# Slope Density. Appendix F F-1 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE DISCUSSION OF SLOPE

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1 Appendix F Slope Density F-1 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE This document has been prepared with the intent of acquainting the general reader with the slope-density approach to determining the intensity of residential development. The slope-density approach was incorporated in the hillside plan in order to develop an equitable means of assigning dwelling unit credit to property owners. In addition to offering the advantage of equal treatment for property owners, the slope-density formula can also be designed to reflect property owners, the slope-density formula can also be designed to reflect judgments regarding aesthetics and other factors into a mathematical model which determines the number of units per acre on a given piece of property based upon the average steepness of the land. Generally speaking, the steeper the average slope of the property, the fewer the number of units which will be permitted. Although the slope-density formula can be used as an effective means to control development intensity, the formula itself cannot determine the ideal development pattern. The formula determines only the total number of dwelling units, allowable on the property, based upon the average slope; it does not determine the optimum location of those units on the property. Exogenous factors not regulated by the slope-density formula such as grading, tree removal, or other environmental factors would be regulated by other means. The slope-density formulas do not represent by themselves a complete safeguard against development detrimental to the environment; but, together with other conservation measures, they are considered a valuable planning device. DISCUSSION OF SLOPE Steepness of terrain can be defined in several ways: As the relationship between the sides of the triangle representing a vertical section of a hill, or as the angle between the terrain and the horizontal plain, to name two. Unfortunately, the definitions of the terms slope grade, gradient, batter, and of the expression the slope is 1 to... are not well known or uniformly applied, causing much confusion. For purposes of this section, the concept of steepness of terrain will be defined and discussed as a percentage of slope. Percent of slope is defined as a measurement of steepness of slope which is the ratio between vertical and horizontal distances expressed in percent. As illustrated below, a 50% slope is one which rises vertically 5 ft. in a 10 ft. horizontal distance.

2 F-2 Technical Appendix F: Slope Density 50% Average Slope 5'- 00" To more accurately assess the impact of steepness of terrain on the feasibility of residential development, it might be helpful to examine some of phenomena commonly associated with increasing percentages of slope steepness. 10'- 00" DESCRIPTION OF SLOPE-DENSITY WILLIAM SPANGLE & ASSOCIATES SLOPE DENSITY STUDY - PHASE I. WILLIAM SPANGLE AND ASSOCIATES WAS RETAINED BY COUNTY TO ASSIST THE EFFORT OF PLANNING POLICY COMMITTEE RELATIVE TO SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAIN STUDY AND MONTEBELLO RIDGE STUDY. One of the most common confusions of terminology relative to terrain steepness is the synonymous usage of percent of grade and degree of grade. However, as the illustration below indicates, as percent of grade increases, land becomes steeper at a decreasing rate. The present slope-density formulas specified by the City of Cupertino require more land for development as the rate of percent of grade increases. Thus, the relationship between percent of grade and degree of grade is inverse rather than corresponding. Degree of Grade Percent of Grade / / 2 6 The Foothill Modified slope density The Foothill Modified slope density is designed for application to those properties in the Fringe of the Hillside study area with average slopes less than 10%. The formula assumes availability of municipal services. Beginning at credit of 3.5 dwelling units/gr. acre, the formula follows a cosine curve of decreasing density credit with increase of slope, achieving a constant above 43% average slope Degree of Change for 10% Grade Increase 2 1 /

3 Description of Slope-Density F-3 Percent of Slope Description of Slope; Problems 0-5% Relatively level land. Little or no development problems due to steepness of slope. 5-15% Minimum slope problems increasing to significant slope problems at 15%. 15% is the maximum grade often considered desirable on subdivision streets. Above 15%, roads must run diagonally to, rather than at right angles to contours increasing the amount of cut and fill. For example, the lower segment of San Juan Road in the Cupertino foothills averages 20% in grade, 15-30% Slope becomes a very significant factor in development at this steepness. Development of level building sites requires extensive cut and fill in this slope category and the design of individual houses to fit terrain becomes important % Slope is extremely critical in this range. Allowable steepness of cut and rill slopes approach or coincide with natural slopes resulting in very large cuts and fills under conventional development. In some cases, fill will not hold on these slopes unless special retaining devices are used. Because of the grading problems associated with this category, individual homes should be placed on natural building sites where they occur, or buildings should be designed to fit the particular site. 50%+ Almost any development can result in extreme disturbances in this slope category. Except in the most stable native material special retaining devices may be needed. The Foothill Modified 1/2 Acre slope density This slope density is applied in the Urban Service Area to those properties where a full range of municipal utility services; are available. The formula begins at density of 1/2 acre per dwelling unit which holds constant at 22% average slope. From 22% to 43% average slope, the formula follows a cosine curve of decreasing density credit with increasing slope. The density credit above 43% average slope remains constant at 0.20 dwelling units/gr. acre. The 5-20 slope density This slope density is applied to those properties which lie west of the urban/suburban fringe. See the following pages for the three slope density curves.

4 F-4 Technical Appendix F: Slope Density HOW TO CONDUCT A SLOPE-DENSILY ANALYSIS (MAP WHEEL METHOD) The computation of density using a slope-density formula is relatively simple once the basic concepts are understood. This section of Appendix A describes the basic concepts in order to enable individuals to determine density. The City Planning staff will provide technical assistance however, it is the responsibility of the owner or potential developer to provide accurate map materials used in the slope-density investigation for a specific property. The City has map material which is accurate enough to provide an approximate slope-density evaluation. Accurate information needed to evaluate a specific development proposal must be provided by the owner or developer. Step 1: Selection of Map Material To begin any slope-density investigation, it is important to select the proper mapping material. Maps on which measurements are made must be no small in scale than 1 =200 (1:2400). All maps must be of the topographical type with contour intervals not less than 10 feet. If the map wheel method is used for measuring contours, or if a polar planimeter is used for measurement of an area, maps on which such measurements are made must not be smaller in scale than 1 =50 (1:600); these maps may be enlarged from maps in a scale not less than 1 =200. Enlargement of maps in smaller scale than 1 =200, or interpolation of contours is not permitted. Step 2: Layout of Standard Grid The property for which area and slope are to be measured is divided into a network of cells constructed from a grid system spaced at 200 ft. intervals. In order to ensure a common reference point and to prevent the practice of gerrymandering the grid system to distort the average slope of the property, the grid system must be oriented parallel to the grid system utilized by Santa Clara County s 1 =500 scale map series. Figure I illustrates a hypothetical property divided into cells by a 200 ft. grid network. It is perhaps easiest to construct the 200 x 200 cells by beginning at an intersection point of perpendicular County grid lines ( Q in Figure 1) and then measuring 200 ft. intervals along the two County grid lines until the entire property is covered with a network. After the grid lines have been laid out, it is helpful to number each 200 ft. square cell or part thereof. Whenever the grid lines divide the property into parts less than approximately 20,000 sq. ft., such areas shall be combined with each other or with other areas so that a number of parts are formed with the areas approximately between 20,000 and 60,000 sq. ft. Cells formed by combining several subareas should be given a single number and should be shown on the map with hooks to indicate grouping (see area 2 on Figure 1). At this point, the investigator should obtain a copy of the Slope-Density Grid Method Worksheet, Figure 2 of this document. Under Column A (land unit), each line should be numbered down the page to correspond with the total number of cells on the property. (Figure 2). Step 3: Measurement of Area and Contour Length With the map material property prepared in Steps One and Two, we can now

5 How to Conduct a Slope-Density Analysis (Map Wheel Method) F-5 Property Line Composite Grid "Cell" Standard Grid "Cell" County Grid Line "A" County Grid Line "B" Figure 1 Intersection At "Q" begin the actual mechanics of the slope-density analysis. The first task is to ascertain the acreage of the subject property. This acreage figure is obtained by measuring the area of each numbered cell divided by the 200 ft. grid, and then summing the results of the individual measurements. Since the standard grid cell measures 200 x 200, it is only necessary to measure the area of any non-standard size cell. Referring once again to the worksheet, as each cell is calculated for area, the results should be entered in Column B ( and Column C optional). See Figure 2. Irregularly shaped cells may be measured for area quickly and accurately by means of a polar planimeter. This device is an analog instrument which traces the perimeter of an area to be measured and gives the size in actual square inches. This measurement is then multiplied by the square of the scale of the map being used. For example, 1-200, the square of 200 ft. means 1 equals 40,000 sq. ft. The total square footage of each cell can then be converted to acreage by dividing by 43,560 sq. ft. More detailed instruction in the use of the planimeter may be obtained from the City Planning Department. Areas of irregular shape can also be measured by dividing each part into triangles, for which areas are determined by the formula A - base x height + 2, if a planimeter is not available. Having now determined the area of each cell, one must now proceed to measure the contour lengths of the property. Contour length and interval are both vital factors in calculating the average slope of the land. Each contour of a specified interval is measured separately within each standard cell or other numbered zone for which the area has been calculated. The map wheel is set at zero and is then run along the entire length of a contour within the boundary of the cell, lifted and placed on the next contour (with-

6 F-6 Technical Appendix F: Slope Density out reseting the wheel to zero) and so forth until the total length of contours of the specified interval within the individual cell is determined. The map wheel will display a figure in linear inches traveled. This figure shown on the dial should then be multiplied by the map scale. (Example: map wheel reads 14-1/2 inches, map scale is Contour length x ). The results should then be entered on the proper line of Column D (Figure 2). Step 4: Calculation of Average Slope Knowing the total length of contours, the contour interval, and the area of each numbered cell, one may now calculate the average slope of the land. Either of the two formulas below may be used to calculate average slope: S= L A S = average slope of ground in percent I = contour interval in feet L = combined length in feet of all contours on parcel A = area of parcel in acres The value is 1 sq. ft. expressed as a percent of an acre: 1 sq. ft. = ac. 43,560 S=I x L x 100 A S = average slope of ground in percent I = contour intervaling fcct L = combined length in feet of all contours on parcel A = area of parcel and square feet Step 5: Determination of Dwelling UnIt Credit With. the average slope of the cell now determined, one can calculate the dwelling unit credit per cell by obtaining a factor frorn the appropriate slope-density table (Section 3 of this document) then multiplying that factor by the area of the cell in acres. Refer to Figure 4 to ascertain which formula applies to the property under investigation. The formula factor is found by first reading the table column s (slope) until reaching the figure corresponding to the average slope of the cell being studied; next, one reads horizontally to the d column (density D.U. / gr. ac.). This factor should be entered in Column F of the worksheet. The factor in Column F is now multiplied by the acreage in Column B and the result entered under the appropriate slope-density formula title (Column G, H, I or 1). Step Six: Summation of Results When all cells in the parcel have been analyzed in the manner previously described, the total for various components of the data may be derived and entered into the two bottom rows of the worksheet. Columns B, C (if used), and D should be summed at the bottom of the sheet. A mathematical average may be calculated for Column E. Columns G through J should be summed at the bottom of the page. The totals shown at the bottom of columns G through J represent the total number of dwelling units permitted on that property, based on the average slope. These totals should be carried out to a minimum of two decimal places. The results should be entered on the appropriate line of Column E of the worksheet.

7 How to Conduct a Slope-Density Analysis (Map Wheel Method) F-7 Slope Density "Grid-Method" Work Sheet PROPERTY DESCRIPTION: DWELLING UNIT CREDIT FROM SLOPE/DENSITY TABLES LAND UNIT (acres) AREA (sq. ft.) CONTOUR Av. SLOPE FACTOR FOOTHILL MOD FOOTHILL MOD 1/2 ac. SEMI-RURAL COUNTY Compos. Compos. Std. Compos EXAMPLE A B C D E F G H I J K Compos TOTALS BY GRID METHOD TOTAL BY SINGLE AREA Figure 2 Rounding of Dwelling Unit Credit Results The City Council, during its meeting of March 7, 1977, adopted the following policy regarding the rounding up of a numerical dwelling unit yield resulting from application of a slope-density formula: The rounding up of the numerical yield resulting from application of a slope-density formula may be permitted in cases where the incremental increase in density from the actual yield to the rounded yield will not result in a 10% increase of the actual yield. In no case, shall an actual yield be rounded up to the net whole number unless the fractional number is.5 or greater.

8 F-8 Technical Appendix F: Slope Density Slope Density Formula: Foothill Modified d = cos { (s-5) x 4.8} 0 < s < 44 SLOPE Density Gr. Acres Average SLOPE Density Gr. acres Average % D.U. per per D.U. lot area % D.U. per per D.U. lot area gross ac. gr.sq.ft. gross ac. gr.sq.ft. s d 1/d 43560/d s d 1/d 43560/d , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,271

9 How to Conduct a Slope-Density Analysis (Map Wheel Method) F Foothill Modified Acres (per dwelling unit) Slope (%)

10 F-10 Technical Appendix F: Slope Density Slope Density Formula: Foothill Modified 1/2 Acre d = cos {(s-5) x 4.8} 5 < s < 44 SLOPE Density Gr. Acres Average % D.U. per per D.U. lot area gross ac. gr.sq.ft. s d 1/d 43560/d , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,235

11 How to Conduct a Slope-Density Analysis (Map Wheel Method) F Foothill Modified - 1/2 Acre Acres (per dwelling unit) Slope (%)

12 F-12 Technical Appendix F: Slope Density 5 20 Acre Slope Density Slope Density Gr. Acres Average Slope Density Gr. acres Average % D.U. per per D.U. lot area % D.U. per per D.U. lot area gross ac. gr. sq.ft. gross ac. gr.sq.ft. s d 1/d 43560/d s d 1/d 43560/d , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,854 50>

13 How to Conduct a Slope-Density Analysis (Map Wheel Method) F Acre Slope Density Acres (per dwelling unit) Slope (%)

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