Chapter 10.28


10.28.010    Purpose.

10.28.020    Architectural Review Committee (ARC).

10.28.100    Commercial, professional office, and public facility developments.

10.28.110    Building design.

10.28.120    Site design.

10.28.200    Industrial developments.

10.28.210    Industrial site planning.

10.28.220    Industrial architecture.

10.28.230    Industrial landscape design.

10.28.010 Purpose.

(A) The purpose of the design standards outlined in this chapter is to facilitate exceptional design in the built environment and preserve the quality of life within Syracuse City. This chapter is based on the following principles:

(1) Higher quality designs will bring value to the commercial community of Syracuse and attract businesses which positively contribute to the overall quality of life and well-being of Syracuse residents.

(2) Syracuse welcomes a variety of businesses and recognizes that brand recognition has become an important aspect of developing a successful and competitive business. The design standards enumerated in this chapter are intended to help and encourage development of imaginative and unique design solutions which meet business needs, while at the same time preserving Syracuse’s unique history and community identity.

(3) This chapter supplements the objectives of other chapters in this title which also impose certain design standards or requirements that are zone specific.

(B) This chapter references design standards and design guidelines. They are intended to improve the quality and compatibility of development, particularly with regard to building design and site design.

(1) Design Standards. Design standards are required in addition to other standards set forth in this title. Design standards are intended to ensure quality development and permanence in design. The implementation of these standards ensures that the goals and values of the community are reflected in each commercial development and contribute positively to the overall built environment.

(2) Design Guidelines. Design guidelines offer examples to clarify and explain design standards. They are made available for public use and distribution within a separate manual that can be found on record in the Community Development Department. The purpose of the Syracuse City Commercial Design Standards and Guidelines Manual is to better clarify the relationship between design standards and guidelines. The design guidelines serve to graphically represent the design standards and are used as a reference tool in order to better illustrate the application of the design standards. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.020 Architectural Review Committee (ARC).

The ARC is established to review all applicable development plans for compliance with the design standards in this chapter. This committee functions as a subcommittee of the Planning Commission and consists of seven members appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council in accordance with the Syracuse Municipal Code. Members consist of community residents, Planning Commissioners (maximum two), and City staff. The Planning Commission Chair may recommend candidates for the Mayor’s consideration.

The ARC is responsible to review the plan, elevations, architectural details, and development design pattern book and make recommendations to the Planning Commission consistent with this chapter. The Planning Commission will, in turn, submit their recommendations to the City Council. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.100 Commercial, professional office, and public facility developments.

(A) Applicability. The design standards set forth in SCC 10.28.110 and 10.28.120 apply to:

(1) All new commercial, professional office or public facilities buildings and uses except where the requirements of this chapter are superseded by another provision of this title.

(2) Existing commercial, professional office, or public buildings and uses when a change occurs that involves a design standard set forth in this chapter and either:

(a) Requires a building or other permit issued by the City;

(b) Alters the occupancy designation of a building under the current building codes adopted by the City;

(c) Increases required parking; or

(d) Increases the amount of outside storage.

(B) Imposition of Conditions. When reviewing a development plan, the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) may recommend that the Planning Commission impose conditions consistent with design standards in this chapter.

(C) Other Code Requirements. The requirements of this chapter apply in addition to other applicable requirements of this title. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.110 Building design.

(A) Context. All building designs are required to be drafted with sensitivity to the design of nearby buildings and developments. This sensitivity includes considering whether:

(1) Buildings contribute to the overall character of Syracuse and the neighborhood;

(2) Buildings reflect the character of surrounding development through use of some similar features;

(3) Buildings demonstrate imaginative design; and

(4) Buildings vary colors, materials, or architectural elements where proposed building designs closely copy or mirror surrounding developments.

(B) Entrances. All building entrances are required to be clearly articulated to indicate a transition from the exterior to the interior of the building. Every main entrance is required to have a special emphasis when compared to the other portions of the building. This is accomplished through the use of at least three of the following near entrances:

(1) A prominent architectural feature that is unique to the overall building design;

(2) Complimentary yet differing building materials or colors;

(3) Increased use of windows or glass;

(4) Pedestrian amenities that may include patios, porches, special paving treatments, seating areas, or awnings; or

(5) Increased landscaping.

(C) Facade Articulation. Buildings designed with completely flat facades and monotone color schemes are not permitted. All buildings are required to have articulation of all facades.

(1) Horizontal or vertical facade variations must occur at least every 30 feet or along a minimum of 60 percent of the horizontal length of buildings with facades 100 feet or greater. This is accomplished by using methods such as:

(a) Variation in the surface plane that may include pop-outs, bays, and recesses;

(b) Variation in the surface pattern such as arches, banding, and paneling; or

(c) Distinguished treatment of windows, doors, and eaves that may include molding or framing.

(2) Buildings with facades 100 feet or greater in total length must have at least one significant facade variation from the primary wall plane whose depth is at least five percent of the total facade length and whose width is at least 20 percent of the total facade length. Uninterrupted facades 100 feet or greater in length are prohibited.

(D) Height and Roofline. All building roof heights will be compatible with the building’s location, and varied roofline elevations or parapets are required in order to add architectural interest and avoid the appearance or sense of monotonous roofline expanses. All buildings are required to:

(1) Have appropriate roof height for the location based on zoning regulations and the height of buildings within the immediate area;

(2) Have roofline and parapet variations where there are long, continuous, and undisturbed rooflines 50 feet in length or greater;

(3) Use similar materials and colors on the back of false fronts, parapets, cornices, or other parts of the building which extend beyond the roofline or main building so that the building appears cohesive from all views; and

(4) Have screening of mechanical equipment and systems that will be mounted on the roof. Any portion of these pieces of equipment that is not fully shielded is required to be painted a color which is compatible with the roofing or parapet materials.

(E) Massing. Proper massing reduces the impact of the massive bulk created by large buildings that may not otherwise relate in scale to surrounding development. Vertical articulation, horizontal articulation, and multi-planed roof or awnings must be used in designs to mitigate the impact on surrounding development and the overall landscape.

(F) Materials. Quality long-lasting materials are required for all buildings in order to contribute to the aesthetics of the community over the long term.

(1) A minimum of three colors per elevation is required.

(2) Color utilization should be sensitive to existing development within the vicinity and the natural landscape in which the project is situated.

(3) Primary Materials. Sixty-five percent of all surface materials, not including glass or roofing materials, are required to include a combination of brick, stone, ceramic tile, masonry materials, insulated metal panels, or wood fiber/composite siding. Exposed cinder block is not permitted, except for minimal foundation exposure. Concrete masonry unit, exposed concrete, stucco, vinyl, wood siding, or metal components may be used as accent or secondary materials only.

(4) Exposed tilt-up concrete or insulated metal panels may be used as a primary material on buildings located in the business park zone. Some variation in materials along the base and near the entrances of concrete tilt-ups is required.

(5) All projects are required to submit a sample board containing physical samples of all exterior surface materials, including roofing materials, in all the colors they will be used. Photos alone are not sufficient.

(G) Development Design Pattern Book. The developer is required to provide a development design pattern book to be reviewed by the ARC and then the Planning Commission in conjunction with a subdivision plan and/or site plan application. Where there is a development agreement, the design pattern book will become a part of the agreement. Design pattern books are subject to the following:

(1) Written descriptions with graphic illustrations explaining how the development complements the physical form of the property and how the theme and standards found in this chapter are to be integrated into the design of the development;

(2) Written descriptions with graphic illustrations explaining the proposed conceptual architectural design, building elevations, and other such related design schemes; and

(3) Written descriptions with graphic illustrations that clearly describe proposed open spaces, landscaping ideas, pedestrian pathways, furnishings, lighting and related entryway features and/or amenities.

(H) Pedestrians. All buildings will be designed with an integral focus on encouraging pedestrian activity and social interaction. Additionally, buildings that contain more than one story or that are above 20 feet in height are required to provide a clearly articulated and more detailed base that relates to pedestrians.

(I) Signs. Signs located on any building facade are required to be compatible with the building’s overall design. As an integral design element, signs are required to be compatible with the style of the buildings in terms of location, scale, color, and lettering.

(1) The locations for signs on a building’s facade will be planned for as part of the building’s overall design.

(2) Signs located on facades should integrate similar or complementary materials as the building.

(J) Windows. Windows are key to the overall design of a building and the relationship between the exterior and interior. The majority of windows are required to relate to the scale of a person.

(1) Windows should be at eye level.

(2) Where buildings are adjacent to pedestrian walkways, transparent windows must relate the scale of the building and the building’s interior to pedestrians. Where transparent windows may not be desirable, tinted windows, false windows, or glass block are allowed.

(3) Window awnings are an effective way to add detail and variation to a building, emphasize pedestrian scale windows, and create an exciting and inviting environment. When placing awnings:

(a) Use quality materials which are durable and are able to withstand extremes in the weather;

(b) Colors should be complementary to the color of the building on which the awning is located; and

(c) Styles should be compatible with the architectural features and overall architecture of the building on which the awning is located. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.120 Site design.

(A) Building Placement. Building placement is integral to the site design and the overall effect any development has on surrounding properties. Building placement is required to comply with the following:

(1) All buildings must be oriented with the main or similar facade facing a principal street to which it has frontage.

(2) Buildings located on corner lots are required to orient main facades to each street and give equal treatment to each.

(3) Buildings located on corner lots should include a prominent architectural feature of greater height than the rest of the roof, or emphasis at the corner where the two public streets meet.

(B) Context. New developments are required to match or complement surrounding developments in order to create a site which relates to its surroundings and adds positively to the overall built environment in the site area.

(C) Miscellaneous. The small details that sometimes become afterthoughts of site planning and design are important factors for making aesthetically attractive sites. The following are required during initial site planning, along with any other requirements within this code:

(1) Landscaped areas and walls will be designed to decrease noise levels and separate loading and service bays from customer parking. Service and loading bays (automotive, service, tire, etc.) should be oriented away from neighboring residential areas. Further, they cannot have direct access to major public streets; access shall be provided via internal site plan circulation. The general public should be restricted from accessing such areas.

(2) Approved outdoor storage areas are required to be fully screened from view using the same materials as the building or approved masonry fencing. Enclosures are also required to be surrounded by landscaping to further soften their visual impact. Public access to these areas should be restricted.

(3) Outdoor refuse and garbage collection containers are required to be fully screened from view using the same materials as the building or approved masonry fencing. Enclosures are required to be surrounded by landscaping to further soften their visual impact. Public access to these areas should be restricted.

(4) Shopping cart corrals are highly visible and needed to keep development sites safe and orderly. Corrals are required to be in fixed position.

(5) Generators are required for businesses that the ARC determines will provide essential services to the public during inclement weather or natural disasters. Generators and other large auxiliary equipment are required to be placed at locations where they will be least intrusive in terms of noise, appearance, and odors, particularly for occupants of neighboring properties. Site plans will include public utilities equipment placement. Generators and other large auxiliary equipment:

(a) Should be kept low to the ground;

(b) If they include exhaust systems may not have exhaust systems protrude above the equipment; and

(c) Are required to be surrounded by walls, landscaping, and other screening.

(6) Site plans will be designed to conform to all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ARC shall review the site plan for adequate handicap parking and access to buildings.

(D) Landscaping. Landscaping is required as a tool to enhance and beautify the site, and the building’s architecture and design. To aid in the design process, designers are encouraged to refer to the Syracuse City Commercial Design Standards and Guidelines Manual.

(1) The portion of a development site devoted to landscaping exclusive of parkstrips and walkways will be calculated by the zone requirements for the parcel. Additional landscaping should be provided to achieve compatibility between differing, adjacent land uses such as residential and commercial, as required in the buffering table.

(2) Landscaping is required to be integrated into the design, placement, and enhancement of pedestrian plazas, sitting areas, walkways, flag poles, and signs and will comply with zoning requirements.

(3) Vegetative ground cover must be utilized for at least 80 percent of a development site’s frontage along any public right-of-way and in required landscape areas between a building and the parkstrip not including sidewalks, trails, and entry points.

(4) Drought resistant shrubs and trees will be used in conjunction with efficient low water use irrigation systems. A list of low water use plants is available from the Community Development Department.

(E) Lighting. Carefully planned lighting schemes can create safe environments for pedestrians and motorists. Lighting is an integral design element which adds to the overall site plan and building design. Lighting must be designed in compliance with Chapter 10.45 SCC (Sign and Lighting Regulations).

(1) Lighting schemes will include coordinating parking, wall, and pedestrian scaled fixtures which compliment building architecture and site features.

(2) Parking and Circulation. Lifestyle, separated land uses, and lack of sufficient public transit have created the need for parking and access for automobiles onto most commercial sites. Lighting in required parking areas must be designed to have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment.

(F) Traffic. Developments which generate significant increases in traffic will include an analysis of the proposed development’s impact on the current and future transportation system, and methods to control traffic.

(1) Major internal circulation roadways that provide access from the public right-of-way or between buildings on the same site must be separated from parking areas using curb and gutter and a combination of any of the following methods:

(a) Landscaping;

(b) Pedestrian walkways; or

(c) Lighting.

(2) Concrete “deadmen” wheel stoppers are required for parking spaces adjacent to a pedestrian walkway or amenity.

(3) Cross access for automobiles and pedestrians to future and existing commercial developments is required during initial site planning and construction.

(4) The design and location of loading areas and dock facilities must minimize the interaction between trucks and visitors’ automobiles. Access to loading and delivery areas must be separated from parking areas.

(5) The design and location of loading facilities must take into consideration the specific dimensions required for the maneuvering of large trucks and trailers into and out of loading position at docks or in stalls and driveways.

(G) Pedestrians. Site layout and design must equally address the needs of pedestrians and automobiles. Pedestrian access and safety on the site should be ensured.

(1) Pedestrian access from the public right-of-way through the site to main entrances is required. These walkways are required to be constructed of dissimilar materials to the roadway or parking area, and provide for clearly defined crossings where there are points of conflict with automobiles.

(2) Dissimilar roadway materials within parking lots are required to be used directly in front of entrances to slow motorists and create a safer environment for pedestrians.

(3) Pedestrian drop-off locations, when incorporated within overall circulation patterns, are required to be convenient and safe for pedestrians.

(H) Security. Security of the site is required to be addressed in site design. The developer is required to submit documents that demonstrate the security measures of the site design in relation to private, semi-public and public areas, by utilizing natural surveillance, access control and proper maintenance. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.200 Industrial developments.

The design guidelines in SCC 10.28.210 through 10.28.230 are applicable to all new industrial and warehouse developments in the City as well as additions to and exterior remodeling of existing buildings where the improvements are visible from a public right-of-way. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.210 Industrial site planning.

Site planning considers how the various components of a development (e.g., buildings, circulation, parking, open space, etc.) relate to adjacent streets and existing development, and how the various components relate to each other within the development site.

(A) Building and Facilities Location. The main elements of a well-designed industrial site include:

(1) Controlled site access with appropriate maneuvering areas for trucks separated from general vehicle circulation (1 in figure below).

(2) Employee parking areas located apart from loading and service areas (2 in figure below).

(3) Convenient public access and short-term visitor parking at the front of the building (3 in figure below).

(4) Screening of storage, work areas, and mechanical equipment and buffering of adjacent land uses (4 in figure below).

(5) Emphasis on a well-designed main building entry and landscaping (5 in figure below).

Example of appropriate industrial site layout

(6) Site elements, such as buildings, parking, driveways, and outdoor activities, should be arranged to emphasize the more aesthetically pleasing components of the site (e.g., landscaping and superior architectural features) and disguise less attractive elements (e.g., service facilities, outside storage, equipment areas, and refuse enclosures) through proper placement and design of buildings, screen walls, and landscaping.

(7) Industrial and warehouse development must be screened and buffered from any adjacent uses that are less intensive in compliance with the code. Intensified landscaping, increased setbacks, and appropriate building location will be utilized as a means of providing adequate separation between land uses of varied intensity.

Outdoor storage areas – screened from view

(8) Noise generating functions must be located in a way that minimizes any impact on adjacent nonindustrial properties. Sound attenuation walls should be used where appropriate to mitigate/reduce noise.

(9) The number of site access points are to be located at distances from street intersections that will minimize points of potential vehicle conflict, especially between automobiles and trucks.

(10) Primary entry drives for automobiles, especially visitors, must be enhanced with: ornamental landscaping, low-level decorative walls, monument-type signs, or decorative paving to emphasize site access locations.

(B) Vehicular Circulation.

(1) Site access and internal circulation must promote safety, efficiency, convenience, and minimize conflict between trucks and other vehicles. Appropriate maneuvering and stacking areas for trucks should be a primary consideration in the overall design of the circulation system.

(2) Uses where trucks are anticipated, such as distribution centers, should be planned to accommodate safety and maximize visibility for both truck maneuvering and other traffic.

(3) The design and location of loading areas and dock facilities must minimize the interaction between trucks and other automobiles. Access to loading and delivery areas must be separated from parking areas.

(4) The design and location of loading facilities must take into consideration the specific dimensions required for the maneuvering of large trucks and trailers into and out of loading position at docks or in stalls and driveways.

(C) Parking Location.

(1) Parking lots are not to be the dominant visual element at the front of the site. Expansive paved areas located between the street and the building are prohibited.

(2) Large parking areas (over 100 spaces) must be divided into smaller multiple lots and provided with trees located throughout the parking area to reduce the visual impact.

(3) Visitor parking spaces should be located to produce the shortest route of travel to a building entrance.

(4) Pedestrian walkways must provide safe, convenient, and well-defined access between parking areas and the public sidewalk and the main public access to the building.

(5) Pedestrian circulation should be clearly delineated and separate from vehicle circulation. The use of landscaping, walkways, or decorative paving to delineate pedestrian circulation must be used. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.220 Industrial architecture.

The architectural design of a structure must consider many variables, from the functional use of the building, to its aesthetic design, to its “fit” within the context of existing development. The following standards help buildings achieve the appropriate level of design detail on all facades, avoid blank/uninteresting facades, and provide for the proper screening of equipment and refuse areas:

(A) Architectural Form and Detail.

(1) If adjacent to a residential zoning district, in addition to the buffer requirements of this code, additional building setbacks of 10 feet must be provided adjacent to the residential use to reduce the visual impact of large-scale industrial buildings.

(2) The mass and scale of large, box-like industrial buildings are to be reduced through the incorporation of varying building heights and setbacks along the front and street sides of building facades.

(3) Front and street sides of facades of large buildings visible from a public street must include: architectural features such as reveals, windows and openings, changes in color, texture, or material to add interest to the building elevation and reduce its visual mass.

(4) Primary building entries must be readily identifiable and well defined through the use of projections, recesses, columns, roof structures, or other design elements.

(B) Color and Materials.

(1) A comprehensive material and color scheme must be developed for each site. Material and color variations in multi-building complexes must be complementary and compatible among buildings.

(2) Primary Materials. Fifteen percent of the front exterior walls and 10 percent of street facing exterior walls must be finished with brick, concrete formliner, architectural block, stone, or glass. Unfinished gray concrete block is not permitted. The use of noninsulated metal siding exclusively on any wall is prohibited. All finish material shall be durable to the effects of weather and soiling.

(3) All projects are required to submit a sample board containing physical samples of all exterior surface materials, including roofing materials, in all the colors they will be used. Photos alone are not sufficient.

(4) Large expanses of precast concrete (including cast in place concrete tilt-up panels), metal wall panels, or other uniform material must be broken up with pop outs, recesses, awnings, staggered facades, metal structures, trellis, change in color and texture, or the addition of other designed three dimensional architectural features, every 100 feet.

(5) Bright, contrasting colors should be used for small areas of building accents only.

(6) Design and colors of wall signs must be compatible with the main buildings on the site.

(7) Materials, design, and colors of monument signs must be compatible with the main buildings on the site.

(C) Accessory Buildings.

(1) The design of accessory buildings (e.g., security kiosks, maintenance buildings, and outdoor equipment enclosures) must be incorporated into and be compatible with the overall design of the project and the main buildings on the site.

(2) Temporary buildings are not to be located where they will be visible from adjoining public streets.

(3) Modular buildings must be skirted with material and color that is compatible with the modular unit and the main buildings on the site. [Ord. 16-28 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 15-27 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 13-11 § 1.]

10.28.230 Industrial landscape design.

Landscaping has a variety of functions, including softening the hard edges of development, screening unattractive views, buffering less intensive uses, providing shade, and increasing the overall aesthetic appeal of a project.

(A) Landscape Design.

(1) Landscape design must follow an overall concept and link various site components together.

(2) Landscaped areas incorporate a three-tiered planting system: (a) grasses, ground covers, or flowers; (b) shrubs or vines; and (c) trees.

(3) The use of a variety of trees, especially in parking areas and pedestrian open space areas, is required.

(4) More intense landscaping and special landscape features are to be provided at major focal points, such as entries and pedestrian gathering areas.

(5) The front, public portions of buildings must be separated from parking areas by landscaping and pedestrian walkways.

(B) Walls and Fences.

(1) The colors, materials, and appearance of walls and fences, including walls for screening purposes, must be compatible with the overall design character/style of the development.

(2) Landscaping must be used in combination with walls and fences to visually soften blank surfaces.

(3) When security fencing is required adjacent to streets, it must consist of wrought iron, tubular steel, or similar material supported by masonry piers.

(C) Outdoor Lighting.

(1) The design and location of outdoor lighting fixtures must preclude direct glare onto adjoining property and streets in compliance with the development code. Illumination devices must be installed, directed, and shielded to confine light rays within the property.

(2) Outdoor lighting (e.g., location, height, and number) must be designed to foster security. Site and building entries must have enhanced illumination to increase visibility and safety.

(D) Refuse Storage and Utility Equipment.

(1) Refuse storage areas should be located at the rear of the development and screened from public view in compliance with the development code.

(2) If refuse storage areas, fuel tanks, generators, and fire check safety valves cannot be located out of public view, the design of refuse storage areas should incorporate architectural screening elements and landscaping compatible with the design of buildings and landscaping on the site. [Ord. 13-11 § 1.]