Independence Avenue West Special Review District
Standards and Regulations
- Building Scale and Proportion.
Building facades in any given block shall relate in height and massing to adjacent structures on that block and on adjacent block(s) fronting, and directly across, such street. Buildings located on the same, or directly across the street from, blocks that contain the major civic and institutional structures of the University of Health Sciences and the former Hospital, and the Independence Boulevard Christian Church shall not be required to match the height of those structures. Buildings in these blocks shall relate in height to the other buildings in the surrounding blocks – typically one or two stories. For the urban storefronts along Independence Avenue in this area, the height is typically one or two stories. Cornice or parapet heights of new buildings shall not be more than 10% higher nor more than 10% lower than those of adjacent buildings if the number of stories is the same. No new building shall be more than three (3) stories in height, and the facade of any three-story building shall contain an architectural element that reflects the height and scale of any shorter adjacent buildings.
- Facade Repetition and Setback. The primary street frontage shall be designed to possess at least one of the following elements:
- The facade of the building shall be located at the street line, unless the building is 100 feet or more in height, in which case, a setback from the street line of no more than 10% of the height of the building; provided, however, residential buildings must meet required residential setbacks for the underlying zoning district; OR
- A free-standing wall or fence located within five (5) feet of the street line, which shall meet the conditions of Design Guideline IV., and also be subject to the following criteria:
- If solid (forming a barrier to visibility), the wall shall be at least 18” in height and shall not be more than 42” in height.
- If not solid (such as a wrought iron or other configuration offering visual penetration), the fence or wall shall have regular openings comprising no less than 60% of the surface; OR
- Outdoor courtyard that shall include seating, ornamental pillars, sculpture, fountains, or other amenities; OR
- Landscaping in accordance with a landscaping plan, submitted by the property owner (or designated agent) and approved by the Design Review Committee; such landscaping plan shall include the following:
- Compatibility with species, scale and design of appropriate landscaping of adjacent and nearby properties, and
- Appropriate treatment for the subject property, incorporating design elements of the building facade, if appropriate.
The facade on Independence Avenue/Boulevard (or on the primary street frontage if there is not a facade on Independence Avenue) shall contain at lease one building entrance and windows. “Primary street frontage” as used herein shall mean any arterial street defined by the Major Street Plan. If the site fronts on two arterials, there shall be windows abutting all arterials, and there shall be at least one entrance on the Independence Avenue/Boulevard frontage.
- A gateway statement shall be created at the four corners of The Paseo intersection by using markers, signage, plantings, or the physical design of buildings, or by a combination of the four. Such statements shall not block sight lines at street or driveway intersections. The physical design of buildings could include build-to lines, towers, or other treatment consistent with these guidelines and acceptable to the Design Review Committee. The markers, signage and plantings shall be of sufficient size to create a significant visual statement. Gateways and other markers shall be constructed of stone and shaped similarly to the low stone walls existing along Independence Avenue.
- Archways or other overhead constructions that cross a street shall not be allowed.
- Gateway or marker signage shall include only neighborhood or street names and the date of construction. Such signs shall be either engraved stone panels or metal.
- New building construction shall be consistent with that used in the neighborhood; masonry (typically brick or brick and stone with ornamental decorations) or stucco is preferable. Renovations shall also use masonry or stucco materials. Metal or wood sheathing shall not be placed over a masonry or stucco facade.
- Wood or metal may be used in detailing around doors or windows (i.e.: carved doors, door moldings, steel lintels), in building signage (i.e., ornamental ironwork, carved wood signs), and at cornices (i.e., lintels or other cornice detailing).
- Development shall continue the low walls around property edges, in texture, pattern and height similar to those of the existing stone walls and pylons that remain along portions of Independence Avenue. This guideline shall not apply in cases where topography or other physical features make it impossible to implement or if the wall would obstruct sight lines at street or driveway intersections or pedestrian movement. Walls shall be made of stone. Brick and all other incompatible materials shall not be considered as complying with this plan.
- Fences shall be of wrought iron unless wrought iron is inappropriate in relation to the design of the building it surrounds or to the area in which it is located. In no case shall chain link or wood fences be allowed.
- Awnings shall be of fabric, and not aluminum, plastic, or wood. They shall not serve as the primary store sign. A single building shall have the identical pattern and color on all awnings on the building.
- If a building color is generally unified (such as a single color brick pattern), then either a single or multiple colored (or striped) awning shall be used. If several building colors (such as a multi-colored brick pattern) are used, then a single color awning shall be used. In either case, the awning color shall be complementary to the overall color scheme used for the entire building facade. Awnings with patterns or colors that are not complementary to the building facade shall not be allowed.
- Adjacent awnings in a block shall be mounted at similar heights. The minimum height of any awning from the ground shall be 7 feet 6 inches, and no awning shall cover more than 50% of the sidewalk width.
- Roof Lines
- Flat (slightly sloped for drainage, but not visible from street level) roofs shall be used for commercial buildings in infill locations where adjacent buildings have flat roofs. In other infill locations and on freestanding commercial buildings, sloped or visible (from street level) roofs shall be acceptable. Only commercial-grade roofing materials such as clay tile, slate, or metal roofing shall be used. HVAC units shall be screened from view from street level, and materials used for screening shall be consistent with facade materials.
- Towers or atrium spaces may have sloped roofs, provided that tower, atrium space, and roof designs shall be compatible with the overall building design in terms of massing, scale, materials, detailing, and color.
- Rear Entrances. When parking is located at the rear of a commercial building, entrances to the building from other than the Independence Avenue facade shall be designed to complement and be similar to the front facade in terms of materials (see Section IV), colors (see Section X), lighting (see this Section) and other architectural details. Awnings (see Section V), signage (see Section IX), and displays are all appropriate at a rear entrance, as allowed or required by other sections of these guidelines. Lighting for the parking lot shall be included and submitted as part of the facade or site design or both, whichever is appropriate. Such lighting shall be so designed that no flashing or direct glare from any light source is focused, beamed, or directed toward adjacent residences. Light standards for parking areas shall not exceed 17 feet in height. Rear entrances shall not be visually dominant over the primary front entrance.
- Screening and Buffering
- A double row of landscape screening shall be provided adjacent to a freeway or an expressway (as defined in the City’s Major Street Plan) in any development that abuts a freeway or expressway. This landscaping shall include trees and evergreen shrubs that will form a solid screen within five (5) years of Design Review Committee approval.
- Whether on a roof or at grade, all mechanical equipment and dumpsters shall be screened. Screening materials shall be compatible with the overall building design, materials, and landscaping. When at grade, the site on which dumpsters and similar receptacles are placed shall be graded to provide adequate drainage and prevent pooling of liquids.
- Landscaping shall be provided on the commercial side of all property lines contiguous to residential uses, in order to buffer residential uses from adjacent commercial uses. This landscaping shall be a combination of trees and evergreen shrubs dense enough to form a solid screen within five (5) years of Design Review Committee approval.
- The front facade of a building shall have only one major store sign. A smaller store sign may be appropriate for secondary facades or entrances or as minor signage on an awning. Minor or supplemental signs (such as store hours, directories, credit cards accepted), shall be permitted as long as the total area of all signage (major and minor) on any building facade shall not exceed 5% of the wall facing the street. Such signage shall also include banners and balloons. When computing wall area for a facade on a multistory building, the total height of the wall the sign is affixed to shall not exceed 20 feet for computation purposes.
- Awnings over the public right-of-way require an encroachment ordinance, shall meet the criteria of Chapter 18 (the City’s Building Code), and shall only include the name and logo of the business.
- Permanent, free-standing signs, such as building identification markers and directories, shall be allowed. Their signage area, however, shall apply against the 5% maximum area allowed for the nearest facade of the building the sign is identifying.
- No attached sign shall extend higher than the roof line or any parapet of a building or structure. Rooftop signs shall not be allowed.
- Any sign shall contain only the name and logo of the business it identifies, shall be designed specifically for the building it identifies, and shall integrate with and complement a specific storefront in design, color, and materials.
- No off-site advertising signs shall be allowed.
- No sign shall flash, blink, or fluctuate.
- No sign shall be animated or change physical position by any electrical or mechanical movement.
- Permitted signs not requiring design review include: directional and informational signs; sale, exchange, or lease signs; and other temporary signs as defined in the Zoning Ordinance. Such signs shall only be displayed on the property they serve and shall be limited in size to 15 square feet per sign.
- Color. Trim or other elements of buildings shall maintain or complement the natural color of the material used on the rest of the building, such as natural stone or brick. If painting of the building is required, the colors shall be neutral or earth tones. Building details, such as storefront windows or door trim, shall use colors complementary to the color scheme established by the building.
- Parking Lots.
- Parking lots and signage within parking lots shall be designed to minimize commercial traffic (that is entering or exiting the business) that goes through adjacent neighborhoods.
- Parking lots shall be screened between the public right-of-way and the parking area by providing an area at least four feet wide with evergreens, a stone wall, a berm, or a combination thereof, sufficient to totally block the view of the cars.
- The maximum number of driveways shall be as follows:
1 for up to 150 feet of frontage;
2 for 150 feet to 500 feet of frontage;
3 for 500 feet or greater frontage;
1 additional driveway for each additional 500 feet of frontage.
- If a development is on a corner, the frontage on each street shall be considered separately when determining the maximum number of driveways.
- Standards and regulations – Single Family and Duplex Housing. The following standards and regulations are adopted for properties which consist of single family housing and duplex (two (2) family dwellings) housing:
- Buildings and Structures. Single-family and duplex housing shall be limited to three stories or 45 feet in height; masonry materials are preferred and recommended, but not required for building facades.
- Façade repetition and setback. Single family and duplex housing shall meet the required residential setbacks for the underlying zoning district.
- Signage. No signage shall be allowed on property used for single family and duplex housing.
- Parking. Parking shall be allowed in the side or rear yard only.
- Appeal. Any appeal shall be in accordance with the provisions of Section 80-811, Code of Ordinances of the City of Kansas City, Missouri.Section C. That the Design Review Committee for the Independence Avenue West Special Review District, hereinafter referred to as the Independence Avenue West Design Review Committee, is hereby created as follows:
Administrative and Application Procedures
Independence Avenue West Design Review Committee
- Composition of the Committee:
- Each voting member shall be either an owner or lessee of property within the District or the employee of an owner of lessee of property within the District, except as provided herein, and shall be appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the City Council; provided that the majority of the Committee shall be owners, or their employees, within the District.
- In the event that an owner of property is a partnership, a partner or employee of a partner of same shall be eligible for membership; for a corporation, a member of the board of directors, officer, or employee of same shall be eligible for membership.
- Non-voting members, including representatives of adjacent residential areas, may be appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the City Council, said members being representatives of the City and the community.
- Independent contractors employed by an owner or lessee shall not be voting nor non-voting members.
- Insofar as practicable, members of the Committee shall be familiar with matters of design. At least one person shall have a background in architecture, urban design, or city planning. The Mayor may appoint any such person as a voting member or non-voting member of the Committee, provided that the Mayor shall appoint a maximum of only one such person as a voting member who is not an owner, lessee, or their employee within the District.
- Appointment of Committee Members: The Committee shall have five (5) voting members appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the City Council.
- Selection of Chairman:
- The members of the Design Review Committee shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman of the Committee by a majority of the members of the Committee for a term of one year.
- No Design Review committee member shall succeed himself/herself as chairman and/or vice-chairman for more than three consecutive terms.
- Terms of Service: The term of service on the Design Review Committee shall be for four (4) years, except that one (1) of the first five (5) appointees shall serve for two (2) years, two (2) for three (3) years, and the remaining two (2) for the full four (4) year term.
- Removal: Removal shall be on recommendation of the Mayor, concurred in by a majority vote of the City Council, and only for good cause.
- Rules and Regulations – Adoption: The Design Review Committee shall have the right to develop and shall adopt its own rules and regulations. These rules and regulations shall be based on “Robert’s Rules of Order” and shall be approved by the City Plan Commission. On approval and after having been filed with the City Clerk, the rules and regulations shall become effective. Amendments to the rules and regulations shall be made in the same manner.