Village of Ellenville, NY
Ulster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Ellenville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 70.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 196.
Zoning — See Ch. 227.
[Adopted 5-26-2009 by L.L. No. 4-2009]
A. 
Design guidelines for any urban core area are created to protect and enhance our main streets and historic downtowns. These downtown cores represent the historic past in their architecture, street layout and public spaces. They also represent a major economic investment, and they provide opportunities for introduction of new buildings and the rehabilitation of existing structures. Downtown cores present opportunities for stability, growth and development because they contain within a compact area the services, goods, entertainment, employment, education, personal care, safety, information, and community services necessary for an enhanced quality of life. At a time when most of us have become dependent on the automobile and have turned our communities into pavement grids for our vehicles, these urban centers can renew our pride in our towns, villages and cities by establishing a sense of place. These special areas allow us to park our vehicles and walk the streets, to reconnect with our neighbors and our community.
B. 
These guidelines were prepared to provide a basis for property owners, architects, engineers, landscape architects, developers, Planning Board members, residents and Village officials to address site development issues within the core downtown area of Ellenville. This guidance provides approaches and criteria for design to assist developers and the Village as they design and review the architecture, site development, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian circulation, parking, streetscape improvements, signage and lighting of proposed development. More specifically, these guidelines are intended to:
(1) 
Provide clarification of the Village's objectives in concert with existing zoning laws and to add consistency and predictability to the permit review process.
(2) 
Stimulate improvements to existing structures and encourage new development within the downtown core area of the Village.
(3) 
Improve the visual appearance of downtown to renew interest and viability to the hub of activity for the area.
(4) 
Provide a consistent methodology for review of proposed projects.
(5) 
Inspire creativity and quality in the design of all structures and in site development.
(6) 
Foster an exchange of ideas among developers, Village officials and residents in an effort to improve the quality of design in all projects, both public and private.
C. 
These guidelines are intended to supplement the existing Village of Ellenville Zoning Law[1] and to help clarify the current interpretation of those regulations. These guidelines do not address every aspect of design relative to any project, but they do convey information on major issues to be considered. A review of the guidelines by project owners, developers and review boards should enable all parties to determine when additional, specialized, professional design assistance may be required for appropriate decisionmaking to progress and/or secure the requisite permits and approvals.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 227, Zoning.
A. 
Design district boundary. These design guidelines apply to the actions set forth in Subsection B below within the following zoning districts: B-1, B-2, B-3 and R/O.
B. 
Types of actions. The following actions are governed by these design guidelines:
(1) 
Actions requiring site plan approval by the Village Planning Board.
(2) 
Actions requiring approval of a special use permit by the Village Planning Board.
(3) 
Actions in addition to the above which require a building permit and which will alter the exterior of a building that is visible from a public street, parking lot or other public place.
C. 
Administration.
(1) 
Actions subject to approval by the Planning Board. These guidelines will be applied by the Village Planning Board during its review of the actions set forth in Subsection B(1) and (2) above with the assistance of the Code Enforcement Officer. Scheduling a design review early is important for the process to work efficiently, and appointments should be made by owners or their representatives (architects, engineers, landscape architects, etc.) early in the planning process. These informal review sessions can be used as a sounding board to test ideas and concepts before detailed, time-consuming and expensive architectural and site plan designs are developed. Plan changes can be made before the formal application process is initiated. This procedure should assist in saving time and effort, while preserving the context and character of the Village's business districts and adjacent areas.
(2) 
Other actions.
(a) 
Actions which alter the exterior of a building and require a building permit but do not require approval by the Planning Board shall be subject to review by the Code Enforcement Officer who shall determine compliance with the design standards.
(b) 
An applicant for a building permit who believes that the determination of compliance by the Code Enforcement Officer is incorrect may submit an appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall consider such appeal and issue its findings in a timely manner.
D. 
Submission requirements.
(1) 
In addition to any required application submissions, new site development plans are required to submit the following:
(a) 
Site plan which specifies all proposed demolition and construction work and includes existing structures and pedestrianways on adjacent properties that are within 50 feet of all property lines.
(b) 
Building elevations at a minimum scale of 1/8 inch equals one foot of all facades, which specify all proposed demolition and construction work and include:
[1] 
Exterior materials, changes or transitions in materials, surface lighting, surface signs, street number, awnings and similar facade accessories.
[2] 
Proposed alterations or changes to existing facades, if any.
(c) 
Samples of any new proposed facade, roofing and sign materials.
(d) 
Site plan indicating exterior lighting photometrics, spread and intensity.
(e) 
A perspective color rendering illustrating how the proposal would look if viewed from the street as a pedestrian.
(f) 
Photographs of the site and surrounding area, including all existing elements required to be shown on the site plans and existing buildings within 50 feet of the proposed project site.
(2) 
Facade alteration or renovation proposals are required to submit the following:
(a) 
Building elevations at a minimum of scale of 1/8 inch equals one foot of all facades, which specify all proposed demolition and construction work and include:
[1] 
Exterior materials, changes or transitions in materials, surface lighting, surface signs, street number, awnings and similar facade accessories.
[2] 
Proposed alterations or changes to existing facades, if any.
(b) 
Samples of any new proposed facade, roofing and sign materials.
(c) 
Photographs of the site and existing buildings within 50 feet of the proposed project site.
(3) 
Signage or exterior lighting proposals are required to submit the following:
(a) 
Drawings of the proposed sign or copy change at a minimum scale of one inch equals one foot for all signs or lettering, which include some context of the building facade where it is proposed to be mounted.
(b) 
Other sign information regarding illumination methods, hours of illumination and mounting method.
(c) 
Photographs of the site or building which include the proposed sign or lighting mounting location and any existing signs or lighting.
(d) 
Documentation, such as cut-sheets from the manufacturer, of any proposed lighting or light fixture which includes photos, illustrations and performance data of the lamp.
A. 
General standards.
(1) 
Site design is the physical articulation of all elements within the project boundaries. Elements include the land, water features, open space, buffers, buildings, artworks, recreational areas, streets, sidewalks, trails, parking areas, alleys, views, shading patterns, trees, street furniture, pavement materials, screening and more. These elements fit together to form the fabric of a business area.
(2) 
Site design has an effect on defining spaces, providing or screening views, highlighting architectural features, buffering winds, reducing glare, providing shade, accentuating entrances, preventing erosion, regulating circulation, enhancing property values, beautifying the site and in general influencing man's interaction with the natural and built environment.
(3) 
In Ellenville's downtown core or Central Business District (CBD) some of the early buildings have been in place for over 150 years. Some of the natural features that also contribute to the views and setting of Ellenville, like the mountains, streams, and valleys, that surround the Village have not been greatly changed by human intervention.
(4) 
More recent development on streets leading to the business core, North and South Main Street, Canal Street and Center Street, is of a somewhat different character but also affects site design.
B. 
Specific standards.
(1) 
New construction must align the front facade of the building at, or as close as possible to, the front facade of an existing building on an adjacent property. In the case of a discrepancy of setbacks, the new building should align with at least one of the neighboring buildings.
(2) 
New construction should attempt to work with any preexisting building patterns found in adjacent or nearby buildings with regards to massing, height, scale and form.
(3) 
New construction should place as much of the building width at the front of the lot as possible to maximize front facade exposure and maintain the street wall. The front facade should be kept parallel to the street.
(4) 
The use of landscaping methods, such as low walls, hedges and tree rows, should be used to help maintain and reinforce a consistent street wall in areas where there are no building facades to define it.
(5) 
The primary entry on all new construction should be easily identifiable, scaled appropriately to the size of the building and should always face the street. In cases where the primary building entry should also be visible from an on-site parking area adjacent to the building, the entry may be placed at the corner of the structure so that it is may be visible from both the street and the parking area.
(6) 
New construction located at corner intersections should place a majority of the building mass at the corner and/or wrap the corner by continuing facade elements, such as the cornice, on all street elevations.
(7) 
All required off-street parking areas should be located at the side or rear of the building where practical and in conformity with adjacent parcels.
(8) 
All on-site parking, vehicle loading or service areas located within sight of the street must be screened from view using appropriate architectural or landscaping methods.
(9) 
On-site parking areas, vehicle loading or service areas should connect to any existing service alleys or adjacent parking areas, if available, to allow alternate means of egress.
(10) 
Proposed on-site parking areas should be located next to any adjacent existing parking lots if possible to provide shared parking opportunities which can serve neighboring buildings simultaneously.
A. 
General standards.
(1) 
Orientation. The manner in which a new building relates to the street is an important consideration in terms of compatibility with its surroundings. Traditional siting patterns should be respected. As such, buildings in Ellenville's downtown should be oriented parallel to their lot lines with the primary entrances of the buildings oriented toward the sidewalk or street. Corner lot entrances can sometimes be enhanced or made more functional and dramatic if angled at the corner.
(2) 
Mass and scale. An important component of the Village landscape is the architectural form and character of the buildings, the way they relate to spaces and streetscapes and their visual appearance. The mass and scale of buildings are key considerations that effect compatibility. The height, width and depth of any new buildings or improvements to existing buildings should be compatible with that of the adjacent existing buildings to enhance the Village's downtown character.
(3) 
Building height. Building heights should be in keeping with the existing one-, two- and three-story buildings which form the core of the downtown area. Adjacent buildings should restore or recreate the historic alignment of architectural features, including overall heights and roofs using these lines to unify the street visually. Structures with similar geometry and ratios of width and height when repeated begin to tie individual structures into the whole. This contributes to the character of the area and establishes visual continuity. Building height is defined not only by overall dimension, but also by architectural features that reinforce alignments of the top and bottom of first floor display windows, sign bands, window sills on upper floors, parapet and cornice lines and the roof lines.
B. 
Specific standards.
(1) 
Two-story minimum building height is required on front facades facing Canal Street, Center Street, South Main Street and North Main Street in the B-1 and B-2 Districts unless it is deemed inappropriate or where it may create an undue financial burden on the applicant. In the B-3 and R/O Districts, building height shall conform as much as possible to the height of other nearby buildings.
(2) 
The majority of the building mass should be placed at the front of the site to maximize front facade exposure and maintain the street wall; however, the building height may step down to lower levels in the rear. Corner lots should place a majority of the building mass or height at the corner to visually anchor the block.
(3) 
The height of new buildings should attempt to coordinate common heights and facade lines with immediately adjacent buildings.
(4) 
Structures with sloping roof designs should align the gable end of the facade to face the street to maximize facade exposure.
(5) 
For the purposes of determining effective facade height on buildings with sloping roofs, the height of structures with gable ends facing the street should be measured by the vertical distance from the ground to the midpoint of the roof. Structures which have their roof ridge running parallel to the street should be measured by the vertical distance from the ground to the vertical distance from the ground to the lowest part of the roof.
(6) 
Parapet height should not exceed four feet unless otherwise required by state or federal codes.
(7) 
No portion of the roofline may extend more than 50 feet in length horizontally without a roofline transition. A roofline transition is defined as a change in the height of the roofline where it steps (up or down) at least 24 inches. Such transitions should not occur more than once in a four-foot span along the facade.
(8) 
Facade and roofline transitions should be used to highlight important areas of the facade, such as a building entry, the center of the facade or the symmetrical ends.
(9) 
New facade designs should be in keeping with the scale of adjacent buildings. The use of an overall facade composition which breaks the building down into smaller and regular portions, such as bays defined by groups of windows, helps to achieve this.
(10) 
Small-scale building materials similar to those recommended in Table 1[1] are required as the primary building material along the front facade of all new construction.
[1]
Editor's Note: Table 1 is included in § 228-7, Materials and colors.
(11) 
Areas of blank wall larger than an eight-foot diameter circle are not permitted on the front facades of new or renovated construction. Such "blank wall" is defined as an area of facade which does not contain any decorative articulation of materials which measure at least two inches in depth, or openings such as windows and doors.
A. 
General standards. Flat roofs with parapets and gable roofs are historically the most common roof forms found within the core business district, and new construction should be compatible with that framework. Mansard roofs, shed roofs, fake roof fronts, built-out roof frames which are hung from the facade and similar applied designs are unacceptable as primary roof types.
B. 
Specific standards.
(1) 
New construction with a flat roof is required to be capped by an architectural cornice design that is a sculptural expression of the primary facade material, wood or simulated wood design, at the top of the front facade(s). The articulated parapet or cornice design must be at least 12 inches tall on one-story facades and at least 24 inches tall on facades of two or more stories. The size, depth and relief of any proposed cornice should be compatible with those found on nearby buildings of the same height and include suitable depth to create noticeable shadows. Parapet height shall not exceed four feet unless otherwise required by state or federal codes.
(2) 
New construction with a sloped roof must have a minimum roof pitch of no less that 5:12 on primary roof areas (not including dormers, entry canopies or similar secondary roof elements) or a maximum pitch of 12:12. The tallest portion of the roof must be orientated to place at least one gable-end facing the street.
(3) 
New roof construction must be designed so as to divert the fall of rain and snow away from pedestrian areas such as walkways and doors.
(4) 
Air handling units, condensers, satellite dishes and other equipment placed on the roof must be located and screened from view so as not to be readily visible from the street or waterway. Roof-mounted equipment shall be visually minimized with painted colors and finish complementary to the overall building design.
(5) 
See materials list in Table 1[1] for approved roof materials.
[1]
Editor's Note: Table 1 is included in § 228-7, Materials and colors.
A. 
General standards.
(1) 
The facade facing the street is normally the most architecturally detailed side of a building and contains a pattern of windows, bays, columns, cornices and architectural detail. Preservation of storefronts will help maintain a unique historic character for the downtown. Side or rear facades which are visible from the street or public parking lots also contribute to the visual character of the streetscape. Facade elements should be preserved to create patterns along the business blocks which help retain the overall design integrity. Elements to be saved, rehabilitated, or recreated include:
(a) 
Kick plates as a base to building fronts.
(b) 
Recessed entrances or angled entrances on corners.
(c) 
First floor display windows.
(d) 
Transoms over entrance doors.
(e) 
Clerestory windows above display windows.
(f) 
Sign bands.
(g) 
Parapet walls with caps or cornices.
(h) 
Vertical window patterns on upper floors with window sills.
(i) 
Pilasters and decorative brick or stone.
(2) 
Buildings outside the Central Business District are of more varied age and architecture and it is recognized that a more flexible approach to design is appropriate.
(3) 
"Building fenestration" is an architectural term that refers to the design, frequency and depth of openings, recessed areas or projecting elements that form the overall architectural composition of a building. The fenestration of a building may reflect the architectural rhythm of the facade. When approaching the rehabilitation of a facade or the design of a new building, the facade should be in keeping with the rhythm and proportions of adjacent buildings. The overall pattern should be simple, but can be broken down into smaller elements for added interest and architectural detail.
(4) 
Upper-story windows of existing buildings should be uncovered and reopened where possible to maintain historic character. Maintaining the original spacing, pattern, size, materials, and operating system of the originals is important. Altered dimensions and the use of unfinished or shiny metals is inappropriate.
B. 
Specific standards.
(1) 
The front facades of new flat roof construction should be organized in a general base — middle — top configuration.
(a) 
The "base" level consists of the most open and sculptural facade expression at the first floor. The amount of door and window openings should be the greatest here, typically between 75% and 90% of the facade, in this ground floor area.
[1] 
Individual window openings in the base level should not exceed 12 feet in width, and must be separated from each other by at least 18 inches of facade. Window glass area cannot exceed five feet in width without being separated by at least six inches of mullion.
[2] 
Window frames must be recessed. Flush or curtain wall window designs are not permitted.
[3] 
The primary entry doorway to the street must be recessed between 12 to 48 inches back from the plane of the facade to express the greatest amount of facade depth.
[4] 
The base level should be crowned by an entablature element or other transition having a change in depth, materials and color which differentiates it from the upper levels. The entablature element should be designed to accommodate facade lettering or signs for the property.
(b) 
The "middle" level consists of the upper floors, and has a lower fenestration level than the first floor. The amount of facade articulation and openings should be less here that that found at the ground floor, typically between 25% and 50% of the facade in this area.
[1] 
Individual window openings in the facade at this level should not exceed six feet in width, and must be separated from each other by at least 24 inches of facade. Window glass area at this level cannot exceed three feet in width without being separated by at least four inches of mullion.
[2] 
Window frames must be recessed from the plane of the facade.
(c) 
The "top" level consists of an articulated cornice of design and materials that complement other elements of the facade.
(2) 
The front facades of new or renovated construction with masonry exteriors must visually express the structural lintels over windows, doors, archways and similar openings.
(3) 
The rhythm of facade elements across the front facade must be arranged in an easily recognizable pattern, such as a repeating or symmetrical layout. Breaks or fluctuations to the facade pattern should be reserved to highlight areas of special interest, such as entry points to the building. New construction directly adjacent to or added to existing structures should be compatible with the rhythm of facade elements of the existing building.
(4) 
The proportions of facade elements, such as windows, window divisions and bays, must have a vertical orientation (taller than they are wide) of a least x wide to 1.5x tall. The proportions of individual elements should be used consistently throughout the design, such that all windows and their divisions are generally of the same proportion. New construction directly adjacent to or added to existing structures should be compatible with the proportion of facade elements of the existing building.
A. 
General standards.
(1) 
Work on existing structures must preserve, protect and maintain the use of original exterior materials of historic structures whenever possible. If replacement is necessary, replace with like materials which have the same basic forms and proportions.
(2) 
Any renovations or alterations to an existing facade should include reasonable attempts to remove any modern day cladding, panels, signboards or similar additions which are concealing the original building design underneath.
(3) 
Original facade materials and designs should be repaired and preserved whenever possible in lieu of replacement or covering with new materials. The removal or covering of original exterior materials with new materials is prohibited unless it can be demonstrated that repairing the original construction would be creating undue financial hardship.
(4) 
New construction should utilize materials and colors that are compatible with those in existing buildings and avoid garish colors and highly reflective materials.
B. 
Specific standards. (See Table 1.)
(1) 
When using more than one material on the exterior facade, one material must be used as the primary theme with others used only sparingly to complement or accent the design. The use of a variety of design styles or materials across the facades of the same building is prohibited.
(2) 
When making a transition from one material to the next. the change must occur at hard-edge or depth transition in the facade which creates a surface for one material to terminate into before the next one begins.
(3) 
Special designs or decorative patterns created in the exterior materials are encouraged.
(4) 
All exterior colors must be of natural, earth tone or muted shades. Brighter, more vibrant colors, if used, must be reserved for minor accents and highlights only.
(5) 
When using more than one color on the exterior facade, one color must be used as the primary theme with others used only sparingly to complement or accent the design.
(6) 
When making a transition from one color to the next, the change must occur at hard-edge or change in depth in the facade which creates a surface for one color to terminate into before the next one begins.
Table 1
Materials List
Recommended Materials
Prohibited Materials
Common red brick
Multi-colored/multi-toned brick
Bare, multi-colored/multi-tone (approved color)
Imitation brick siding, asphalt siding
Painted (approved color)
Special masonry units (CMU)
Plain CMU (bare or painted)
Textured CMU
Unfinished, lumber grade wood
Colored (dyed) CMU
Metal, aluminum or vinyl siding
Split-faced CMU
Mirrored or highly reflective siding or panels
Natural stone
Imitation stone (except approved cultured stone)
Wood clapboard or shingle
Wood paneling
Finished grade (painted or stained approved color)
Plywood T-111
Composite, MDO/MDF board, synthetic wood
Composite, MDO/MDF board
PVC (approved color)
Fibre reinforced cement siding/hardi-plank
EIFS/stucco (except approved)
Anodized aluminum frame/storefront
Bare aluminum
Approved color
Reflective flashing
Wood, vinyl clad, PVC frame
Approved color
Clear, etched, tinted, frosted or stained glass
Mirrored, colored or dark tinted glass below 70% VLT*
Expressed intels over openings
Brick, limestone, colored or bare concrete
Asphalt shingle (approved color)
Light or reflective materials
Imitation slate
Natural slate
Standing seam metal
Small seam width, approved color
Dark, non-reflective PVC, modified bitumen
Aluminum eave guard
Parapet and chimney caps
Stone, limestone or precast concrete
Metal flashing (approved color)
Canvas awning
Plastic, vinyl or other synthetic awnings
3-color maximum; approved colors
Reflective flashing
Concrete, brick, paver or stone sidewalks
Asphalt sidewalks/walkways
Stamped concrete
Wood/synthetic wood porches, boardwalks, ramps
A. 
General standards.
(1) 
Signs should be an integral part of a building's facade. Where possible, business signage should be placed within the traditional sign band area just above the storefront windows and clerestory. Usage of the sign band area provides a unified visual appearance for the urban core area while allowing diversity in individual signs. The size, shape, style, colors and materials of each sign should conform to the building's architecture and should not cover or conflict with any prominent architectural features.
(2) 
Sign mounting and orientation should be appropriate for the particular building for which it is intended and for its setting in the business district. The color and type (font) of lettering are more important to comprehension than size. Shingle signs or those that use familiar icons like a barberpole or a pair of eyeglasses can be particularly effective without having to be large. Signs applied to or incorporated on awnings or canopies or hung independently from them can work effectively.
(3) 
Lighting for signs should be from above, below or from the sides but not from within. Lighting should not distract or disturb passing vehicles or neighboring uses. Indirect lighting can provide supplemental light to the pedestrian walkway area. Neon lighting may be appropriate if it meets other sign requirements and also fits the visual setting of its surroundings.
(4) 
The use of color for signage should be in keeping with the natural tones of brick, tile, stone, and stained or painted woods within the adjacent streetscape. Bright, bold, primary or metallic reflective colors should be used sparingly as trim or accents to the main body of the sign. Color use should be complementary to the building and fit with its color scheme and be in balance with the natural earthen tones within the Village. Most signs are very effective using a three-color format. One dark color should be used for a background color, a contrasting color for lettering, and the third color for borders, shading or trim.
B. 
Specific standards.
(1) 
Design and mounting.
(a) 
Commercial properties with multiple tenants must coordinate the size, placement and design of signs and street numbers so as to present a consistent appearance.
(b) 
Surface applied facade lettering which is framed by the architectural features of the facade is preferred to signboards and should be utilized whenever appropriate.
(c) 
Installing new signs which cover or obscure architectural features of existing structures is prohibited. Installing new signs which are incompatible with the architectural style, scale, location, materials or color of an existing facade is prohibited.
(d) 
New commercial construction must design the front facade specifically to accommodate an area or areas for applied facade lettering or surface-mounted signs. The applied facade lettering or signboard should be framed by the architecture of the facade itself whenever possible.
(e) 
Signs or lettering which are mounted on the vertical, horizontal or sloped surfaces of a building roof or on roof fascias are not permitted.
(f) 
All signs should be clear and legible. The lettering used should contrast well with the background color and have a width-to-height ratio which is roughly square. Stretched fonts and multicolored text are prohibited unless expressly part of the business logo design.
(2) 
Sign lighting.
(a) 
External sign lighting must be provided only from shielded lamps which direct light only around the immediate sign surface. Bare bulbs must not be readily visible from the public way. Illumination levels on the surface of the sign face should generally not be overly bright or distracting.
(b) 
Illuminated neon signs may be permitted, provided that the neon tubes comprise the sign lettering only.
(c) 
Illuminated signs are encouraged to utilize light-colored lettering on a dark background to reduce glare.
(d) 
All lighting must be generally white or of a muted color with a diffused, nonintermittent light source. All lighting shall not interfere with the comfort and safety of the general and nearby residences.
A. 
General standards. Handicapped ramps are necessary to provide equal access to commercial buildings for all persons. They should be designed and located so as to be compatible with building design to the maximum extent practical.
B. 
Specific standards.
(1) 
Where feasible, handicapped ramps should be integrated into the design of facades or entranceways and not appear as appendages or add-ons.
(2) 
The materials, design elements and colors of handicapped ramps should be the same as those of the building facade.
(3) 
Where feasible, the angle of the handicapped ramp should be shielded so as not to disrupt the basic horizontal and vertical elements of the facade.