(A)   Intent.  The intent of this section is to encourage visual design interest and a pedestrian site design for large-scale retail buildings. These structures shall be designed to reduce the massive scale and uniform, monolithic appearances. Large retail buildings have the potential to create adverse traffic, environmental and aesthetic effects and further erode Wilkesboro's small town character. Therefore, the Town of Wilkesboro wants careful attention to the local community design issues to promote adaptable large retail buildings that fit the small-town character of this community. Building and site design shall also promote a safe and comfortable pedestrian oriented site with a mixture of uses and sizes of the structures.
   (B)   Applicability. The following design standards shall apply to new single and multi-tenant retail buildings with a gross floor area equal to or greater than 30,000 square feet and existing vacant single and multi-tenant retail buildings equal or greater to 30,000 square feet undergoing renovations or expansions equal to or greater than 50%of their current assessed value as listed by the Wilkes County Tax Assessor.
   (C)   General development standards. All design standards contained within this section shall be applicable unless otherwise specified.
      (1)   Exterior materials. Predominant exterior building materials shall include wood, brick, limestone, granite, other native stone, or tinted, textured concrete masonry units, or stucco. Prefabricated metal buildings shall have a veneer of wood, brick, limestone, granite, other native stone, or tinted, textured concrete masonry units, or stucco on all sides visible to the public.
      (2)   Landscaping.  Please refer to § 96.14,  Landscaping Requirements for Commercial Development, contained in the Wilkesboro Code of Ordinances for specific requirements.
      (3)   Articulation. Facades greater than 100 feet in linear length shall be articulated with recesses or projections, which total at least 25% of that façade.  Each recess or projection shall be a minimum of 2% of the length of that façade.  No uninterrupted length of any façade shall exceed 75 horizontal feet.
      (4)   Entrances. Large retail establishments over 75,000 square feet shall be required to have at least two customer entrances.  The two entrances shall be separated by at least one-third (1/3) of the building. 
   (D)   Building design. All new buildings shall incorporate at least five of the following design features.  Renovations and expansions to existing buildings shall incorporate at least three of the following design features. The Town Council may allow minor deviations to the full requirement of each chosen item if the petitioner can adequately demonstrate that the overall intent and spirit of this section continues to be adhered to in the overall development design:
      (1)   Color.  Facade colors shall be low reflectance, subtle, neutral or earth tone colors.  The use of high intensity colors, metallic colors, black or fluorescent colors is prohibited.  Building trim and accent areas may feature brighter colors, including primary colors.
      (2)   Material and textures.  Buildings shall have at least three of the materials/textures set forth in division (C)(1) of this section.
      (3)   Pedestrian walkways. Covered pedestrian walkway (minimum of eight feet depth across at least 35% of the façade).
      (4)   Window display. Clear glass window display areas that covers at least 20% of one façade or 30% of two facades.
      (5)   Animating features. Ground floor facades shall have arcades, display windows, entryways, awnings, and other such design features on at least 60% of that façade. 
      (6)   Integral planters. Integral planters shall be constructed parallel to the building.  The intent is to incorporate such an area that shall be a minimum of five feet wide and shall cover at least 35% of the façade.
      (7)   Parapets. Raised corniced parapets located over the main entrance to the building.
      (8)   Outdoor patios. Outdoor patios, which incorporate gathering and sitting opportunities adjacent to the main entrance or on the front façade equivalent to 2% of the gross square footage of that building.  Such areas shall include a seating area with benches or tables and chairs.
   (E)   Roofs. The following standards are intended to foster a variation in rooflines to soften and reduce the massive scale of large buildings.  Roofs shall have the following features:
      (1)   Parapets concealing flat roofs and roof top equipment such as HVAC units from public view.  The height of such parapet shall not exceed one-third (1/3) of the height of the support wall.  Such parapets shall feature three dimensional cornice treatments and shall not be of a constant height for a distance of greater than 150 feet.
      (2)   Three or more roof slope planes.
   (F)   Transit stops. Single and multi-tenant retail establishments over 80,000 square feet shall provide an off-street transit stop for customers and employees if the development is located on an established or planned public transit route. The location of the transit stop shall be shown on the site plan.  The transit stop may be a freestanding structure or an existing overhang/awning incorporated in the design of the building.
   (G)   Parking lots and pedestrian circulation. The parking lot design and pedestrian circulation routes shall provide a safe, convenient and efficient access for vehicles and pedestrians.  Pedestrian circulation via internal public sidewalks shall be encouraged.
The placement of structures shall enhance and promote pedestrian circulation on the site. All pedestrian and circulation requirements shall be noted on the site plan.
      (1)   Artistic detailing, material changes and paving patterns are encouraged in pedestrian walkways, plazas, and gathering areas.
      (2)   The number of required parking places may be reduced if the establishment promotes shared parking and a more pedestrian friendly environment for the development.
      (3)   At least five foot wide walkways shall connect focal points of pedestrian activity, such as transit stops, street crossings or entry points, and shall feature adjoining landscaped areas (four foot wide minimum landscape depth) to provide a separate and pedestrian friendly access route for no less than 50% of their overall length.
      (4)   All internal pedestrian walkways shall be physically separated from the drive lanes.  Additionally all sidewalks and crosswalks shall be visually distinct from the driving surfaces.
      (5)   Sidewalks, at least eight feet in width, shall be provided along any façade featuring a customer entrance, and along any façade abutting public parking areas.  At all times such sidewalks shall maintain at least a five foot clear pedestrian passage.  Additionally, such sidewalks shall connect all customer entrances to other internal sidewalks. Sidewalks shall meet all ADA requirements.
      (6)   Where feasible, pedestrian paths and vehicular linkages shall be made with adjoining properties.
      (7)   Overnight parking of RV's, camper trailers and other vehicles providing transient residency shall be at the discretion of the property owner but shall be limited to no more than two days.
   (H)   Miscellaneous site plan requirements.
      (1)   Outdoor shopping cart storage areas shall be provided in the parking lots and adjacent to the building if they are not available at the entrance.  Additionally, shopping cart storage location shall be clearly defined on the site plan. Shopping cart locations next to the building shall be located in an enclosed area.
      (2)   Loading docks, truck parking, outdoor storage, utility meters, HVAC equipment, trash dumpsters, trash compaction, and other such service functions shall be incorporated into the overall design of the structure and landscaped so that the visual and acoustic impacts of these functions are fully contained and out of the view from the general passersby.  If screening material is needed it shall be the same material as those used on the structure to avoid visual detection of the service function on and off site.
      (3)   Only areas previously designated and approved for the parking or storage of trucks, trailers, or containers as accessory outdoor storage shall be permitted. These designated areas shall be screened from public view.  Such areas are prohibited on any portion of a walkway, drive aisle, parking or landscaped area. 
      (4)   Where applicable, private streets within an existing site shall be required to be improved to town standards.
      (5)   Any infrastructure improvements needed for existing or proposed structures shall be the responsibility of the developer/owner.
      (6)   Where applicable, any other site upgrades shall be the sole responsibility of the developer.
   (I)   Outdoor sales. Permanent and seasonal outdoor sales areas shall be incorporated into the design of the building and site.  Additionally, only previously designated and approved permanent or seasonal outdoor sales areas shall be permitted.
      (1)   Non-enclosed areas for the sale and storage of seasonal inventories shall be permanently defined and separated with walls and/or fences.  Walls and roofs shall conform to the standards defined in divisions (C) and (E) of this section.
      (2)   If anti-theft devices for the area(s) are provided, they shall be identified on the site plan.
      (3)   No outdoor display or sales area shall encroach on to any portion of a walkway, drive aisle, parking or landscaped area.
   (J)   Traffic analysis and plan.
      (1)   NCDOT will review traffic impacts for all single and multi-tenant retail establishments over 30,000 square feet.  The developer shall comply will all NCDOT requests.
      (2)   The Town Council will review recommendations submitted by NCDOT for internal and site specific conditions and shall have the ability to require any recommendations as the Town Council deems appropriate.
      (3)   Where applicable, the Town Council may require an outside firm to prepare a traffic impact analysis study for the development site.  If required, the developer will accrue all costs associated with the development and town review of the study.
   (K)   Lighting requirements.
      (1)   Lighting of buildings and landscaping. Lighting fixtures shall be selected, located, aimed, and shielded so that direct illumination is focused exclusively on the building facade, plantings, and away from adjoining properties, public or private rights-of-way, and the night sky. All wall pack fixtures shall be full cutoff fixtures.
      (2)   Lighting in parking lots and outdoor areas.
         (a)   All outdoor area and parking lot lighting fixtures shall be full cutoff fixtures.
         (b)   The mounting height of all outdoor lighting shall not exceed 30 feet above finished grade.
         (c)   All pole mounted fixtures shall be located in a curbed island which may or may not be a part of a landscaped island
   (L)   Signs. Signs shall be appropriate to the design of the structure. Signs shall be designed for both the pedestrian and the motorist.  These requirements shall be in addition to the requirements set forth in the Wilkesboro Sign Ordinance.
      (1)   Roof mounted signs are prohibited.
      (2)   Freestanding signs shall be constructed with a base of the same materials as the structure to provide for a pedestrian scale and to unify the sign with the structure(s).
      (3)   Architectural gateway or entrance elements, which identify the address of the site, do not incorporate any commercial advertising and are less than five feet in overall height, shall not constitute a freestanding sign.
      (4)   Traffic and parking signs shall comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.  Sign housings and posts shall be designed to be a visual and design amenity for the site. Creativity in design is encouraged.
      (5)   Signs shall comply with all requirements set forth in § 156.081 of this chapter.
   (M)   Vacant single and multi-tenant retail establishments over 30,000 square feet. Abandoned buildings and blighted sites cause negative visual and fiscal concerns for the community.  Therefore in order to minimize these instances upon the community, the following shall apply to vacated buildings(s) or developments reviewed under this section.
      (1)   Exterior surfaces. All exterior surfaces, including but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches and trim shall be maintained in good repair.  Exterior wood surfaces, other than resistant materials shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective coverage or treatment.  Peeling, flaking and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repaired.  All siding and masonry joints shall be maintained weather resistant and watertight.
      (2)   Exterior walls. Exterior walls of buildings shall be maintained free from holes, breaks, loose or rotting materials, and graffiti; and shall be maintained weatherproof and properly surface coated as need to prevent deterioration.
      (3)   Roofs. Roofs of buildings shall be maintained so that they are structurally sound and in a safe condition and weather tight, and not have defects, which might admit rain or cause dampness in the interior portions of a building.  All portions, additions or sections of a roof including, but not limited to, the fascia, eave, soffit sheathing, rafter tail, barge rafter, vent screening, gutter, downspout, roof jack, lead or metal flashing, shall be complete with all trim strips, moldings, brackets, braces and supports attached or fastened in accordance with common building practices.
      (4)   Windows. All glassed areas, including those in windows and doors shall be fully supplied and maintained as per the approved plan(s), or covered with smooth surface boards that are painted to coordinate with the building.
      (5)   Grounds.
         (a)   All landscaped areas as defined in the approved plan(s) shall be maintained and kept free of trash, old building materials, junk, unlicensed or inoperative vehicles, and other such material and equipment which, by its appearance, location or use, makes it incompatible with the principle use or other uses in the immediate neighborhood.  The height of the grass and other general ground cover shall be kept trimmed to a height of no more than eight inches.  Trees and shrubs shall be kept maintained and trimmed;
         (b)   All driveway, parking loading and outside storage areas shall be maintained as per the approved plan(s); and
         (c)   All fences, walls, lighting, signs, storage structures, and other visually physical improvements or appurtenances as per the approved plan(s) shall be maintained in a safe, working order and in good appearance and free of graffiti.
      (6)   Storage.
         (a)   No outside storage is permitted on a vacant site.
         (b)   No outdoor sales, such as new or used cars, or mobile carwashes, shall be allowed on a vacant site unless approved in advance by the Zoning Administrator and as per the applicable zoning district allowed uses.
         (c)   The site shall have visible signage stating the prohibited uses on the vacant site.
         (d)   Parking of RV's, camper trailers, storage trailers, storage containers and the temporary parking of tractor trailers is prohibited on vacant sites.
      (7)   Active marketing. The Town of Wilkesboro requires active marketing of a vacant site.  Active marketing includes a visible for sale sign and requires the property to be listed with a realtor of the developer's choice.  A quarterly marketing report shall be submitted to the Planning Department.
(Am. Ord. passed 9-14-2016)