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Intent: To promote opportunities for a variety of creative residential and employment designs at varying scales that individually reinforce the community character and collectively contribute to a continuous streetscape and a vital and interesting pedestrian experience.

A. Townhouse development in the Center zone shall be subject to the design standards for the Townhouse zone as applicable to the range of permitted private frontages in SMC 14.212.550.

B. Private frontage areas should be designed for pedestrian interest and activity.

1. If maintained at-grade with the sidewalk, such areas should appear as extensions of the adjacent sidewalk, although alternative paving materials, such as stamped concrete, bricks, pavers, or tile may be used. This area may be landscaped, provided that substantial pedestrian area is provided adjacent to all entries. If not landscaped, the frontage area may be used for retail display or seating area. Features that encourage use and enjoyment of the space should be incorporated.

2. If the above-ground portion of a podium parking structure extends to or into a private frontage, the exterior podium wall shall not provide sidewalk views of vehicles, metal screening (unless highly decorative and providing significant screening), or blank concrete walls. Above-grade podium walls shall be enhanced with landscaping, architectural hardscape, or a combination, e.g., terraced planters, to provide an attractive view.

C. Building Massing and Articulation. Intent: Avoid monolithic street wall façades, provide pedestrian interest, and focus attention at the street level while offering architectural interest and continuity on the upper floors.

1. Buildings shall emphasize pedestrian scale with features that identify a break between the ground-floor and upper floors and focus attention on the street level. These features may include:

A projecting horizontal element such as a cornice, a belt course, or a string course;

A distinct change of materials and texture;

Continuous clerestory windows;

An entry alcove(s) (for commercial ground-floor uses) of at least 60 percent of the building width;

A change of façade plane.

A ground-level arcade is not typical for Snohomish and may be considered on a case by case basis. If used, arcade columns shall not be over 2 feet in diameter and should include architectural detailing.

2. Architectural identification of the primary building entrance should not extend above the first floor.

3. Architectural relief features, in addition to windows, shall indicate breaks between floors. These features should effectively break the appearance of vertical massing. Appropriate features may include a projection such as a belt course, a pattern of balconies, or other elements to achieve the intended result.

4. Articulation of street-facing facades shall be provided, at a minimum, for every 50 feet of building perimeter to minimize the appearance of horizontal massing. Façade articulation shall be achieved through pilasters, vertical recesses, change in wall plane, a distinct change of materials, or similar measures that achieve the intended result.

5. Horizontal ornament such as canopies, belt courses, string courses, or cornice lines should be carried across adjacent façades to unify various building masses and convey the sense of continuity between adjacent buildings.

6. Where permitted, parking structure walls facing public streets shall provide screening and interest at the street level. This may include green screens, artwork, or architectural features to resemble an occupied building. Non-access building openings at the street level, such as for ventilation, shall have a vertical dimension at least two times the horizontal dimension. At-grade landscaping shall not be accepted as a substitute for creative articulation of wall surfaces.

7. Building levels in excess of 3 stories require a minimum setback of 8 feet behind the primary ground-floor façade plane on any frontage. A projecting cornice or similar projecting element shall be provided at the plane break above the third floor to emphasize the change in wall plane. The exterior area above the third floor may be designed as outdoor living space.

D. Windows and Entrances. Intent: To activate and lighten façades and express the interior of buildings on the exterior through the integration of windows and doors in an overall building composition. To reinforce the historic character of Snohomish through traditional window formats.

1. Curtain-wall window walls shall not be used except when used as ground-floor glazing or as “penthouse” glazing at the top floor of a 4-story or higher building.

2. Where dimensional material, such as brick, is used on the exterior building surface, windows shall be inset a minimum of 3 inches from the wall surface to add relief to the walls and as a reference to local architectural tradition. Where inset windows are not practicable, trim surrounding the window shall project from the façade plane a minimum of 1 inch and shall include a head trim or similar element with a greater projection to create a shadow line.

3. Each floor of a street-facing façade shall have glazing on a minimum of 20 percent of the wall area, except that ground-floor commercial spaces shall have a minimum glazed area equal to 50 percent of the ground-floor, street-facing façade and except parking structure façades, where permitted.

4. For ground-floor retail spaces, the lower edge of storefront windows shall be no higher than 24 inches above the sidewalk to allow room for a minimal bulkhead or kickplate. Glazing should generally extend to the ceiling of the ground floor.

5. Storefronts shall not have vinyl window frames. If aluminum is used, it shall be painted or otherwise colored a dark shade.

6. Commercial entrances are encouraged to include a wide alcove with the building entry at the center.

7. Ground-floor residential uses are encouraged to elevate windows above the view of pedestrians on the sidewalk to create privacy for occupants.

8. Building entry points for all upper story spaces shall be located on the principal or secondary frontage. For mixed-use buildings, entrances to residential, office, or other upper story uses shall be clearly distinguishable in form and location from retail entrances.

9. All primary entry doors shall have extensive glazing, with a minimum of one foot between the glass and the bottom of the door. Wood or painted metal doors with traditional hardware are encouraged.

10. Clear glass should be used. If tinted glazing is used, light tints and blue, green, or gray hues should be used. Reflective glazing and/or reflective adhesive films should not be used. Non-reflective materials should be used for solar or heat control.

E. Canopies or awnings that provide weather protection along all frontages are encouraged where consistent with the building’s architectural style. Weather protection is required at all frontage building entries. Quarter-round awnings are strongly discouraged. Internally illuminated awnings are prohibited unless opaque. Where provided, awnings and canopies shall extend a minimum of 5 feet from the façade of the building and shall be a minimum of 8 feet above ground.

F. Balconies. Intent: To ensure that balconies enhance but do not dominate building façades.

1. Balconies shall not be the predominant feature of a façade and shall be incorporated into and consistent with the overall building design.

2. Balconies shall be either less than 3 feet in depth (decorative) or greater than 5 feet (usable) and shall not project more than 3 feet from any adjacent wall plane or be located at building corners where they will dominate the façade.

3. Balcony railings shall be open rather than boxy and opaque. Railings and balusters shall be consistent with the architectural style of the building. If extending past the face of the building, railings and balusters shall be ornamental metal.

4. The use of roof-tops and upper-story horizontal building modulations as outdoor enjoyment areas is encouraged.

G. Lighting. Intent: To provide safety and atmosphere through the use of exterior lighting while minimizing impacts on other land uses.

1. All building entries shall provide illumination for safety and for nighttime identification of the entry.

2. Where lighting is intended to wash across a building façade, it shall be shielded to limit illumination to the ground-floor.

3. All ground-floor facades shall include pedestrian-level lighting along sidewalks.

4. Light fixtures shall be consistent with the architectural style of the building. Recessed can lights should be avoided and non-recessed can light fixtures should not be used.

5. All exterior light fixtures shall be glare-free and shielded from the sky, adjacent properties, and critical areas and their buffers.

H. Roofs. Intent: To ensure that rooflines and their architectural details create distinctive silhouettes and finished “tops” to building designs that reflect the community’s architectural traditions.

1. Flat roofs (sloped to drain) with parapets shall be used on all buildings over 3 stories. A fire-rescue refuge area shall be included in the upper-story rooftop of all buildings over 3 stories.

2. Roof-top mechanical equipment shall not be visible from the street or from another building of the same height. On buildings with flat roofs, roof-top equipment shall be screened by a continuous parapet. On buildings with pitched roofs, roof-top mechanical equipment shall be screened in wells within the roof structure.

3. All parapets shall be architecturally finished on both sides and colored a neutral hue consistent with the building color.

4. Each parapet shall incorporate a cornice, which shall project a minimum of 24 inches from the parapet.

5. Pitched roofs shall have a minimum 8:12 pitch with a minimum eave projection of 24 inches. Eaves shall incorporate rafter ends at a dimension and frequency consistent with historic examples from the community. (Ord. 2451, 2022)