'Entire downtown landscape could change': After JoJo's, city panel seeks more design oversight
In reaction to recent unusual paint schemes on Naperville buildings, the city's planning and zoning commission is seeking additional oversight of downtown design standards.
The commissioners Wednesday asked the city's staff to develop a new guideline -- while vague in the request -- that would allow them to review exterior paint schemes that might be within the established code but veer from the norm in artistry.
The request came in the wake of the board's November meeting when commissioners expressed disappointment over the paint scheme at soon-to-be-opened JoJo's Shake Bar at 5 Jackson Ave. While the turquoise accent color adheres to code by covering less than 25% of the building's facade, board members disapproved of the dripping effect that looks like melting ice cream.
Allison Laff, the deputy director of the city's transportation, engineering and development department, said the staff would return to the commission with a new guideline suggestion where a downtown building owner would need to go through the board if "the accent color becomes more decorative or artistic -- something beyond the standard square, rectangle."
Commission Chairman Bruce Hanson said he likes the paint scheme at JoJo's and probably wouldn't have an issue if it were elsewhere in the city. But he said he feels it's out of place downtown.
The concern of Hanson and other commissioners is that unusual exteriors will begin popping up downtown and create a hodgepodge of looks in the heart of the city.
"The entire downtown landscape could change," Hanson said.
The city requested input from the Naperville Downtown Advisory Committee, which believes the current set of downtown design standards for exterior paint is sufficient.
Staining brick surfaces currently is allowed, but painting isn't if the bricks have not been painted before. Primary exterior colors must complement nearby buildings. And accent colors can be different hues as long as they don't exceed the coverage allowance.
"If we accentuate architectural features, that should not need to come back here," Hanson said. "I think if it starts to move into a design or feel like branding, maybe it should."