Ordinance Section 4

Appearance Standards

The Skinker – DeBaliviere – Catlin Tract – Parkview Neighborhood has a high degree of visual continuity, due to a short period (1906-1925) and coordinated pattern of development. Building from this continuity and based on its ordering elements (established setbacks, scale, materials, street tree patterns, etc.), the following standards are concerned with the total appearance of the area. It is not the intention of these regulations to in any way discourage contemporary design which through careful attention to scale, materials, siting and landscaping is harmonious with the historic, existing structures. The design of any proposed construction or extensive alteration must be reviewed considering the existing structures on the street. Regarding existing older building, the recognition, maintenance and enhancement of their historical characteristics is encouraged. New buildings on Skinker and Delmar Boulevards must be sited and be of a scale that complements the houses on adjacent residential streets, and also contributes to the establishment of an orderly streetscape appropriate to major boulevards.

The following are specific standards, developed by neighborhood residents to control the use of structures and to establish criteria by which alterations to existing structures as well as new construction can be reviewed. Some of the guidelines are precise whereas others are, by necessity, alternative solutions, all of which are compatible with the existing neighborhood. In the two private areas included, Parkview and the Catlin Tract, the trust indentures and other legal agreements remain in full effect in addition to an unaffected by the Historic District standards. In order for the following criteria to best become working tools for the developer, architect and client, they should be studied thoroughly before design work begins.

These standards shall not be construed to prevent the ordinary maintenance or repair of any exterior feature in the Historic District which does not involve a change in design, material, or outward appearance. No building or structure within the Historic District shall be demolished, and no permit shall be issued for the demolition of any such building or structure, unless the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission and the Community Development Agency shall both find that the building or structure is in such a state of deterioration and disrepair, or is so unsound structurally, as to make rehabilitation impracticable, or unless the owner or the City can demonstrate that the new land use will be in accord with the overall development plan. The Historic District Review Committee shall endeavor to find a new owner for any structurally sound building whose current owner expresses a desire to demolish it.

Willful attempts to undermine preservation by allowing buildings to deteriorate will place the property owner in immediate and continued danger of citation under the City’s Minimum Housing Code or Non-Residential Standards Code.

In the event an element of these proposed use, construction and restoration standards is not consistent with the zoning ordinance for the City of St. Louis, or other City codes or ordinances, the more restrictive shall apply.

Residential Appearance Standards
(Proposed “A,” “B” and “C” Zoning Districts)

1. Use: A building or premises shall be used only for the uses permitted in the zoning district within which the building or premises is located; The Historic District Review Committee must be notified of any proposed zoning changes within the Historic District. Use of property in Parkview and in the Catlin Tract, private subdivisions, shall additionally be governed by restrictions specified in their Trust Indentures and other legal agreements.

2. Structures: New Construction or alterations to existing structures. All designs for new construction, or for major alterations to the front of the house or premises that require a building permit must be approved by the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission, as well as by the existing approving agencies as required by City Ordinances. Standards that do not require building permits serve as guidelines within the district.

a. Height: New buildings or altered existing buildings, including all appurtenances, must be constructed to within 15% of the average height or existing residential buildings on the block.

b. Location, Spacing and Setback: New or moved structures shall be positioned on their lots so that any existing rhythm of recurrent building masses to spaces is continued. Existing building lines shall be strictly maintained, with no portion of any building (excepting any open porch, open veranda, open stone platform, or open balcony) to be constructed beyond the existing building line. Aforesaid open porches or platforms shall not extend beyond the existing front porch line on the block. Existing front porches must remain porches; however, they may be screened.

c. Exterior materials (for permit required work): Exterior materials when visible from the street should be of the type originally used when the proposed Historic District area was developed: brick, stone, stucco, wood, and wrought and cast iron. Although artificial siding or facing materials are not, in general, compatible, the Historic District Review Committee may be consulted for a list of current, compatible materials and their costs, for use by property owners wishing to improve their buildings.

d. Details (for permit required work): Architectural details on existing structures, such as columns, pediments, dormers, porches, and bay windows should be maintained in their original form if at all possible. Renovations involving structural changes to window or door openings are permit required work and thus must be reviewed by the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission. Design of these renovations should be compatible in scale, materials, and color with existing features of the building and with adjacent historical structures. When on the front of a building, wood or factory-finished colored metal is the preferred material for frames of new and replacement storm windows and screens and storm and screen doors. Awnings on the front of a house should be canvas or canvas-type materials. New buildings should be detailed so as to be compatible with existing buildings, respecting scale, rhythm, window proportions, important cornice lines, use of materials, etc. Complete plans for all proposed new construction or major alterations which require permits must be submitted to the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission for approval.

e. Roof Shapes: When there is a strong, dominant roof shape in a block, proposed new construction or alteration should be viewed with respect to its compatibility with existing buildings.

f. Roof Materials: Roof materials should be slate, tile, copper, or asphalt shingles where the roof is visible from the street. Incompatible materials are not encouraged. Design of skylights or solar panels, where prominently visible from the street and when requiring a permit, will be reviewed by the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission for their visual compatibility.

g. Walls, Fences and Enclosures:

Front: In Parkview, no fence, wall, or hedge may be erected in front of the building line. In the Catlin Tract, no wall or fence may be erected in front of the building line; no hedge in front of the building line may exceed four feet in height. Elsewhere in the district, front yard dividers or enclosures are permitted, but they shall be of brick, stone, brick-faced concrete, ornamental tree, or hedge and should not exceed four feet in height. Earth-retaining walls are permitted, to be constructed of compatible materials, not to exceed maximum grade of the lot. In Parkview, earth-retaining walls must not exceed a height of two feet above the highest point of the sidewalk in front of the property.

Side: Fences or walls on or behind the building line, when prominently visible from the street, should be of wood, stone, brick, brick-faced concrete, ornamental iron, or darkpainted chain link. All side fences shall be limited to six feet in height. In the Catlin Tract, all fences behind the front building line must be limited to five feet.

h. Landscaping: The installation of street trees is encouraged. In front of new buildings, street trees may be required. Front lawn hedges shall not exceed four feet in height along the public sidewalk. No live trees shall be removed for new construction without the approval of the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission. The Historic District Review Committee will keep a directory of recommended landscape materials.

i. Paving and Ground Cover Materials: Where there is a predominant use of a particular ground cover (such as grass) or paving material, any new or added material should be compatible with the streetscape, and must not cause maintenance problems or hazards for public walkways (sidewalks). Loose rock and asphalt are not acceptable for public walkways (sidewalks) nor for ground cover in areas bordering public walkways (sidewalks).

j. Street Furniture and Utilities: All free-standing light standards placed in the front yard of any structure or premises should be compatible with construction in the neighborhood. The design and location of all items of street furniture located on the tree lawn between the sidewalk and the street must be approved by the Landmarks and Urban Design Commission. Where possible, all new utility lines shall be underground. No commercial or political advertising may occur on the public right-of-way.

Commercial Appearance Standards
(Proposed “F” & “G” Zoning Districts)

1. Use: A building or premises shall be utilized only for the uses permitted in the zoning district within which the building or premises is located, except that none of the following shall be permitted within the Historic District Boundaries: Used Car and Used Truck Lots, Car Washes, Fast Food Restaurants, Service Stations, Massage Parlors. The Alderman is encouraged to inform the Historic District Review Committee of any proposed zoning changes within the Historic District.

2. Structures:

a. Height:

Delmar: New buildings must be constructed to within 15% of the average height of existing commercial buildings on the block. In no case shall a commercial structure appear to be less than two stories in height.

b. Location: New or moved structures shall be positioned on their lots so that the original rhythm of recurrent building masses to spaces is continued as well as the original pattern of setback from the street. Skinker – As a major public thoroughfare, strict maintenance of original building lines is essential.

c. Exterior Materials: Exterior materials when visible from the street must be compatible in type and texture with the dominant materials of the neighborhood – brick masonry, or stucco, with terra cotta and wood used for trim and other architectural features. Artificial masonry such as Permastone is not permitted. A submission of all building materials, including mortar, shall be required prior to approval. Any canopies, coverings or necessary appendages that cannot be constructed of the aforementioned materials must be of material that is compatible in color and texture with these materials.

d. Details: Architectural details on existing structures shall be maintained in a similar size, detail and material. Where they are badly deteriorated, similar details salvaged from other buildings may be substituted provided they are in keeping with the building. Both new and replacement window and door frames, when visible from the street, shall be limited to wood or color-finished metal. Raw or unfinished aluminum is not acceptable. Awnings on the front of buildings must be of canvas or canvas-type material. New buildings should be detailed so as to be compatible with existing buildings, respecting scale, rhythm, window proportions, important cornice lines, use of materials, etc. Any alteration of the facade of an existing building should recognize the original design and detailing of the building including window and door openings. Restoration of the building to its original appearance is encouraged. Changes in design should be compatible in scale, materials and color with existing features of the building and with adjacent historical structures. If a building has been inappropriately “modernized,” restoration or design improvement are encouraged.

e. Roof Shapes: When there is a strong, dominant roof shape in a block, any proposed new construction or alteration should be viewed with respect to its compatibility with the existing adjacent buildings.

f. Roof Materials: Roof materials shall be slate, tile, copper, or asphalt shingles where the roof is visible from the street. Brightly colored asphalt shingles and shiny metal or plastic are not appropriate.

g. Walls, Fences, and Enclosures: Walls and fences form an important part of the overall streetscape. These should be of brick, stone, or stucco, wood, wrought or cast iron, or evergreen hedge when visible from the street, as is consistent with existing dominant materials. Concrete walls are also acceptable when a part of the overall building design. In places where a building is not at the building line, the use of low walls or hedges to define the building line is encouraged.

h. Parking: All off-street parking shall be located behind or to the side of commercial structures. Where visible from the street, screening with visually opaque landscaping or three foot minimum high masonry or brick-faced concrete wall shall be necessary.

i. Paving Materials: The use of masonry units compatible with adjacent building materials is encouraged. Pedestrian walks, courts, sitting areas, etc. shall be surfaced with a permanent material including textured concrete, brick pavers, cobblestone or street pavers or any other material consistent with adjacent surfaces. Asphalt paving shall not be acceptable on any areas for pedestrian use exclusively, and acceptable on vehicular-use areas only.

j. Signs and Advertisements: Signs within the commercial district shall be in accordance with the zoning ordinance except that in no case will the following be allowed:

1. Billboards and pylon signs above 25′.

2. Wallsigns above the second floor sill line. Signs obstructing architectural features.

3. Rooftop signs.

4. Large projecting signs which block windows or other signs.

5. Flashing or rotating elements.

6. Loudspeaker music or speech for advertising purposes.

k. Landscaping: If there is a predominance of particular types or qualities of landscape materials, any new planting should be compatible by considering massing and continuity. The installation of street trees by request to the City is encouraged and in some in stances may be required.

l. Street Furniture and Utilities: All free-standing light standards placed in the front yards of any structure or premises shall be either authentic period styling or high-quality contemporary design. The design and location of all items of street furniture must be approved prior to placement. Special permits must be obtained if street furniture is to be located within public rights-of-way. Where possible, all new utility lines shall be underground.

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