The designation "Downtown District" shall apply to an area which has been designated on the City's Zoning Map as a Downtown District. Except as provided hereinbelow, the permitted uses, yard and height requirements, and bulk standards within the Downtown District (DD) are all of those permitted within Business A Districts. In addition to design standards which apply to this district, street-level use in the Downtown District is restricted to retail sales, restaurants and personal customer services. Residential uses may be located above such street-level uses in the Downtown District.
Editor's Note: The Zoning Map is on file in the City Clerk's office.
Accessory uses customarily incidental to permitted principal uses.
[The lot size, area, yard and building requirements for the Downtown District are included at the end of this chapter.]
Purpose. It is the intention of this section to encourage property owners to maintain their properties in such a manner as to create within the Downtown District a coordinated and aesthetically attractive composition of building facades.
Building line. The existing building line, at the street line, should be maintained, unless a proposed setback is part of a larger development plan or is part of a functional open space plan acceptable to the Planning Board at site plan review.
Storefront treatment. If several storefronts are located in one building, they should be unified in design treatment; i.e., design of windows and door openings, signage, use of materials and color. All storefronts shall include display windows with a sill height not more than two feet from grade.
Facade renovations should not destroy or cover original details on a building. Brick and stone facades should not be covered in artificial siding or panels.
Natural, unpainted brick should be retained. Already painted brick, if weathered and losing its paint finish, can be stripped using chemical solutions.
Roof cornices should be retained, repaired or replaced. When replacing windows on a facade, windows and window trim of the same size and character as the original should be used.
Building materials should be compatible with the predominant materials of adjacent buildings. Facade renovations should include as few new or different materials as possible.
Roof shape should remain original, and construction materials should be architecturally compatible with the rest of the building and should reflect the area pattern.
Paint and metal finish.
No bare metal is permitted. Metal may be bronzed, iodized or painted with the recommended color to be approved by the Trenton Downtown Association (TDA), the downtown district management corporation of the City.
Only approved colors for exterior paints may be used. Accent or complementary colors harmonizing with the main color may be used for trim or awnings.
Awnings and canopies.
Awnings and canopies should be solid or striped canvas in colors recommended for exterior paints. Solid colored awnings and canopies may include lettering on the portion parallel to the street.
No awning or canopy shall extend more than five feet over the building line.
No awning or canopy shall be less than eight feet above the sidewalk.
No awning or canopy shall be closer than one foot to the bottom sill of windows above the first floor, nor higher than the bottom of the cornice trim at the first-floor level.
All awnings and canopies shall be constructed and installed so that the frame and fabric are of integral design. No supports shall extend to the ground in the public right-of-way.
All marquees shall be installed so that the method of installation is concealed or made an integral part of the design of the canopy. No supports for the marquee shall extend to the ground in the public right-of-way.
No marquee shall extend more than five feet over the front building line.
No part of the marquee shall be less than 10 feet above the sidewalk, or closer than one foot to the top of the sill of the first level of windows above the first floor, nor higher than the bottom of the cornice trim at the first-floor level.
The marquee shall not extend beyond the width of the property nor exceed 18 inches in vertical overall construction.
The only signs permitted in the Downtown District will be signs attached to buildings. Freestanding signs are prohibited.
A hanging sign projecting more than 12 inches from the wall surface must be made of wood, have a maximum five-foot projection from the wall surface and measure a maximum of 12 square feet in total area. The sign must be well maintained and professionally prepared.
All other signs may be of wood, metal, plastic or painted lettering on glass, and must be installed flush to the wall surface. The preferred signable area is the horizontal length between the first and second floors of the building.
Installation of a sign by individual letters or devices cut into or securely fastened to the exterior wall of a building is permitted, provided that such letters have a minimum depth or projection of 1/4 inch.
Sign lighting should be indirect or external to the sign, except in the case of interior backlit signs. No flashing, blinking or colored lights are permitted.
The bottom of a sign attached to the building must be no closer than one foot to the top of the ground floor window, and its top must extend no higher than whichever of the following is the lowest:
No sign or billboard shall be on top of a building.
No window sign may exceed 30% of the total glass area of the window or door.
All signs attached to the building and all signs in a ground floor window shall not be, individually or in the aggregate, larger in square footage than the square footage derived by multiplying 2 1/2 times the width of the frontage occupied by the business, with a maximum of 2 1/2 feet in height.
All rectangular signs shall be of a proportion with the width greater than the height.
No product/brand sign shall be attached to, or project from, the building unless this trademark represents the principal business conducted.
Review of general design guidelines.
Preliminary site plan, variance, conditional use or other applications for the Downtown District shall be presented to the Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) for design review and recommendations to either the Planning Board or the Zoning Board of Adjustment, before the public hearing.
Those Downtown District applications to the Building Inspector not requiring either Planning Board or Zoning Board of Adjustment review shall be presented to TDA for design review. If TDA approves the application, the Building Inspector shall proceed as usual. In the case of a denial of an application for approval by TDA and the applicant's rejection of TDA's recommendations, the applicant shall be entitled to exercise his/her rights to apply to the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance and to reapply to the Building Inspector on the basis of a new application.
An applicant shall be entitled to seek relief from the strict application of any standard or requirement imposed by this subsection, provided that:
An exemption from the strict application of any such standard is necessary to avoid hardship relating to expense associated with structural alterations or other building modifications necessary to achieve compliance with such standards; or
The exemption relates to a fixture regulated by this subsection, the design or location of which constitutes an element of an overall plan or proposal for the design or redesign of the structure or facade thereof; or
The relaxation or modification of the standards would not subvert the intent and purpose of this subsection by substantially detracting from the aesthetic design and composition among the properties within the Downtown District which is intended to be coordinated, maintained and preserved by this subsection.