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Design Standards


VIII Design Standards

These Design Standards focus on issues ranging in scale from district-wide land uses to commercial signage of individual shops. Standards include land use, site planning and architectural treatment regulations to shape the future development of the Downtown, consistent with the City’s vision. These standards address urban design issues affecting both public and private spaces. Development projects are reviewed for conformance with these standards at the staff level through the plan check or similar administrative process. Typically, pedestrian-oriented streets are flanked with one to three-story, multi-storefront buildings that create a public room at the street level. Preservation of the sense of enclosure and maintenance of the existing community context and character is the goal of these standards, which apply to both rehabilitation and new construction. The symbols – (C) or (S) refer to standards that are common (C) to all of Downtown or specific (S) to a particular street or district.
  1. Main Street District - (300-400 Blocks Main Street) The Main Street District (MSD) is the heart of Downtown and includes the primary retail shopping district, dining, the City Hall, and the Civic Center. The area addressed by this section is bounded by the alleys to the east and west of Main Street, by Pine Avenue on the north and Grand Avenue on the south. Main Street has an 80-foot right-of-way with 12-foot sidewalks and 56 feet of pavement, curb to curb, with no median. The majority of development is built along or near the front property line, at one-to-two story heights, giving the street a close knit and protected feel. (Photo 1)

    Photo 1 – Main Street

    Photo 2 – Retail Uses

    1. Site Development and Planning -
      1. Land Use:
        1. Retail and neighborhood services are encouraged at the ground floor level. Examples of acceptable uses include bakeries, restaurants, dry cleaners, florists, camera shops, gift shops and other retail uses. (See Section VI- Development Standards for list of permitted uses) (C) (Photo 2)
        2. Uses that do not generate daily pedestrian traffic should not be encouraged. (C)
        3. Sidewalks may be used for outdoor cafes, signage, or merchandise display. Such uses shall always keep a clear path of six feet for pedestrians, with a minimum of four feet where there are obstacles. (C) (Diagram 1)

          DIAGRAM 1

        4. Uses that conflict with pedestrian activity or interrupt the current practice of locating the front wall at or near the property line shall not be allowed. (C)
        5. Use of vacant or unleased space for temporary art galleries, exhibitions, and community space is encouraged. (C)
        6. Use of the upper floors for office or residential uses is encouraged. Development of mixed-use projects is strongly encouraged. (C)
      2. Site Planning:
        1. New construction on the first floor shall be built to or near the front and streetside property lines throughout Downtown. (C) (Photo 3)

          Photo 3 – First floor constructed at property line

          Photo 4 – Rear shop entrance

        2. New construction may be set back up to 10 feet from the property line where the setback is used for pedestrian activities such as sidewalk cafes, and where such a setback is consistent with the prevailing pattern of development. (C)
        3. Primary building entries shall be located along the commercial street. Secondary entries may be located in the rear or, in the case of a corner lot, on the secondary street. (C)
        4. Buildings shall not be razed to create surface parking lots in the Downtown. (C)
        5. Older buildings should be renovated and conserved, where economically feasible, in the Downtown. (C)
      3. Parking:
        1. Parking should be located behind the building or in off-site parking facilities, not within the front setback or in front of buildings. (C)
        2. Parking should be shared among tenants in the immediate vicinity. (C)
      4. Parking Structures:
        1. Parking structures are encouraged to be located on the periphery of Downtown and not face directly onto shopping streets. (C)
        2. If parking structures face a shopping street (Main, Richmond, and Grand) the following standards apply:(C)
          1. Ingress and egress should be taken from the alley and/or a side street.
          2. There should be no setback from the shopping street, unless the setback is used for pedestrian activities as stated elsewhere in the Specific Plan.
          3. Retail uses should front on the ground floor along the entire shopping street frontage.
          4. The building facades shall comply with the standards stated elsewhere in the Specific Plan.
          5. The second floor of the street façade shall be detailed with windows and/or other architectural features in character with the rest of Downtown.
          6. Lots sloping down from the shopping streets are preferred so the natural grade can be utilized in the design and ramping of the parking structures and if possible allow for at least the ground level of parking to be below the shopping street level.
      5. Rear of Buildings:
        Treatments of rear building walls are as important as the fronts, particularly those facing public alleys and parking lots. Cleanliness and orderliness encourages use and provides a feeling of safety and security.
        1. Outdoor storage and equipment shall be enclosed, matching or complementing the architecture or style of the building on the lot. (C)
        2. Trash storage shall be screened from public view. (C)
        3. Rear entrances for shops should be encouraged and enhanced. (C) (Photo 4)
      6. Alley Treatments:
        1. Handprint Alley - This alley is strongly encouraged to be preserved and maintained as a major pedestrian access way to and from Main Street. (Photo 5)

          Photo 5 – Handprint Alley

          Photo 6 – Pursell Alley/Driveway

          1. The City Hall Plaza provides the terminus view from Handprint Alley. The renovated Plaza shall be oriented to provide a natural transition to Main Street at that connection, as well as the existing Main Street mid-block crosswalk shall be realigned with the alley. The westerly view from the alley is also strongly encouraged to be considered in the layout of parking spaces and parking lot landscaping. (S) (See also the "Plazas – Civic Center Plaza" section)
          2. Pedestrian lighting is recommended for Handprint Alley. (S)
          3. Signage to direct pedestrians to and from Handprint Alley should be provided. (S)
        2. Pursell Alley/Driveway - This driveway serves as an alley and is strongly encouraged to be preserved as a pedestrian connection between Main Street and the Village. (Photo 6)
          1. The alley should orient itself to the proposed plaza behind the Pursell Building and to the Village across the north/south alley between Main Street and Richmond Street. (S)
          2. Pedestrian-serving uses, such as a newsstand should be encouraged in this alley. (S)
          3. Lighting is recommended for Pursell Alley. (S)
          4. Murals are strongly encouraged along this alley. (S)
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