558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Planning commission exploring standards for business awnings
The intent is to provide clearer standards to local business owners
January 21, 2013
Public awning construction standards, and the lack thereof, has prompted an active discussion between the City of Prineville Planning Commission and the City Planning Department.
Prineville Senior Planner Josh Smith said the new standards were prompted by a downtown property owner who wanted to put in an elaborate awning that didn’t match any of the other awnings on that city block, and the posts encroached into the middle of the sidewalk.
“It kind of prompted us to say OK, do we want this or not?” said Smith.
They went to the City of Prineville Planning Commission and, after a lengthy discussion it was decided to draft some standards. Smith brought the draft to the City Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday evening, and some concerns were addressed on how the City Planning Department would handle the insurance and liability for the City.
“This isn’t a right-of-way, it’s not on private property, so we had to make sure that the building owner indemnifies the City, so if something happens it’s not the City’s fault — and that they carry insurance for it,” explained Smith.
Other concerns included parking on the street — and making sure a post isn’t in the way of parking. There were brief discussions of awnings being 12 inches from the curb — which was decided to be adequate. Smith said that they will add to the standards, that utility partners will be notified before an awning is put in place or construction begins.
“I will redraft it and put it back together,” said Smith. “It’s the kind of stuff, we would do anyway.”
He added that it allows people to design potential awnings up front, with standards to guide them ahead of time.
“This would be something we would put into our standards and specifications, not a planning document,” said Smith.
City of Prineville Engineer Eric Klann noted that this will develop some standards that will protect the public utilities and help them avoid any problems with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance issues.
“ADA is fairly complex, so we just want to make sure people get it right,” pointed out Klann.
Smith said that two of the big issues that originally become part of the discussion involved street trees and sidewalks. The standards being proposed include awnings supported by posts within the right-of-way, while self-supporting awnings extending over the public right-of-way are allowed with minimal review for measurement and design review. The planning department is recommending that no portion of an awning shall be closer than 12 inches from face to curb. The supports would be 18 inches from the face of the curb to the post with a minimum of 5 feet clear walking space behind the supports.
“Do you want street trees or do you want awnings — it’s going to take them out,” he said. “Right now, our Town Enhancement Plan calls for street trees, not awnings. There is kind of a conflict there. That will have to be addressed later in the Down Town Enhancement Plan.”
Smith went on to say that most cities do not allow posts in the sidewalk.
“They allow awnings — which we do too. If you want to do a suspended awning, there is no standard for that. If you want to suspend it off of your building, you go right ahead.”
Included in the proposed standards is a design that will blend with existing awnings. He said that the thinking behind this has been to create some transition, so awnings are not considerably higher or lower, and there is some continuity.
“This has been a bone of contention, because people like to be individuals,” said Smith.
“If we’re going have them, (awnings) let’s manage how they go in, so there aren’t any unintended problems,” said Klann.