Chapter 18.275
NONRESIDENTIAL DESIGN STANDARDS

Sections:

18.275.010    Purpose – Intent.

18.275.020    Application of design standards.

18.275.030    Exemptions – Alternative compliance.

18.275.040    Design considerations.

18.275.050    Building design standards – Type A, B, and C nonresidential buildings.

18.275.060    Appeal.

    Cross References: Planning and development department, TMC 2.25.090.

18.275.010 Purpose – Intent.

The nonresidential design standards in this chapter are intended to provide a minimum level of acceptable design for nonresidential development projects. The design standards establish basic requirements for development of buildings and their architectural components, which are common to all types of commercial development. The design standards are not intended to promote a particular style of architecture or design theme but will enable developers, architects, landowners and the general public to anticipate and plan for building design as a key element of the overall project approval process. The standards accomplish the following objectives:

(a) Ensure design that enhances a sense of place and strengthens the identity of Topeka;

(b) Enhance pedestrian-oriented design;

(c) Relate development to surrounding community;

(d) Support property values in new development/redevelopment;

(e) Encourage higher quality in design and use of materials in new development; and

(f) Balance functional and economic objectives of community residents and business owners through aesthetic considerations affecting the community at large. (Ord. 20165 § 1, 1-8-19.)

18.275.020 Application of design standards.

(a) Except for properties listed on local, state, or national historic registries, nonresidential design standards in TMC 18.275.050 apply to the following:

(1) New construction or an alteration to an existing structure which increases or decreases the gross floor area of the structure by more than 50 percent.

(2) Any project requiring a building permit for a remodel of at least 50 percent of the front and/or street facing facades.

(3) Institutional uses in any zoning district and all developments constructed under the provision of a conditional use permit, in any zoning district.

(4) Any construction within the O&I-1, O&I-2, O&I-3, C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4, MS-1, I-1, I-2, X-1, X-2, X-3, D-1, D-2, D-3, U-1, and all planned unit development districts for the above listed use groups.

(5) Accessory buildings that meet the following conditions:

(i) One thousand square feet or larger;

(ii) Visible from the street; and

(iii) Require a building permit.

(b) Type A building design standards in TMC 18.275.050 apply to O&I-1, O&I-2, O&I-3, C-1, C-2, X-3, D-1, D-2, D-3 and all planned unit development districts for the above listed use groups, and all developments constructed under the provisions of a conditional use permit in any of these districts. Buildings in “D” districts shall also comply with the design guidelines in TMC 18.200.090.

(c) Type B building design standards in TMC 18.275.050 apply to C-3, C-4, U-1, MS-1, X-1, all planned unit development districts for the above listed use groups, and all developments constructed under the provisions of a conditional use permit in any of these districts. Type B design standards in TMC 18.275.050 shall apply to institutional uses in any zoning district.

(d) Type C building design standards in TMC 18.275.050 apply to I-1, I-2, X-2, and all planned unit development districts for the above listed use groups, and all developments constructed under the provisions of a conditional use permit in any of these districts.

(e) Nonresidential design standards shall apply only to those portions of a building that is undergoing expansion or alteration. (Ord. 20165 § 2, 1-8-19.)

18.275.030 Exemptions – Alternative compliance.

(a) The following are exempt from TMC 18.275.020:

(1) Any construction, building expansion, or remodeling that, pursuant to Section 105.2 of TMC 14.20.060, is exempt from the requirement of a building permit.

(2) The planning director may exempt building design standards if:

(i) The applicant demonstrates that strict application of the design standards results in undue hardship due to one or more of the following factors:

(A) The function, size, or use of building renders compliance impractical or economically infeasible; or

(B) The building, expansion, or remodel is not visible from the public right-of-way; or

(C) The design requirement is inconsistent with the overall context of the area, taking into consideration current conditions and comprehensive planning policies for future development.

(ii) The strict application of the design standards would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to, or exceptional and undue hardship upon, the property owner; provided there is no substantial detriment to the public welfare and the purpose and intent of the standards are not substantially impaired.

(b) The planning director may approve an alternate building design under the following circumstances:

(1) If the design fails to meet one of the requirements for building materials, architectural details, or windows/doors in TMC 18.275.050, the applicant shall utilize at least one of the elements in subsection (c) of this section.

(2) If the design fails to meet two of the requirements for building materials, architectural details, or window/doors in TMC 18.275.050, the applicant shall utilize at least two of the elements in subsection (c) of this section.

(3) If the design fails to meet all three of the requirements in TMC 18.275.050, the alternate building design elements in subsection (c) of this section cannot be utilized as an alternative building design.

(c) Elements that may be utilized in lieu of compliance with the design standards in subsection (b) of this section include:

(1) Excess landscaping (at least 25 percent more points accrued than required) concentrated along public rights-of-way;

(2) Additional parking lot islands (with trees) beyond what is required by the landscaping regulations sufficient to cover at least 25 percent of the parking area;

(3) Landscape screening of blank or under designed walls;

(4) Addition of a front or street facing storefront with an entryway, terrace, outdoor patio, or similar feature with architectural materials and scale that are compatible with the building, and a minimum width of eight feet and minimum height of 10 feet;

(5) Addition of integrated planters, landscaping features, or wing wall compatible in design and scale to the building;

(6) Addition of art that is placed prominently on the site, viewable from the public street, integrated with the design of the building/site, and permanent. Art includes, but is not limited to, murals, sculptures, and integrated architectural or landscape architectural work;

(7) Parking located to the side or rear of the building, with at least 50 percent of the lot frontage occupied by building facades with a public entryway;

(8) Bringing existing signs on the property into compliance with current sign code standards, or at a minimum removing or replacing an existing pole sign with a monument sign;

(9) A minimum of 20 percent higher percentage of required windows/doors; or

(10) Additional required architectural details (at least one additional detail per insufficiently met design standard). (Ord. 20165 § 3, 1-8-19.)

18.275.040 Design considerations.

The applicant shall demonstrate that the design standards in this chapter comply with the following:

(a) Building elevation design determinations will take into consideration the character of the surrounding architecture and neighborhood and incorporate design elements that further reflect or enhance surrounding community character.

(b) In areas where the existing character is not definitively established or is not consistent with the purposes of the standards in this chapter, the architecture of new development shall conform to the comprehensive plan or any area plans for future projects or redevelopment in the area.

(c) Nonresidential buildings shall not have a single, large dominant building mass.

(d) Nonresidential development shall comply with the building design standards on all elevations (360 degrees architecture).

(e) The street level shall be designed at a pedestrian scale.

(f) Buildings shall be designed with predominant materials, elements, and design features tailored to the site and its context. (Ord. 20165 § 4, 1-8-19.)

18.275.050 Building design standards – Type A, B, and C nonresidential buildings.

(a) The specific design standards in the table below apply to Type A, B, and C nonresidential buildings.

(b) When calculating building material and window/door percentages identified in this section, the facade width will be multiplied by the average facade roofline height or a standard height of 12 feet, whichever is less, to determine the total square footage of the facade. The window/door area will be deducted from the square foot calculation of the total facade area before determining the percentage of building materials.

(c) Garage doors will not count towards the required window/door percentages.

(d) The planning director may approve alternative building materials or architectural details not listed in this section.

Building Design Standards

Building Types

A

B

C

Type A and Type B Building Materials

Total square footage of all stories of front and/or street-facing facades shall contain the following minimum percentages of the building materials listed below:

85%

60%

 

*

Natural stone

*

Brick

*

Cast stone

*

Synthetic stone, such as pre-manufactured fiberglass, cultured stone, or glass fiber reinforced concrete, if it is identical in appearance and of equal or greater durability to natural stone

*

Traditional stucco or gypsum concrete/plaster materials with smooth finish

*

Exterior insulating finishing system (E.I.F.S)

*

Integrally colored or glazed concrete masonry units

*

High quality pre-stressed concrete systems (Pre-cast w/veneer or textured finish)

*

Glass curtain wall

*

Architectural metal panels – must be a higher quality material than standard industrial, ribbed pre-engineered metal panels.

*

Cement board siding

*

Solid wood planking and decorative cement fiber panels may be used for accent features

The remaining exterior surface area of all stories of front and/or street-facing facades shall be comprised of these materials, or cement fiber panels, or integrally colored split-faced concrete masonry blocks.

Total square footage of all stories of non-front and/or non-street-facing facades may integrate the following maximum percentage of materials into the composition of the materials listed above.

65%

75%

 

*

Cement fiber panels

*

Integrally colored split-faced concrete masonry block

Type C Building Materials

Total square footage of all stories of front and/or street-facing facades shall contain the following minimum percentage of the building materials listed below.

 

 

60%

*

Any of the designated materials for Type A and B

*

Glass block or curtain wall

*

Integrally colored split-faced concrete masonry unit

*

Pre-cast concrete tilt wall with a decorative or textured finish

*

Industrial, ribbed, pre-engineered metal panels with permanent baked-on enamel finish, or painted to manufacturer’s specs

The remaining exterior surface area of all stories of front and/or street-facing facades shall be composed of these materials, or those materials listed for use within non-front and non-street-facing facades for Type C buildings listed below.

Total square footage of all stories of non-front and/or non-street-facing facades on Type C buildings may integrate the following maximum percentage of additional materials into those listed above.

 

 

85%

*

Cement fiber planking (not panels)

*

Solid wood planking and decorative cement fiber panels

*

Metal with permanent baked-on enamel finish, or painted to manufacturer’s specs

Building Design Standards

Building Types

A

B

C

Types of Architectural Details

For the first 50 linear feet (or less) of front and/or street-facing facades, all building types shall be designed with the following minimum number of architectural details. One additional architectural detail shall be required for each additional 25 feet of building front and/or street frontage.

4

3

2

*

At least 15% more windows/doors than the required minimum percentage

*

Display or other ornamental windows

*

Recessed entries

*

Horizontal or vertical recesses, projections, or off-sets at least 1-foot wide, located an average of every 30 horizontal feet, and with a depth at a minimum of 4”-6”

*

Modulating facade. Individual tenant spaces in multi-tenant buildings must articulate facades of the individual tenant spaces. Articulated facades help break up the mass of the building and create visual interest.

*

Variation of roof heights

*

Porches or balconies

*

Breezeways

*

Courtyards

*

Awnings or canopies (permanent)

*

Alcoves

*

Arcade, gallery, veranda, or pergola

*

Arches

*

Art that is integrated into the facade

*

Structurally different building materials (i.e., stone and brick)

*

Decorative tile work, brick patterns, moldings or other materials integrated into the facade

*

Ornamental cornice

*

Varied roof forms. Large uninterrupted expanses of rooftop ridgelines must include architectural details that add articulation and visual interest, such as gable-roofed dormers, hip-roof elements, or other design measures to achieve an equivalent result

*

Premium roofing materials such as tile, or standing-seam metal

*

Tower cap

*

Tower or raised parapet

Doors and Windows

*

The area of all stories’ front facades of all building types shall contain the following minimum percentage of window or door openings.

45%

35%

20%

*

The area of all stories’ non-front street-facing facades of all building types shall contain the following minimum percentage of window or door openings. For non-front facades, faux windows may be applied when the interior function of the building is not conducive to being seen from the exterior.

25%

15%

10%

Non-Street Facing Walls

Maximum length of non-street or non-front-facing facades without architectural details.

30'

50'

75'

Mechanical Systems

All roof mounted mechanical units (including evaporative coolers, HVAC units, vents, etc.) for all building types shall be located or screened so as not to be visible from the project’s property lines that are adjacent to public and private streets, as well as adjacent to residential properties (unless height difference makes screening impractical). The screening methods/materials shall be consistent with and incorporated into the design of the building.

Location Considerations

Projects located within an industrial context, or not visible from the street, may design to a lesser building type standard than required by zoning; provided, that the project complies with the design requirements of the lesser building type and meets the design considerations in TMC 18.275.040.

(Ord. 20165 § 5, 1-8-19.)

18.275.060 Appeal.

(a) If the planning director determines that the design plans are not in conformance with the design standards, the planning director shall deny the plans and notify the applicant, in writing, of the design features that do not comply.

(b) The applicant may appeal the planning director’s determination to the board of zoning appeals as provided in Chapter 2.120 TMC. (Ord. 20165 § 6, 1-8-19.)