Design & Appearance Standards

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In October 2013, the City Plan Commission adopted the City's first ever design and appearance guideline for commercial structures. The intent of this handbook is to identify the City's expectations with regard to the design of commercial buildings and to provide a consistent framework that facilitates the review and approval of commercial buildings in a cost-effective and timely manner. The Commercial Design Handbook promotes architecture that fits within and contributes to the character and context of the City's existing commercial districts. The guidelines are meant to help achieve good design, not a certain stylistic result. The Commercial Design Handbook establishes criteria for building design and the established site plan review process.  The Handbook breaks commercial architecture into seven (7) general elements. Each of the elements includes an intent and architectural guidelines. Sketches, photographs and descriptive captions are used to aid in the understand of the preferred design solutions and illustrate design solutions to avoid. 

The Handbook does not dictate solutions, but rather provides general guidelines and examples intended to help guide developers in making decisions for a variety of specific design issues. The guidelines should be interpreted with a degree of flexibility to better respond to the carrying conditions and constraints inherent to individual sites and complexities of commercial development. The Handbook is intended to assist designers, developers and owner in the preparation of development proposals and assist the City’s elected and appointed decision-makers in the review and consideration of Plan commercial design goals and objectives. There is no intent to create an architecture review board or additional layer of review. Click the link below to read the guidebook now.

Commercial Design Handbook