Chapter 15.530
BUILDING DESIGN

Sections:

15.530.010    Purpose and applicability.

15.530.020    Historic buildings and districts.

15.530.030    Architectural scale.

15.530.040    Building elements and details.

15.530.050    Building materials.

15.530.060    Blank wall treatment.

15.530.070    Energy efficient building design.

15.530.010 Purpose and applicability.

A.    Purpose. This section provides direction for the design of buildings consistent with the goals and policies of the Ellensburg comprehensive plan.

B.    Applicability. Unless otherwise noted, the provisions in this section apply to all nonresidential and multifamily development. [Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.530.020 Historic buildings and districts.

A.    Purpose. To preserve and reinforce the historic character of Ellensburg’s downtown and older residential areas.

B.    Historic Buildings and Districts Standards and Guidelines.

1.    All development projects identified on the Ellensburg landmarks register are subject to review by the Ellensburg landmarks and design commission per Chapter 15.280 ECC and conformance with the following design standards for rehabilitating existing buildings.

a.    Retain and preserve the overall historic character of the building;

b.    Ensure that proposed alterations are compatible with the building’s own architectural character, and do not create a false historical appearance;

c.    Retain and preserve early alterations which have architectural significance in their own right;

d.    Treat distinctive original features, finishes, and examples of skilled craftsmanship with sensitivity;

e.    Repair rather than replace deteriorated architectural features whenever possible;

f.    Use the gentlest means possible when surface cleaning exterior masonry;

g.    Protect and preserve significant archaeological sites affected by the project, or provide mitigation for their disturbance; and

h.    Design new additions to existing buildings and new infill construction to be compatible with the massing, scale, materials, and architectural features of adjacent historic structures.

These standards are supplemented and further defined or explained by that document entitled “Design Standards for the City of Ellensburg,” as currently enacted.

2.    Property owners of historic district buildings are also encouraged to use the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (web: http://www.nps.gov/hps/tps/standards.htm) (hard copy also available at City Hall) as a guide to preserve, rehabilitate, restore, reconstruct, or add to historic properties. These standards provide detailed recommendations on restoration, maintenance, repair, replacement, design, alterations, building materials, roofs, interiors, etc. [Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.530.030 Architectural scale.

A.    Purpose.

1.    To reduce the scale of large buildings and add visual interest;

2.    To promote compatible development in terms of architectural scale; and

3.    To enhance the visual character of Ellensburg.

B.    Building Articulation – Storefronts. All buildings adjacent to storefront streets (see ECC 15.510.040 for maps) or meeting the definition of a storefront (see ECC 15.130.190) must include articulation features no more than every 40 feet to create a pattern of small storefronts. Buildings less than 60 feet wide are exempt from this standard. At least two of the following methods must be employed:

1.    Use of window and/or entries that reinforce the pattern of small storefront spaces;

2.    Use of weather protection features that reinforce small storefronts. For example, for a business that occupies 120 feet of frontage, use three separate awnings to break down the scale of the storefronts. Alternating colors of the awnings may be useful as well;

3.    Change of roofline per subsection (F) of this section;

4.    Use of vertical piers that reinforce the storefront pattern;

5.    Change in building material or siding style; and/or

6.    Other methods that meet the purpose of the standards.

Figure 15.530.030(B). Storefront articulation examples.

Departures will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided the design meets the purpose of the standards in this section. For example, the proposed articulation may be longer, but if the building features attractive detailing, materials, interesting roofline treatments, and interesting storefront design that helps the design fit into the site’s context and contributes to the pedestrian environment and existing/desired character, then perhaps it should be considered for approval as a departure.

C.    Building Articulation – Other Nonresidential/Mixed-Use Buildings. All other buildings featuring nonresidential uses on the ground floor (not covered in subsection (B) of this section) shall include at least three of the following articulation features along all facades facing a street and containing the customer building entries (alley facades are exempt) at intervals of no more than 60 feet.

1.    Providing vertical building modulation of at least two feet in depth and four feet in width if combined with a change in siding materials and/or roofline modulation per subsection (F) of this section. Otherwise, the vertical modulation shall be at least 10 feet deep and 15 feet wide to qualify;

2.    Providing horizontal modulation (upper level stepbacks). To qualify for this measure, the minimum upper level stepback shall be at least five feet and the treatment shall be used consistently with other articulation elements or utilized along at least 75 percent of the facade;

3.    Repeating distinctive window patterns at intervals less than the articulation interval;

4.    Providing a covered entry or separate weather protection feature for each articulation interval;

5.    Use of vertical piers that reinforce storefront pattern. To qualify for this measure, the piers must project at least two inches from the facade and extend from the ground to the roofline;

6.    Change of roofline per subsection (F) of this section;

7.    Changing materials and/or color with a change in building plane;

8.    Providing lighting fixtures, trellis, tree, or other landscape feature within each interval; and/or

9.    Other methods that meet the purpose of the standards.

Departures will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided the design meets the purpose of the standards in this section. Criteria to consider are the level of detailing, quality of building materials, design of storefronts, and integration with, or enhancement of, the surrounding context.

Figure 15.530.030(C). Building articulation example for other non-storefront commercial facades.

D.    Building Articulation – Multifamily Buildings. All multifamily buildings and residential portions of mixed-use buildings shall include at least three of the following articulation features at intervals of no more than 30 feet along all facades facing a street, common open space, and common parking areas:

1.    Repeating distinctive window patterns at intervals less than the required interval;

2.    Providing vertical building modulation. Minimum depth and width of modulation is 18 inches and four feet (respectively) if tied to a change in color or building material and/or roofline modulation as defined in subsection (F) of this section. Otherwise, minimum depth of modulation is 10 feet and minimum width for each modulation is 15 feet. Balconies may not be used to meet modulation option unless they are recessed or projected from the facade and integrated with the building’s architecture. For example, “cave” balconies or other balconies that appear to be “tacked on” to the facade will not qualify for this option;

3.    Change of roofline per subsection (F) of this section;

4.    Providing horizontal modulation (upper level stepbacks). To qualify for this measure, the minimum upper level stepback shall be at least five feet and the treatment shall be used consistently with other articulation elements or utilized along at least 50 percent of the facade;

5.    Articulating of the building’s top, middle, and bottom. This includes a distinctive ground floor or lower floor design, consistent articulation of middle floors, and a distinctive roofline; and/or

6.    Other methods that meet the purpose of the standards.

Departures will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided the design meets the purpose of the standards in this section. Criteria to consider are the level of detailing, quality of building materials, types and length of articulated features, and integration with/or enhancement of, the surrounding context.

For articulation of townhouses, see ECC 15.540.060(E).

Figure 15.530.030(D)(1). Articulation for multifamily buildings.

Figure 15.530.030(D)(2). Illustrating desirable multifamily building articulation compatible with the design of older neighborhood homes.

E.    Roofline/Cornice Design Options. Rooflines visible from a public street, open space, or public parking area must meet one of the following design options:

1.    Comply with roofline modulation provisions per subsection (F) of this section;

2.    Provide a decorative building cornice that projects at least six inches from the face of the building. The cornice line must extend along at least 75 percent of the facade; or

3.    Any combination of the options above.

Buildings in the I-H zone and buildings in the I-L zone that are primarily used for manufacturing, storage, and/or service uses and are generally not visible from the street or customer parking lot are exempt from this standard.

Figure 15.530.030(E)(1). Decorative cornice examples on existing historic buildings downtown (left images). The right image shows examples of a variety of cornice designs on a new building.

Figure 15.530.030(E)(2). Acceptable roof forms for commercial buildings.

F.    Roofline Modulation. In order to qualify as a roofline modulation treatment in the standards herein, rooflines shall be varied by emphasizing dormers, chimneys, stepped roofs, gables, or a broken or articulated roofline consistent with the required articulation interval. Modulation shall consist of either:

1.    For flat roofs or facades with horizontal eave, fascia, or parapet, the minimum vertical dimension of roofline modulation is the greater of two feet or 0.1 multiplied by the wall height (finish grade to top of the wall) when combined with vertical building modulation techniques described in subsection (C)(1) of this section. Otherwise, the minimum vertical dimension of roofline modulation is the greater of four feet or 0.2 multiplied by the wall height;

2.    A sloped or gabled roofline segment of at least 20 feet in width and a minimum slope of 6:12. The roofline must include modulated segments at no more than the interval required per the applicable standard above; or

3.    A combination of the above.

Figure 15.530.030(F). Roofline modulation standards.

G.    Maximum Facade Width. The maximum facade width (facades facing the street or customer parking lot) for commercial and residential buildings is 120 feet (buildings in the I-H zone are exempt from this standard). Exceptions: Buildings exceeding 120 feet in width shall incorporate significant modulation and/or articulation features that effectively break up the scale of the building and add visual interest from the street. Such buildings shall incorporate at least one of the following design elements:

1.    Provide vertical building modulation at least 10 feet deep and 20 feet wide. For multi-story buildings the modulation must extend through more than one-half of the building floors;

2.    Use of a contrasting vertical modulated design component featuring at least two of the following:

a.    Component extends through all floors above the first floor fronting on the street. Exception: upper floors that are stepped back more than 10 feet from the facade are exempt;

b.    Utilizes a change in building materials that effectively contrast from the rest of the facade;

c.    Component is modulated vertically from the rest of the facade by an average of six inches; and

d.    Component is designed to provide roofline modulation per subsection (F) of this section; or

3.    Facade employs building walls with contrasting articulation that make it appear like two distinct buildings. To qualify for this option, these contrasting facades must employ both of the following:

a.    Different building materials and/or configuration of building materials; and

b.    Contrasting window design (sizes or configurations).

Departures will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided the design meets the purpose of the standards in this section. Elements to consider are the level of detailing, quality of building materials, types of articulated features, and integration with or enhancement of the surrounding context (considering views from all publicly observable locations within the area).

Figure 15.530.030(G). Maximum facade width standards and acceptable/unacceptable departure examples. The upper right example uses a change in materials, facade articulation (window styles), and roofline change. The middle right image uses substantial facade and roofline modulation. The lower right doesn’t include any notable articulation or modulation.

[Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.530.040 Building elements and details.

A.    Purpose. To encourage the incorporation of design details and small-scale elements into building facades that are attractive at a pedestrian scale.

B.    Applicability. All nonresidential and mixed-use buildings shall comply with the building elements and details standards herein unless otherwise noted.

C.    Facade Details Toolbox. All nonresidential and mixed-use buildings shall be enhanced with appropriate details. All new buildings and additions and buildings associated with Level II and III improvements must employ at least one detail element from each of the three categories below for each facade facing a street, featuring a customer entry, or featuring the primary residential entry for each facade articulation interval (see ECC 15.530.030). For example, a building with 120 feet of street frontage with a facade articulated at 40-foot intervals will need to meet the standards for each of the three facade segments below.

1.    Window and/or Entry Treatment.

a.    Display windows divided into a grid of multiple panes;

b.    Transom windows;

c.    Roll-up windows/doors;

d.    Other distinctive window treatment that meets the purpose of the standards;

e.    Recessed entry;

f.    Decorative door;

g.    Arcade;

h.    Landscaped trellises or other decorative element that incorporates landscaping near the building entry; or

i.    Other decorative or specially designed entry treatment that meets the purpose of the standards.

2.    Building Elements and Facade Details.

a.    Custom-designed weather protection element such as a steel canopy, cloth awning, or retractable awning;

b.    Decorative, custom hanging sign(s);

c.    Decorative building-mounted light fixtures;

d.    Bay windows, trellises, towers, and similar elements; or

e.    Other details or elements that meet the purpose of these standards.

3.    Building Materials and Other Facade Elements.

a.    Use of decorative building materials/use of building materials. Examples include decorative use of brick, tile, or stonework;

b.    Artwork on building (such as a mural) or bas-relief sculpture;

c.    Decorative kick-plate, pier, beltcourse, or other similar feature;

d.    Hand-crafted material, such as special wrought iron or carved wood; or

e.    Other details that meet the purpose of the standards.

“Custom,” “decorative,” or “hand-crafted” elements referenced above must be distinctive or “one-of-a-kind” elements or unusual designs that require a high level of craftsmanship.

Departures to the standards above will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided the number, quality, and mix of details meet the purpose of the standards in this section.

Figure 15.530.040(C). Facade details examples. The building on the left uses decorative windows and doors, decorative roofline and columns, and decorative materials (brick and wood). The center image uses a decorative entry feature (metal feature over entry), decorative weather protection and lighting, and decorative use of brickwork. The right image uses decorative wood beams over the entry, decorative windows and doors, and stonework.

D.    High Visibility Street Corner Buildings. Buildings located at designated high visibility street corners (see subsection (D)(1) of this section) shall provide one or more of the elements listed in subsection (D)(2) of this section on the building corner. All corner building design elements must be sized to be proportional to the building and the size of the applicable intersection (for example, larger intersections warrant more substantial design treatments).

1.    Designated high visibility street corners include all street corners within the downtown historic district (see Figure 15.300.060) and other street corners illustrated in Figure 15.530.040(D)(2).

2.    Street Corner Design Element Options.

a.    A cropped building corner with corner pedestrian entry;

b.    A bay window or turret;

c.    A clock or bell tower;

d.    Balconies above the ground floor;

e.    Sculpture or artwork element; must be a one-of-a-kind design element;

f.    Distinctive use of facade materials; and/or

g.    Other special or unique corner building treatment, other than the use of fabric or vinyl awnings, for pedestrian weather protection at the corner of the building.

Figure 15.530.040(D)(1). Desirable building corner examples.

Figure 15.530.040(D)(2). Designated high visibility street corners. All street corners within the downtown historic district are considered a high visibility street corner.

Figure 15.530.040(D)(2). Designated high visibility street corners (continued).

E.    Window Design. Buildings shall employ techniques to recess or project individual windows above the ground floor at least two inches from the facade or incorporate window trim at least four inches in width that features color that contrasts with the base building color. Buildings in the I-H zone and facades of buildings in the I-L zone that do not face a street or contain a customer entrance are exempt from this standard. Departures will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 where buildings employ other distinctive window or facade treatment that adds a sense of depth to the facade and/or visual interest to the building.

Figure 15.530.040(E). Acceptable and unacceptable (far right image) window design on upper floors. Note that the windows in the brick building on the left are recessed from the facade. The windows in the middle images include trim. The image on the right includes no trim or recess/projection, and thus would not be permitted.

F.    Year of Construction Plaque. All new commercial and mixed-use buildings may note the year of construction of the building by the installation of a plaque attached to the building near the main entrance. Numbers etched into stone, brick, or concrete may be used in lieu of a plaque. The year of construction is to be noted by numbers not less than six inches high nor more than 12 inches high. Other information associated with the building that may be of public interest may be included. [Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.530.050 Building materials.

A.    Purpose.

1.    To encourage high-quality building materials that reinforce the historic small town character of Ellensburg.

2.    To discourage poor materials with high life-cycle costs.

3.    To encourage the use of materials that reduce the visual bulk of large buildings.

B.    Applicability. All nonresidential and mixed-use buildings shall comply with the materials standards herein. Exception: buildings in the I-H zone and buildings in the I-L zones that do not face a street or contain a customer entrance are exempt from these standards.

C.    Metal Siding Standards. Metal siding may be used if it is incorporated with other permitted materials and it complies with the following:

1.    It features visible corner molding and trim and does not extend lower than two feet above grade. Masonry, concrete, or other durable material must be incorporated between the siding and the ground plane;

2.    Metal siding shall be factory finished, with a matt, nonreflective surface; and

3.    The use of metal siding is prohibited on all landmarks register properties and within all historic districts.

Figure 15.530.050(C). Acceptable and unacceptable metal siding examples. Notice the corner and window trim and use of concrete block near the ground level on the left image. The circled area on the right includes metal siding all the way to the ground, which is prohibited.

D.    Concrete Block Standards. Concrete block may be used if it is incorporated with other permitted materials and it complies with the following:

1.    When used for the primary facade, buildings must incorporate a combination of textures and/or colors to add visual interest. For example, combining split or rock-facade units with smooth blocks can create distinctive patterns; and

2.    Concrete block may comprise no more than 50 percent of a facade facing a public right-of-way or open space. Departures to this standard will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided design treatments are included to enhance the visual character of the building at all observable scales.

Figure 15.530.050(D). Acceptable and unacceptable concrete block examples. The left example uses a mixture of split-faced colored concrete block and smooth-faced concrete block, together comprising just under 50 percent of the whole facade. The large expanse of smooth-faced concrete block on the right is not desirable for Ellensburg facades.

E.    Standards for EIFS or Other Similar Synthetic Stucco Finishes. EIFS refers to “Exterior Insulation Finishing System.” Such material/finishes (including other similar synthetic stucco materials) may be used if it is incorporated with other permitted materials and it complies with the following:

1.    EIFS must be trimmed in wood, masonry, or other material and must be sheltered from extreme weather by roof overhangs or other methods and are limited to no more than 50 percent of the facade area facing a public right-of-way or open space. Departures to this standard will be considered pursuant to ECC 15.210.060 provided design treatments are included to enhance the visual character of the building at all observable scales;

2.    Horizontal surfaces exposed to the weather must be avoided; and

3.    EIFS and similar surfaces should not extend below two feet above the ground plane. Concrete, masonry, or other durable material must be used for wall surfaces within two feet of grade to provide a durable surface where damage is most likely.

Figure 15.530.050(E). Acceptable and unacceptable stucco examples. The left image uses concrete block near the sidewalk, while the Petco maintains EIFS to the base of the facade.

F.    Prohibited Materials.

1.    Mirrored glass where used on more than 10 percent of the facade;

2.    T-111 siding and similar processed sheet products;

3.    Chain-link fencing (except for temporary fencing and for parks);

4.    Fiberglass products and similar sheet products; and

5.    Back-lit vinyl awnings used as signs. [Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.530.060 Blank wall treatment.

A.    Purpose.

1.    To avoid untreated blank walls.

2.    To retain and enhance the character of Ellensburg’s streets, business districts, and neighborhoods.

B.    Blank Wall Definition. A wall (including building facades and retaining walls) is considered a blank wall if:

1.    A ground floor wall or portion of a ground floor wall over six feet in height has a horizontal length greater than 15 feet and does not include a transparent window or door; or

2.    Any portion of a ground floor wall having a surface area of 400 square feet or greater does not include a transparent window or door.

Figure 15.530.060(B). Blank wall definition and treatment examples.

C.    Blank Wall Treatment Standards. Untreated blank walls visible from a public street or pedestrian pathway are prohibited. Methods to treat blank walls can include:

1.    Display windows at least 16 inches of depth to allow for changeable displays. Tack on display cases shall not qualify as a blank wall treatment;

2.    Landscape planting bed at least five feet wide or a raised planter bed at least two feet high and three feet wide in front of the wall with planting materials that are sufficient to obscure or screen at least 60 percent of the wall’s surface within three years;

3.    Installing a vertical trellis in front of the wall with climbing vines or plant materials;

4.    Installing a mural as approved by the reviewing authority; and/or

5.    Special building detailing that adds visual interest at a pedestrian scale. Such detailing must use a variety of surfaces; monotonous designs will not meet the purpose of the standards.

For large visible blank walls, a variety of treatments may be required to meet the purpose of the standards.

D.    Firewalls along property lines are exempt from the above standards, but where they are visible to the public, they shall include horizontal and/or vertical banding or other design treatments to add visual interest to the wall.

Figure 15.530.060(D). Acceptable and unacceptable fire wall treatments. Note the use of horizontal banding in the left image. Plain concrete block as in the right image is not allowed.

[Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]

15.530.070 Energy efficient building design.

The following provisions are intended to encourage energy efficient building design within Ellensburg.

A.    Purpose.

1.    To reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from buildings; and

2.    To encourage high quality energy efficient construction that reduces long-term maintenance costs.

B.    Residential Buildings. New and remodeled buildings should be designed to meet the Northwest ENERGY STAR Homes Certification Requirements for Single Family Homes or Multifamily Homes (link: http://www.northwestenergystar.com/partner-resources/bopmulti/index.html).

C.    Commercial or Mixed-Use Buildings. New and remodeled buildings should be designed to earn the ENERGY STAR rating by achieving the rating of 75 or higher using the EPA Energy Target Finder tool (link: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=new_bldg_design.bus_target_finder). [Ord. 4656 § 1 (Exh. O2), 2013.]