory Provisions Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
See Chapter 3 “General Provisions” for General Requirements.
Signs Ground (Government and Institutional Uses Only) One thirty-two 32 sq. ft. sign is permitted, not exceeding six 6 ft. in height and set back at least ten 10 feet from all side and rear lot lines and at least five 5 ft. from the right-of-way line.
Signs Ground Up to thirty percent (30%) of the sign may include a reader board or electronic display; however, electronic displays shall be limited to text only, with only one color use for text, on a single color background.
Wall (Non-Residential Only) One wall sign is permitted per façade and/or frontage onto a parking area.
Wall signs shall not exceed ½ sq. ft. per each lineal foot of building wall length associated with the use to which it refers, with a maximum of twenty 20 sq. ft.
Window (Non-Residential Uses Only) Signs shall be located on the wall facing the street and off-street parking area designated for that use.
See Chapter 3 “General Provisions” for regulations pertaining to multiple uses in a building.
Signs may be painted, etched, or affixed to glass windows or doors provided they pertain to the business conducted on the premises and do not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the glass surface area or diminish any applicable façade transparency requirements.
Awning or Canopy (Non-Residential Uses Only) An awning or canopy sign may be painted, stenciled or otherwise affixed flat to the awning or canopy surface and cannot extend vertically or horizontally beyond the limits of the awning or canopy.
Characters can be no more than twelve 12 inches in height.
No more than two 2 awnings and/or canopies per frontage shall contain signs.
The combined area of signs on one awning or canopy shall not exceed fifteen 15 square feet.
Signs Awning or Canopy One suspended sign may be suspended under an awning or canopy for each ground floor establishment, not exceeding three 3 sq. ft. in area and with a minimum clearance of eight 8 ft. above the sidewalk.
Real Estate One sign per lot is permitted not exceeding six 6 sq. ft. in area, provided a corner lot may have one sign on each street frontage.
Political One sign per issue or candidate not exceeding six 6 sq. ft. in area.
Parking See Chapter 3 “General Provisions” for General Requirements
Location Nonresidential parking areas shall be located behind the RBL. Parking may be permitted nearer to the RBL where no other location or parking arrangement is possible provided that the location of parking ensures compatibility with surrounding building lines and the pedestrian environment of the site and area. Appropriate screening shall be required.
Number The number of off-street parking spaces provided shall not exceed standard requirements for uses on the parcel. Additional parking spaces may be approved, based on documented evidence provided by the applicant demonstrating that the parking will be required to accommodate the use on a typical day.
Fewer parking spaces may be approved, provided a parking analysis submitted by the owner is approved that demonstrates that the spaces planned will be sufficient.
Accessory Provisions Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
Parking Number On-street spaces adjacent to the parcel shall be included in calculating the required number of parking spaces. Uses split by multiple spaces shall be counted for the building frontage occupying at least fifty percent 50% of the length of the space in front of the building.
Use Standard Requirement
Educational One (1) for each teacher, employee, or administrator, plus one (1) for each three (3) seats in the auditorium
For high schools, add one (1) space per ten (10) students
Office 3 spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. of UFA
Residential 2 spaces per dwelling unit, except senior housing, which shall provide 1 space per dwelling unit.
Residential Care Residential requirement, plus 1 space per employee not in residence
Day Care Center (commercial): 1 space per employee and at least 4 spaces to accommodate drop offs, with one of the spaces to be a handicapped space.
Entertainment & Recreation 1 space per 3 persons by occupancy
Government & Institutional 1 space per 3 persons by seating capacity in the largest assembly area; if no assembly area – 2 spaces per 1,000 sq. ft. of UFA
Sidewalks Dimensions A minimum combined sidewalk and parkway width of ten 10 ft. shall be provided for all lots in a new subdivision and for all new lots in a neighborhood where an established sidewalk network is established. Sidewalks will not be required on lots that are developed in neighborhoods without an established sidewalk network. Space for bikes, civic art, or other similar uses/activities may be permitted, provided the minimum sidewalk clear area five 5 ft. is met.
Accessory Provisions Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
Sidewalks Display Areas (nonresidential uses only) Outdoor temporary displays are permitted on nonresidential sites, but shall not be forward of the RBL and shall not extend into adjoining sites. If located at the rear or side yard, it shall be contained within the same lot. A minimum of 5 ft. of sidewalk along the curb and leading to the entrance to the establishment shall be maintained. Pedestrian circulation and access to the building entrance shall not be impaired. Alternate locations may be approved where pedestrian circulation or entrances to buildings are not impaired, provided that the RBL is maintained free of displays.
Landscaping/ Screening See Chapter 3 “General Provisions” for General Requirements
Street Trees One 2 ½ inch caliper street tree shall be provided and located between the sidewalk and curb at not less than thirty 30 feet intervals of street frontage. Spacing shall comply with the City’s Code of Ordinances. . Spacing may be varied for individual site conditions.
Parking Areas (nonresidential uses only) In order to enclose the portion of the parking exposed to view of public streets, parking lots visible from a public street, walkways, or adjacent Residential Districts shall be screened by a decorative masonry wall no greater than three 3 ft. high, constructed at the RBL of the lot. Landscaping of the same height (at planting) may be used if it screens the parking area with at least seventy-five percent 75% opacity.
Parking lots exceeding twenty-five (25) spaces shall provide interior landscaping, dispersed evenly throughout the parking lot in order to break up large expanses of pavement and assist with vehicular and pedestrian flow. At least one canopy tree shall be provided per twelve 12 spaces. Zoning Administrator may approve interior landscaping that satisfies the intent of this regulation but may need to be arranged on the site differently to accommodate such things as snow plowing, etc. as long as the same number of required trees are planted.
Screening (nonresidential uses only) Exterior trash disposal areas/equipment shall be enclosed by brick, decorative concrete, or a material that matches the material of the main building. The enclosure shall be a minimum of six 6 ft. high, with three 3 sides with a gate on the fourth side. Outdoor mechanical equipment shall be similarly screened, provided that the enclosure need by only as high as necessary to fully screen the equipment.
Other Lighting (nonresidential uses only) See Chapter 3 “General Provisions” for General Requirements
Lighting, if installed, shall be pedestrian-style lighting along all sidewalks and within parking areas.
For pole lighting within parking areas, light fixtures shall not exceed a height of twenty 20 ft. Higher fixtures not exceeding thirty 30 ft. may be permitted for pole lighting if the fixture is located at least two-hundred 200 ft. from any adjacent Residential property line.
Building, wall, and pole exterior lighting fixtures shall be directed downward in order to reduce glare onto adjacent properties and streets. Any fixtures or structures used in relation to lighting shall be architecturally compatible with the remainder of the structure.
All outdoor lighting used to light the general area of a specific site shall be shielded to reduce glare and shall be arranged to reflect lights away from all adjacent residential districts or adjacent residences. Light shall not exceed more than 0.5 foot-candles at a residential property line. Light shall not exceed more than 1.5 foot-candles at a non-residential property line. The maximum intensity of lighting internal to the site shall be ten 10 foot-candles. Greater intensities may be allowed where additional security to prevent vandalism or to protect pedestrians or drivers may be needed. A lighting plan shall be submitted as part of a request for greater lighting. In no case shall illumination exceed ten 10 foot-candles.
Accessory Building (See Chapter 3 “General Provisions”) One garage, attached or detached, is permitted and shall not exceed eighty (80) percent of the GFA of the main building, or nine hundred (900) sq. ft., whichever is less, and nineteen (19) ft. in height (as measured to the peak of the roof). The height may be varied if the Zoning Administrator determines the height needs to be adjusted to be in keeping with the architectural design of the building.
Accessory Provisions Estate Residential District Development Requirements Administrative Departures
Other Accessory Building A detached accessory building shall be located at least five 5 ft. from the rear or side lot lines and shall be no closer to the front lot line than the RBL established by the main building.
In addition to the above garage, a residential lot may have an additional accessory building, up to twelve (12) ft. in height, as long as the total square footage of the two areas does not exceed one thousand two hundred (1,200) sq. ft.
A smaller accessory shed up to one hundred and twenty (120) sq. ft. and not taller than twelve (12) ft. in height is allowed in addition to the above accessory areas, provided that in no case shall there be more than two (2) detached accessory buildings. The shed must meet the setback requirements for accessory buildings. Additional accessory structures used for entertainment purposes (gazebo, pergola, etc.) are allowed, and if attached to the main building, it shall be considered as part of the main building for setback purposes. If the accessory structure is detached, the spacing requirements in this section apply.
For single family uses one carport space is permitted per residential dwelling unit if no accessory garage is present. No single carport or space shall exceed four-hundred 400 sq. ft. in roofed area or be higher than ten 10 ft. Carports shall maintain a side yard setback of fifteen 15 ft. from any property line and otherwise meet all other setbacks and the RBL applicable in the District.
A detached accessory structure shall be located at least ten 10 ft. from the main building and at least ten 10 ft. from any other accessory structure.
Fencing (See Chapter 3 “General Provisions”) A front yard fence, wall, or hedge, not more than thirty-six 36 inches in height, may be placed along the frontage and common lot lines surrounding the front yard. Fences located in a front yard adjacent to a public sidewalk shall be setback a minimum of two (2) feet from the sidewalk; however, fencing in the front yard adjacent to a public sidewalk may be placed on the property line if it is determined that care of the sidewalk will not be impaired and/or if the property owner agrees to maintain the fence if the care of the sidewalk damages the fence.
A privacy fence, maximum six 6 ft. in height, may be placed along any unbuilt rear and common lot line not surrounding the front yard or otherwise occupied by the building.
The height of the front yard fence, wall, or privacy fence shall be measured from the adjacent public sidewalk or, when not adjacent to a sidewalk, from the adjacent ground elevation once construction is complete.
Variances and Deviations Variances Signs All sign types: number permitted, height and maximum area
Suspended signs; minimum clearance above the sidewalk
Parking Location
Minimum number of parking spaces, other than administrative approvals
Sidewalks Minimum sidewalk and parkway dimension
Clear area between building and curb
Landscaping/ Screening Dimensions of screening (fences, walls, landscaping, etc.)
Lighting Maximum height of fixtures
Accessory Buildings All requirements
Fencing Height
Deviations All others