Chapter 15.720
MURALS

Sections:

15.720.010    Purpose.

15.720.020    Applicability.

15.720.030    Standards and guidelines.

15.720.040    Submittal requirements and approval process.

15.720.010 Purpose.

A.    In the city of Ellensburg, murals foster a sense of community and connection and enrich the experience of both tourists and residents. Acknowledging that murals provide economic benefits and enhance livability, the city’s mural policy seeks both to preserve historic murals already in existence and provide guidance for creation of new works of mural art.

B.    On landmark properties and in historic districts, the policy seeks to allow the placement and scale of new murals in such a way that the character-defining features of historic properties are not obscured, covered, or otherwise adversely affected. The policy encourages artistic expression through murals in appropriate locations with little intrusion into artistic expression and content. [Ord. 4725 § 4, 2016.]

15.720.020 Applicability.

The standards for murals set forth in ECC 15.720.030(A) through (C) shall apply to all individual properties within the city of Ellensburg. ECC 15.720.030(D) and (E) shall apply only to landmarks register properties and districts listed on the Ellensburg landmarks register or on the National Register of Historic Places. ECC 15.720.030(F) shall apply to historic murals. [Ord. 4725 § 4, 2016.]

15.720.030 Standards and guidelines.

Murals shall conform to the following requirements:

A.    Permit Required. Prior to installation, all murals require submission of an application and issuance of a permit subject to the following provisions:

1.    Applications for murals not on landmarks register properties and not in districts listed on the Ellensburg landmarks register or on the National Register of Historic Places shall first be reviewed by the arts commission in a public meeting for a recommendation which shall be forwarded to the community development department when issuing a permit.

2.    Applications for murals located on landmarks register properties or in districts listed on the Ellensburg landmarks register or on the National Register of Historic Places shall first be reviewed by the arts commission in a public meeting, as referenced in subsection (A)(1) of this section, and shall also obtain a certificate of appropriateness (COA) from the landmarks and design commission.

B.    Murals As Signs. Murals created after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter that fall within the definition of a sign shall be regulated pursuant to the sign code, Chapter 3.12 ECC, as currently enacted or hereafter amended.

C.    Installation and Maintenance of All Approved Murals.

1.    Murals shall be installed in a manner to ensure that they withstand the elements to the greatest degree that is feasible as determined by the community development department.

2.    Murals shall use materials, coatings, or other protective techniques that will resist vandalism, weathering by sun, water, wind and graffiti to the greatest degree feasible as determined by the department.

3.    Murals must be maintained by the building owner for the life of the mural or until the mural is removed.

D.    Location, Design and Style of Murals on Landmark Structures or in Historic Districts.

1.    The design (not content) of murals on landmarks register properties and in districts listed on the Ellensburg landmarks register or on the National Register of Historic Places must be consistent and compatible with the architectural and historical character of the historic district and the architectural features (column bays, windows, planar walls, cornices, beams, columns, trim, windows, doors, etc.) of the building on which they are located.

2.    Murals shall not be permitted to be placed directly on unpainted brick, unpainted or painted stone, wood sidings with surface detail, or any other material that does not have a planar or flat character. An exception to this provision may be allowable in instances where new paint is applied onto the existing paint of a historic mural for the purpose of restoration, and for which a COA has been obtained. Prior to the installation, the surface to which the mural will be applied must be in a condition that would allow the permanent attachment of the proposed mural.

3.    Murals may not have electrical or mechanical components.

4.    Three-dimensional murals are not allowed.

5.    Murals shall not be located on those facades of buildings that are immediately adjacent to a street. A mural may be permitted on the side or rear of a building if it is (a) noncontributing and (b) is not immediately adjacent to the sidewalk.

6.    Murals must not damage or lead to accelerated deterioration of the building surface.

E.    Alteration and Removal of Murals on Landmark Structures or in Historic Districts.

1.    Alteration or removal of any existing or permitted mural on landmarks register properties and districts listed on the Ellensburg landmarks register or on the National Register of Historic Places requires a permit obtained through the process set forth in ECC 15.280.090. Alteration or removal of historic murals shall only be made pursuant to this subsection.

2.    Alteration or removal of any existing or permitted mural shall not damage or lead to the destruction or deterioration of a building or structure or adversely impact the architectural or historic character of any building located within a historic district.

3.    Any associated materials that were used to affix the mural to the surface must be removed at the time of the removal of the mural. This includes, but is not limited to, mounting hardware or brackets, caulk or grout, and adhesives or glues.

F.    Historic Murals.

1.    The landmarks and design commission will conduct a survey of existing murals and include those deemed historic in the Ellensburg landmarks register.

2.    New murals shall not be painted over historic murals as defined in ECC 15.130.080. Historic murals may not be altered, repainted, painted out, removed, restored or otherwise disturbed, unless the structural integrity of the building is at stake, without compliance with the following:

a.    Prior to the alteration, repainting, painting out, removal, restoration or other disturbance to an historic mural the property owner shall obtain a COA. Application for a COA shall be reviewed by the landmarks and design commission in accordance with the procedures set forth in ECC 15.280.090(C) and 15.280.100 with the following exceptions:

i.    The landmarks and design commission shall meet initially with the applicant to consider alternatives to the alteration or removal including available incentives for preservation of the mural. These negotiations may last no longer than 120 calendar days from the first meeting of the landmarks and design commission unless the applicant agrees to an extension. During these negotiations, the applicant should allow the commission to review the site and plans for the alteration and/or removal of the mural. An alteration and/or removal notice must also be placed on the property and published in the newspaper.

ii.    If no request for an extension is made and no alternative has been agreed to and the applicant has made a showing that such action is necessary to provide a reasonable beneficial use or reasonable economic return, the landmarks and design commission shall issue a COA to the applicant.

b.    Prior to the permitted disturbance of an historic mural, photographic documentation of the mural shall be collected and made available to the landmarks and design commission by the department.

3.    Any person aggrieved by any action of the landmarks and design commission in denying or approving the applicant’s request may file a notice of appeal as set forth in Chapter 15.230 ECC; however, such appeals shall be to city council rather than to the hearing examiner.

4.    The landmarks and design commission will review the possibility of initiating a program to restore historic murals. [Ord. 4807 § 61, 2018; Ord. 4725 § 4, 2016.]

15.720.040 Submittal requirements and approval process.

A.    All artists and building owners proposing murals on their properties shall first submit their proposals for review by the arts commission in a public meeting for a recommendation which shall be forwarded to the department for consideration when issuing a permit. Murals proposed to be installed on any landmarks register properties or in districts listed on the Ellensburg landmarks register or on the National Register of Historic Places must further be reviewed by the landmarks and design commission and obtain a COA from that body.

B.    All of the following materials must be submitted with application for a mural:

1.    Drawings (elevation, site plan), photographs of building;

2.    Map of landmark structures and historic districts within 300 feet of the proposed mural;

3.    Written description, including materials used and how the mural will be affixed;

4.    Color image of mural and artist’s examples of past work, if any;

5.    Written authorization from property owner; and

6.    Maintenance plan. [Ord. 4725 § 4, 2016.]