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Fri, Feb. 28

Architectural design guidelines coming?

Should Chino Valley have architectural design guidelines? Town Manager Jerry Stricklin said if the town does develop some, there must be specific geographic boundaries within which the guidelines would apply.

He told the Chino Valley Mayor's Economic Development Committee Tuesday that any architectural design guidelines the town may adopt should apply to commercial, multiple-family complexes and industrial buildings, but not to single-family residences.

The committee discussed having architectural design guidelines for Chino Valley after seeing the difference the adoption of an architectural design code made in Wickenburg. Stricklin, who worked in Wickenburg for more than 20 years, showed slides of early Wickenburg, what it looked like in the mid-1980s, and now.

He said four things happened in Wickenburg to bring about the changes: civic pride, architectural and landscaping standards, financial windfall from having its own electrical company, and its general plan.

After the adoption of a general architectural design code stressing a Western look, Stricklin said, the appearance of downtown Wickenburg improved. Downtown improved more after the town adopted a more specific architectural design code.

He said Wickenburg brought history into the downtown area by buying the old vacant railroad depot, remodeling it and leasing it out to the chamber of commerce, and by locating an old locomotive with a couple of cars downtown.

Stricklin showed how Wickenburg used trees, shrubs and walls to screen the back of commercial properties from adjoining residential. He said Wickenburg's adoption of a strict architectural design code hasn't prohibited a variety of architecture within the town.

One committee member said Chino Valley used to have an old brick factory so brick might be more cohesive to the town's look.

Committee member Dan Main asked if Chino Valley should adopt general architectural design guidelines first or just go with strict ones. Stricklin said developers like specific guidelines best because they show what the town expects of them.

Committee member Paul Aslanian said, "Leaving things vague doesn't help anyone. The guidelines need to be fairly specific."

Committee member Jody Zito asked if the Technical Review Committee could review builders' plans to see if they meet the architectural design guidelines. Pat Clingman, Development Services director, said that is not the responsibility of the Technical Review Committee. Stricklin agreed, saying that committee just deals with technical issues, such as if there are the correct numbers of parking spaces.

He said most communities use a Design Review Board or the Planning and Zoning Commission to review plans to see if the developers are meeting the provisions of the architectural design guidelines or code. Towns use these entities because they must provide an appeal process.

As to the town's future look, Mayor Jim Bunker said he likes the Southwestern, ranch house, Victorian or farmhouse look.

Arnold reminded the members the mayor created the committee to make life easier for the developers and builders. "Now we're talking about a lot of new restrictions. We've got to look at not slapping another $20,000 cost on to the project," he said. "We can't lift the bar too high."

Main said the town should apply the guidelines to the whole length of town so its gateways also end up with a nice look.

Bunker said the committee will tackle the question of applying the architectural design guidelines to a specific area or more general area of town.

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