[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Central Square 9-12-2016 by L.L. No. 2-2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Zoning — See Ch. 250.
The Village of Central Square recognizes the aesthetic value of murals in the community. Artists, property owners and community residents are encouraged to work together in the creation of public art murals to beautify the environment and promote community pride. Any group or individual that wishes to paint or create a mural must obtain permission from the property owner, whether it is a private individual or public agency. Painting murals on public or private property without permission of the property owner is illegal and punishable by law. The Village does not condone any type of illegal graffiti or art, irrespective of artistic content.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A painting, mosaic, fresco, or other permanent artwork attached or applied directly to the outside of a structure. It is usually a graphic display that covers all or a portion of a wall and depicts a scene or event of natural, social, cultural or historic significance. A mural shall not include any on- or off-premises advertising.
These guidelines provide anyone who wants to install a mural with a reasonable process that safeguards both the interests of the community and those of the individual building/property owner. The guidelines are designed to assure that murals within the Village of Central Square enhance the community's appearance without confusing drivers and/or pedestrians or causing any other negative impact on public safety or welfare.
In reviewing proposals for public (outdoor) murals, all of the following criteria will be considered:
Is the location appropriate?
Some locations may simply be inappropriate for murals due to safety issues, potential maintenance problems, or complicated building geometry.
Too many murals?
To avoid the appearance of blight, the number of murals may have to be limited. If your neighborhood already has several murals, chances are your mural proposal will not be approved.
How big is too big?
By their very nature, murals are large artworks. But, when murals become so large as to overwhelm the local streetscape and/or become a visual distraction, they are not likely to gain approval.
Can a mural be used for advertising?
Murals are considered public art, not billboards or signs.
A mural that includes any picture, symbol (logo), slogan, advertising message or device of any kind that relates to a commercial business, product or service offered on the premises where the mural exists classifies the mural as signage and must comply with § 250-18, Signs, of the Village of Central Square, New York Code.
In addition to the general guidelines above, the Planning Board will evaluate mural proposals based on the following:
Design and content.
Relevance of the piece to the building or Village, its values, culture, and people. Murals within the Village of Central Square should be based on one or more of the following themes: natural beauty; history of the Village; school pride; or other relevant themes.
Prohibited mural types.
Murals will not be allowed in any R or RM Zone.
Murals with moving parts.
Murals affixed, applied, or mounted above, upon or suspended from any part of the roof of a structure.
Murals that project away from a wall surface.
Murals containing any obscene content. For purposes of this section, any material is obscene if applying contemporary community standards:
Murals containing any gang affiliation symbols.
Murals containing any commercial messages or advertising.
Suitability of the work for outdoor display, including its maintenance and conservation requirements.
Relationship of the work to the site and the community, especially how it serves to activate or enhance public space.
Appropriateness of the scale of the artwork.
Is the site easily visible and accessible to the public?
Does the mural enhance the site where it is located?
Does the mural enhance the overall public environment?
The mural should not obscure windows or entranceways nor disrupt normal pedestrian circulation.
The mural should not be placed in a given site if it disrupts the site's landscaping and maintenance requirements.
The mural should not be so large as to overwhelm adjacent architecture or become a visual distraction.
The mural should not detract from its surroundings nor create blind spots where illegal activity can take place.
Construction and maintenance.
Murals shall be well designed and incorporate high-quality materials that enhance the overall appearance of the site and do not adversely affect the safe and efficient movement of vehicles and pedestrians. Materials may include paint or other media appropriate for exterior use, such as tile or mosaic. Materials shall be long-lasting and graffiti-resistant to the greatest extent possible.
Colors, though vibrant, should be complementary and harmonious with the exterior colors of the building structure, as well as consistent with the chosen theme. Neon, fluorescent, or reflective-type colors or materials are discouraged.
The mural shall be designed and supervised by a qualified artist/muralist, one with sufficient knowledge and experience with the application of mural materials.
Mural size shall be determined by the wall surface to be covered. Smaller walls may be completely covered. On large walls, murals should be large enough to dominate the wall surface but not so large as to overwhelm the local streetscape. Generally, one mural will be permitted per structure.
As indicated above, no advertising, logos, or political messages will be allowed. The mural artist's signature may appear, provided that it is not so prominent as to detract from the mural display.
The proposed mural, by its design, construction, and location, shall not obscure or detract from the significant architectural features of the building structure, nor should the building's architecture be altered to accommodate the mural.
The proposed mural, by its design, construction, and location, shall not have an adverse impact on adjacent properties or permitted uses. If the mural requires special lighting or other related construction, all applicable permits will be required as part of installation. No flashing or moving lighting is permitted. No internal illumination is allowed.
Routine maintenance of an artwork becomes the responsibility of the building owner and/or sponsoring group where the artwork is located. As part of the contractual requirements, the artist should develop a maintenance program in cooperation with the building owner or manager for the proper long-term care of the artwork.
If, for whatever reason, the mural falls into disrepair, the building owner will be notified, in writing, and required to make necessary repairs within 120 days. If the repairs are not made within the specified time, the Village reserves the right to repair the mural at the owner's expense, remove the mural at the owner's expense, or cover the mural with opaque paint at the owner's expense.
If property ownership is transferred, all obligations for mural construction, maintenance and repair are assumed by the property owner.
Application review and approval process.
An applicant desiring to install a mural on a building in Central Square is required to submit a formal application, a scaled color rendering of the proposed project, and a photograph showing the building location of the proposed mural to the Village offices for review by the Code Enforcement Officer and the Planning Board.
Mural proposals that do not meet all of the design criteria/guidelines may be denied by the Planning Board or accepted with required modifications.
Mural proposals must comply with any applicable NYSDOT laws regarding visual appearance and possible effect on traffic in the area of the mural. Written approval from NYSDOT is required.
Mural installation must begin within 60 days of approval and must be completed within six months of the start date. If these dates are not met, the Planning Board may, at its discretion, cancel the mural permit. A one-time extension for an additional 60 days may be granted if the request is submitted in writing prior to the end of the initial sixty-day period.
If any part or provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the part or provision or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this chapter or the application thereof to other persons or circumstances, and the Board of Trustees of the Village of Central Square hereby declares that it would have passed this chapter or the remainder thereof had such invalid application or invalid provision been apparent.
This chapter shall take effect immediately upon filing in the office of the New York State Secretary of State in accordance with § 27 of the Municipal Home Rule Law.