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City Code / Statutes

City of Menan

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  (A)          Introduction: Large Scale Commercial Developments should implement projects with an overall community design in mind, thus the need exists for Commercial Design Standards to be in place to ensure developments are coordinated into the overall community presentation.
  (B)           Background and Justification: The basis for all development within our Community is set forth in the Development Code, Subdivision Regulations, and the Comprehensive Plan. The Development Code for the City of Menan states that the purpose of the Ordinance is to promote the general welfare by establishing and regulating zoning districts. The purpose of these standards is to augment the existing criteria contained in the current commercial zones and those contained in the Development Code and Subdivision Ordinance, with more specific interpretations that apply to the design of large-scale commercial developments. These standards require a basic level of architectural variety, compatible scale, pedestrian and bicycle access, and mitigation of negative impacts.
  (C)          Procedure: The following standards are intended to be used as a design aid by developers proposing large commercial developments and as an evaluation tool by the city staff and the Planning Commission in their review processes.
  These standards shall apply to all projects, which are processed according to the criteria for proposed development plans and to all projects for commercial establishments of 14,000 square feet and greater located in the City of Menan's Commercial Districts (Village District).
  These standards are to be used in conjunction with the Subdivision Ordinance and other City and County Development Regulations.
  (D)          Definitions: 
  ARTICULATE: To give emphasis to or distinctly identify a particular element. An articulated facade would be the emphasis of elements on the face of a wall including a change in setback, materials, roof pitch or height.
  BREEZEWAY: A structure for the principal purpose of connecting a main building or structure on a property with other buildings.
  BUILDING FACE, FRONT: Any building face, which can be touched by a line drawn perpendicular to street (public or private).
  BUILDING FACE, PUBLIC: Any building side which is visible from public or private right-of-ways and/or the faces that contain public entry.
  DESIGN STANDARDS: Statements and graphics intended to direct the planning and development of the built environment in a particular manner or style so that the end result contributes positively to the overall development.
  LARGE SCALE COMMERCIAL STRUCTURES: Structures that are 25,000 square feet in size and larger. This includes commercial retail and business office buildings.
  PEDESTRIAN ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT: Development designed with an emphasis primarily on the street sidewalk and on pedestrian access to the site and buildings/structures rather than on auto access. The buildings/structures are generally located close to the public or private right-of-way and the main entrance(s) is oriented to the street sidewalk. There are generally windows or display cases along building facades. Although parking is provided, it is generally limited in size and location.
  PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY: A surfaced walkway, separate from the traveled portion of a public or private right-of-way or parking lot/driving aisle.
  PUBLIC/PRIVATE RIGHT OF WAY: Any public or private road, access easement intended to provide public access to any lot/development, but excluding any service road or internal driving aisles (i.e., within parking lots).
  (E)           DESIGN STANDARDS
  a.   Facades and Exterior Walls 
  Facades should be articulated to reduce the massive scale and the uniform, impersonal appearances of large commercial buildings and provide visual interest that will be consistent with the Community's identity character, and scale. The intent is to encourage a more human scale that residents of Menan-  Jefferson County will be able to identify with their Community. The resulting scale will ensure a greater likelihood of reuse of structure by subsequent tenants.
  r STANDARD: Developments with facade over 100 feet in linear length shall incorporate wall projections or recesses a minimum of 3 foot depth and a minimum of 20 contiguous feet within each 100 feet of facade length and shall extend over 20 percent of the facade. Developments shall use animating features such as arcades, display windows, entry areas, or awnings along at least 60 percent of the facade.
  b.   Smaller Commercial Stores 
  The presence of smaller commercial stores gives a center a friendlier appearance by creating variety, breaking up large expanses, and expanding the range of the site's activities. Windows and window displays of such stores should be used to contribute to the visual interest of exterior facades. The standards presented in this section are directed toward those situations where additional, smaller stores, with separate, exterior customer entrances are located in the principal buildings or development site.
  STANDARD: Where principal buildings contain additional, separately owned stores, which occupy less than twenty-five thousand (25,000) square feet of gross floor area, with separate, exterior customer entrances:
  ·    The street level facade of such stores shall be transparent between the height of three feet and eight feet above the walkway grade for no less than 60 percent of the horizontal length of the building facade of such additional stores.
  ·    Windows shall be recessed and should include visually prominent sills, shutters, or other such forms of framing.
  c.   Detail Features
  Buildings should have architectural features and patterns that provide visual interests, at the scale of the pedestrian, reduce massive aesthetic effects, and recognize local character. The elements in the following standard should be integral parts of the building fabric, and not superficially applied trim or graphics, or paint.
  r STANDARD: Building facades shall include a repeating pattern that shall include no less than three of the elements listed below. At least one of these elements shall repeat horizontally. All elements shall repeat at intervals of no more than thirty (30) feet, either horizontally or vertically.
  ◦ Color change
  ◦ Texture change
  ◦ Material module change 
  ◦ Expression of architectural or structural bay through a change in plane no less than 12 inches in width, such as an offset, reveal, or projecting rib.
  Expression of Architectural or Structural Bay
  d.   Roofs 
  Variations in roof lines should be used to add interest to, and reduce the massive scale of large buildings. Roof features should compliment the character of adjoining neighborhoods.
  r STANDARD: Roof lines shall be varied with a change in height every 100 linear feet in the building length. Parapets, mansard roofs, gable roofs, hip roofs, or dormers shall be used to conceal flat roofs and roof top equipment from public view. Alternating lengths and designs may be acceptable and can be addressed during the preliminary development plan.
  e.   Materials and Colors 
  Exterior building materials and colors comprise a significant part of the visual impact of a building. Therefore, they should be aesthetically pleasing and compatible with materials and colors used in adjoining neighborhoods.
  ·    Predominant exterior building materials shall be high quality materials. These include, without limitation:
  • Brick
  • Wood
  • Sandstone
  • Other native stone
  • Tinted, textured, concrete masonry units
  ·    Facade colors shall be low reflectance, subtle, neutral, or earth tone colors. The use of high intensity colors, metallic colors, black or fluorescent colors is prohibited.
  ·    Building trim and accent areas may feature brighter colors, including primary colors, but neon tubing shall not be an acceptable feature for building trim or accent.
  ·    Predominant  exterior  building  materials  as  well  as  accents  shall  not include the following:
  • Smooth-faced concrete block
  • Tilt-up concrete panels
  • Pre-fabricated steel panels
  f.    Entryways
  Entryway design elements and variations should give orientation and aesthetically pleasing character to the building. The standards identify desirable entryway design features.
  r STANDARD: Each principal building on a site shall have clearly defined, highly visible customer entrances featuring no less than three of the following:
  • canopies or porticos
  • overhangs
  • recesses/projections
  • arcades
  • raised corniced parapets over the door
  • peaked roof forms
  • arches
  • outdoor patios
  • display windows
  • architectural details such as tile work and moldings which are integrated into the building structure and design
  • integral planters or wing walls that incorporate landscaped areas and/or places for sitting
  (2)   Site Design and Relationship to the Surrounding Community. 
  Large commercial buildings should feature multiple entrances. Multiple building entrances reduce walking distances from cars, facilitate pedestrian and bicycle access from public sidewalks, and provide convenience where certain entrances offer access to individual stores, or identified departments in a store. Multiple entrances also mitigate the effect of the unbroken walls and neglected areas that often characterize building facades that face bordering land uses.
  r STANDARD: All sides of a principal building that directly face an abutting public or private right-of-way shall feature at least one customer entrance. Where a principal building directly faces more than two abutting public or private rights-of-way, this requirement shall apply only to two sides of the building, including the side of the building facing the primary street, and another side of the building facing a secondary street.
  The number of entrances for the principal building shall be addressed at the preliminary development plan stage. Where additional stores will be located in the principal building, each such store shall have at least one exterior customer entrance, which shall conform to the above requirements.
  Example of a development with customer entrances on all sides which face a public street.
  (3)   Parking Lot Orientation/Visual Mitigation 
  Parking areas should provide safe, convenient, and efficient access for vehicles and pedestrians. They should be distributed around large buildings in order to shorten the distance to other buildings and public sidewalks and to reduce the overall scale of the paved surface. If buildings are located closer to streets, the scale of the complex is reduced, pedestrian traffic is encouraged, and architectural details take on added importance.
  r STANDARD: No more than 60 percent of the off-street parking area for the entire property shall be located between the front facade within the front yard of the principal building(s) and the primary abutting street unless the principal building(s) and/or parking lots are screened from view by out-lot development (such as restaurants) and additional tree plantings and/or berms.
  Parking areas should be visually buffered from the adjoining streets. Minimize the visual impact of off street parking.
  r STANDARD: Parking shall be located to the rear of the building or screened so that it does not dominate the streetscape. Fences, hedges, berms and landscaping shall be used to screen parking areas. When large parking lots are necessary, increase the landscaping to screen the lot and divide the lot into smaller components. Landscape islands must be provided in the interior of large lots. These may double as snow storage areas in the winter months.
  (4)   Back and Sides 
  GUIDELINE #10 The rear or sides of buildings often present an unattractive view of blank walls, loading areas, storage areas, HVAC units, garbage receptacles, and other such features. Architectural and landscaping features should mitigate these impacts. Any back or side of a building visible from a public or private right-of-way shall be built in accordance with Article I. The Planning Commission may waive this requirement as part of an agreed upon development plan.
  r STANDARD: The minimum setback for any building facade shall be in accordance with the requirements for all commercial zones. Where the facade faces adjacent residential uses an earthen berm shall be installed, no less than 6 feet in height, containing at a minimum, a double row of evergreen or deciduous trees planted at intervals of 15 feet on center. Additional landscaping may be required by the Planning Commission to effectively buffer adjacent land use as deemed appropriate. Any and all additional landscape requirements of all of the Commercial zones, except Community Business Center, shall apply.
  (5)   Outdoor Storage, Trash Collection, and Loading Areas 
  GUIDELINE #11 Loading areas and outdoor storage areas exert visual and noise impacts on surrounding neighborhoods. These areas, when visible from adjoining properties and/or public streets, should be screened, recessed or enclosed. While screens and recesses can effectively mitigate these impacts, the selection of inappropriate screening materials can exacerbate the problem. Appropriate locations for loading and outdoor storage areas include areas between buildings, where more than one building is located on a site and such buildings are not more than forty (40) feet apart, or on those sides of buildings that do not have customer entrances.
  ·      Areas for outdoor storage, truck parking, trash collection or compaction, loading, or other such uses shall not be visible from public or private rights-of-way.
  ·      No areas for outdoor storage, trash collection or compaction, loading, or other such uses shall be located within 20 feet of any public thoroughfare or street, public sidewalk, or internal pedestrian way.
  ·      Loading docks, truck parking, outdoor storage, utility meters, HVAC equipment, trash dumpsters, trash compaction, and other service functions shall be incorporated into the overall design of the building and the landscaping so that the visual and acoustic impacts of these functions are fully contained and out of view from adjacent properties and public streets, and no attention is attracted to the functions by the use of screening materials that are different from or inferior to the principal materials of the building and landscape.
  ·      Non-enclosed areas for the storage and sale of seasonal inventory shall be permanently defined and screened with walls and/or fences. Materials, colors, and designs of screening walls and/or fences and the cover shall conform to those used as predominant materials and colors of the building. If such areas are to be covered, then the covering shall conform to those used as predominant materials and colors on the buildings.
  ·      Temporary sales/displays, such as Christmas trees, landscape materials, and fireworks, shall follow all outdoor requirements for all of the Commercial zones, except Central Business District, as described in the Development Code. Location and time/duration of such sales/displays shall be reviewed and approved by the Community Development Director or appointed designee.
  (6)   Pedestrian Flows 
  GUIDELINE #12 Pedestrian accessibility opens auto-oriented developments to the neighborhood, thereby reducing traffic impacts and enabling the development to project a friendlier, more inviting image. This section sets forth standards for public sidewalks and internal pedestrian circulation systems that can provide user-friendly pedestrian access as well as pedestrian safety, shelter, and convenience within the center grounds.
  ·      Sidewalks at least 6 feet in width shall be provided along all sides of the lot that abut a public or private right-of-way, excluding interstates. The Planning Commission may waive this requirement as part of the development agreement.
  ·      Continuous internal pedestrian walkways, no less than 5 feet in width, shall be provided from the public sidewalk or right-of-way to the principal customer entrance of all principal buildings on the site. At a minimum, walkways shall connect focal points of pedestrian activity such as, but not limited to, transit stops, street crossings, building and store entry points, and shall feature adjoining landscaped areas that include trees, shrubs, benches, flower beds, ground covers, or other such materials for no less than 50 percent of their length.
  ·      Sidewalks, no less than 5 feet in width, shall be provided along the full length of the building along any facade featuring a customer entrance, and along any facade abutting public parking areas. Such sidewalks shall be located at least six (6) feet from the facade of the building to provide planting beds for foundation landscaping, except where features such as arcades or entryways are part of the facade.
  ·      Internal pedestrian walkways provided in conformance with Subsection b above, shall provide weather protection features such as awnings or arcades within 30 feet of all customer entrances, constructed parallel to the facade of the building. This is not intended to extend into the driving aisles or parking areas.
  ·      All internal pedestrian walkways shall be distinguished from driving surfaces through the use of durable, low maintenance surface materials such as pavers, bricks, or scored concrete to enhance pedestrian safety and comfort, as well as the attractiveness of the walkways. Signs shall be installed to designate pedestrian walkways.
  (7)   Central Features and Community Spaces 
  GUIDELINE #13 Buildings should offer attractive and inviting pedestrian scale features, spaces and amenities. Entrances and parking lots should be configured to be functional and inviting with walkways conveniently tied to logical destinations. Bus stops and drop-off/pick-up points should be considered as integral parts of the configuration. Special design features such as towers, arcades, porticos, pedestrian light fixtures, bollards, planter walls, and other architectural elements that define circulation ways and outdoor spaces should anchor pedestrian ways. The features and spaces should enhance the building and the center as integral parts of the Community fabric.
  r STANDARD: Each commercial establishment subject to these standards shall contribute to the establishment or enhancement of Community and public spaces by providing at least two of the following: patio/seating area, pedestrian plaza with benches, transportation center, window shopping walkways, outdoor play area, kiosk area, water feature, clock tower, steeple, or other such deliberately shaped area and/or a focal feature or amenity that, in the judgment of the Planning Commission, adequately enhances such Community and public spaces. Any such areas shall have direct access to the public sidewalk network and such features shall not be constructed of materials that are inferior to the principal materials of the building and landscape.
  Although Menan's and Jefferson County's public bus system is limited at present, areas should be provided or designed to accommodate possible (future) bus service and other private bus services (i.e., nursing home/assisted living, etc.)
  (F)           Building Reuse and Maintenance Plan, Development Agreement Required: Applications for large scale commercial structures or establishments shall include a reuse and maintenance plan that will afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the municipality as a whole, for the rehabilitation or redevelopment of the structure in the event of closure or relocation by the original occupant. Such plan will be approved if the planning commission finds that:
  (1)   The plan conforms to the City's growth policy and the requirements of this title or parts thereof for the municipality as a whole; and
  (2)   A sound and adequate financial program exists for the financing of said redevelopment; and
  (3)   The plan affords maximum opportunity for rehabilitation or redevelopment of the structure by both private enterprise and the municipality; and
  (4)   The reuse plan provides a maintenance plan for normal repairs and upkeep of property, including but not limited to building, parking lots and surfacing, landscaping, signage, and elimination of "ghost signage." The City may enter into a development agreement with the owner of the real property and undertake activities, including the acquisition, removal, or demolition of structures, improvements, or personal property located on the real property, to prepare the property for redevelopment. A development agreement entered into in accordance with this section must contain provisions obligating the owner to redevelop the real property for the specified use consistent with the provisions of this title and offering recourse to the City if redevelopment is not completed as determined by the City.