Sec. 27-280.27.  Criteria for appearance.


(a)  Relationship of buildings to site.  The site shall be planned to accomplish a desirable transition with the streetscape and to provide for adequate planting, safe pedestrian movement (if applicable) and parking areas.


(1)       Site planning in which setbacks and yards are in excess of standard zoning restrictions is encouraged to provide an interesting relationship between buildings.


(2)       Parking areas shall be treated with decorative elements, building wall extensions, plantings, berms, or other innovative means so as to screen parking areas from view from public ways.


(3)       Without restricting the permissible limits of the applicable zoning district, the height and scale of each building shall be compatible with its site and existing (or anticipated) adjoining buildings.


(4)       Newly installed utility services and service revisions necessitated by exterior alterations shall be underground ,when feasible.


(5)       Refuse and waste removal areas, service yards, storage yards, loading area, and exterior work areas shall be oriented to the rear of the building away from public right-of-way or properly and permanently screened from view from public ways and from residential zoned properties using materials and berming as hereinafter provided.


(b)  Relationship of buildings and site to adjoining area (outside of subdivision or developments).


(1)       Adjacent buildings of different architectural styles shall be made compatible by such means as screens, sight breaks and materials.


(2)       Attractive landscape transitions shall be designed to be compatible to adjoining properties, particularly residential zoned properties.


(3)       Harmony in texture, lines, and masses is required. Monotony shall be avoided.


(c)  Landscape and site treatment.  Landscape elements included in these criteria consist of all forms of planting and vegetation, ground forms, rock groupings, water patterns, fencing and all visible construction except buildings and utilitarian structures. Upon installation of required landscape material, each owner shall take actions to ensure continued health and maintenance of such. Required landscaping that does not remain healthy shall be replaced consistent with these regulations.


(1)       Where natural or existing topographic patterns contribute to beauty and utility of a development, they shall be preserved and developed. Modification to topography will be permitted where it contributes to good site design and development.


(2)       Grades of walks, parking spaces, terraces and other paved areas shall provide an inviting and stable appearance for walking and, if seating is provided, for sitting.


(3)       Landscape treatments shall be provided to enhance architectural features, strengthen vistas and important axes, and provide shade. Spectacular effects shall be reserved for special locations only.


(4)       Unity of design shall be achieved by repetition, while still allowing and encouraging diversity of certain plant varieties and other materials, and by correlation with adjacent developments.


(5)       Plant material shall be selected for interest in its structure, texture, and color and for its ultimate growth. Plants that are indigenous to the areas or others that will be hardy, harmonious to the design, and of good appearance shall be used.


(6)       Street frontage. Along each street frontage there shall be a ten (10) foot wide landscape strip, or width required per Sec. 27-305, whichever is greater, continuous along the frontage except for perpendicular crossways for driveways and utilities. The landscape strip shall be planted with shade trees (2” caliper at time of planting, and not less than 35’ height at maturity) planted not less than fifty (50) feet on center, and shrubbery forming an intermittent hedge not less than three (3) feet in height designed to provide an adequate screen. The zoning official may have the authority to approve alternative methods for landscaping and screening parking lots that includes at least the same amount of landscape material or screening effects when viewed from the street. Findings of fact as to demonstrable hardship by requiring the above regulation shall be submitted with the request for an alternative method.


(7)       Parking areas and traffic ways shall be hard surfaced and striped and shall be enhanced with landscaped spaces containing trees or tree groupings and shrubs to provide shade, direction, and aesthetics.


(8)       Parking areas for display of vehicles, trailers, campers, recreational vehicles, new or used, shall be paved and have the screening and buffering as described above in item (6).


(9)       Screening of service yards, outdoor storage areas and other places containing items such as mechanical equipment, trash dumpsters or other unsightly items shall be accomplished by use of walls, fencing, plantings or a combination thereof. Screening shall be equally effective in winter and summer months.


(10)     Exterior lighting, when used, shall enhance the building design and the adjoining landscape. Building fixtures shall be of a design and size compatible with the building and adjacent areas. Lighting shall be designed as to avoid intrusion and impacts on adjacent properties, especially residential areas, and away from adjacent thoroughfares.


(11)     All residential fencing within this Highway Corridor Overlay District shall not exceed six (6) feet in height, and perimeter fencing within the subdivision shall match in style and color. If multiple styles and colors exist prior to the adoption of these regulations, then any new fence shall be similar to that style and color most used.


(12)     Fencing used for screening within the Highway Corridor Overlay District and/or as part of a commercial or industrial development shall be required to be a solid fence. Chain link fences, with or without slats, shall not be used to satisfy this screening requirement. All industrial and commercial fencing shall follow the established fencing regulations of the zoning ordinance but shall not exceed eight (8) feet in height within the Highway Corridor Overlay District.


(13)     Whenever possible, all off street parking shall be to the rear of the building and have the screening and buffering as described above in item (6) for off street parking along street frontage and also the other lot lines.


(14)     All of the required landscaped areas must contain a minimum of seventy-five (75) percent living and irrigated landscaping material with a maximum of twenty-five (25) percent non-living landscaping material.


(15)     All plant materials shall be installed in the following minimum sizes:


a.  Deciduous shade trees – 2” caliper.

b.  Ornamental trees – 2” caliper.

c.  Evergreen trees – 5’ high.

 d.  All shrubs – 5 gallon container.

e.  Groundcover, annuals and perennials – 1 gallon container


(d)  Building design. 


(1)       Architectural design and style are not restricted; however architectural style should be consistent throughout the subdivision. Evaluation of the appearance of a project shall be based on the quality of its design and relationship to surroundings.


(2)       Buildings shall have good scale and be in harmonious conformance with permanent neighboring development. Buildings with multiple heights or section levels shall orient the shorter to the public right-of-way.


(3)       The primary building material of all portions of the structures shall be negotiated with the city; however, sample materials shall include, but not be limited to, preferred materials of high quality such as brick (clay), stucco, wood, glass, pre-cast concrete, split faces concrete masonry units (CMU) with integrated color pigmentation, and stone material native to Eastern Nebraska. The materials shall be similar and compatible throughout the entire development. Other primary building materials (of good architectural character i.e., standard CMU, pre-engineered metal building panels) will be allowed provided that a minimum of 30 percent of the street side façade(s) is of a preferred material. Changes in use from industrial to another use shall require preferred materials improvements to the building. Other secondary building materials shall have good architectural character and shall be selected for harmony of the building with adjoining buildings.


(4)       Materials shall be selected for suitability to the type of buildings and the design in which they are used. Buildings shall have the same materials, or those that are architecturally harmonious, used for all building walls and other exterior building components wholly or partly visible from public ways.


(5)       Materials shall be of durable quality.


(6)       In any design in which the structural frame is exposed to view, the structural materials shall be compatible within themselves and harmonious with their surroundings.


(7)       Building components, such as windows, doors, eaves, and parapets, shall have good proportions and relationships to one another.


(8)       Colors shall be harmonious and shall use only compatible accents.


(9)       Colors shall be of “low reflectance, subtle, neutral, or earth tones” and shall not be of high-intensity or metallic colors unless the colors are true to the materials being used.


(10)     Mechanical equipment or other utility hardware on roof, ground, or buildings shall be screened from public view with materials harmonious with the building, or they shall be so located as not to be visible from any public ways.


(11)     Exterior lighting shall be part of the architectural concept. Fixtures, standards and all exposed accessories shall be harmonious with building design.


(12)     Monotony of design in single or multiple building projects shall be avoided. Variation of detail, form, and siting shall be used to provide visual interest. In multiple building projects, variable siting of individual buildings may be used to prevent a monotonous appearance. Measures shall be taken to break up flatness of all buildings and reduce the scale of large buildings using windows and architectural building design and techniques.


(13)     All sides of a building facing public right-of-ways shall be designed as a building front and each building shall have clearly defined, highly visible customer entrances.


(14)     Drive-thru features should not face any arterial or collector streets/highways unless screened with landscaping or separated with an access/frontage road.


(15)     Flat roofs on buildings shall have parapets.


(16)     Metal buildings shall not be allowed to have visible exterior metal supports.


(17)     All openings in the façade of a building (windows, doorways, etc.) shall be proportioned to reflect pedestrian scale and designed in a manner that encourages interest at the street level.


(18)     Awnings or canopies shall be made of metal or cloth material and entries shall not be over nine (9) feet high (pedestrian height).


(19)     Planter boxes and screening walls, when used, shall be compatible with the primary structure.


(20)     Facades consisting of brick or masonry shall not be painted if they have not previously been painted.


(21)     Franchise architecture that meets these minimum standards is allowed. National “standard”, prototype, or trademark designs shall be adapted to be compatible with these standards.


Source:  Ord. No. 5774, § 1, 06-21-2022;