Design Guidelines in the City of Birmingham: Process, Methods & Outcomes

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1 Design Guidelines in the City of Birmingham: Process, Methods & Outcomes November 16, 2006

2 Downtown Birmingham 2016 Plan The 2016 Plan was a master plan created in 1996 for downtown Birmingham 2016 Plan was based on a 20 year forecast for downtown Birmingham, with a 20 year full implementation strategy Birmingham was identified as a traditional, walkable downtown, and extensive public involvement relayed the message that the community was committed to maintaining a pedestrian-oriented urban experience 2016 Report found that the building facades most likely to attract pedestrians are shop fronts, followed by fenestrated walls with short setbacks, and then landscaped yards 2016 Report found that downtown Birmingham had a range of building types and numerous types of frontages, some of which were inappropriate for a pedestrianoriented urban downtown

3 Creation of an Overlay Zoning District The 2016 Plan found that controlling the frontage of buildings and regulating their first-floor uses would help to encourage pedestrian activity The 2016 Plan included numerous recommendations for streetscape improvements, parking, circulation, retail use, building design and methods to improve the efficiency of the planning process in general Specific projects were outlined to improve downtown and improve the pedestrian experience The 2016 Plan recommended the creation of an Overlay Zoning District with design guidelines that was designed to ensure the appropriate physical manifestation of buildings The design guidelines attempt to control building height, building form, building setbacks, building materials and architectural details of buildings to create a pleasant environment for pedestrians

4 Election to Develop under the Overlay District Regulations Developers may elect to develop under the Overlay District regulations or under the regular zoning regulations for the zone district in which they are located Height and square footage incentives were provided to encourage developers to elect to develop their buildings under the Overlay Zoning Overlay Zoning Greater height No maximum FAR Mandatory Retail Design guidelines Underlying Zoning Less height Maximum 200% FAR Less Use Restriction No design guidelines In exchange for the bonus space, developers must comply with specific design guidelines to ensure the appropriate scale, form, use and character for downtown Birmingham Project proceeds through standard site plan review process, regardless of election

5 Underlying Zoning Districts Zoning Districts 0-1 MX R4 0-2 P R5 B-1 PP R6 B-2 B-2B B-3 B-4 R1 R1-A R2 R3 R7 R8 Dashed line represents the limits of the Overlay District

6 Overlay Zoning Districts

7 Red Line Retail District If a property is located along an area marked on the Regulating Plan as retail frontage, the developer electing to develop under the Overlay must provide first floor retail space A minimum 20 deep space is required for retail use A minimum 10 of clear space from finished floor to finished ceiling is required Required retail provisions are intended to maintain Birmingham as a viable and successful shopping district and to encourage pedestrian activity

8 Impact of First Floor Use & Design First Floor Retail Space along Street Frontage First Floor Parking, Loading & Service Areas along Street Frontage

9 Current First Floor Uses in the Overlay District

10 Building Form & Use 2016 Plan states that traditional American cities rarely exceed 5 stories in height (except the largest cities) and most commonly range from 2 to 4 stories 2016 Plan recommended allowing additional height in the core of downtown, and stepping the height down toward the surrounding residential neighborhoods 2016 Plan recommended adding an additional floor in each zone district within the Overlay if the upper floor is used for residential and set back 10 to reduce the impact from the street of the extra height D-2 in Overlay Increased to 3 stories if third floor is residential, peak or ridge of sloped roof can be 46 in height D-3 in Overlay Increased to 4 stories if fourth floor is residential, peak or ridge of sloped roof can be 58 in height D-4 in Overlay Allowed 5 stories as of right if fifth floor is residential, peak or ridge of sloped roof can be 70 in height

11 The Willits Building D Willits Street Site was previously a surface parking lot Now site of 5 story mixed use building with first floor retail

12 Burton-Katzman Building-D N. Old Woodward Most memorable streets tend to have buildings at least 2 stories in height, with the least memorable having 1 story buildings. This property was previously the site of a 1.5 story Jacobson s Department Store, and is now a 4 story mixed use building with first floor retail space.

13 Creation of Continuous Street Wall Front building facades at the first story must be located at the frontage line, but Planning Board may adjust to the average front setback of any abutting building In the absence of a building façade, a screen wall must be built along the frontage line and aligned with the adjacent building facade Side setbacks are not required Openings on a frontage line for access to parking facilities must be a maximum of 25 wide Such openings must repeat the same rhythm and proportion as the rest of the building

14 Willits Streetscape Bates Street to N. Old Woodward Willits Street was previously lined by two 1 story buildings and two surface parking lots. A pedestrian environment has now been created and this street can now support first floor retail uses. New upper floor residents provide increased foot traffic day and night.

15 Baker s Square D Bowers Street Site was previously a restaurant with a large surface parking lot Four story mixed use building with first floor retail proposed

16 Infill Building D S. Old Woodward Site was previously a surface parking lot Five story mixed use building with first floor retail under construction

17 Sunoco Gas Station D Woodward Site is currently a vacant gas station Five story mixed use building with first floor retail under construction

18 General Design Guidelines Cantilevered mansard roofs are prohibited Flat roofs must be enclosed by parapets Rooftop mechanical equipment must be screened and positioned to minimize views from adjacent properties and public rights-of-way Primary colors of building exteriors must be compatible with the colors of adjacent buildings and in character with the surrounding area

19 Wachler Building D S. Old Woodward Design standards were not in place when this building was renovated, and thus the resulting building façade is completely out of character with the context of the block, disturbing the continuity of the urban fabric.

20 The Townsend Hotel D Townsend Street Five story mixed use building with first floor retail is compatible with materials and traditional style of surrounding buildings

21 180 Pierce Street D-4 Five story mixed use building with first floor retail is compatible with materials and traditional style of surrounding buildings

22 Exterior Materials 90% of exterior finish material on all facades that face a street are limited to glass, brick, cut stone, cast stone, coarsely textured stucco or wood Dryvit or E.F.I.S. is prohibited Balconies, railings and porch structures must be metal, wood, cast concrete, or stone

23 Traditional Materials, Contemporary Design 250 Martin 320 W. Maple 325 N. Old Woodward

24 The Ashton D N. Old Woodward Vacant site for the last 20 years has created a break in the retail row along N. Old Woodward at the north end of downtown Four story mixed use building to be constructed in 2007

25 Terminating Vistas 2016 Plan identified important view corridors and designated properties that terminate a view corridor Any building that terminates a view as designated on the Regulating Plan must provide distinct and prominent architectural features of enhanced character and visibility to create a positive visual landmark

26 The Ford Building - D N. Old Woodward

27 The Palladium Theatre 250 N. Old Woodward Old Crowley s Building The Palladium Theatre was constructed in It is now a landmark building which has greatly enhanced the pedestrian experience on this block.

28 Pedestrian Friendly Design No blank walls may face a public street Walls facing a street must include windows and architectural features such as awnings, cornice work, edge detailing or decorative finish materials Storefronts must be directly accessible from public sidewalks

29 Design that Discourages Pedestrian Activity Frontages most repellent to pedestrians: garage doors; blank walls; parking lots; under building parking areas and open service areas

30 Creating Interest for Pedestrians

31 Impact of Design Guidelines on a Suburban Style Strip Center Old Kroger Store New Kroger Store and Pedestrian Friendly Center

32 Glazing Requirements Storefronts must have transparent areas, equal to 70% of its portion of the façade, between one and eight feet from the ground Storefronts must have mullion systems, with doorways and signage integrally designed Glazed area of each façade above the first floor must not exceed 35% of the total area of that facade Only clear or lightly tinted glass is permitted Façade openings (porches, windows, doors) must be vertical in proportion Sliding doors and sliding windows are prohibited along frontage lines

33 Restricting the Proportion of Openings to Square and Vertical The 2016 Plan found that buildings designed with horizontal lines were incompatible with vertically proportioned buildings in an urban setting.

34 Limiting the Ratio of Solid to Void Controlling the amount of glazing on the upper levels prevents the construction of all glass buildings that are out of context in downtown Birmingham.

35 Awnings Straight shed awnings are permitted without side flaps Cubed or curved awnings are prohibited Awnings must be between 8 and 12 feet above sidewalk grade at the lower drip edge

36 Spatial definition is necessary to create a sense of place. Awnings help to enclose space and create a feeling of intimacy.

37 Outdoor Dining Facilities The 2016 Plan recommended expanding opportunities for outdoor dining to create areas for pedestrians to gather and to increase pedestrian activity downtown Outside dining tables and chairs must be primarily metal, wood or similar material Plastic outside dining tables and chairs are prohibited

38 A Pedestrian-Oriented Urban Experience

39 The Devil is in the Details Wayfinding Program Before Newsrack Program After

40 Streetscape Design Guidelines Standard Benches, Trash Receptacles & Streetlights in Birmingham Green Streetscape design standards for street trees, tree wells, plantings, lighting, exposed aggregate sidewalks & curbs

41 Thank you.

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