Commercial Design Guidelines

The city adopted Commercial Facade Design Guidelines to help building owners, merchants, developers, and public officials care for and protect the integrity of buildings and the architectural character of the commercial nodes.

These guidelines apply to all street-fronting facades located in the Downtown District, along Chicago Avenues commercial corridor, and located within zoning districts C-1, C-2 and C-3.  A form is available in the economic development department and there is no fee nor any additional material requirements.  With the simplicity of the guidelines, staff will turn around the review quickly ensuring projects are not delayed.

The guidelines do not apply to routine maintenance.

Design Guidelines Form
Zoning Map

Review Criteria:

  • Project restores original facade and keeps historic materials
  • Improvements are compatible with the existing building 
  • Improvements complement character of surrounding area
  • Materials are of higher quality and permitted per the guidelines
  • Windows restored to original condition or replaced with compatible style and quality
  • Awnings do not conceal decorative facade features and meet guidelines and code
  • Exterior lighting is shielded, does not create a nuisance and contributes to building character
  • Signs:
    • Meets sign code requirements and internally lit box signs are prohibited in the Downtown District and discouraged in other areas.
    • Sign fits within the existing features of the facade and does not cover architectural elements