Chapter 18.22


18.22.010    Intent.

18.22.020    Applicability of design guidelines.

18.22.030    Lake Boren sector – Area specific guidelines.

18.22.040    Coal Creek sector – Area specific guidelines.

18.22.050    Downtown sector – Area specific guidelines.

18.22.060    CBC-wide site design guidelines.

18.22.070    CBC-wide building design guidelines.

18.22.010 Intent.

The design guidelines create a platform for expressing the community’s desires for the design and function of its community business center and downtown, to interpret the goals of the downtown strategic plan and to allow for creative and innovative design solutions. The guidelines are intentionally subjective and intended to supplement the required standards of the city of Newcastle Municipal Code. Where the guidelines and zoning ordinance standards conflict, the city shall determine which regulation applies. In applying these guidelines, the intent of this chapter is to:

• Create a safe, walkable and welcoming environment that is designed around a human scale;

• Ensure design compatibility between different uses, scales and types of development, both existing and proposed;

• Provide clear and understandable guidance for new development that achieves the community’s vision for their community business center;

• Shape a unique community business center and downtown that showcases Newcastle’s cultural and historic heritage, with timeless, durable and context sensitive designs; and

• Result in development that supports the local economy and long-term success of local businesses, convenient urban living and public spaces. (Ord. 2017-565 § 3).

18.22.020 Applicability of design guidelines.

A. General. These design guidelines apply to all development within specific sectors of the community business center (CBC) overlay zone as depicted on Map 18.22.020(A).

Map 18.22.020(A): CBC Boundaries with Site Specific Related Design Guidelines Boundaries

B. New Structures and Site Improvements. All new structures, additions to existing structures, and new site improvements shall conform to these standards, except that additions to existing structures in the shopping center subdistrict which do not exceed an increase of 15 percent in gross floor area are exempt from standards pertaining to maximum building setbacks from front property lines.

C. Remodels. Applicability of these standards to remodels is based upon the extent and value of the remodel. Remodels are designated as either major remodels or minor remodels, which are defined and regulated as follows:

1. Major Remodel. Includes any exterior changes valued in excess of 50 percent of the assessed value of the structure. Under a major remodel, the entire structure’s exterior facade shall be brought into conformance with all standards pertaining to building design. Major remodels are exempt from standards pertaining to maximum building setbacks from front property lines.

2. Minor Remodel. A minor remodel is any exterior change, or a series of exterior changes over time, the cumulative value of which does not exceed 50 percent of the assessed value of the structure at the time of the proposed change. Under a minor remodel, these standards apply only to the proposed changes. (Ord. 2019-585 § 3 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2017-565 § 3).

18.22.030 Lake Boren sector – Area specific guidelines.

A. Intent. The intent of the standards of this section is to:

• Create a safe, walkable and welcoming environment that is designed around a human scale;

• Ensure design compatibility between different uses, scales and types of development, both existing and proposed;

• To reduce the negative impacts to adjacent properties;

• To increase pedestrian and vehicular circulation;

• To upgrade the overall visual quality in Newcastle and maintain a human scale in new development;

• To take advantage of special opportunities to create a composition of buildings and landscape features.

B. Guidelines.

1. Multifamily residential development on the Olson property east of 129th Avenue SE should be oriented towards usable open space connected to Lake Boren. The use of bioretention facilities within joint use open space is allowed.

2. Develop a multi-purpose pathway that encircles Lake Boren. This pathway shall be an integral part of new development in the Lake Boren area and shall be located to increase visible access to Lake Boren.

3. Preserve wetlands and other sensitive natural areas in the Lake Boren area consistent with Chapter 18.24 NMC. Utilize natural areas as a major site amenity. The use of native plant species for vegetation is required where feasible.

4. Concentrate multifamily residential development on the Peterson property to maximize open space and preserve sensitive areas.

Map 18.22.030(B)

(Ord. 2017-565 § 3).

18.22.040 Coal Creek sector – Area specific guidelines.

Note: Individual site improvements within the Coal Creek sector shall be permitted in conjunction with an approved master plan consistent with the policies contained in the community business center/Lake Boren master plan and the guidelines and standards listed below.

A. Intent.

• To provide site specific design standards or guidelines for development on the Mutual Materials site consistent with the community business center/Lake Boren corridor master plan.

• To take advantage of special opportunities to create a composition of buildings and landscape features.

B. Guidelines.

1. Develop a new access road (hereafter referred to as “Newcastle Connector”) connecting Coal Creek Parkway (at the SE 67th Street intersection) with Newcastle Coal Creek Road and golf course. Where possible, incorporate a landscaped median into the road’s design.

2. Extend 132nd Avenue SE northward to Newcastle Connector.

3. Encourage the development of an additional access road linking Coal Creek Parkway and 132nd Avenue SE near the southern boundary of the Coal Creek sector.

4. Provide a centralized public plaza adjacent to or near the Newcastle Connector/132nd Avenue SE intersection. Specifically:

a. Arcades, pergolas, or other street-level coverings are encouraged on all building facades fronting on the plaza to provide weather protection and an articulated building facade.

b. Brick paving materials associated with the historic use of the site are encouraged. Other options can be unit-pavers or concrete with special texture, pattern, and/or decorative features. Decorative and visually interesting permeable pavements are also allowed.

c. Separation of active and passive uses is encouraged through placement of planters, street furniture, landscaping, different paving textures, and subtle level changes.

d. Lighting shall be low in height, preferably below 20 feet. The overall lighting in the plaza shall average at least four footcandles. The lighting plan should include pedestrian-oriented lights, such as globes and light bollards. Uplighting of trees is also encouraged. The color of light must be considered in the lighting design. High-pressure sodium, which has a pinkish cast, is recommended for general usage (very effective for lighting brick). Metal halide lighting is effective for uplighting foliage (makes it appear greener) and mercury vapor for lighting concrete. Low-pressure sodium, which casts a yellow light, is not recommended.

e. The plaza should be designed as part of a visual corridor/axis running from 132nd Avenue SE to the forested areas of Coal Creek Park.

f. A transition zone or buffer of approximately 10 feet will be left along the building edge where it abuts the plaza to provide an outdoor area for cafe seating and a planted buffer. This zone could be marked with a change in paving.

Transition Zone Along Building Edge

g. Subareas shall be created within the plaza with seating and landscaping out of the traffic flow.

h. The plaza should have an articulated edge (buildings, benches, landscaping, etc.) where feasible to provide visual interest and additional seating along the edges of the plaza where people may linger out of the traffic flow.

Articulated Edge

i. Pedestrian amenities shall be provided: seating, lighting, plants, drinking fountains, distinctive paving, artwork, and a focal point or water feature.

j. Edges of the plaza opening to pedestrian through-traffic should be defined without impeding traffic flow; i.e., with a planter or low seating wall, pergola with vines, water feature, or sculpture.

k. Some covered area along the perimeter (e.g., a vine-covered pergola) is strongly encouraged to provide protection from rain and/or sun.

l. One linear foot of seating (at least 16 inches deep) should be provided for every 30 square feet of plaza. Seating may include benches, low seating walls, steps, or, if properly designed, a planter edge or edge of a fountain.

m. The sun angle at noon and the wind pattern should be considered in the design of the plaza.

n. At least 50 percent of the total area of the building facade facing onto the plaza should be occupied by retail uses, preferably cafes and restaurants or other pedestrian-oriented uses.

o. The plaza should be large enough to hold a congregation of 300 people.

Example of Proposed Pedestrian Plaza in the Coal Creek Sector

5. Preserve natural areas within the Coal Creek sector and utilize as a major site amenity. Native vegetation along the creek, lake, or wetland edges shall be retained in a natural state and supplemented with wetland species if necessary to improve its function as a stormwater detention/drainage swale.

6. Provide a network of pathways, including trail connections to the Coal Creek Trail. Depending on the nature of the site and adjacent uses, the type of pathway can range from a multi-purpose pathway to a nature trail.

7. Provide a decorative gateway feature at the Coal Creek Parkway/Newcastle Boulevard intersection. This feature is intended to announce the arrival to the city of Newcastle and development within the Coal Creek sector. Backlit signs are not appropriate.

8. Encourage the use of brick materials associated with historic use of the site.

Coal Creek Sector Design Guidelines

(Ord. 2017-565 § 3).

18.22.050 Downtown sector – Area specific guidelines.

A. Intent. The downtown sector guidelines are intended to ensure development that employs high quality and context-sensitive design, strengthens a sense of place, ensures return on investment, enhances and humanizes the public realm, and positions the downtown as a place to live, work and shop. Specifically, these guidelines should be applied to:

• Ensure design consistency and compatibility between adjacent uses and properties;

• Create a pedestrian-oriented environment, while ensuring efficient multi-modal access and circulation;

• Uphold a high quality and timeless design aesthetic for downtown Newcastle, maintaining a human scale in new development;

• Maximize unique opportunities that lead to a composition of buildings, public spaces and landscape features;

• Create a focal point and economic center for the city of Newcastle;

• Promote development that creates a stronger relationship between the street and building and that reduces barriers and physical distances between these spaces;

• Respect the scale of existing development and ensure that the design and character of new buildings enhance downtown and surrounding neighborhoods and also create a scale that relates to the street and pedestrian experience;

• Ensure that building colors, materials and textures contribute to the visual continuity of downtown and promote a sense of durability and high quality;

• Ensure adequate daylight, views, surveillance and ventilation;

• Enhance bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, reduce travel distances, encourage nonmotorized transportation and provide active open spaces;

• Provide opportunities for rest and relaxation, outdoor dining, commerce, social gathering and events that complement the use of buildings; and

• Ensure that parking areas and parking access ways focus on pedestrian safety and circulation, while also creating organized and efficient parking and circulation for vehicles that limit congestion and excessive vehicle stacking.

B. Guidelines. The following design guidelines for downtown provide focused direction for many types of design considerations spanning from larger scale planning efforts, such as determining appropriate building mass and scale, to smaller scale design elements, such as site furnishings. Accompanying images provide examples showing how guidelines can result in the desired form.

1. Building Location and Orientation. The following provisions are intended to create a stronger relationship between the street and building; reduce barriers and physical distances between these spaces; result in development that is oriented towards pedestrians; and result in development that embraces surrounding uses and natural environmental conditions.

a. All buildings located along a public street should be oriented toward and have their primary entrances toward the public street.

b. On sites with pedestrian areas or a mid-block connection, orientation of windows and entrances should be designed to complement and enhance the experience for people on foot or bike.

c. Ground floor building entrances on the interior of the site should be accessible from the public sidewalk, pedestrian areas or mid-block connections.

d. Buildings should be encouraged to have upper-story activities overlooking the street.

e. Building orientation should consider future development on or adjacent to the building site, including shared access and potential linkages to such development (e.g., building entries) and building additions.

f. Building orientation should consider environmental factors such as solar access and wind direction to take advantage of energy reduction.

g. Break up larger buildings with facades that are perpendicular or at angles to the street to break up larger wall expanses and allow for creative use of space.

2. Building Articulation. The following provisions are intended to (a) ensure that buildings respect the scale of existing development and (b) ensure that the design and character of new buildings enhance downtown and surrounding neighborhoods while creating a scale that relates to the street and pedestrian experience.

a. At least 50 percent of the total facade area shall be articulated by use of a change in plane, arrangement of facade elements, or a change in materials (including glazing) to break the building mass.

b. Streetfront facades must also conform to articulation guidelines based on street type (Table 18.22.050(B)(2)). Figure 18.22.050(B)(2) illustrates maximum nonresidential single use length and minimum nonresidential use depth standards that meet the requirements of Table 18.22.050(B)(2).


Table 18.22.050(B)(2): Streetfront Building Facade Articulation Standards 


Street Type 1

Street Type 2

Street Type 3

Wall Plane Offset per Length of Facade (min.)

1 foot/50 feet

3 feet/25 feet

3 feet/50 feet

Single Nonresidential Use Street Frontage Length (max.)


60 feet


Nonresidential Use Depth (min.)

20 feet

20 feet

20 feet

Distance Between Entries (max.)


100 feet

50 feet

100 feet



30 feet

50 feet

Figure 18.22.050(B)(2): Nonresidential Single Use Length (Street Type 2) and Depth Standards Illustrative

c. New buildings should be designed with a mix of wall areas with door and window elements in the facade.

d. Break up uninteresting boxlike forms into smaller, varied masses.

e. Each building design should consider a unique element that distinguishes it from other similar structures (e.g., ceremonial entranceway, limited towers or cupolas, cornices, window surrounds, etc.).

f. Vertical and horizontal building modulation should be used to add variety and to make large buildings appear to be an aggregation of smaller buildings.

g. Continuous two- or three-story street walls should be avoided by incorporating vertical and horizontal modulations into the building form.

h. Avoid new construction that greatly varies from traditional area building heights (too high or too low). However, limited areas of vertical three-, four-, or five-story walls can be used to create vertical punctuation at key facades or downtown gateway intersections and where building heights permit. Special attention to maintain an activated streetscape is important in these areas.

i. Consider the width-to-height ratio of bays in the facade. The placement of openings with respect to the facade’s overall composition, symmetry, or balanced asymmetry should be carefully imitated.

j. A flat building facade shall incorporate details such as window trim, window recesses, cornices, changes in material, color or other design elements in an integrated composition. Some of the architectural features of the street-facing facade shall be incorporated into the rear and side elevations.

k. Upper story step-backs should avoid a rigid stair step or “wedding cake” approach.

l. There shall be the same or greater level of detail and articulation on the ground floor as on the upper floors of a building.

m. Building entrances should be celebrated with key vertical and horizontal elements, lighting, accent materials, etc.

n. Relate the roof forms of the new buildings to those found in the area. Duplication of the existing or traditional roof shapes and materials on new construction is one way of making new structures more visually compatible.

o. Consider overall building scale when designing roof cornicing and parapets.

p. Decks and/or balconies should be designed so that they do not significantly increase the apparent mass of the building within the required upper story step-backs. Residential or mixed use building facades visible from streets and public spaces should provide balconies of a sufficient depth to appear integrated with the building and not “tacked on.”

3. Pedestrian-Oriented Facades. To ensure that proposed development is consistent with the city’s goals for a pedestrian-oriented downtown, with appropriate scale building form, character and quality, the ground floor facades facing public streets and public spaces shall feature “pedestrian friendly” streetfront facades which consist of one or more of the following characteristics:

a. Transparent window area or window displays along the majority of the ground floor facade.

b. Sculptural, mosaic or bas-relief artwork over the majority of the ground floor facade.

c. Public open space that complies with the standards of Chapter 18.15 NMC and applicable guidelines.

4. Guidelines for All Frontage Types. New buildings must demonstrate conformance with the following guidelines (Table 18.22.050(B)(4)) for building frontage types based on the street facing the building facade.


Table 18.22.050(B)(4): Guidelines for All Frontage Types 

Frontage Type

Street Type 1

Street Type 2

Street Type 3

a) Shop Front

b) Flex Front

c) Arcade/Gallery

d) Forecourt

e) Front Yard/Porch

⚫ = Most suitable, ◒ = less suitable, ⚪ = not suitable

a. Shop Front Frontage Type. Shop fronts are facades placed at or close to the right-of-way line, with the entrance at sidewalk grade. This type is conventional for retail frontage and is commonly equipped with cantilevered awnings or similar shade-providing overhangs. Substantial glazing at pedestrian level encourages sidewalk activation. Most appropriate for active retail/commercial areas along Type 2 and 3 streets.

Figure 18.22.050(B)(4)(a): Shop Front Frontage Type

b. Flex Front Frontage Type. Flex frontages are designed so that ground floor retail and commercial uses may be used for temporary residential uses, and uses may be interchanged. The design flexibility allows for ground floor facades to transition between shop front requirements and residential uses.

Figure 18.22.050(B)(4)(b): Flex Frontage Type

c. Arcade/Gallery Frontage Type. Arcades are a flex frontage type where facades have an attached colonnade covered by upper stories. This type is ideal for future uses on the west side of 132nd. For building code considerations, this frontage type cannot cover the public right-of-way.

Figure 18.22.050(B)(4)(c): Arcade/Gallery Frontage Type

d. Forecourt Frontage Type. A forecourt is a public or semi-public exterior space partially surrounded by a building and open to a thoroughfare, within the shop front, gallery or arcade frontage. The space is suitable for gardens, outdoor dining, shared open space and public plazas and should be situated to maximize solar access.

Figure 18.22.050(B)(4)(d): Forecourt Frontage Type

e. Front Yard/Porch Frontage Type. Front yards and porches are only suitable for ground floor residential uses along Type 3 street types. The facade is set back from the right-of-way with a front yard. An encroaching porch may also be appended to the facade. A low fence or wall at the property line may be used to define the private space of the yard.

Figure 18.22.050(B)(4)(e): Front Yard/Porch Frontage Type

5. Colors, Materials and Textures. The following provisions are intended to ensure that building colors, materials and textures of new structures, additions or alterations contribute to the visual continuity of downtown and strive to promote a sense of durability and high quality:

a. To maintain visual consistency, building materials used on the exterior of buildings should be traditional materials that are more durable. New development should incorporate durable materials such as brick, concrete, glass or stone into the design of the ground floor (street facing) facades.

b. Alternative materials should appear similar in scale, proportion, texture and finish to those used traditionally. Durability should be considered when alternative materials are reviewed.

c. Concrete and wood siding should be painted using a palette of earth tone or muted colors. Bright, neon-like colors are strongly discouraged.

d. Where possible, use materials indigenous to the region and/or manufactured or supplied locally and that have minimal adverse impacts to the environment.

e. Reserve bright colors for trim or accents.

f. Emphasize dark, saturated colors for awnings, and avoid garish and light colors that show dirt.

g. Avoid highly-tinted or mirrored glass (except stained-glass windows).

h. Generally, the use of plastic, bright-unfinished metal, untreated wood, and false stone is inappropriate and should be discouraged.

i. The use of T-111 or similar sheet materials, stucco clad foam (EFIS), vinyl siding and log construction is incompatible and is prohibited.

6. Sustainable Design Elements. The following provisions feature the incorporation of sustainable technologies, including but not limited to solar energy or hot water generation, green walls, stormwater retention or treatment landscapes, artistic installations, or native habitat areas in the facade of the building to increase environmental sustainability, soften the building’s edge and provide visual interest for the pedestrian:

a. When used, sustainable technologies must be an integral part of the building’s form and shall be designed as visible iconic elements in the sidewalk environment. The planning director will make the final determination as to the design integration and appropriateness of sustainable elements.

b. Sustainable design elements are particularly appropriate on 132nd and Newcastle Way, where they will contribute to the city’s identity and celebrate the city’s unique sense of place in the region.

c. Consider passive heating and cooling techniques during building design.

d. Control solar heat gain and glare using external shading devices.

e. Consider designing rain gardens and green infrastructure projects as interactive or educational spaces that provide additional social functions on site, particularly when used to fulfill open space requirements.

f. Utilize low-maintenance and native plants to improve natural function and reduce resource usage.

g. Solar panel installations shall minimize glare reflected onto adjacent properties.

h. All overhanging elements shall be at least eight feet above the adjacent sidewalk or grade.

7. Windows and Fenestration. The following provisions ensure a pedestrian-friendly streetscape, as well as provide adequate daylight, views, surveillance and ventilation:

a. Storefront and ground floor windows should be designed to provide excellent visual connections between the sidewalk and commercial space and provide “eyes” on adjoining streets and public spaces.

b. Storefront windows should be symmetrically placed within the overall building face, with a recommended window-to-wall ratio similar to neighboring and existing district buildings.

c. Storefront and ground floor windows of nonresidential uses should be highly transparent with windows of clear vision glass beginning at no higher than two feet above grade and at least 10 feet above grade.

d. Buildings must incorporate upper-story windows which face the street and are transparent.

e. Upper-story windows with a vertical emphasis are preferred; windows which are twice as tall vertically as they are wide represent a more traditional design.

f. Upper-story windows should be symmetrically placed with one another as well as with the overall building facade.

g. Aligning upper-story windows with those of neighboring buildings is preferred.

h. The use of opaque and false windows is inappropriate.

8. Gateways. The following provisions help create a sense of arrival, reinforce primary entrances into downtown and create a stronger and more identifiable city center:

a. Construct entry gateways into downtown that frame views into downtown and create visual cues and sense of arrival.

b. Use public art to establish gateway features that strengthen the character and identity of downtown. Use landscaping, signs, structures or other features that identify the neighborhood.

c. A corner landmark consisting of a combination of open space and architectural building design features should be provided to identify downtown.

d. At the southeast corner of Newcastle Way and Coal Creek Parkway, a neighborhood gateway feature such as open space or plaza with signage should be integrated with site design.

9. Public Art.

a. Public art pieces should be located in highly visible locations, downtown gateways, pedestrian gathering areas, and at the intersection of pathways and walkways.

b. Public art pieces that are functional or interactive should be encouraged.

c. Both permanent and temporary installation/exhibit space should be incorporated into the design of new development.

10. Parking Design. Parking areas and parking access ways should be designed with a focus on pedestrian safety and circulation, creating organized and efficient parking, and circulation for vehicles that limits congestion and excessive vehicle stacking. Parking and circulation should complement and relate to the intended use these areas serve. The following standards apply:

a. Good pedestrian circulation is critical. A clear path from the sidewalk to the building entrance is required for all sites.

b. For sites with large parking lots, clear pedestrian circulation routes within the lot from stalls to the building entrances should be provided. In addition, a raised concrete pavement should also be provided in front of the entrance as a loading or waiting area so the entrance will not be blocked by parked vehicles.

c. Parking lot design should be clear and well organized. Space should be provided for pedestrians to walk safely in all parking lots. Parking lots should have few dead-end parking lanes and provide drive-through configurations with channelized queuing space at the entrances and exits to parking lots to prevent cars from waiting in the street.

d. Share parking and service access with adjoining developments to minimize land devoted to circulation and parking. Pedestrian access between parking lots on adjacent properties should be provided.

e. Shared parking and service access could be located between buildings when feasible.

f. Design service and delivery parking spaces that minimize disruption to traffic flow and operations.

g. Minimize parking and service frontage along public streets, public spaces and pedestrian pathways.

h. Create landscaped buffers (e.g., a row of coniferous trees or double row of deciduous trees) between pedestrian paths and parking lots and service areas to mitigate the negative visual impacts.

i. Parking lots must be integrated with the fabric of the community by creatively using landscaping to reduce their visual impact.

j. Locate parking lots to maximize opportunities for spaces catering to higher pedestrian and bicycle use to have maximum access to sunlight.

k. Minimize the number of driveways by restricting curb cuts and by encouraging property and business owners to combine parking lot entrances and coordinate parking areas.

l. Structured Parking.

i. The location of parking structures along streets or pedestrian pathways should be discouraged.

ii. Where parking structures cannot be located underground and must be provided at the ground level, facades facing streets and public spaces should be designed with an active ground floor use to retain the visual interest and function of the structure.

iii. If parking areas are located in a separate structure from the primary use, the structure must be set back from the street, and screened with substantial landscaping.

iv. Structured parking should be developed, oriented and screened to complement adjacent buildings, reduce automobile/pedestrian conflicts, and support the pedestrian environment. Artwork, display windows, trellises and/or dense vegetation are examples of screening devices that may be successful in balancing the scale of the structure with the pedestrian environment.

m. Bicycle Parking.

i. Bike parking should be visible, accessible, and safe day and night.

ii. Where possible, provide shelter for bike racks.

iii. Install a consistent rack design in areas adjacent to building entries.

iv. Choose secure bike racks that function well and are aesthetically pleasing when no bikes are present.

v. Bike racks should allow an entire bicycle to be locked, not just one wheel.

vi. When locating bike racks near building entries, ensure that racks do not interrupt the flow of pedestrians into the building.

(Ord. 2017-565 § 3).

18.22.060 CBC-wide site design guidelines.1

A. Intent. The CBC-wide design guidelines are intended to:

• Support the natural setting as fundamental to the character of Newcastle and to provide consistent and unified street design with the community business center.

• To reinforce a cohesive image using fixtures and furnishings and simplify maintenance and replacement of such items.

• To provide a variety of open space areas available to the public.

• To promote a pedestrian environment by minimizing curb cuts and interruptions in sidewalks.

• To reduce the visual impact of parking and enhance the pedestrian experience.

• To improve safety, aesthetics, and reduce light pollution.

• To create a network of safe and attractive linkages through surface parking lots for pedestrians.

• To reinforce an active pedestrian experience along pedestrian-oriented streets.

B. Guidelines. The following design guidelines for the central business district (CBC) focus largely on the design of site and surface improvements, such as parking, lighting, pedestrian areas, landscaping, etc. Accompanying images provide examples showing how guidelines can result in the desired form.

1. Street Trees. Trees support the natural setting as fundamental to the character of Newcastle and to provide a consistent and unified street design within the community business center. Street trees shall be provided as follows:

a. Street trees shall be provided at a spacing of one tree every 30 feet in minimum four-foot-wide tree grates or landscape areas (six-foot-wide on pedestrian-oriented streets). Turf grass is not acceptable in planting areas. Tree spacing may be averaged; provided, that trees are no less than 15 feet apart.

b. Street tree species shall be approved by the city.

c. Street trees shall be pruned to be free of branches below six feet from the ground for surveillance purposes.

2. Street and Outdoor Furnishings. Furnishings reinforce a cohesive image and should be selected to simplify maintenance and replacement, as follows:

a. Use city-approved standardized fixtures for benches, trash receptacles and bike racks located in the public right-of-way.

b. Furnishings shall not be placed in the clear zone or in any way that might hamper pedestrian movements.

Note: Approved furnishing information is available from the public works department.

c. Seating.

i. Seating should be designed at a comfortable height between 16 inches and 18 inches with accommodations for universal access.

ii. Benches and seating should be located in plazas and courtyards, near building entries, and at transit stops with considerations for accommodating universal access.

iii. Fixed seating should be designed into planters, low dividing walls, retaining walls, and building facades where practicable, along with accommodations for universal access.

3. Pedestrian Lighting. To ensure safety, avoid glare, reinforce a cohesive image, and simplify maintenance and replacement, the following lighting standards apply:

a. Use city-approved standardized fixtures for sidewalk lighting.

b. All sidewalks and pedestrian connections shall meet a minimum average 5.38 lux* illumination level.

c. All sidewalks and pedestrian connections shall not exceed a 20 lux* illumination level.

d. All pedestrian lighting fixtures with luminaires above 12 feet shall be full-cutoff type fixtures (as defined by the IESNA).

*Lux: ratio of lumens to square meter, approximately equal to 10x footcandles. Lux should be measured on the pavement with a uniformity ratio not greater than 4:1.

4. Parking Lot Lighting. To improve safety and surface parking lot aesthetics, and reduce light pollution, parking lot lights shall comply with the following standards:

a. Lighting fixtures above 12 feet shall have full cut-off design (as defined by the IESNA) to direct light downward.

b. Lighting intensity shall be between three and 20 lux*.

*Lux: ratio of lumens to square meter, approximately equal to 10x footcandles. Lux should be measured on the pavement with a uniformity ratio not greater than 4:1.

5. Parking Lot Screening. To reduce the visual impact of surface parking lots, the following standards shall apply:

a. Surface parking must be screened from the public right-of-way by one or a combination of the following:

i. Low walls made of concrete, masonry, or other similar material and not exceeding a maximum height of three feet.

ii. Raised planter walls planted with a minimum 80 percent evergreen shrubs not exceeding a total height of three feet.

iii. Landscape plantings consisting of trees, of which at least 80 percent are deciduous, and shrubs and groundcover materials, of which at least 80 percent are evergreen.

b. All plant materials and other physical elements used for parking lot screening shall provide clear views between three and eight feet above the ground surface for surveillance purposes.

Note: Alternatives may be considered if designs meet the intent of the guideline and gain city approval.

6. Screening of Trash and Service Areas. Screen trash/recycling areas from view on all sides with solid evergreen plant material or architectural treatment similar to the design of the adjacent building, as approved by the director.

(Ord. 2017-565 § 3).

18.22.070 CBC-wide building design guidelines.

A. Intent. The CBC-wide building design guidelines are intended to:

• Ensure that building entrances are easily identifiable and accessible from streets and sidewalks.

• Provide a visual connection between activities inside and outside of buildings.

• Provide ample ceiling height for retail activities and to ensure that retail spaces are clearly visible to outdoor pedestrians and passersby.

• To improve the comfort of pedestrians along pedestrian-oriented streets.

• To reduce the apparent bulk of multistory buildings and maintain a pedestrian scale.

• To add architectural interest at eye level and provide pedestrian amenities along structure exteriors.

• To ensure that building scale, modulation and rooflines present a distinct profile and form that expresses the neighborhood character.

• To reduce the adverse visual impact of blank walls in a pedestrian setting.

• To reduce the visual impact of structure parking located above grade.

• To ensure landmark quality development at prominent intersections through more stately or lofty forms of building design in these locations.

B. Guidelines. The following design guidelines for the central business district (CBC) focus primarily on the design of buildings and related structures such as parking garages. Accompanying images provide examples showing how guidelines can result in the desired form.

1. Entrances. To ensure that building entrances are easily identifiable and accessible from streets and sidewalks, the following standards apply:

a. Locate primary entrances* so that they are visible from the public right-of-way. The entry should be marked by architectural elements such as canopies, ornamental lighting fixtures and/or fixed seating that offer visual prominence.

b. Primary entrances shall have direct access to public sidewalks.

c. Entrances may be set back from the property line up to 10 feet.

* Primary entrances are the principal customer entrance(s) to a building.

2. Transparency – Mixed Use and Commercial Buildings. To ensure visual connection between activities inside and outside of buildings, the walls of mixed use and commercial buildings shall include window fenestration as defined in NMC 18.15.100, and as follows:

a. Required fenestration shall include clear vision glass.

b. Required fenestration coverage applies to the area between two and 12 feet above grade for all ground floor facades of streetfront buildings, and for at least one ground floor facade of each rearward building.

3. Ceiling Height. To provide a visual connection between activities inside and outside of buildings and to provide ample floor height for pedestrian-related retail activities, the following standards apply to streetfront buildings along Type 1 and Type 2 streets as defined in Figure 18.15.080(1).

a. Ground floors shall be a minimum of 12 feet in height measured from the finished floor to finished ceiling, and 15 feet gross height (measured from finished ground floor to bottom of joists or slab on next floor up).

4. Weather Protection. To improve pedestrian comfort and activity along building frontages near streets, weather protection shall be provided as follows:

a. Mixed use and commercial buildings shall provide weather protection over all adjacent public sidewalks and pedestrian connections so that 75 percent of the length of the building frontage and adjacent sidewalk has weather protection.

b. Weather protection shall be placed between eight and 12 feet above the sidewalk level and be a minimum of six feet in depth. Twelve feet of clearance shall be maintained for permanent building projections, such as cantilevers, decks, and balconies. Eight feet clearance is acceptable for removable awnings and canopies.

Note: Alternatives may be considered if designs meet the intent of the guideline as determined by the director.

5. Massing/Articulation. To reduce the apparent bulk of multistory buildings and maintain pedestrian scale, the following standards shall apply:

a. For buildings above 30 feet in height:

i. Distinguish a “base” at ground level using articulation and weightier materials such as brick, stone or decorative concrete.

ii. The “top” of the building will emphasize a distinct profile or outline with elements such as a projecting cornice, undulating parapet, upper level setback, or pitched roof line.

iii. The “middle” of the building may be distinguished by a change in materials or color, windows, balconies, and step-backs.

b. For building facades longer than 100 feet and that are visible from the public right-of-way:

i. Minimum depth of modulation shall be six feet.

ii. A minimum of one modulation per 100 feet of facade length is required.

6. Ground Level Architectural Details. Facades of commercial and mixed use buildings that face the street shall be designed to add architectural interest at eye level and provide pedestrian amenities along structure exteriors through the inclusion of at least three of the following elements:

a. Wainscots or kick plates below storefront windows made of brick, stone, frame and panel wood, or similar products that create texture, pattern and shadow lines.

b. Projecting window sills, regularly spaced pilasters or similar features that add dimension and form to an otherwise flat wall plane.

c. Projecting canopies or arbors, or recessed entry bays.

d. Commercial-grade window assemblies with wide and deep mullions.

7. Roofline. To ensure that rooflines present a distinct profile and appearance for the building and express the neighborhood character, the following standards apply:

a. Buildings with pitched roofs shall have a minimum slope of 4:12 and a maximum slope of 12:12.

b. Buildings with flat roofs shall have projecting cornices to create a prominent edge when viewed against the sky. Cornices shall be made of a different material and color than the predominate siding of the building, except that brick siding may include matching brick cornices.

c. The use of vegetated roofs is allowed to reduce stormwater runoff; provided, that roofline reflects the above-stated requirements.

8. Screening Mechanical Equipment. Screen mechanical and communications equipment from the ground-level view of nearby streets and residential areas as follows:

a. Rooftop mechanical equipment shall be screened from the view of adjacent public streets and abutting properties by an extended parapet wall or other roof forms that are integrated with the architecture of the building.

b. Ground level mechanical equipment shall be screened using vegetation screening or structural screens that are integrated with the materials and colors of the building.

9. Blank Wall Treatments. To reduce the visual impact of blank walls and provide visual interest, blank walls longer than 30 feet shall incorporate two or more of the following:

a. Vegetation, such as trees, shrubs, ground cover and/or vines adjacent to and covering at least 50 percent of the wall surface.

b. Artwork, such as bas-relief sculpture, murals, or trellis structures covering at least 50 percent of the wall surface.

c. Seating area with special paving and seasonal plantings.

d. Masonry materials with architectural detailing, reveals, pilasters or other means of rustication techniques.

Note: Blank walls are any walls greater than four feet in height, visible from a public right-of-way or open space, that have no ground level windows or doors for a distance of 30 feet or more.

10. Screening of Parking Structures. Reduce the visual impact of structure parking located above grade as follows:

a. At ground level, parking structures shall comply with guidelines addressed under subsection (B)(6) of this section, Ground Level Architectural Details.

b. Upper levels of structured parking should be screened or treated architecturally by window openings, plantings designed to grow on the facade, louvers, expanded metal panels, decorative metal grills, spandrel (opaque) glass, and other devices, as approved, that meet the intent of this section.

c. Lighting within structured parking should be placed so that glare and light trespass are minimized. The lamps shall not be visible from the public right-of-way.

d. The use of vegetation planters and vegetated roofs is encouraged on the top level of parking structures to reduce stormwater runoff.

11. Buildings at Prominent Intersections. New buildings that are located at the intersection of two public streets shall include at least a two-step hierarchy in the building height, with the tallest portion of the building at the corner, tapering down in height along each street frontage. Buildings shall additionally include at least two of the following on the building corner facing the public street:

a. Bay windows.

b. Roof decks or balconies on upper stories.

c. Corner entrance.

d. Crowning features to a tower form, e.g., wide cornices, projecting parapets, pitched roof.

e. Bevel, notch or rounded corner.

Note: Alternatives may be considered if designs meet the intent of this section.

(Ord. 2017-565 § 3).


Code reviser’s note: Ord. 2021-629 amends this section on a temporary basis. The ordinance passed on May 4, 2021, and is effective for six months.