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Architectural Review Guidelines

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The City of Clayton has always prided itself in offering high quality housing opportunities. In order to assure that new construction meets high quality standards and is in general conformity with the style and design of surrounding structures, the Architectural Review Board considers all exterior components. As part of this review and approval process, there are several criteria including, but not limited to, types and quality of materials, landscaping, design and compatibility with adjacent structures. Redevelopment of residential properties has accelerated dramatically in virtually all neighborhoods over the past several years. It is important to assure that the quality of construction remains at a high level.

These Guidelines are designed to offer the Architectural Review Board, developers and other interested parties standards by which to review and consider a residential project in Clayton. These Guidelines also address many aspects of construction quality and neighborhood compatibility. These are, however, only guidelines and as such offer the Architectural Review Board flexibility in the consideration of any of the provisions on a case-by-case basis. During the review process, the Architectural Review Board will consider all provisions of the Guidelines; however, the submission of additional materials can be required and/or any or all of the provisions can be waived by the Architectural Review Board. Additionally, these Guidelines do not supersede requirements set forth in Clayton's Code of Ordinances.

1) To assure the continued and long-term quality of Clayton's housing stock by adoption of Architectural Review Guidelines for residential construction
2) To preserve to the extent possible the architectural integrity of Clayton's housing stock by assuring the compatibility of new residential construction with the existing neighborhood
3) To preserve green space by the adoption of provisions requiring the preservation/replacement of existing trees and enhanced landscaping

Architectural Guidelines

Front Entry/Front Yard Garages
Front entry/front yard garages have been a popular architectural feature in some Clayton neighborhoods for several years. However, preservation of, and respect for, existing architectural styles requires that such garages are consistent with the character of the surrounding area and that they do not result in a significant loss of green space.

  • Driveways and Aprons
  • Retaining Walls
  • Garage Doors
  • It is recommended that no more than 2 garage doors (single car width) may be installed facing any one street for new residential construction. Should the applicant deem 3 doors necessary, the applicant must demonstrate that all other possibilities have been examined and every attempt to mitigate the impact must be taken. Garage doors should be compatible with the structure. A soft, compatible color may assist in muting the effect of front entry garages. The Architectural Review Board requires detail on the garage door, including but not limited to: type of material, color and windows. 
  • Front Entry Doors
    The front entry door to a building should be located in such a manner as to face the front yard and street rather than face the side or rear yard. Where the lot size or other features necessitate a side facing primary entry, the applicant must demonstrate that such design is necessary and compatible with the adjacent neighborhood. 
  • Front Garage Area Landscaping
    Landscaping can assist in alleviating the loss of front yard due to front entry garages. Landscape plans should be very specific in terms of plantings and should provide maximum green space rather than more average coverage required for single family homes with rear or side entry garages.

Landscaping - Landscaping and related provisions have always been an important consideration when reviewing redevelopment plans. However, as redevelopment continues to accelerate, it is increasingly important to preserve and enhance the trees, landscaping and topography already in existence. click here to access the Landscape Ordinance adopted on June 14, 2016

  • Topography
    Every attempt shall be made to preserve the topography of the property. If the topography must be altered to accommodate construction, the plan must contain specific information regarding the proposed topography change and its impact on the flow of drainage. 
  • New Plantings
    New developments should be screened from adjacent properties by use of high caliper tree plantings. A landscape plan depicting all new plantings on the site must be submitted as part of the plan. (Refer to the City's Trees & Landscaping Regulations by clicking the link above).  
  • Impervious Coverage
    No more than 45% of the required front yard setback may be covered by impervious material. No more than 55% of the total lot may be covered by impervious material. Impervious materials shall include, but not be limited to, surfaces such as compacted sand, limestone, clay, asphalt, concrete, driveways, retaining walls, stairwells, stairways, walkways, pools, decks and patios at grade level and other similar structures. The allowable impervious coverage may differ for properties located in an Urban Design District. Please refer to those standards for specific requirements.

Other Architectural Concerns
The architectural details associated with a construction project are often a primary factor in defining the quality of that development and its compatibility with neighboring properties.

  • Brick Ledges
    One of the more recent phenomenon is the amount of exposed concrete on the foundation of brick structures. New construction must provide a brick ledge or stepped foundation to allow no more than 30 inches of exposed concrete. 
  • Decks
    Detail including, but not limited to, the type of wood, height of deck, width of deck and detail on railings, posts and balusters must be included in plans.
  • Columns
    Massive columns are not acceptable if they are not compatible with the predominant architectural style of the neighborhood. Details are required on the plan, which depict the size, materials and proportion of the columns to the structure. 
  • Permanent Fences
    The visual impact of permanent fences, particularly those facing the street, can project either an aesthetically pleasing or extremely negative appearance. Plans must contain information regarding the height, design, material, special features if any, and the manner in which the proposed fence will relate to the structure to which it is attached and to adjacent properties. 
  • Lighting
    For new construction, the plan must include the number, height, illumination, location and type of fixtures. All outdoor light fixtures in excess of 75 watts shall be fully shielded. Fully shielded shall mean outdoor light fixtures shielded or constructed so that no light rays are emitted by the installed fixture at angles above the horizontal plane. In addition, the bulb or other light-emitting component of the light fixture shall not extend beyond the shielding of the fixture. Any structural part of the light fixture providing this shielding shall be permanently affixed to the light fixture. Light trespass and glare onto adjacent properties is prohibited. The Architectural Review Board will review the proposed lighting plan to ascertain whether it will create nuisances to the adjacent neighbors. 
  • Trash Enclosures and Containers 
    For new construction with front entry garages, where rear yard pickup is not feasible, trash containers must be located in an alcove with a door readily accessible from the front yard or driveway area. Trash containers may not be placed outside of the alcove/enclosure for trash pick-up accessibility. For new construction with rear or side entry garages, trash containers may be located in the side or rear yards within a trash enclosure that is readily accessible. Trash containers may not be visible from the street at any time. All trash alcoves/containers must be large enough to accommodate all trash and recycling containers.
    In determining an adequate trash alcove/enclosure size, it can be assumed that a 32 gallon trash container is required per bedroom, and 1 recycling bin is required per dwelling unit. Each trash container occupies approximately 9 square feet, and each recycling bin occupies approximately 4 square feet of area.
    The minimum size for an alcove or enclosure should be calculated using the following formula:
    # of bedrooms        x    9 square feet   =   __________
    # of dwelling units   x    4 square feet   =   __________
    Total   =   __________
  • Exterior Wall Facings
    Exterior wall material is limited to brick and stone. These primary wall materials shall equal at least 75% of each elevation. The surface area for each elevation is to be calculated form grade to the gutter line. Exceptions to the exterior wall material requirements include the following:
    • Wood Siding 
      A wood frame home with genuine wood siding or shingles may be permitted on a lot located on a street where one or more of such homes already exist(s). Approved siding materials include premium redwood lap siding and premium cedar lap siding. Siding material must be beveled.
    • Stucco and EIFS 
      Whenever a neighborhood contains less than 15% stucco/EIFS homes and/or stucco/EIFS in combination with brick homes, then the maximum amount of stucco/EIFS a project may proposed shall be limited to 25% per elevation. A "neighborhood" shall mean the official subdivisions within the City of Clayton.
      Whenever 15% or more of the homes within a neighborhood are constructed with stucco and/or EIFS materials, then the amount of stucco and/or EIFS material used on new construction may be increased. The actual percent of stucco and/or EIFS material(s) used on new construction should be consistent to existing stucco/EIFS homes within the neighborhood. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide accurate information regarding the number of existing stucco/EIFS structures in the neighborhood and the ratio of stucco/EIFS material used on each such structures. The ARB shall review the information to determine the proposed project's compatibility with the neighborhood. The EIFS water managed system is the only EIFS system to be allowed.

Neighborhood Concerns

  • Height/Density Relationships
    The primary concern of neighbors related to new construction is the height and density of the proposed structure compared to adjacent residences and the design of the development as it relates in style, size and context to the surrounding neighborhood. Each developer/architect is required to submit a colored rendering at a 1/4" = 1' scale depicting the proposed structure in a street view, accurately depicting the height, width, density and mass in relation to neighboring structures. The Architectural Review Board also reserves its right to request color perspectives or 3 dimensional models, if needed, on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Project Compliance
    The Architectural Review Board shall not issue approvals in cases where the applicant has failed to comply with the previous terms and conditions of the Architectural Review Board on any prior approval was issued for any work within the City. The term applicant as stated herein, shall have the following meaning:
    • "Applicant" shall mean any individual or business entity and each individual who has a substantial interest in any business entity.
    • "Substantial Interest" shall mean ownership by the individual, his spouse, or his dependent children, whether singularly or collectively, directly or indirectly, of 10% or more of any business entity, and/or ownership of an interest having a value of $10,000.00 or more, and/or the receipt by an individual, his spouse or his dependent children, whether singularly or collectively, of a salary, gratuity or other compensation or remuneration within the preceding 24 month period.

In instances where an applicant can demonstrate just cause in relation to matters of aesthetics, and not structural integrity, the Architectural Review Board shall have the authority to approve a modification for the following requirements:

  • Siding - up to 30% per facade 
  • Use of vinyl siding 
  • Impervious coverage - up to 50% in the front yard and up to 60% overall lot coverage