(a)   Purpose. The buildings in the Village's Business Districts help to define Moreland Hills's built environment.  Enhancing the quality and compatibility of these buildings and thereby protecting the character of these areas is of utmost importance. 
   The guidelines set forth below are intended to achieve among others the following purposes:
      (1)   To strengthen, protect, enhance and improve the existing visual and aesthetic character of the  Retail Business District;
      (2)   To protect and enhance property values;  and,
      (3)   To provide guidelines for property owners, architects, and contractors to aid in the preparation of appropriate plans.
   (b)   Applicability of Regulations.  In addition to the development standards set forth in this Chapter, the design guidelines set forth in this Section shall apply to the exterior appearance and design of all new construction and exterior building renovations in the Retail Business District.
   (c)   Exceptions.  The Planning Commission, upon a recommendation from the Architectural Reviewer, is authorized to grant an exception to the Design Guidelines contained in this Section if the applicant demonstrates that, due to the unusual shape or topography of the lot or an adjoining lot, or due to the location or design of existing structures, or other features, the application of the design guidelines would be unreasonable.
      (1)   In determining whether to grant an exception, the Architectural Reviewer and the Planning Commission shall consider:
         A.   The Comprehensive Land Use Plan;
         B.   The purposes of the Zoning District;
         C.   The intent of the guideline from which the exception is requested; and,
         D.   Whether the intent of the guideline may be met by an alternate means.
      (2)   The Planning Commission may grant a complete exception from the guideline, or it may modify the guideline in view of the peculiarities of the site. Any modification of the guideline shall be considered an "exception." An exception shall be granted or denied in writing.
      (3)   The applicant shall obtain development plan approval incorporating the exception within one (1) year of the grant, or the exception will expire.
   (d)   Design Guidelines.
      (1)   Pedestrian activity shall be encouraged and safe pedestrian connections shall be provided between buildings, in a multi-building development, and between principal buildings, their parking lots, and public sidewalks.
      (2)   Buildings and principal building entrances shall be oriented toward the public street so as to define the street edge and contribute to a dynamic pedestrian and street environment.
      (3)   Blank walls, those devoid of openings such as transparent windows and transparent doors, shall not be permitted on the front facade of any building. 
      (4)   Any part of the building, which is not the front façade, that is visible from a private right-of-way, parking area, or public circulation area shall have no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the wall length, not to exceed fifty (50) feet, of contiguous wall length devoid of windows, on any ground floor, unless the wall includes architectural features such as piers, columns, defined bays, or an undulation of the building so that a pedestrian scale, rhythm, and visual interest is created. 
      (5)   Materials within three (3) feet of the finished grade or sidewalk shall be of a durable material to withstand pedestrian and vehicular traffic.  No stucco (commonly known as "dry vit" or E.F.I.S.) or similar materials shall be permitted within three (3) feet of the finished grade.
      (6)   All roof top equipment shall be concealed in building materials that match the structure or shall be painted to be visually compatible with the structure.
         (Ord. 2012-21.  Passed 7-11-12.)