303.01 Statement of Purpose
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The City hereby authorizes the establishment of Business Revitalization
Districts to ensure appropriate design of buildings signage and property
in business areas targeted for concentrated improvements. More specifically.
it is the purpose of this chapter to achieve. among others, the following
a) To preserve jobs, tax revenues and local services through the
upgrading of business districts;
b) To safeguard the public, investment in revitalization through
prevention of inappropriate signage and property design in business areas
targeted for concentrated public improvements and rehabilitation financing:
c) To protect residential and commercial property values, particularly
for businesses and residents committing private funds to rehabilitation
in designated revitalization areas. (Ord. No. 1664-88. Passed 10-3-88,
303.02 District Establishment
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Business Revitalization Districts shall be established and amended in
accordance with the procedure~ for amending the Zoning Map as set forth
in Chapter 333 of the Zoning Code as well as the provisions of Section
303.03. In addition, the City Planning Commission may consider establishment
of a Business Revitalization District upon receipt of a written request
for designation adopted b~ the governing bodies of one or more local development
corporations or business ,associations serving the District (hereinafter
referred to as the "local sponsoring organization". Such request
shall be accompanied by an accurate parcel map precisely indicating the
proposed District boundaries. (Ord. No. 1684-88. Passed 10-3-88, eff.
303.03 Criteria For District Designation
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A geographic area proposed for Business Revitalization District designation
shall be considered eligible only if such area is in conformance with
the criteria listed below. Two or more noncontiguous areas, each meeting
the criteria below, may be designated as a single District if the distance
between any two such areas is no more than 1500 feet.
(a) Size. At least 2,000 lineal feet of street frontage (measured
separately on each side of a street. with only one frontage measured per
(b) Zoning. At least seventy-five percent (75%) of parcels in nonresidential
(c) Organization. Served by a Local Development Corporation or
business association (requesting District designation).
(d) Public Investment. Included within a Storefront Renovation
Target Area or other area targeted by the City of Cleveland for concentrated
public improvements or property renovation assistance (with funding committed
or expended within the ten (10) years immediately preceding district designation.
(Ord. No. 1684-88. Passed 10-3-88. eff. 10-6-88)
303.04 District Mapping
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Business Revitalization Districts shall be shown on the Zone Map of the
City of Cleveland as "overlay districts" to he applied in conjunction
with the "underlying" zoning district. Provisions of the underlying
district shall remain in effect except where inconsistent with the provisions
of the Business Revitalization District. (Ord, No. 1684-88. Passed 10-3-88,
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Within a Business Revitalization District, no building proposed for nonresidential,
multi-family or townhouse (rowhouse) use, or other structure on such property,
shall be erected. constructed, altered in exterior construction or appearance,
enlarged, moved or demolished unless such action complies with the provisions
of this chapter. However, the following activities are specifically excluded
from such applicability:
(a) Replacement of window panes in existing frames;
(b) Masonry repointing or cleaning in areas not visible from any
(c) Gutter and downspout repair or replacement with no change in
color or location,
(d) Roofing repair or replacement except where roof surface is
visible from any adjoining streets;
(e) Repaving of driveways, parking lots or walkways with like material;
(f) Repair or replacement of damaged or worn building elements
or structures not visible from any adjoining streets;
(g) Emergency action requiring immediate attention as ordered by
the Commissioner of Building and Housing;
(h) Activities not requiring a building permit and;
(i) Demolition activities required by the City pursuant to Section
3103.09 of the Codified Ordinances. (Ord. No. 1684-88, Passed 10-3-88.
303.06 Local Design Review Advisory Committee
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As part of the Advisory Committee authorized by Section 76-4 of the City
Charter, a Local Design Review Advisory Committee shall be established
in each designated Business Revitalization District to perform required
reviews of applications. The following provisions shall govern the establishment
and operation of each such committee.
(a) Composition and Appointment. The Advisory Committee shall be
composed of not less than Five (5) and not more than seven (7) members.
appointed by the City Planning Commission in accordance with Section 76-4
of the City Charter, based upon nominations submitted by the local sponsoring
organization. A majority of the members appointed to each Advisory Committee
shall be architects or other recognized design professionals, with the
remaining members representing businesses or other organizations with
operations in the District. The term "recognized design professionals"
shall refer to individuals with documented expertise in such fields as
landscape architecture, urban design, graphic design. art, history, or
(b) Nonvoting Members, A maximum of four (4) nonvoting members
may be appointed to assist in the operation of each Advisory Committee.
Such members shall be limited to staff of the City Planning Commission.
Community Development Department, and the local sponsoring organization,
as appointed by the director of each respective organization.
(c) Term of Appointment. Each Advisory Committee member shall be
appointed for a term of two (2) years and may be re-appointed to additional
terms at the discretion of the City Planning Commission.
(d) Quorum and Voting. A majority of the Advisory Committee's voting
membership shall constitute a quorum, without which no votes may be taken.
Approval of an application shall require the affirmative vote of a majority
of the Advisory Committee's members regardless of the number present.
(e) Meetings and Records. . The Advisory Committee shall meet at
least twice monthly unless there is no business to conduct. The staff
representative of the City Planning Commission shall he designated as
the Advisory Committee's Secretary and shall be responsible for prompt
preparation of typed minutes which shall be retained by the City Planning
Commission in a centralized file for all Local Design Review Advisory
(f) Committee Name. The City Planning Director shall assign each
Local Design Review Committee a name identified with the District served
by the Committee (e.g., "Crosstown Design Review Advisory Committee").
(g) Storefront Renovation Program. Within a Business Revitalization
District, the Design Review Advisory Committee established by this chapter
shall also serve as the design review body for applications for assistance
under the City's storefront renovation program. (Ord. No. 1(84-88. Passed
10-1-88. eff. 10-6-88)
303.07 Administrative Procedures
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The following procedures are established to govern the processing of
applications for building permits and other municipal authorizations for
properties located in Business Revitalization Districts, except as provided
in Section 303.11.
(a) Contents of' Application. In addition to meeting application
requirements established in the Building Code and Zoning Code, applications
governed by the provisions of this chapter shall include the following
(1) Color photographs clearly showing the subject property in the
context of adjoining properties within 250 lineal feet on either side
of the subject property.
(2) Architectural drawings including elevation and site plans for
the construction or exterior alterations proposed. indicating design materials,
colors. type of illumination and signs.
(3) Written description of the exterior alterations proposed, including
materials and installation methods.
(b) Determination of Applicability. Upon receipt of an application
for a building permit or other municipal authorization, the Commissioner
of Building and Housing shall use the standards of Section 303.05 to determine
whether the proposed action is governed by the provisions of this chapter.
If it is determined that the action is governed such provisions, the Commissioner
of Building and Housing shall promptly refer the applicant to the Director
of the City Planning Commission, who will then transmit the application
to the Local Design Review Advisory Committee for review and recommendation.
Other required City reviews shall be conducted concurrently.
(c) Standards for Review. The Local Design Review Advisory Committee
shall evaluate the proposed action with respect to the design guidelines
of Section 303.08 and supplemental guidelines as authorized in Section
303.09. Staff of the City: and local sponsoring organization may provide
technical assistance to the applicant, using such references as the City's
"Commercial Design Standards Manual".
(d) Design Review Advisory Committee Action. At its next regular
meeting occurring at least five (5) days after acceptance of a complete
application the City Planning Director, the Local Design Review Advisory
Committee shall recommend either approval, approval with modifications
or conditions, disapproval of the application (unless the applicant authorizes
an extension in time). In the case of disapproval, the Advisory Committee
shall recommend changes to the proposal, if appropriate, to permit reconsideration
at the next regularly scheduled meeting. For applications proposing the
demolition or moving of buildings or structures, other than demolition
activities undertaken pursuant to Section 3103.09, the Advisory Committee's
action shall be limited to recommending either approval or "delayed
approval" as prescribed in Section 303.10.
(e) Notifications. The City Planning Director shall inform the
applicant in writing of the time and location of the Advisory Committee's
meeting. Subsequent to that meeting, the Advisory Committee shall issue
to the applicant and the City Planning Commission its written recommendation
stating reasons for a recommendation of disapproval.
(f) Final Action of City Planning Commission. The City Planning
Commission shall take final action on the Local Design Review Advisory
Committee's recommendation at its next regularly scheduled meeting occurring
at least two (2) days after submission of the recommendation to the City
Planning Director. Pursuant to the "Rules of the City Planning Commission"
regarding administrative approvals, the City Planning Director is authorized
to act on behalf of the Commission in approving applications recommended
for approval by the Local Design Review Advisory Committee. However, use
of the administrative approval procedure is not authorized in the case
of applications for demolition or moving.
(g) Issuance of Certificate of Appropriateness. Upon approval of
an application. the City Planning Director shall certify such approval
by issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness. A Certificate of Appropriateness
shall be either issued or denied within forty-five (45) days of initial
receipt of' a complete application by the City Planning Director unless
an extension has been requested by the applicant. (Ord. No. 1684-88. Passed
10-3-88, eff. 10-6-88)
303.08 Design Guidelines
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In its review of applications subject to provisions of this Chapter,
the Local Design Review Advisory Committee shall follow the design guidelines
set forth below as well as supplemental design guidelines specifically
prepared for the District, if such guidelines have been recommended by
the City Planning Commission and approved by Council.
(a) Design Compatibility. Alterations, additions and new development
should be compatible in scale, material, color, placement and character
with the design of the subject property as well as the design of properties
which are representative of the area's most valued architectural and environmental
qualities. In evaluating compatibility, consideration shall also be given
to the value of diversity and individuality in design.
(b) Contemporary Design. All buildings are recognized as products
of their own time. Alterations, additions and new developments which have
no historical basis and which seek to create an earlier appearance are
not required. Conversely, compatible contemporary design is encouraged
except where such design would clearly detract from the architectural
unity of a grouping of architecturally significant structures.
(c) Preservation of Features. The distinguishing original qualities
of a property should not be diminished through alteration or removal of
distinctive architectural features.
(d) Replacement of Features. In the event that replacement of significant
architectural features is necessary (as determined by the Local Design
Review Advisory Committee and City Planning Director), the new material
should closely match the original material in composition, design, color,
texture and all other visual qualities.
(e) Cleaning. The cleaning of exterior wall surfaces should be
undertaken by the gentlest means possible. Sandblasting and other cleaning
methods that will damage facing materials and architectural features shall
not be undertaken.
(f) Fences and Other Accessory Structures. Fences, walkways, area
lighting, benches, landscaping and other accessory structures should be
compatible in design with adjoining buildings and with the most valued
aspects of the district's overall character. Use of chain-link fences
along street frontages is discouraged unless otherwise specified in adopted
plans or guidelines for the district.
(g) Parking Lots. Use of coniferous shrubbery and trees in combination
with low fences is encouraged in screening parking lots from streets.
Use of curbed, planted islands is encouraged to provide visual relief
in large parking areas and to control traffic circulation. For districts
characterized by buildings set along the street line, parking lots should
be located behind or on the side of buildings whenever possible, with
entrances located off of adjoining side streets.
(h) Signs. In addition to meeting Zoning Code and Building Code
requirements for signs in applicable zoning districts, signs within Business
Revitalization Districts shall also meet the design guidelines of this
Chapter and, in particular, those stated below.
(1) Placement. Wall signs should be designed to fit within the
architectural space intended for signage Similarly, wall signs should
never cover distinctive architectural features.
(2) Compatibility. Signs to be seen as a series should be designed
with compatibility in terms of location size, shape, style, material,
illumination and color. As a general rule, uniformity should be maintained
certain characteristics while other characteristics are varied to permit
individual expression and identification.
(3) Color. The color(s) of a sign should complement the color(s)
of the building facade to which the sign relates.
(4) Lettering and Symbols. The lettering and symbols on a sign
should be large enough to be easily read but not overly large or out of
scale with the building on which the sign is displayed. An excessive amount
of information on signs, creating an image of visual clutter, should be
avoided. Use of distinctive symbols or logos on signs is encouraged.
(5) Projecting Signs. Where permitted, projecting signs should
be no larger than necessary for readability by nearby pedestrians and
should contain no internal illumination unless otherwise specified in
adopted plans or guidelines for the district. Spacing between projecting
signs should be sufficient to prevent an image of clutter.
(6) Non-Panel Signs. For buildings lacking architectural spaces
clearly designed for sign panels, it is often preferable that lettering
be placed directly on the wall surface, on display windows or on the front
piece of compatible awnings or canopies. Such signs are less likely to
detract from a building's architectural character. However, letters placed
directly on walls should be attached in a manner which will not require
costly repair after removal.
(7) Billboards. Billboards, shall not be permitted in a designated
Business Revitalization District.
303.09 Adopted District Plans
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In addition to considering design standards of Section 303.08, the Local
Design Review Advisory Committee shall evaluate applications in accordance
with standards contained in development and design plans, where such plans
have been recommended by the City Planning Commission and approved by
Council for the designated District. (Ord. No. 1684?88. Passed 10?3?88,
303.10 Demolition and Moving
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For applications proposing the demolition or moving of a building in
a Business Revitalization District, other than those demolitions undertaken
pursuant to Section 3103.09 of the Codified Ordinances, the following
provisions shall apply:
(a) Determination of Significance. The Local Design Review
Advisory Committee shall determine whether the proposed action will significant1y
detract from the District's architectural and design character. The Advisory
Committee shall consider both the intrinsic significance of the building
and its significance to adjoining properties and the District overall.
(b) Nature of Action. If it is determined that the proposal
will not significantly detract from the District's architectural and design
character. the Advisory Committee shall recommend approval of the application.
If the Advisory Committee determines otherwise, it shall recommend "delayed
approval", not to become effective for a period of one hundred twenty
(120) days, or a lesser period as recommended by the Advisory Committee.
This time period is provided to permit the City, public agencies, civic
groups and other interested parties a reasonable opportunity to seek alternatives
to the proposed action. Alternatives might include acquisition or moving
of a property to be demolished. (Ord. No. 1684?88. Passed 10?3?88, eff.
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Within Business Revitalization Districts. activities subject to review
by the Cleveland Landmarks Commission and those subject to review under
the Public Land Protective District shall not be subject to the provisions
of this chapter. However, this exemption shall not apply to activities
assisted under the City of Cleveland's storefront renovation program.