Comments on Draft Maple Avenue Design Guidelines (v1 to Town Council)

Below is a summary of my comments on the Maple Avenue Design Guidelines draft presented at the February 11, 2019 work session ( most of these were in my verbal comments ):

  • Timeline for Design Guidelines and associated MAC Amendments:
    • I appreciate the schedule set up such that the Council that installed the moratorium be the one to remove it.
    • However, this schedule unrealistic for few reasons:
    • Given past recent experience, I do not believe that you can turn around and publicly  post meeting summaries / minutes in advance of the next meeting (especially the workshops prior to BAR the end of March)
    • There is no slack in the schedule.
    • There may be elements of the I believe the moratorium should be extended until the completion of the Maple Avenue Transportation and Land Use Study
  • There are no draft MAC amendments (even a few prospective ones that the guidelines in this state would lead to), you have not created any logical nexus….between a specific element of the guidelines and a code amendment yet (this is amended by receiving the MAC amendments later that week).
  • I understand there was supposed to be a summary and classification of narrative comments, where is that? (Note: a third party did it on his website shortly after the work session…so you are getting beat by public opinion on this).
  • Survey design and drawing conclusions:
    • Concerned about direct connection of survey images to one or more design criteria
    • Concerned that the survey didn’t test the distinction of responses in reaction to architectural elements vis-a-vis design elements.
  • Would the community workshop include both the design guidelines and MAC amendments?
  • How/when to add to the MAC code amendment prior to planning commission review?

Specific questions/comments on Design Guidelines draft:

  • Pg. v “Such lots, which do not rezone to the MAC zoning district, will not be required to follow these guidelines.” Can we provide this as an option for developers to chose to follow under C-1 on Maple – at least the streetscape elements.
  • Some footnotes would be useful for people, for example…why is, “The Guidelines do not require nor can they proscribe any specific architectural style,” stated.
  • “The following graphic depicts some of the elements that are addressed in building design and form.” Missing graphic?
  • 3D renderings.  Need to add language about specific focal length, location(s) and perspective. (page ix)
  • Page ix.  BAR and PC make independent recommendations to TC? Or can PC consider the BAR recommendations as part of its review?  Independent feeding TC or sequential? No work session with TC after BAR and PC recommendations?
  • Beginning page 2 Building form.  One of my biggest annoyances about “modern to look old building” that are broken up facades…. The that the broken up façade would not stand alone as independent buildings e.g. 2 window wide – Sunrise for example… so the scale is off
  • Completely disagree with visual weight image upper right page 2 vs. image on page 1.   That is a modern “Arlington style” differentiation of weights in different building “façade blocks”
  • Page 6 roof line variation— if these building were built in the same period… need to be careful about provide variation in form just because. – Page 6 top image vs. bottom image.
  • Page 16 – seating in Zone 1??? Ah…no.
  • Page 24 – Ginkgo Biloba – specify male cultivar…   Canopy trees – add honey locust.  Are the horse chestnut and maple varieties seedless? — recommended by town arborist. Also encourage native species (especially at ground level plantings). – How does this list compare to our existing list.
  •  Page 25 — #2 spacing of planter boxes… do we really know 15-20 ft relative to streetlight poles
  • Page 24-25 use of structure soil under sidewalk area to support street tree root growth.
  • Page 26 – LEDs lighting / lighting temperature (color).
  • There is a disconnect on the explanation of building massing/design forms for “strong” first floor and is inconsistent with many of the image of “older” design forms. To me a strong base with different color and strength of form is a more modern application to design because it does not have the subtlety of older buildings (1890s thru 1930s)
  • ADDITIONAL ITEMS:
    • No discussion of transition zones from pedestrian walkways to driveway aprons/alley ways.
    • Clearly delineated /safe pedestrian and bicycle path is parking lots and garages (see ITE publication on subject for example)
    • Clear wayfinding for safe pathways
    • No general message of wayfinding signing for pedestrians at all.

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