The city of Naperville is looking to keep its downtown design standards in place. At Tuesday’s council meeting, officials weighed in on the recommendation set by the Planning and Zoning Commission in which commissioners said there should be room to help guide property owners and design professionals about artistic choices in downtown design, but also barriers in place to stop what they called a slippery slope.
The recommendation to the City Council came in part after the Naperville Downtown Advisory Committee said the façade of JoJo’s Shake Bar – which includes dripping blue accents – doesn’t violate any current design standards.
The city has traditionally kept tabs on the use of neutral colors and designs on downtown businesses but accents are becoming requested more and more, said Allison Laff, deputy director of the city’s Transportation, Engineering and Development department.
“I think that’s just sort of the way that current branding is going where people are looking to make more of a statement with their building versus before things were more neutral and just adding the signage itself,” Laff said.
Mayor Steve Chirico said he supports the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation.
“I think what’s being proposed is an improvement without being too restrictive,” Chirico said.
But some councilmembers wanted to direct city staff to look into crafting a new rule that would equate stain and paint as the same thing, so they are both subject to the same level of city oversight, but it failed to generate a majority of the council’s support. The city currently gives some leeway to designs that include stain whereas the use of paint does not.
Councilwoman Patty Gustin acknowledged that it’s become a challenge at times to distinguish aesthetically between paint and stain on downtown buildings.
“I think having PZC take a look at those things paint and stain is really the right way to go, particularly with the new products that are out there and what their application is,” Gustin said.
Ultimately, councilmembers decided to keep the downtown design standards in place.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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