City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 595-208 Intent.

The purpose of this article is to provide regulations and written and graphic design standards to:
A. 
Implement the City of Easton Comprehensive Plan.
B. 
To create design standards that are sensitive to the context of the City of Easton as a composite of traditional neighborhoods and downtown.
C. 
To address the legislative intent of each design standard in § 595-209.

§ 595-209 Applicability.

A. 
Unless specified differently in any other part of this chapter, the specific requirements that follow shall apply throughout the City:
(1) 
Streets and alleys.
(2) 
Blocks.
(3) 
Building location (build-to lines/front yard setbacks).
(4) 
Building sizes and types.
(5) 
Building height.
(6) 
Parking location (on-street and off-street parking).
(7) 
Lot width and side yard setbacks.
(8) 
Sidewalks.
(9) 
Street trees and landscaping.
(10) 
Building "permeability" (window surface area).
(11) 
Uses.
(12) 
Lot size.
(13) 
Lot and building coverage.
(14) 
Historic District Overlay.
(15) 
Natural resources protection.
(16) 
Parking ratios and shared parking.
(17) 
Building ornamentation.
(18) 
Signage.
(19) 
Fences, walls and hedges.
(20) 
Accessory structures.
(21) 
Buffers and buffer areas.
B. 
All new development and redevelopment shall be consistent with the design standards.
C. 
The written and graphic design standards that follow are hereby incorporated into this article.

§ 595-210 Overall intent for general consistency.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
This Manual[1] is enabled by Section 708-A of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, titled "Manual of Written and Graphic Design Guidelines."
[1]
Editor's Note: References to "this Manual" refer to Art. XXXV, Context Sensitive Design Standards, of this chapter.
(2) 
Placemaking, as described and shown in this Manual, is intended to create a more functional and attractive outcome for the quality of life in the City of Easton.
(3) 
The images in this Manual are intended to provide guidance and inspiration. They represent desired design concepts, generally applied, not specific details of individual sites.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The complete Manual with images is on file in the City's office. Photographs included in the Manual are for illustration purposes and are not to be construed as the operative language of the Zoning Ordinance. Design criteria obligations are governed only by the written standards set forth in this chapter.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Plan, design, construct and maintain buildings, structures, streetscapes, landscapes and hardscapes to be generally consistent with this Manual.
(2) 
Emulate the places, spaces, buildings, streetscapes, etc. as shown in this Manual.
(3) 
New development and redevelopment shall be generally consistent with these images and the design standards.

§ 595-211 Street and alley network.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
The street and alley network is intended to be maintained, enhanced and extended in order to promote a consistent neighborhood and block structure in the City.
(2) 
The grid network is intended to be maintained and extended in order to promote walkability, connectivity and maintain the traditional character of the City.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Existing streets and alleys shall be maintained.
(2) 
A new street and alley network shall be created to tie into the existing network, whenever properties are developed or redeveloped.
(3) 
New street widths shall be consistent with existing street widths.
(4) 
New alleys shall be at least 14 feet in roadway width.

§ 595-212 Blocks.

A. 
Legislative intent. Blocks provide the hallmark character of the City of Easton and establish the network for streets, alleys, sidewalks and neighborhoods. The block structure of the City is intended to be maintained and extended onto properties that lack a block structure.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Existing normative blocks shall be maintained.
(2) 
New blocks shall be created to tie in to the existing block grid and the existing street and alley network.

§ 595-213 Building location (build-to line).

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Buildings are intended to be located close to sidewalks, with parking located in the rear.
(2) 
Traditional development in downtown Easton is intended to form a continuous street wall along all streets.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Buildings shall be located on a build-to line adjoining the sidewalk.
(2) 
New buildings on a block shall be located in alignment with existing buildings with a possible four-foot offset.
(3) 
Buildings shall be located to anchor street corners, except where a City park or plaza may be located.

§ 595-214 Building size and types.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Smaller footprint mixed-use buildings are intended to continue in the Downtown.
(2) 
Smaller footprint, two-story to three-story buildings are intended to continue in the adjoining neighborhoods.
(3) 
A diversity of building types characterizes the Downtown and adjoining neighborhoods.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Buildings shall be sized to allow for reuse and adaptive reuse.
(2) 
Smaller footprint buildings featuring first floor retail use shall be built and maintained in the Downtown.
(3) 
New buildings shall be designed to be compatible in size and type with normative buildings on the same block.
(4) 
Vertical mixed-use buildings shall be maintained and created in the Downtown.

§ 595-215 Building height.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
New buildings are intended to be at least three to five stories in the Downtown.
(2) 
New buildings are intended to be at least two stories in the surrounding neighborhoods.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
The minimum height of new principal buildings in the Downtown shall be 40 feet.
(2) 
The maximum height of buildings shall be 90 feet to 110 feet in the Downtown and 40 feet in areas outside the Downtown.
(3) 
Additional height is permitted at gateway and corner locations for architectural features, such as clock towers.

§ 595-216 Parking location.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
On-street parking is intended to provide vital spaces and to buffer pedestrians from vehicular traffic.
(2) 
Off-street parking is intended to be located to the rear and side of buildings.
(3) 
Off-street parking is intended to be screened by low walls or hedges.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
On-street parking shall be provided to the maximum extent possible.
(2) 
Off-street parking shall be located to the rear, not in the front of buildings.
(3) 
Deck parking shall be designed to continue the street wall and provide ground floor retail.
(4) 
Off-street parking lots shall be screened through the use of a thirty-inch-high masonry wall or hedge.
(5) 
If off-street parking cannot be located to the rear of a lot, the parking shall be located to the side of the building.

§ 595-217 Lot width and side yard setbacks.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Lot widths are intended to be varied to continue the diverse character of the City.
(2) 
Lot widths in each character zone are intended to emulate the existing normative lot widths of a block.
(3) 
Side yard setbacks are intended to vary in sync with variable lot widths.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Lot widths shall emulate existing normative lot widths on a block.
(2) 
Lot widths for new and infill development shall be varied to create diversity.
(3) 
Side yard setbacks shall be a minimum of five feet outside of the Downtown.
(4) 
Side yard setbacks shall vary in each character zone.

§ 595-218 Sidewalks and crosswalks.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
The City intends to maintain sidewalks and crosswalks throughout the City to connect the neighborhoods together and to the Downtown.
(2) 
New sidewalks and crosswalks are intended to extend from and into existing sidewalks and crosswalks.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Sidewalks and crosswalks shall be continuous and form an integrated network.
(2) 
Sidewalks shall be at least four feet six inches in width on both sides of the street (preferably five feet zero inch in width).
(3) 
Crosswalks shall be at least six feet zero inch in width.
(4) 
Sidewalk material shall continue across curb cuts to emphasize pedestrian continuity.

§ 595-219 Street trees and landscaping.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Landscape features and enhancements are intended to enrich the quality of life in the City.
(2) 
Street trees are intended to provide shade and add a vertical element to the streetscape.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
Street trees shall be planted along both sides of all streets.
(2) 
Planting buffers shall be installed to screen off-street parking lots.
(3) 
Other landscape enhancements should consist of fencing, sitting walls, brick pavers, and other attractive hardscape elements.

§ 595-220 Building permeability.

A. 
Legislative intent. Commercial buildings in the Downtown and along the street corridors are intended to be permeable to allow for window shopping and visibility of retail goods and services.
B. 
Design standards.
(1) 
A minimum of 60% of the primary facade shall be window surface area.
(2) 
No more than 20% of the window surface area for the primary facade shall be blocked by interior fixtures and/or signs.

§ 595-221 Uses.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
The City intends to encourage a strong central business district with mixed-use development.
(2) 
The City intends to encourage vibrant neighborhood shopping districts and mixed uses along primary vehicular and pedestrian access corridors, while preserving neighborhood character.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Commercial, office, residential, civic and appropriate light industrial uses are intended to intermingle within the Downtown and Street Corridor Districts.
(2) 
Existing vacant buildings shall be adaptively reused for a variety of uses.
(3) 
Retail, office and residential uses shall be permitted within the same mixed-use building.
(4) 
Open space and recreational uses shall be distributed throughout the City.

§ 595-222 Lot size.

A. 
Legislative intent. Lot size is intended to vary throughout the City to reflect historic development patterns.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
New lot sizes shall generally emulate existing lot sizes in each character zone and zoning district to maintain consistency of neighborhood structure.
(2) 
Lot size shall vary depending on the block class of each block.

§ 595-223 Lot and building coverage.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Lot and building coverage is intended to be balanced from district to district in order to maintain consistency with existing neighborhood structure.
(2) 
Lot and building coverage are intended to be established in the context of desired intensity of development and planned or existing stormwater infrastructure.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
The maximum lot and building coverage in the Downtown and Street Corridor Districts shall be 100%.
(2) 
The maximum lot and building coverage for residential uses in the West Ward, South Side and College Hill shall be 40%.
(3) 
The maximum lot and building coverage for Adaptive Reuse Districts shall be 75%.
(4) 
The maximum lot and building coverage for the River Corridor Districts shall be 40%.

§ 595-224 Historic District Overlay. [1]

A. 
Legislative intent. The Local Historic District of Easton is intended to preserve significant buildings and structures reflective of the City's historic development and architectural styles.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Properties located within the Local Historic District shall have any exterior work reviewed by the Historic District Commission.
(2) 
Buildings within the Historic District shall be adaptively reused.
(3) 
Infill construction shall be designed to be in character with the setbacks, bulk, massing, materials and fenestration of surrounding buildings.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 318, Historic Preservation, for additional regulations applicable to the Historic District Overlay.

§ 595-225 Natural resources protection.

A. 
Legislative intent. Development on environmentally sensitive areas such as steep slopes, floodplains, and carbonate geologic areas prone to sinkholes is intended to be limited.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Prohibit development on steep slopes of greater than 35%.
(2) 
Minimize cut and fill on slopes of greater than 15%.
(3) 
Require sediment and erosion controls for development on steep slopes.

§ 595-226 Parking ratios and shared parking.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Parking is intended to be calculated based on demands, tempered through a sharing of mixed uses.
(2) 
Parking requirements are intended to be met, in part, by on-street and deck parking.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Deck parking and on-street parking shall be provided to the maximum extent possible in the Downtown.
(2) 
Parking requirements shall be calculated using accepted shared parking standards, such as those of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

§ 595-227 Building ornamentation.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
New buildings are intended to be positioned in context with existing traditional buildings in the City.
(2) 
New buildings are intended to be designed to be vertically oriented.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
A vertical bay structure shall be utilized for new and redeveloped buildings.
(2) 
Fenestration shall be vertical in orientation.
(3) 
Any new building that exceeds 40 feet in width shall be designed with vertical bays formed by pilasters, windows, panels and other projections or recesses.

§ 595-228 Signage.

A. 
Legislative intent. The City intends to promote small signs in scale with pedestrian activity and for wayfinding, and to limit the potential negative impacts of off-premises signage.
[Amended 4-11-2012 by Ord. No. 5352]
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Small, projecting or blade signs should be utilized to promote the specialty shops along pedestrian corridors.
(2) 
Simple, colorful signs should reflect the nature of the goods and services provided by the business.
(3) 
Freestanding signs should be minimized to reduce visual clutter.
(4) 
Where freestanding signs are desired, monument signs should be used.
(5) 
The use of off-premises signs shall be limited to the Expressway Transitional (ET) Zone.
[Added 4-11-2012 by Ord. No. 5352]

§ 595-229 Fences, walls and hedges.

A. 
Legislative intent. The City intends to promote architectural features in the public realm, such as walls and fences that maintain a traditional street wall.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Low walls, fences and hedges shall be placed to form a street wall wherever buildings do not adjoin the sidewalk.
(2) 
Fences, walls and hedges shall be used to screen off-street parking areas and utilities.
(3) 
Chain link fences shall not be used in front of the principal structure or along a street wall.
(4) 
Walls shall be appropriate to the architectural style of the building on the property.

§ 595-230 Accessory structures.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Accessory structures are intended to be limited in size.
(2) 
Accessory structures are intended to be utilized for new opportunities.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Accessory structures shall be located behind the principal structure.
(2) 
Accessory structures shall have a minimum rear and side yard setback of three feet.
(3) 
Accessory structures shall not exceed 20 feet in height.

§ 595-231 Buffers and buffer areas.

A. 
Legislative intent.
(1) 
Landscape buffers provide relief between differing uses in close proximity.
(2) 
Natural resource buffers are intended to provide protection for water quality, floodplains and steep slopes.
B. 
Requirements.
(1) 
Landscaped buffers shall be installed and maintained to separate incongruous uses.
(2) 
Buffers shall be provided between development and surface water and floodplain areas.