Historical Character & Design
Save Our Downtown is proposing to the Council that we conduct a Downtown "awareness walk" for the ARC (Architectual Review Commission). Some members of the existing Council participated in one that Allan Cooper conducted several years ago and seemed to enjoy it and benefit from it. This awareness walk might involve a running commentary (using a megaphone) describing the historical character of the Downtown Historic District and another running commentary describing the overall character of that portion of the Downtown District which surrounds the Downtown Historic District. We could even make it an entertaining interactive exercise in identifying the "orchids and onions" - the inappropriate buildings and the more appropriate ones - in our Downtown.
We would like to introduce to the ARC some "urban design" principals including an understanding of the characteristic proportions of buildings downtown, the "tripartite" composition typical of 19th century building elevations (i.e., a base, a middle and a top), the important role played by "backdrop" architecture, the characteristic morphology of specific building types, the spatial proportions characteristic of each street, etc. Finally, we would like to encourage the ARC to experience the micro-climate issues presented by large or over-tall buildings.
Incorporate a Downtown Urban Design Element into the City of San Luis Obispo General Plan
Why an Urban Design Element?
Urban Design Element policies help support and implement land use and transportation decisions, encourage economic revitalization, and improve the quality of life in San Luis Obispo’s Downtown and in San Luis Obispo in general. Ultimately, the General Plan’s Urban Design Element influences the implementation of all elements of the General Plan as it establishes goals and policies for the pattern and scale of development and the character of the built environment. Urban design recommendations are necessary to ensure that the built environment continues to contribute to the qualities that distinguish the City of San Luis Obispo as a unique living environment. San Luis Obispo’s distinctive character results from its unparalleled natural setting, including creeks and hills, that allow the evolution of geographically distinct City. A compact, efficient, and environmentally sensitive pattern of development becomes increasingly important as the Downtown Core continues to grow.
A pattern and scale of development that provides:
visual diversity, opportunities for social interaction, respect for desirable community character and context. Maintenance of historic resources that serve as landmarks and contribute to the Downtown’s identity. Utilization of landscape as an important aesthetic and unifying element throughout the Downtown Core.
Urban Design Policies
Policy Pertaining to Development Adjacent to Natural Features and Park Lands
Design development adjacent to natural features in a sensitive manner to highlight and complement the natural environment in areas designated for development. Integrate development on creek side parcels with the natural environment to preserve and enhance views, and protect areas of unique topography. Minimize grading to maintain the natural topography, while contouring any land form alterations to blend into the natural terrain. Provide increased setbacks from creek top of bank or open space areas to ensure that the visibility of new development is minimized. Screen development adjacent to natural features as appropriate so that development does not appear visually intrusive, or interfere with the experience within the open space system. The provision of enhanced landscaping adjacent to natural features could be used to soften the appearance of, or buffer, development from the natural features. Use building and landscape materials that blend with and do not create visual or other conflicts with the natural environment in instances where new buildings abut natural areas. This guideline must be balanced with a need to clear natural vegetation for fire protection to ensure public safety. Design and site buildings to permit visual and physical access to the natural features from the public right-of-way. Preserve views and view corridors of the creek and the morros from the public right-of-way by decreasing the heights of buildings where possible. Provide public pedestrian and bicycle access paths to scenic view points, pocket parks and where consistent with resource protection, in natural resource open space areas. Consider terracing buildings and sloping roofs toward the open space system or natural features, to ensure that the visibility of new developments from natural features and open space areas are minimized. Use building and landscape materials that blend with and do not create visual or other conflicts with the natural environment in instances where new buildings abut natural areas.
Encourage location of entrances and windows in development adjacent to open space to overlook the natural features.
Policy Pertaining to Architecture
Design buildings that contribute to a positive Downtown character and relate to the context. Relate architecture to San Luis Obispo's unique climate and topography. Encourage designs that are sensitive to the scale, form, rhythm, proportions, and materials in proximity to commercial areas that have a well established, distinctive character.
Encourage the use of materials and finishes that reinforce a sense of quality and permanence.
Provide architectural interest to discourage the appearance of blank walls, to add interest to the streetscape and enhance the pedestrian experience. Design building wall planes to have shadow relief, where pop-outs, offsetting planes, overhangs and recessed doorways are used to provide visual interest at the pedestrian level. Design rear elevations of buildings to be as well-detailed and visually interesting as the front elevation, if they will be visible from a public right-of-way or accessible public place or street. Maximize natural ventilation, sunlight, and views. Provide convenient, safe, well-marked, and attractive pedestrian connections from the public street to building entrances. Design roofs to be visually appealing when visible from public vantage points and public rights-of-way. Use sustainable building methods in accordance with the sustainable development policies in the Conservation Element.
Policy Pertaining to Historic Character
Respect the context of historic streets, landmarks, and areas that give the Downtown a sense of place or history. A survey may be done to identify "conservation areas" that retain original community character in sufficient quantity and quality but typically do not meet designation criteria as an individual historical resource or as a contributor to the Downtown Historical District. Review the redevelopment of property within “conservation areas” to maintain important aspects of the surviving community character that have been identified as characteristics of the Downtown Core.
Policy Pertaining to Landscape
Landscape materials and design should enhance structures, create and define public and private spaces, and provide shade, aesthetic appeal, and environmental benefits.
a. Maximize the planting of new trees, street trees and other plants for their shading, air quality, and livability benefits
b. Use water conservation through the use of drought-tolerant landscape, porous materials, and reclaimed water where available.
c. Use landscape to support storm water management goals for filtration, percolation and erosion control.
d. Use landscape to provide unique identities to streets
e. Landscape materials and design should complement and build upon the existing character of the Downtown.
f. Establish or maintain tree-lined commercial streets.
g. Shade paved areas, especially parking lots.
h. Demarcate public, semi-public/private, and private spaces clearly through the use of landscape, walls, fences, gates, pavement treatment, signs, and other methods to denote boundaries and/or buffers.
i. Reduce barriers to views or light by selecting appropriate tree types, pruning thick hedges, and large overhanging tree canopies.
j. Utilize landscape adjacent to natural features to soften the visual appearance of a development and provide a natural buffer between the development and open space areas.
Policy Pertaining to Streets
Design or retrofit streets to improve walkability, bicycling, and transit integration; to strengthen connectivity; and to enhance community identity. Streets are an important aspect of Urban Design
Policy Pertaining to Structured Parking
Encourage the use of underground or above-ground parking structures, rather than surface parking lots, to reduce land area devoted to parking. Design safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing parking structures. Design structures to be of a height and mass that are compatible with the surrounding area. Use building materials, detailing, and landscape that complement the surroundings. Provide well-defined, dedicated pedestrian entrances. Use appropriate screening mechanisms to screen views of parked vehicles from pedestrian areas, and headlights from adjacent buildings. Pursue development of parking structures that are wrapped on their exterior with other uses to conceal the parking structure and create an active streetscape. Where ground floor commercial is proposed, provide a tall, largely transparent ground floor along pedestrian active streets.
Encourage the use of attendants, gates, natural lighting, or surveillance equipment in parking structures to promote safety and security.
Policy Pertaining to Mixed-Use Development
Encourage placement of active uses, such as retailers, restaurants, cultural facilities and amenities, and other various services, on the ground floor of buildings in areas where the greatest levels of pedestrian activity are sought. Encourage the provision of approximately ten percent of a project’s net site area as public space, with adjustments for smaller or constrained sites. Public space may be provided in the form of plazas, greens, gardens, pocket parks, amphitheaters, community meeting rooms, public facilities and services, and social services
Policy Pertaining to a Pedestrian Plan
Implement pedestrian facilities and amenities in the public right-of-way including wider sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian-scaled lighting and signs, landscape, and street furniture. Design pedestrian routes to provide interest to the walker and promote their use. Interest can be created by paving materials, landscaping, public art, and uses such as retail, restaurant, and plazas for public events such as concerts.
Identify pedestrian crossings of streets or parking lots through the use of special paving. Provide project recreational and/or urban plazas that link visually and/or physically to the pedestrian network or network of public spaces.
Policy Pertaining to Public Spaces
a. Locate public spaces in prominent, recognizable, and accessible locations.
b. Design outdoor open areas as “outdoor rooms,” developing a hierarchy of usable spaces that create a sense of enclosure using landscape, paving, walls, lighting, and structures.
c. Develop each public space with a unique character, specific to its site and use.
d. Design public spaces to accommodate a variety of artistic, social, cultural, and recreational opportunities including civic gatherings such as festivals, markets, performances, and exhibits.
e. Use landscape, hardscape, and public art to improve the quality of public spaces.
f. Design outdoor spaces to allow for both shade and the penetration of sunlight.
g. Frame parks and plazas with buildings which visually contain and provide natural surveillance into the open space.
h. Address maintenance and programming.
Policy Pertaining to Public Art
Public art and cultural amenities have the potential to enliven public spaces and build a sense of community identity. Integrate public art and cultural amenities that respond to the nature and context of their surroundings. Consider the unique qualities of the Downtown and the special character of the area in the development of public art and programming for cultural amenities. Reinforce community pride and identity by encouraging artworks and cultural amenities that celebrate the unique cultural, ethnic, historical, or other attributes of San Luis Obispo. Use public art and cultural amenities as landmarks, encouraging public gathering and way finding. Public art and cultural amenities can also contribute to the goal of creating more walkable communities by enlivening the streetscape and other public spaces.
Use public art and cultural amenities to celebrate San Luis Obispo’s diversity, history, and unique character. Support public art and cultural amenities that explore, reflect and respond to the diverse facets of historic and contemporary San Luis Obispo life. Utilize public art and cultural amenities such as festivals to create vibrant and distinctive public squares, plazas, parks, and other public gathering spaces.
Encourage the use of public art in highly visible places as a directional assistance that can be used to delineate access routes and entrance points.
Highlight points of interest throughout the Downtown through the use of artwork and cultural amenities. Encourage artist-designed infrastructure improvements within communities such as utility boxes, street-end bollards, lampposts, and street furniture. Encourage incorporation of vandal-resistant and easily repairable materials in art to reduce maintenance requirements. Encourage the programming of changing exhibits and public uses through active management and programming of public spaces Provide opportunities for the collaboration of artists and community members. Conduct outreach efforts and engage community members in the public art process.
Districts, Paths, Nodes, Focus Intersections, Landmarks, And Gateways
Districts refer to those areas of the City that have consistent design features with a strong context and interrelationship of activities.
This similarity of physical characteristics can be expressed by any attribute which is repeatedly found throughout a district. These attributes may include architectural styles, scale, mass, pattern, and overall character. A strong district definition is often associated with a uniformity in land use or development patterns. The presence of these and other similar attributes reinforce a district’s urban fabric, cohesiveness, and identity. Key issues related to districts include the following:
Districts tend to be smaller and better defined near the City Core, the uniqueness of which is enhanced by a variety of physical characteristics such as architectural style, landscaping, similarity of land uses, and the arrangement of these characteristics in terms of harmony, homogeneity, and order. These characteristics tend to be less evident, the further away the district is from the City Center. However, the older residential districts, located near or within the Downtown Core, serve as the fundamental basis for San Luis Obispo’s existing urban form. San Luis Obispo has a variety of older residential districts intermixed with low-rise commercial development located near or within the Downtown Core. For example, Palm Street, between Santa Rosa and Chorro Streets and Pacific Street between Osos and Nipomo Streets contain low-rise professional offices (formerly residences) and mid-rise civic structures. North Higuera from Santa Rosa to Johnson and “mid-Higuera” south of Nipomo contain low-rise professional offices as well. Upper Monterey Street between Santa Rosa and Highway 101 is comprised of low-rise commercial and hospitality businesses. In the Downtown Core, Monterey, Higuera and Marsh Streets between Santa Rosa and Chorro Street are comprised of mid-rise civic institutional and mid-rise commercial/office. The exception to this is Monterey Street between Broad Street and Nipomo Street where it is comprised of predominantly a mixture of low-rise residential/office and civic/institutional. Neighborhood associations have been formed throughout San Luis Obispo, and their creation is based on characteristics such as geographic location and ease of association. Most organized neighborhoods have development patterns similar to those found in adjacent neighborhoods. For example, San Luis Obispo’s Old Town Neighborhood has similar street lights, lot sizes, subdivision patterns and building scale as do the Mill Street and Mission Orchard Neighborhoods.
Paths are the means by which people travel throughout the City including freeways, streets, walkways, and bikeways. Another important function of paths is to create linkages between districts, nodes, and other destination points. These linkages may be strengthened by view corridors associated with landmarks, natural features, and open spaces. Key urban design issues related to “paths” include the following:
Paths include freeways and main thoroughfares and serve as the framework for the City’s urban form. Two of these streets, Higuera Street and Broad Street, also serve as the “axis” for the City’s street numbering system. These roadways are the primary east-west, and north-south transportation routes, intersecting at the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo. Some of the “paths” have both a local and regional function. Many major paths convey a good impression of progression as one travels through the City, providing a sense of movement across hospitality, office and commercial areas or across residential and commercial. Some examples include Monterey Street and South Chorro Street which become narrower and more intense at the City core. Some paths lack important attributes, such as a distinct hierarchy of uses, scale, and density of buildings. The absence of a contextual relationship between a path and the adjacent land uses leads to a lack of cohesiveness and identity between business districts and nearby neighborhoods. A number of important paths in the City do not reflect their importance as major path. Santa Rosa Street is an example of how its character does not relate to the abutting Downtown Core district. Major paths include disruptions in the rhythm and context of development pattern. These interruptions reduce the feeling of progression of a corridor from less intense areas to the more intense City core. The presence of surface parking lots and auto sales lots on major streets like South Broad Street or mid-Higuera Street creates visual confusion. The incompatibility between a building’s original function and its current use directly reduces the character and continuity of a path. Without appropriate remodeling, adaptive reuse of single purpose structures create a disjointed feel from the character of the path and the adjacent neighborhood to the new activity. Distinct major paths in San Luis Obispo include Santa Rosa Street, Broad Street, Higuera Street and Monterey Street. Each of these corridors contain unique design features that should be reinforced, such as the medians along South Broad Street and North Santa Rosa Street, the small scale of structures along North Broad Street, and the Ficus street tree canopy along Marsh and Higuera Streets. There are a number of paths in the City that are not as significant and visible as the major paths mentioned previously, but are very important in defining the City’s form. Some notable examples include Mill Street between California and Johnson (flanked by camphor trees) and Buchon Street between Broad and Chorro Streets. A very positive feature of many paths in San Luis Obispo is their ability to communicate, to travelers and pedestrians, the identity of the districts they traverse. These paths convey a better sense of place and facilitate the creation of a strong City form. This is due, in large measure, to the unique cultural diversity and historic heritage of the San Luis Obispo neighborhoods which are portrayed by the physical attributes and character of these paths. For example, Higuera Street, Marsh Street, and Monterey Street convey a strong procession to the Downtown. Vehicle circulation is given precedence over pedestrian movement in strip oriented commercial development along South Broad, South Higuera and North Santa Rosa Streets. Significant pedestrian paths passing through the Downtown Core include Court Street, the Downtown Center, Mission Plaza, Garden Street, Higuera Street, Monterey Street, Chorro Street, Morro Street and Osos Street. These pedestrian paths have a very strong presence in the City and the community, providing a variety of amenities, such as retail shopping, office, services, and entertainment uses which complement each other and attract people. Other streets have the potential to accommodate both vehicle and pedestrian movement, especially Marsh Street and other downtown streets.
Nodes are areas of compatible and intensive activities. Nodes typically have identifiable boundaries which, through unique design characteristics, provide a clear sense of place. A well- defined node, containing sharply defined boundaries, is very effective in promoting unity of design, purpose, and aesthetics. Key design issues related to nodes in the City include the following:
Some nodes in the City are intended to serve as district centers as indicated in the Land Use Element; Mission Plaza is an example. The District Center concept was developed to promote the concentration of assorted activities in specific areas of the City. Each of the district centers has excellent automobile, bus, and pedestrian access since they are intended to be destination points. Some examples of nodes include the City/County Library which is in close proximity to numerous government agencies; the Children’s Museum, SLO Art Museum and Historical Museum provide a mix of institutional uses; and a number of evolving recreational nodes such as the Creek Walk extension between Broad and Nipomo Streets. Some locations are considered nodes because they are anticipated to be centers of activity in the future. In reality, many of these areas currently have a weak presence and lack the activity, intensity and visibility characteristics of a node. These areas may be designated as nodes or landmarks, but they presently do not function as a node. Examples of this are the Creamery, Garden Alley and the Cheng Chinese Garden.
Focus intersections are where two major paths intersect. There are numerous areas in the City where the level of traffic and other activities intensifies because they are located where two major roadways intersect. In a number of such instances, surrounding lands uses may appropriately be developed at lower densities, even with large volumes of traffic using the adjacent roadways. Some areas however, require special attention in that they need to standout from their surroundings because of high, traffic and pedestrian concentrations. Key urban design issues related to the focus intersections include the following:
The focus intersection is designed to foster and enhance the nature and character of certain crossroads in the City such as at the intersection of Chorro and Higuera Streets. Enhancing certain intersections will improve the aesthetic presence of those crossroads by creating a stronger presence and recognition on otherwise routine paths.The architecture and development intensity at key intersections serve to create a “rhythm” along a path, thereby enhancing the City’s image.
A focus intersection is intended to eliminate the visual rigidity of.channel-like streets and the monotony of the gridiron pattern. The focus intersection, if properly designed, reduces the tunnel effect of the approach while reducing excessive openness perceived within typical intersections. The focus intersection concept will take advantage of the potential observed in some intersections of the City. The intent is to highlight and capitalize on those factors which will “strengthen” the corridors. Even though the intersections under consideration are not yet clearly defined focus intersections, they may become vibrant places with strong local identity and prominence as they mature. Monterey Street at the corner Santa Rosa Street and the intersection of Monterey and Osos Streets are examples of opportunities for implementing this concept.
Landmarks are elements of the urban form containing design features that reinforce their uniqueness and memorability. Landmarks by their nature, attract and hold people’s attention. Landmarks communicate to observers that they are a special place. Surrounding land use and building design provide a background context for the landmark, reinforcing its role as an important visual element. Key design issues related to landmarks include the following:
With the exception of the City Hall and the Anderson Hotel, most of the existing landmarks in the City are concentrated along Monterey Street in the downtown with relatively few in other locations. A number of prominent landmarks evoke very pleasant and memorable experiences in observers. Some of these landmarks have been in the City for many years, exhibiting a strong context that enhances their visibility. Good examples of this include the old Mission, County Courthouse and the Anderson Hotel. Other landmarks in the City are newer, though they still have established a reputation as recognizable landmarks. Good examples are the Palm Street Parking Garage, the Morro Street Parking Garage and the Marsh Street Parking Garage.
In addition, most neighborhoods have reference points which serve as local landmarks in the community. These local landmarks generally include schools, parks, church buildings, or even a well-established comer store. Some “landmarks” stand out in their surroundings and act as good reference points in people’s minds; however, they may fall short of conveying an image of community pride, historic significance, and architectural quality. An example of a “perceived” landmark is the so-called “Bubble Gum Alley” located between Higuera and Garden Alley and the Highway 101 freewaw. These “landmarks” lack architectural significance and attractive design features. Nevertheless, they are generally considered local points of reference.
Gateways are located at the City’s entry points and help to define boundaries and enhance the City’s identity, while reinforcing a sense of place. In some instances, this is accomplished using an attractive monument or a landscaped median. Gateways may also include developments with significant and attractive architectural features, projecting positive images. For example, taking the Highway 101 off ramp onto Monterey Street clearly projects a positive image and is an excellent example of an important gateway. Issues related to “Gateways” include the following:
Gateways located in the northern and eastern (mentioned above) portions of the City are more clearly defined. The gateways in these areas have characteristics that create a sense of arrival by means of changes in the character and appearance of the area. An example is the sudden change from rural to urban development as one approaches the Cal Poly campus at Highland Avenue along Santa Rosa Street. Formal street-scaped medians further announce a person’s arrival in the City. In entering the City, a sense of arrival does not occur at the intersection of Marsh and Archer Streets. A small fountain there hardly demarcates that this could be a gateway (though this was its intention). Nor does a sense of arrival occur at the intersection of Monterey and Santa Rosa Streets or Broad and Upham Streets. Many businesses in the South Broad Street area identify themselves as being in the Edna Valley or in the Country Club/Rolling Hills area due to the lack of differentiation with our community to the North. There are a number of gateways identified by landscaped median monument signs along Highway 101. Even with these posted entry points, they do not meet the definition of a gateway since they do not convey a sense of arrival in the City. There is one point where the sense of arrival is clear. For example, the southern part of the City has a distinctive gateway arriving along the less traveled Orcutt Road at the Johnson Avenue and Orcutt Road intersection.
Downtown Concept Plan
Another principal goal of these guidelines is to implement the vision of the Downtown Conceptual Physical Plan wherever feasible (see below).
WHY WE NEED TO MAKE REVISIONS TO THE DOWNTOWN CONCEPT PLAN
Pedestrian access and environment quality features we need to preserve that are articulated in the Downtown Concept Plan
Treat sidewalks, and other paths as urbanized parks. Improve existing streets by providing trees, benches and other furniture, lighting and improved sidewalks (street sidewalks will remain the primary pedestrian routes).Open up new pedestrian access routes in the middle of blocks (primarily between Marsh and Higuera Streets and in the blocks adjacent to the Government Center). Extend pedestrian access along San Luis Creek with minimal interference to riparian habitat. Maintain and enhance safety from crime; design improvements with appropriate lighting visibility and other public safety features.Provide directory signs for pedestrians.
Antiquated Features of Downtown Concept Plan
Historical property "graveyard"
"Gateway" treatment at intersection of Higuera and Marsh Streets
Features Not Shown on Downtown Concept Plan
Pedestrian path hierarchy (suggesting phasing priorities for pedestrian enhancements)
Paseo between Marsh and Higuera through the proposed Garden Street Terraces project
Paseo between Monterey and Palm through the proposed Chinatown project
Naman Family Trust development: paseo connection to creek from Chorro
Location of Morrow/Palm Street Parking Garage
Location of the proposed Nipomo/ Monterey Street Parking Garage
Constraint maps showing:
pedestrian hazards (including areas where collisions occur, dimly lit or hidden areas susceptible to crime, constricted passageways, poorly maintained sidewalks, etc.)
pedestrian arrival points (i.e., garages, bus stops, public elevators, likely paths leading to Downtown from Cal Poly, to Downtown from Railroad Square, and to Downtown from the RR ROW pedestrian/bicycle path and "motel row", etc.)
pedestrian points of interest (i.e., public restrooms, ATM's, services, government offices, popular shopping paseos, cultural institutions, bars, coffee shops, etc.)
key vistas (i.e., vistas of the peaks, of Cuesta Grade, of the creek, of landmark buildings, etc.)
location of adverse and favorable winds
noxious odors and views to be buffered
Revisions are needed showing the following proposed and existing
location of art in public places
widened sidewalks by virtue of removing on street parking (i.e., along Garden Street or Higuera Street)
landscape devices to frame and shield views and buffer winds
park trails (i.e., Mission Plaza)
location of history walk information plaques
location of other signage
pedestrian pick-up and drop-off areas
parking garage location
recommended location of future parking garage(s)
Community Design Guidelines
Design and Development Guidelines: Proposed Additions and Deletions Chapter 4: Downtown Design Guidelines
Height & Scale:
New buildings should fit in with the existing vertical scale. They should respect street-level views of the hills, allow sunlight to reach public open spaces, and defer to a few tall, "landmark" buildings. “Landmark” buildings are defined as…. Where necessary to protect significant views, sunlight, and street character, new buidings should be limited to two stories and a maximum height of 35 feet. A few taller, landmark buildings (about five stories or 75 feet) may be developed where they will not obstruct views or sunlight for public spaces. These taller buildings would be more appropriate at mid- block than at corners, and their floors above the second or third should be set back a minimum of ___ feet every 10 feet in height to maintain a lower street facade.
New structures and remodels should provide storefront windows, doors, entries, transoms, awnings, cornice treatments and other architectural features that complement existing structures, without copying their architectural style. It is especially important that new structures not copy landmark buildings as this will diminish the importance of landmark buildings.
Traditional storefront transom windows should be retained whenever feasible. If the ceiling inside the structure has been lowered, the ceiling should be stepped up to meet the transom so that light will penetrate the interior of the building.
Awnings should be retained and/or incorporated where feasible and compatible with the storefront. The materials and color of awnings need to be carefully chosen. The use of second floor awnings shall be coordinated with lower storefront awnings. Canvas is the most appropriate material for awnings. Metal, Plastic (vinyl), or other glossy materials are not appropriate.
Light fixtures, wall mounted or hung with decorative metal brackets
Metal grillwork, at vent openings or as decorative features at windows, doorways or gates
Decorative scuppers, catches and down-spouts, preferably of copper Balconies, rails, finials, corbels, plaques, etc.
Flag or banner pole brackets.
Illuminated display cases
Public Spaces, Plazas and Courtyards:
Plazas and courtyards are encouraged within the downtown, especially where they can capitalize on views of foreground or background landscapes. Suggested locations of such public spaces are as follows….
Primary access to public plazas and courtyards should be from the street; secondary access may be from retail shops, restaurants, offices, and other uses.
Shade trees or architectural elements that provide shelter and relief from direct sunlight should be provided.
Courtyards should be buffered from parking areas or drive aisles by low walls, landscaping, or other features to clearly define the edges of the pedestrian space.
Ample seating should be provided.
Bicycle parking should be provided.
These plazas should feature public art.
Special Design Considerations
Provide increased setbacks from creek top of bank or open space areas to ensure that the visibility of new development is minimized.
Screen development adjacent to natural features as appropriate so that development does not appear visually intrusive, or interfere with the experience within the open space system. The provision of enhanced landscaping adjacent to natural features could be used to soften the appearance of, or buffer, development from the natural features. Use building and landscape materials that blend with and do not create visual or other conflicts with the natural environment in instances where new buildings abut natural areas. This guideline must be balanced with a need to clear natural vegetation for fire protection to ensure public safety.
The project permit application shall include a site-specific streambed analysis prepared by a hydrologist, civil engineer, or other qualified professional to determine the precise boundary/top of bank of the waterway. The Director may waive this requirement if it is determined that the project, because of its size, location, or design will not have an impact on the waterway, or that sufficient information already exists and further analysis is not necessary. A required streambed analysis shall include all information and materials required by the Department.
Historic Resource Preservation:
The City's requirements for the preservation of historic and cultural resources are administered by the Cultural Heritage Committee (CHC). The guidelines adopted by the CHC, the San Luis Obispo Municipal Code (Section 2.48) and the Secretary of The Interior’s Standards for Historic Rehabilitation (as San Luis Obispo is a Certified Local Government) should be reviewed for projects that may be subject to those guidelines and regulations.