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Meeting Date:  July 25, 2000

Subject/Title:    Color Coordination of Downtown Buildings

Submitted by:   Mitch Oshinsky, Community Development Director

Approved by:    Jon Elam, City Manager


Direct staff to include a policy in the draft Design Guidelines (currently being prepared) to require individual tenant/owner frontages within a single building in the Downtown to utilize the same building base and trim colors (option #3, below).


At  a previous meeting, Council concurred that staff return with options regarding the issue of Downtown building paint color coordination.


When a new building is proposed for construction in the City it undergoes Design Review by the Planning Commission, where the exterior architectural appearance, style, size, bulk, scale and color are reviewed and approved.  Any alteration of color for a building which has been approved through Design Review must be consistent with the original color, unless the applicant requests City review of a color change.  Older buildings which predate the Design Review process, such as most buildings Downtown, are “grandfathered” in and are not subject to review by the City for a color change.   A color change to an older building is only subject to Design Review where there are also significant physical alterations proposed to the building exterior.

There have been a number of recent color changes to existing Downtown buildings.  The owner of several of these buildings has asked me to review their color choices prior to repainting.  Working together, I think those buildings turned out very nicely. 

Different colors for separate buildings are totally appropriate in a downtown.  Many new large single commercial buildings use different colors and other architectural elements to their advantage to help make it appear that they are several separate buildings.  However, there has been a concern that when adjoining tenants in one building, or where a single uniform building frontage is owned by more than one entity is being repainted at the same time, that there may be an inconsistent or incompatible color scheme chosen by the adjoining building tenants/owners.  I was asked to facilitate a meeting between 2 different owners of different portions of the same building to achieve a coordinated color scheme.  The owners agreed to work together, but later apparently disagreed, and I have no leverage to make them keep to their prior agreement.


If Council desires to address building color, now is an opportune time to include any such provisions in the draft Design Guidelines, currently being prepared.  In consultation with Architect Larry Cannon, who is preparing our Guidelines, I would suggest to Council the following options for dealing with coordination of existing building colors Downtown:

1.      Status Quo -  No additional regulation, allow existing building owners to repaint at will with any color(s) they prefer.

2.     Voluntary – Community Development staff would make every effort to work with adjoining business and building owners to reach voluntary agreement on a coordinated color scheme at the time any Individual tenant or owner color changes are desired.

3.      Mandatory – Individual tenant frontages within a single building, or split ownership’s in a single building which use the same building base and trim colors could do so with no City action required.  Requests for color changes, and/or different colors on the same Downtown building must go through the Design Review process to ensure a compatible and harmonious appearance with surrounding buildings.  Changes in awning colors across a single uniform building frontage will be at the discretion of the Director of Community Development.  Signage colors may vary.

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