Group Offers 40 Pages Of Design Rules





Majestic Mountain Inn is an appealing example of the type of architecture that relates to the Rim Country in a positive manner.

Weathered wood.

Subdued lights.

Light greens and browns.

Soothing paint jobs.

Tall pines.

Native shrubs.

All good.

And absolutely, positively, no tile roofs.

The 40-pages of proposed regulations for commercial buildings and apartment complexes in Payson would provide the town with "an orderly aesthetic growth pattern in keeping with the cultural and historic foundations" of the town by using natural materials, forest colors and rustic buildings to protect the "mountain, forest character and heritage" of Payson.

That vision of a western town that blends with the greens and browns of the ponderosa pine forest and the limestones and granites of Rim Country comes at the start of proposed design standards for everything except single family homes, duplexes and triplexes.

The standards would not necessarily apply directly to industrial developments, but those developments would have to go before the design review board under the proposed ordinance.

The new standards set out a host of "preferred" designs for sidewalks, parking lots, lighting, signs, roof lines, building facades, landscaping, grading and a host of other details that affect mostly how buildings look from the street.

A volunteer design review board comprised of designers, architects, developers and community leaders spent more than 13 months developing the standards, which came before the town council for the first time last week. Due to a misleading listing on the agenda, several council members complained they weren't ready to review in detail the pages of detailed standards. However, the ordinance will come back for a second reading next month.

The ordinance would formalize an additional step in the whole process for approving apartments and non-residential projects, although the extent to which the standards will apply to industrial projects remains open to debate.

Audience members at the last council meeting predicted that applying the standards directly to the big, cheap, often metal buildings that dominate industrial parks could drive off many potential employers.

The Design Review Board has been reviewing projects on an ad hoc basis for the past year, although the building slump has produced only a handful of projects for review.

The ordinance would lock into place the role of the Design Review Board, which would have to sign off on most non-residential projects before builders get a permit to start constructions.

The board's review of the appearance of the project would come on top of separate reviews by the planning commission and town council.

The ordinance details a long list of plans and drawings builders must submit to each member of the board, including the grading and drainage plan, surveys, the architectural site plan, the landscape plan, the lighting plan, exterior elevations, floor plans, building sections and a roof plan.

Other submissions include a list of colors and materials, paint chips, samples of wall materials, details of the signs, photographs of the site, details of the light fixtures and a narrative written by the architect.

Most new, non-residential projects would have to go before the Design Review Board and abide by its recommendations -- although builders could appeal the board's decisions to the town council.

Anyone who wanted to get a grading or building permit, paint an exterior wall or building, change a face or roof line, change their signs, modify landscaping, remove vegetation, display merchandise outside the building or put up accessory buildings or walls, would need design review approval. Minor changes would require only the approval of the community development director.

However, single family houses or two and three family residential units wouldn't need the board's approval. Neither would repainting or repairing the outside of a building, unless the color or façade changed. The Design Review Board would have no authority over interior remodelings.

The plan also laid out specific requirements for buildings, the sidewalks, landscaping, roofs and colors. Some of those specific requirements include:

Architectural character:

  • Preserve a mountain look and the town's western heritage
  • Prefer sloped roofs with at least a two-foot overhang
  • Prefer natural, subdued mountain brown or forest green, with different colors for the trim
  • Franchise business should alter their design to comply with the town's overall look
  • Discourages walls longer than 20 feet without offsets or design features
  • Discourages sharply different heights of neighboring buildings
  • Prefers building materials including wood, stone, faux wood, faux stone, textured masonry, stucco infill panels
  • Requires metal buildings to have a façade of approved building materials
  • Limits linear parapets or ridgelines to 75 percent of the length of the building, to break up the roofline visually
  • Bans mission-style tile roofs
  • Bans aluminum door and window frames, but requires frames of some sort
  • Discourages "contemporary" building forms
  • Requires that window and door openings constitute at least 35 percent of the first floor entry wall and 20 percent on side street walls
  • Exterior light fixtures should adhere to "dark sky" rules, which means they should point downward and be shielded to prevent light from escaping into the sky and dimming the stars
  • Signs should use sandblasted rock, engraved wood and other natural materials as much as possible
  • Non-illuminated, monument type signs with landscaping are preferred
  • If a sign is lit, either face lit or halo lit signs are preferred to "box signs" in which the light backlights the lettering by shining out through a box-like frame
  • Building colors (including signs) should have a light reflectance value of less than 35 percent
  • No glossy or reflective paints or materials permitted and colors should be subdued, natural colors
  • Paints and stains should reflect the rocks, soils, vegetation and other natural features of the site

Site character:

  • Preserve natural landscaping whenever possible
  • Retention basins should be landscaped with native plants
  • Meandering sidewalks should connect to public sidewalks whenever possible
  • Buildings should share common drives to minimize curb cuts leading to the street
  • Roads and parking lots should follow the natural terrain where ever possible to minimize grading
  • Low walls and shrubs should screen things like loading areas, utilities and equipment whenever possible
  • Landscaping plans should preserve boulders and other natural features
  • Landscaping plans should preserve trees greater than six inches in diameter whenever possible
  • Building should be screened and softened with low-water-use plants and trees
  • Walls, landscaping and berms should screen parking lots from the street
  • Parking lots should include trees at each end and in landscaped islands whenever possible

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