3 meetings to unveil ‘Design Guidelines’

       The future of the proposed Westside historic overlay zone remains in doubt, but the area now has a book detailing its architectural heritage and defining ways for property owners to renovate venerable building exteriors in keeping with their individual styles and forms.

TOP: An approved dormer treatment in the Roofs section of the "Historic Westside Design Guidelines."
BOTTOM: A dormer project that did not match its historical style.
From the Design Guidelines

       The 127-page “Historic Westside Design Guidelines,” written over the past year by contracted architect Steve Obering in conjunction with city staff and the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), will be presented at three public meetings over the next two weeks.
       All will be held at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. The dates/times are Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 6 to 7 p.m.; Monday, Feb. 1, from noon to 1 p.m.; and Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.
       Copies of the book will be available to attendees at the meetings, city officials have said.
       According to Obering, he will give a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation summarizing the document, followed by a question-answer session.
       “I think it's pretty inclusive,” he said of the Guidelines. “It covers a lot of ground. We tried to hit all the things an owner might run into. It's really geared for those who want to avoid using convenient replacement things and taking the trouble to find something more appropriate. I hope we indicated in the document what is appropriate.”
       Based on longstanding plans for an eventual overlay, the guidelines apply to a geographic part of the older Westside Neighborhood Strategy Area (NSA) for which OWN is the city-recognized advocacy group. That part is bounded by Highway 24, 31st Street, Uintah Street and I-25.
       However, with the city's budget restraints in 2010, those boundaries are being looked at anew - as well as other overlay issues - in ongoing discussions with city officials, according to an article in the current OWN newsletter, the Westside Story.
       Whatever form an overlay eventually takes, OWN's continuing goal is that homeowners who participate would get a tax break for renovating exteriors in keeping with what the Guidelines recommend.
       Obering pointed out that the Guidelines document also can be used in planning new construction. “If someone wants to replace a building or build on a vacant lot, they can see the pattern of setbacks and scales in that area and can use that in planning the form of the house.”
       The Guidelines book defines properties up to the year 1958. However, the book includes a statement from OWN that the buildings with the greatest historic value “were predominantly built in 1930 or earlier and some shortly thereafter.” This reflects a philosophical difference with city staff, who had used a date 50 years earlier (the original publication was to have been 2008) based on what was termed an “accepted time standard.” However, OWN did not accept it.
       The book uses numerous photos of unidentified Westside homes, some as good renovation examples, some not.
       Recommendations are provided for the entire geographic area, as well as for subareas with high concentrations of historic properties. Attention is given to individual exterior aspects, including porches, roofs, windows and doors, foundations, siding and trim, fencing, landscaping and paint colors.

A map from the Guidelines document showing the geographical area and its subareas.
From the Design Guidelines

       Features of the different exterior architectural styles found on the Westside are described. These styles include Craftsman, Dutch Colonial Revival, Edwardian, Italianate, Late Victorian and Queen Anne.
       Although the emphasis is on residential buildings, the Guidelines include recommendations for commercial buildings - they “should be similar in size and mass to those of nearby residential structures, with masonry or other materials typical of the neighborhood, readily visible entries and simple window openings.”
       The overlay project that led to the Guidelines document was started about seven years ago by OWN members. The group has contributed hundreds of hours of volunteer time in reviewing properties and in 2005 joined with the Old Colorado City Historical Society to pay a photographer to take pictures of all the 4,000-some buildings in the geographical area.
       Obering's work was funded by a grant of about $40,000, shared by the city and the State Historical Fund.

Westside Pioneer article